It’s now the end of February, the NHL hits the ice tonight after taking two weeks off for the Olympic break. As the trade deadline approaches, rumors are always piling up in the media. Who’s on the block, who wants them, who should want them, how much are they going to cost, etc.
The deadline can be rather exciting, last season, names like Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester were cast out of Calgary, and sent separate ways in pursuit of the Stanley Cup , and in the name of rebuilding the Calgary Flames depleted roster.
While the Pittsburgh Penguins loaded up on forwards, the St. Louis Blues looked to make a run in the playoffs by acquiring a few defenseman. Unfortunately for these two teams, neither lived up to the hopes and expectations of their organizations.
This season, a few big name players will be on the block. Thomas Vanek, who was moved earlier this season to the New York Islanders from the Buffalo Sabres will likely be on the move once again. Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Chris Stewart, Ryan Callahan, and Alex Edler are all points of interest in trade talks moving forward.
Let’s focus on just one player here for a moment though. Marian Gaborik of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets traded for Gaborik last season in hopes to push their way into the playoffs, but they were knocked out by a late run made by the Detroit Red Wings. Gaborik is in the final season of his contract, the Jackets didn’t want to make any kind of deal with him over the offseason, and with good reason.
Gaborik is due $7.5 million this season, he’s a three time 40 goal scorer with elite speed, and an elite shot. Gaborik will likely be taking a contract elsewhere after this season if the Jackets hang onto him, so why not shop him around and see what you can get for him? Columbus has a stock pile of young players who are soon to be NHL ready, so does it make sense for them to sign a top level winger at the age of 31 for another five years at $5-6 million? Not really.
It also doesn’t make sense for Columbus to let him walk after everything they gave up for him last season when they made the move to acquire him from the New York Rangers. Moving forward, who may be interested in renting Gaborik for the season, or even signing him over the summer after that?
Gord Stellick believes that Gaborik may make his way back to the Minnesota Wild, or even the Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche or Pittsburgh Penguins.
Focusing on Mr. Stellick’s choices for landing spots for Gaborik, the Minnesota Wild are looking for offense and if Tomas Vanek doesn’t find his way to Minnesota from New York, Marian Gaborik could be a great asset for the Wild. The Wild selected Gaborik with their first ever draft pick. He went on to score the franchise’s first goal in their first game. The Wild are in need of a scorer, opposite of Zach Parise, and Gaborik could give them the boost they need to jump into the playoffs, and make a bit of a push.
The Detroit Red Wings aren’t ones to jump on the trade bandwagon, but this could make sense for them. With the Wings losing their captain Henrik Zetterberg for what looks to be the remainder of the regular season, the Wings need some help to take pressure off of the young players they have manning the forward lines. If the Wings could get Gaborik without having to give up too much youth, the move could be the difference in whether the Wings playoff streak of 22 seasons continues. Gaps need to be filled, and I’d love to see Gaborik in the winged wheel. Now if only Ken Holland can pull the trigger.
The Colorado Avalanche are a young, and very talented hockey team. Patrick Roy made me stick my foot in my mouth this season, and the Avs are looking for a legitimate run in the playoffs in the tough Western Conference. Veteran leadership and the skill level Gaborik brings to the table, could be key in the run that the Avalanche could make this Spring.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are shopping for a winger after losing Pascal Dupuis for the season, and as always, the Pens are in the middle of what seems like every trade talk ever. Will the Penguins go all-in this season again after what they attempted and failed to pull of last season? Gaborik could be deadly with premier players like Sidney Crosby, James Neal, and Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins are always dangerous, and in an Eastern Conference that looks like it has this season, adding skill from a player like Gaborik could make the Penguins an even scarier opponent in mid-April when the playoffs take off.
Tags: Alex Edler Chris Stewart Evgeni Malkin Henrik Zetterberg James Neal Jarome Iginla Jay Bouwmeester Ken Holland Marian Gaborik NHL Patrick Roy Ryan Callahan Ryan Miller Sidney Crosby Thomas Vanek Trade Deadline Trade Rumors Zach Parise