The Waiver Wire – For the week of March 2 – March 9
Instead of our normal format, this week we’ll be looking at trade values – players likely to be on the move and whose value is likely to be impacted both positively and negatively as a result of the upcoming deadline on Wednesday. There’s a lot of potential good values out there, and if you’re shrewd, you should be able to capitalize on a lot of transactions.
Ryan Kesler VAN – POSSIBLE TO BE MOVED – Vancouver has been a tumultuous place to play this year, and coach John Tortorella has been a very polarizing figure in the dressing room. There are players who will do anything for him, and there are players who want nothing to do with him. Ryan Kesler has been one of those players that apparently falls into the latter group, and rumors say that he’s asked quietly for a trade. He has 39 points in 61 games this year, down noticeably from his totals of 2010-2011 where he recorded 73 points in 82 games. He also has a very manageable cap hit of $5 million for two years following this season. It’s unlikely that a deal will actually get done in our opinion; Kesler’s price will be far too high, but if his trade request was more emphatic than we’ve been led to believe, it’s possible that Vancouver moves him at the deadline.
Dave Bolland TOR – POSSIBLE TO BE MOVED – Toronto took a risk last year at the draft that looks to be coming home to roost. In Bolland the Leafs got exactly what they had hoped – a defensive stalwart who can also score and provide some clutch leadership in the playoffs. The problem though is that he’s in the last year of his contract, and will likely want David Clarkson-like money to stay. We’re not sure that the Leafs can fit him into their plans next year, and being the pragmatists that the Leafs management are, they’ll look to move him at the deadline if the right offer comes up. They may back fill the opening with a value-pickup right at the buzzer.
David Legwand NSH – POSSIBLE TO BE MOVED – At 33, and having played his entire career in the Nashville system, there may be desire on his part to try greener pastures. Nashville will likely want to move him out rather than lose him for nothing, and an interesting destination for him would be in Toronto – should David Bolland be moved out at the deadline. Legwand’s history of being very responsible defensively would fit nicely with Toronto’s need to improve in that area. If the Leafs can get him on the cheap, and have that hole, it would be a good fit.
Thomas Vanek NYI – PROBABLE TO BE MOVED – We think the biggest trade on deadline day will be the movement of Vanek from the Island to any one of a number of destinations. Any team in contention would love to have him as a rental, but the biggest stumbling block will be GM Garth Snow’s needs as a return on this trade. His lost 1st round draft pick as part of the trade to get Vanek will have to be recouped (and then some) and most GMs will not want to pay that price for a rental. Our guess is that Vanek gets moved late in the day to Pittsburgh, Boston or LA for a mid-tier prospect and a late 1st. For this gaffe, we expect that Garth Snow will be fired in the next few weeks. Expect his output to increase no matter which team he lands with.
Matt Moulson BUF – PROBABLE TO BE MOVED – Much like Vanek, Moulson is likely not about to resign in Buffalo, and will test the free agent waters in the offseason. Unlike the Islanders, Buffalo’s price for Moulson will be lower, as they don’t have a set return in mind. Moulson is a great sniper and knows how to play with elite centermen – there’s no better in the game than Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, where we always figured he’d end up. Our guess is that Pittsburgh tries to get Vanek, dislikes the steep price being asked, and picks up Moulson for a 1st. If this happens, Moulson’s value will skyrocket, as he’ll have a fanastic finish to the year there (and may actually resign).
Chris Stewart BUF – POSSIBLE TO BE MOVED – We’ve heard that Stewart fits nicely with Buffalo’s development plans nicely, so it’s probably that he’s going to stay put, but we’ve also heard that Ottawa gave Buffalo a call as soon as the trade was made public to talk about Stewart’s availability. We’ve always been very bullish on Stewart, as we love his style of play, but he’s never really been able to make the rubber hit the road (as much as he should and could). As with all things Buffalo of late, he can be had for picks and prospects, but the cost will likely be pretty high in both.
