Kukla's Korner

Trade Day Talk and Mailbag Responses

Seize the day, right?

Several NHL GMs will look to pounce on the opportunities that present themselves today but it remains to be seen what, if any, affect the steady stream of deals leading up to this year’s deadline will have on today’s action.

I have a few questions to answer from yesterday’s mailbag post but we’ll get to those in a moment.

First, a spattering of thoughts running through my head this morning:

*For starters, I’m expecting (though not betting too heavily either way) that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be relatively quiet today. The additions of Dwayne Roloson, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Eric Brewer have filled some specific needs already and, though some veteran forward depth would be nice, the question of which of the Lightning’s very effective, very consistent role players would be pulled from the lineup to make room for an import has always stood in the way. Point being, while some depth for injury protection would be nice, it isn’t necessary. And, with Ryan Malone now expected back in early April, as per the St. Pete Times, the Bolts can look at his return as a late-season addition as well.

*Instead of any big splash, look for the Lightning to possibly make the kind of depth move I’ve referred to above (if the price fits) and to possibly move a defenseman. Brewer’s arrival gives the Bolts nine d-men on the roster (when the injured Mike Lundin and Mattias Ohlund return, that is) and, while head coach Guy Boucher routinely dresses seven, carrying eight max is preferred. Rumors out of Chicago last week had the Blackhawks targeting Brett Clark, which turned a few heads around here since Clark has been very solid for Tampa Bay all season. Rather than move Clark, as I tweeted yesterday, look for the Bolts to try and peddle Randy Jones.

*TrueHockey.com’s Andy Strickland has the Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes potentially hooking up in a deal for Jones, with the rumored price for the Tampa Bay blueliner being an unspecified draft pick. (As we’ve been monitoring for some time now, Carolina could use a little help on ‘D’ and just yesterday ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford confirmed as much to the Raleigh News & Observer.)

*I snoozed through most of it but was left with the following hazy memories of this year’s Oscars:

I love Natalie Portman.

Nice to Skeletor from Masters of the Universe still getting some work. (Kirk who? Noooo.)

And the kid from Pineapple Express was in full drag at one point… Why is that?

*If there’s one player that makes a tremendous amount of sense for the Washington Capitals, it’s New Jersey’s Jason Arnott. Fits the bill for the second-line center they seek, can still produce, has a Stanley Cup on his resume and could just be the type of voice to verbally smack some sense into a Caps team that, to me, for some time now, has needed to hear how good they could be, if they so truly desired.

*Even with Cory Stillman back in Carolina and Bryan McCabe off to Broadway, the Florida Panthers still hold a big chip in goalie Tomas Vokoun and useful players in Marty Reasoner, Radek Dvorak and others. Beyond those expiring contracts, the names of Stephen Weiss, David Booth and Dennis Wideman have all come up consistently in recent days. So the question remains, just how far down will GM Dale Tallon be tearing this Panthers club? (I say, bombs away. There’s a bright future there than can only get brighter with the addition of picks and prospects.)

*Atlanta’s win in overtime last night against Toronto keeps them in the playoff hunt, just four points in back of division foe Carolina. Might that be enough to convince GM Rick Dudley to add a piece or two, notably some scoring help up front? Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

On to the mailbag (which is more like a Tweetbag these days…)

@CarpenterHockey asks: What’s the timetable for Ryan Malone? Could use some insurance there – Milan Hejduk?

As noted before, it looks like Malone is expected back in early April now. But, again, some insurance – as you’ve alluded to – wouldn’t hurt. I’d expect something in the way of a veteran third or fourth line plugger, someone that wouldn’t even necessarily dress on a nightly basis, might be pursued, strictly as a precaution in the event of further injury (to Malone or to whomever).

Avalanche GM Greg Sherman has said that Hejduk, who like so many others these days wields a NTC, will not be moved.

@JeffZucker writes: I say [Dallas] keeps [Brad] Richards if they think they have a shot at re-signing him, even if they give up on the playoffs. You?

I don’t think they’ll be “giving up” on the playoffs but, yes, I agree as of now that Richards will probably stay put. There isn’t anyone else available, as far as I know, with that kind of star power (no pun intended) to impact the asking price for Richards, meaning GM Joe Nieuwendyk can pretty much ask for the world in return and, unless he gets it, doesn’t have to do anything. The flip side to that is I’m not sure, even for a player of Richards’ caliber, that there’s anyone out there to willing to pay such a high price for what could very well be a rental.

And, Lightning fans, though a friendly conversation might take place to satisfy some curiosity, don’t get all gushy about a Richards return to Tampa – not now anyway (and probably not this summer either, with so many other long-term, high-dollar contracts to consider).

Gotta skedaddle on elsewhere for a bit but I’ll make an effort to answer a few of the other questions a little later on…

Happy Trade Day!

JJ on Twitter

Filed in: Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | Beasts of the Southeast | Permalink


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