Welcome to The Buzz Between the Boards and the “Trade me already” edition. Today I want to look at some of the names who may still be on the trade market and discuss when I think the could get traded. This summer we have seen the trading of Halak to the Blues, Gagne being shipped to Tampa Bay as the Flyers and Lightening have become good trade buddies, and Chicago having to dump off some young players because of their cap issues to a couple of teams.
But some of the bigger names that have been discussed this summer are still sitting in the same cities, and waiting to see if their current GMs will oblige them or give in to the idea of dumping their salary to try. So let’s take a look at some of the players still possibly on the market, and one that might not be yet but could be this coming season.
Tomas Kaberle: Probably the best defenseman that is still on the market in some way, now the Maple Leafs and GM Burke seem to not be sure on trading him. He is a 50 point type of blue-liner with good play in his own end too and still has a few good years left in him and he does not make a bad amount for the quality of player he is. We know many teams have been contacting Toronto about him, and there have probably been lots of conversations about moving him. It has been talked about since the trade deadline last season and Kaberle himself is probably just waiting for the news at this point. I still think he is traded before the season actually starts, but it looks like Burke is looking for something specific or the perfect deal before he will just move Kaberle. But the waiver in his no-trade clause ends August 15th, so they may have to make something happen before then.
Sheldon Souray: Souray wants out of Edmonton, and I am almost 150% sure that with his attitude and behavior in the last year that they want him gone too. But he has two years left on his deal, and has been injury plagued for a few seasons now. He is a physical guy, and has a big shot from the point. But he has become a poison in the locker room for the Oilers and he is also 34 years old. They have been trying to trade him, and even at one point putting him through waivers, but no team has taken him. Any team that is willing to take him and give him a new start also wants a prospect or young player for taking on the contract and injury/poisonous risk. I think they will continue to shop him, and he may end up starting the year with the team. But he could also be sent down to the minors, and above all I see him playing somewhere else at least before Christmas time, if not in the next month or so.
Jason Spezza: Spezza was talked about early in the off-season because of his huge contract and desire to possibly leave Ottawa. He has not been horrible, but he has not lived up to his paycheck. The problem was that at the beginning of July the Sens paid Jason his roster bonus, almost making it pointless to try and trade him now. If things don’t go good in Ottawa this season, he could be a name that pops up near the trade deadline. But right now at least it is inconceivable that he would be moved.
Mike Ribeiro: Oh how things can change quickly. Ribs went from being probably the most consistent offensive threat during the last couple of years in the Tippett system, to now being the guy that at $5 million per season could be moved with the teams financial situation. The Stars are plenty under the cap, but the bankruptcy of current owner Tom Hicks and the now ongoing process of selling the team has restricted how much can be spent for at least one more season. So with probably one of the worst defenses in the NHL right now, a current coaching staff that emphasizes offense and attacking while the D has to stand up to a lot of chances, and a young goalie being handed the starting job, the Dallas Stars may only be able to really help the defense and Lehtonen by moving Ribeiro. And with young budding talents like Neal, Eriksson, and Benn, they may be able to go without him. And his slow down and control style in the offensive zone does not mix with Coach Crawford and the two have not really got along good. But GM Joe Nieuwendyk has said they will not just trade him for the sake of it. I expect him to still be in Dallas to start the season. But if he continues to butt heads with the staff and the team finds a good deal, he could be traded between Christmas and the trade deadline.
And….Joe Thornton: You might be thinking, “Joe Thornton?” But I say why not? After the playoff exit of the Sharks this summer, some started to wonder about “Jumbo Joe” and if he should be in San Jose too much longer. The little Joe lit the lamp and showed he can be a top quality offensive weapon, while Thornton struggled at times and was not at all playing like they would hope he would for about half the playoffs. Thornton has been one of the best offensive players in the game for years now, but also he has very little success in the playoffs and now will be 32 next summer when he becomes a free agent. I do not think at all right now, but around the deadline we could hear Joe’s name coming up. With Heatley just signing up last year and the Sharks giving Marleau a new extension, and younger players like Setoguchi and Pavelski, it could be the last year in San Jose for Thornton.