Ryan Callahan NYR – PROBABLE TO BE MOVED/RESIGNED – This is going to go one of two radically different ways: either the Ranger captain will resign a shorter “compromise” gap contract, or he’ll be shipped out to get something. The Rangers will not allow him to walk in the same way that Zach Parise walked on the Devils a few years ago. From everything we’re hearing, the two sides are far too far apart in terms on dollars and years for there to be any sort of compromise. As a result, we expect Callahan to get moved to a Western conference team – Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose or Colorado are all possible. Once moved, his numbers will make a big spike upward, as all four of these teams would likely use him in a much better way than the Rangers do now.
Jake Gardiner TOR – PROBABLE TO BE MOVED – Toronto’s defense has been lackluster all year, and the biggest pain point has been Gardiner. When he first started with Toronto two years ago, he looked like a stud defensemen in the mold of Keith Yandle – exceptionally mobile and offensively gifted. This year though, his flaws have become readily apparent. Although Toronto has stated they don’t intend to move any of their young talent, Gardiner has shown that he’s not good enough defensively for this team. We have two probable locations for him: first, to Colorado as part of a package for Ryan O’Reilly, or to Phoenix as part of a package for Keith Yandle.
Joe Corvo OTT – PROBABLE TO BE MOVED – Based on his ice-time and production, it’s apparent that Corvo just doesn’t fit into the long term picture in Canada’s capital. In order to get guys that do fit into that picture, we expect that Corvo will be one of the expendable pieces that gets moved. As a UFA in the summer, his price will be very manageable for a team in need of help offensively from the blueline. Our guess would be that he ends up in Colorado for a prospect, but he could just as likely end up in Dallas or Vancouver.
Alexander Edler VAN – POSSIBLE TO BE MOVED – Sitting in the same doghouse as Ryan Kesler, Edler has struggled under the watchful eye of John Tortorella. His cap hit is reasonable at $5 million, but his performance this year has been so bad that potential suitors aren’t exactly lined up around the block, and Vancouver management will be looking for a bounty in his return. One possible destination would be Toronto in exchange for Jake Gardiner, but we’re unsure what the rest of that trade would look like. Another that would make a lot of sense would be the Rangers, reuniting Edler with coach Alain Vigneault.
Jaroslav Halak BUF – PROBABLE TO BE MOVED – Fresh off his trade to Buffalo as part of the Ryan Miller sweepstakes, he might be well advised to not unpack just yet. Buffalo is in the deepest rebuild we’ve seen in years, and our guess is that they might move Halak if it means more picks. Minnesota is desperate for additional goaltending, with Josh Harding on the shelf indefinitely with MS, and Niklas Backstrom out with a sore back. If the price is reasonable – perhaps a couple of 2nd round picks – our guess is that Halak unpacks in the Twin Cities.
James Reimer TOR – POSSIBLE TO BE MOVED – In order to gain some additional defensive help for the team, one of the bargaining chips that Toronto has is James Reimer. When he’s able to get playing time, he’s been good for the Leafs. With a 3.25 GAA/.911 SV%, his numbers haven’t been amazing, but he would be a very serviceable goalie for a team in need of temporary starts – like Minnesota – or a team in need of longer term goaltending, like Edmonton. He’s made it no secret he doesn’t like the bench, so we’re guessing that he’ll get moved, but only if it makes sense.
Martin Brodeur NJD – POSSIBLE TO BE MOVED – It’s apparent that Brodeur’s career is on life support. His numbers this year have been well below his standards – 2.52 GAA/.899 SV% - but he may have just enough left for one last kick at the can (or possibly sitting on the bench watching that can get kicked). There are a number of teams that could use a player of Brodeur’s gravitas to help guide them to a Stanley Cup, and our guess is that it could be Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury could benefit from the wisdom and tutelage of Brodeur, and should he waver, no other goalie would be better as a backup in the playoffs than Marty.