by Patrick Hoffman on 02/02/11 at 10:18 PM ET
If you are a hockey fan who scrolls around the interwebs for hockey news, than you definitely know who Lyle Richardson is.
If you don’t, Lyle Richardson runs the terrific Spector’s Hockey web site, a hockey page designed to present and analyze various trade rumors that are being reported by legitimate NHL sources and outlets.
Lyle was kind enough to take time out of his extremely busy schedule to talk to us about the upcoming NHL trade deadline, which is on February 28. Enjoy and make sure to check his web site for the latest rumors and updates.
PH: Getting closer and closer to the trade deadline, what are your expectations at this point?
LR: My expectations are as they always are at this time of year, that teams out of the playoff race will start dumping pending free agents they cannot or will not re-sign, and that number of teams will increase in the coming weeks as more fall out of the race.
PH: In your opinion, which teams need to make an upgrade (s) at the deadline? Why?
LR: The Atlanta Thrashers definitely need an upgrade both at forward and defense. They`ve struggled in recent weeks and are in danger of falling out of a playoff berth. The Montreal Canadiens could use a boost offensively, preferably a power forward, while the Washington Capitals could use an experienced second-line center. The NY Rangers, Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks are believed seeking a hard-shooting, puck-handling defenseman. The Chicago Blackhawks could use depth at center and defense but would have to move out salary to bolster that depth while the LA Kings are still lacking a quality first line left wing.
PH: In your opinion, which teams need to stay the course and keep doing what they’re doing? Why?
LR: As for staying the course, while I realize some are calling for the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes to make some changes their recent improvement suggests they might not need to shake things up. The Philadelphia Flyers could perhaps use more depth on right wing but given how well they`ve performed standing pat might be a good idea. I also think the Dallas Stars, having acquired Jamie Langenbrunner last month,won’t do anything more barring injuries. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings could in my opinion use a little more grit but if they don`t make any moves I doubt it`ll adversely affect them.
PH: Who are the big players that may be available at the deadline? Which teams can afford or have the pieces to get them?
LR: You know, there probably won`t be much in the way of `big name players` available this year. Florida`s Tomas Vokoun might be shopped but the Panthers apparently hope to re-sign him, plus his contract still might be a tight fit for teams seeking a starting goalie. Some observers suggested the Flyers might have interest in Vokoun but I believe they`ll stick with their current tandem. Ottawa`s Chris Phillips, New Jersey`s Jason Arnott and Toronto`s Francois Beauchemin might be on the move but of course their respective movement clauses limit their market value. The Sharks and Ducks might have interest in Beauchemin, and Phillips has been linked to Boston though I don`t think he`ll address their need for blueline mobility. The Canadiens are thought to have interest in Arnott but at this stage of his career he might not be the effective power forward they need. Maybe the Capitals might try to land him? It`s possible a notable player could be moved whom no one anticipated to be available but ultimately I doubt we`ll see any big name players getting dealt this year.
PH: Any other thoughts you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
LR: Enjoy the rumors and the hype but don`t take them too seriously. Remember, 98 percent of the rumors reported turn out to be bogus while the same number of actual trades are almost never foreseen by the so-called ``insiders``.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at email@example.com.