Trade matchmaker (cont.)
It's bad enough that the Sabres looked elsewhere after watching franchise player Ryan Miller get run by Scott "Smurf" Gomez the other night. But to turn the other cheek when Brandon Dubinsky nails backup Patrick Lalime later in the same game? GM Darcy Regier has to recognize his team needs a significant infusion of testosterone before the deadline. Witt has his limitations, but the willingness to exact a price -- or a little revenge -- falls neatly into his skill set. With Jaroslav Spacek and Teppo Numminen coming off the books this summer, there's plenty of room for the $3 million Witt is owed each of the next two seasons. In Gragnani, the rebuilding Isles get a solid all-around defender who can play soon (if not immediately) along with a high pick to expedite the rebuild.
Pending UFA Havelid would be an ideal fit for this Devils' backend -- steady and unspectacular. What he lacks in playoff experience he makes up for with his coach-ability and safe play. Halischuk is a ferocious competitor who slots as a third-line checker and PK specialist. Don't overlook his hands, though. He scored the winner for Team Canada at the 2008 WJC.
The young Caps may still be a year or two away from the silverware, but they've played well enough to earn deadline reinforcements from George McPhee. Goaltending may be the most glaring need, but this deal addresses two other problem areas: lack of depth down the middle and the need for a physical presence on the blueline. Bonk is operating at 62 percent on the draw -- tops in the league -- and Zanon is a warrior who'll sacrifice his body to make a play. Both are UFA's this summer, so they won't impact next year's books. The Preds get a promising young forward in Osala -- currently third among AHL rookies with 19 goals -- and a small but talented puck-moving blueliner in Lepisto.
Colorado sends Ian Laperriere to Detroit for a second-rounder
The Wings have plenty of options on their dysfunctional fourth line, but no one's stepping up and seizing jobs for the playoffs. Laperriere's a been-there, done-that warrior, a guy who should fit nicely into Detroit's culture on and off the ice. That seems like exactly the sort of guy Colorado should be keeping as they rebuild their floundering franchise, but the word around Denver is that he's as good as gone.
Ottawa sends Chris Neil to San Jose for Timo Pielmeier
The Sens need to restock the cupboards, and Team Germany junior stopper Pielmeier gives them a young, talented goaler for the system. San Jose doesn't appear to have many glaring needs, but an aggressive, playoff-tested winger like Neil could provide valuable depth.
Minnesota sends Marian Gaborik to Nashville for the rights to Alex Radulov
"Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution" -- Norman Vincent Peale
"You take my headache and I'll take yours." -- Doug Risebrough to David Poile (or vice versa)
The Preds and Wild both need scoring...and their best scorers want nothing to do with them. So why not flip? Radulov is slumming in the KHL this season, but he has one year left on his deal with Nashville. If he wants to come back to the NHL, Minnesota would get at least that year out of the promising sniper at less than a million bucks. Gaborik is the more established marksman, but he's an injury-riddled UFA-to-be. He could see action before the end of the season, but even if he doesn't, the deal at least gives Nashville first crack at negotiating with a player who is a proven ticket-seller.
Buffalo sends Maxim Afinogenov to Minnesota for his weight in fresh walleye
It's not being impolite to suggest that Afinogenov is the NHL's version of a toxic asset. There aren't many players who get less in the way of results out of more talent. Still, the Wild are desperate for scoring touch, and given how plentiful walleye are in the state's waters, this is surely a price they can afford to pay.
Oh, and the elephant in the deadline room? Bouwmeester isn't going anywhere. . .at least, not yet. It says here that he's too valuable to the Panthers for the playoff push to risk moving him before Wednesday, but if the team determines he can't be signed, look for his rights to be dealt prior to the entry draft.
So what do you think? These deals make sense? What would you propose or do you expect to see on Wednesday? Click here and fire away.