Posted: Friday March 3, 2006 3:27PM; Updated: Friday March 3, 2006 4:29PM
Defenseman Bryan McCabe would be a nice fit in Carolina and fetch the Leafs some much-needed young talent.
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The lovely Mrs. Muir has far too many charming qualities to list in this space. Really, she's a lovely woman, nearly flawless in every way -- except for this one little thing.
Like Yente in Fiddler on the Roof, she's obsessed with matchmaking. "There's somebody out there for everybody," she says as she beats me down for the names of friends and co-workers she can introduce to her lovelorn acquaintances.
I distance from this silliness as much as I can, but over the last few days, I've started to understand the allure of bringing two people together. After all, March 9 -- the NHL trade deadline -- is just around the corner. And I'm getting the feeling that cap concerns and slim playoff hopes are going to leave Eastern Conference GMs lined up on one wall while Western Conference GMs stand nervously on the other, with both sides separated by an empty dance floor.
I can't let that happen. A slow trade day would be like waking up Christmas morning to find an orange and a couple pairs of socks under the tree. So, I'm going to do the hard part for hesitant GMs by proposing 10 deals that should make everyone happy.
Are there a few duds here? Maybe. No matchmaker is perfect. Just remember: you may have heard some of these players mentioned in trade talks, but nothing you're about to read is based on anything approaching fact, rumor or even innuendo. It's just what I'd like to see happen, so try not to get too bent out of shape if you think your team is taking it in the shorts.
And if my wife calls and asks if you're free on Saturday night to meet a nice girl, hang up and change your number...
1. Florida deals Olli Jokinen and James Pemberton to Ottawa for Antoine Vermette, Kirill Lyamin and a 2006 first-round pick.
John Muckler and Mike Keenan have made several small deals in the past, so these bartering buddies are due for a blockbuster. Jokinen would be a difference-maker for the Sens while centering the second line. His presence would take pressure off Jason Spezza's first unit and bring out the best in the soon-to-return Martin Havlat.
Muckler has claimed that he's only willing to deal picks, so he'll have to dig a little deeper to edge Calgary for Jokinen's services. Vermette is a budding offensive talent with top-six potential. The 20-year-old Lyamin is a big (6-foot-3, 205 pounds), physical defender who'll eventual become a top-four guy. A first round pick, even a late one in a weak draft, is gold for a young, building franchise like the Panthers. Plus it frees up the $5 million that Jokinen refused. Florida can use it to sway a key free agent this summer -- someone good enough to convince Roberto Luongo to stay.