Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday season opens the door to deadline-day deals

*this post contains info from,, and

The holiday season is upon us, and all the things we come to expect of it are here: There's snow falling, kids are excited about Santa struggling his way down the chimeney, and the Habs lost their December 23rd matchup, as they have done so consistently over their history.

However, in the NHL, with the holdiays come the roster freeze. No player may be moved until midnight of December 27th, which is a very good rule allowing players to spend the Christmas holidays in peace with their families and loved ones...but this doesn't stop the General Managers from getting on the phones and discussing potential deals to help their team in their respective playoff runs.

Let's kick off with the most popular rumours surrounding the Habs.

- Sergei Fedorov to Montreal? My brother heard this on the Team990, and I have yet to hear about it. If it's true, I honestly wouldn't mind. Yes, Sergei is washing up, but the fans still love him, and that name on a Habs jersey would be welcome anytime. He can still play on the PowerPlay, whether it's as a forward, or at the point. He can play Penalty Kill, as he does in Columbus already, but falls back on the PK depth chart behind Nash and Chimera. He can form a nice line with Alex Kovalev, returning Plekanec to his natural left wing position, and opening the door to the Kostitsyn brothers playing together on a line with Koivu or Higgins. Of course, this would cause a surplus of forwards for our top 2 lines, as we already have Higgins-Koivu-S.Kostitsyn and A.Kostitsyn-Plekanec-Kovalev, so unless we dealt one of them for Fedorov (which WON'T EVER HAPPEN, of course), Fedorov just doesn't have the space on the top 2 lines. We all know Gainey promotes the development of young forwards, which is why he didn't make a claim for Mark Recchi on waivers. So, as for that rumour, if not acquiring Recchi virtually for FREE is of any indication, Fedorov will not become a Hab, unless the deal is straight up for Bryan Smolinski. That's the only way I see it happening, and I would LOVE to see that happen. Both Smolinski and Fedorov are impending UFA's, so why not pull the trigger and give it a shot.

-Hurricanes scout Habs/Stars game: Alright, last night in Dallas, Carolina Hurricanes scouts were in attendance to watch the game. With the injury to Justin Williams sidelining him for a mimimum of 4 months, and a possibility of losing him for the entire season, Carolina may be looking to part with prospects and draft picks to acquire Michael Ryder. I'm gonna go out there, WAY OUT THERE, and call this right now: If Ryder goes to Carolina, he WILL SCORE 30 goals again this season. HE WILL. Unless, of course, this deal comes at the deadline, then time might run out on a 30-goal campaign. BUT, should a deal sending Ryder to Carolina happen within the next couple of weeks, the Habs will watch Ryder score and score often. Carolina already boasts one of the top 3 12-forward lines in the NHL, with Ottawa and Detroit, and acquiring Ryder would perfectly replace Williams. Carolina's needs however are on defence, and with a POSSIBLE return of Teemu Selanne to Anaheim down the road, Carolina would love to welcome inexpensive Francois Beauchemin to the team. He can log 30 mins a game, play PP, PK, lean on forwards, and make a great first pass to open up Carolina's transitional game. Jim Rutherford has openly expressed his disappointment in the team's performance, and would like to fix the team where he believes it needs fixing. Carolina just needs to find that missing puzzle piece to re-gain its status as cup-contenders.

-Craziest rumour of the week: Habs might sign Ovechkin to an offer-sheet: Ooooohhh Kaayyyy...All I SHOULD say is KEEP DREAMING. The Caps' supersniper is RFA at season's end...and that's exactly my point. AT SEASON'S END. You do realize, people, that that means 7 months away, right? The Caps will re-sign Ovechkin, of that there is no doubt in my mind...actually, wasting time writing about how sure I am that Ovechkin stays in D.C. is aggrevating me, but if it has to be said, it has to be said. Ovechkin will be re-signed, and it wont take 7 months to do it...expect it to be done by March at the latest. Owner Ted Leonsis already said at Ovechkin's draft that Alex will be the centerpiece for the Capitals to re-build matter how badly we would like to see Ovechkin on our own personal favorite teams, or at least just not in the weak market of Washington, it won't happen, until Alex can be UFA...should he choose to even want to leave (beacuse Washington will try to re-sign him as a UFA if that event should ever arise). The same goes for Phaneuf, who is also RFA at season's end. He is not going ANYWHERE. He will be re-signed long-term and early.

Other rumours around the NHL:

- Jarrett Stoll's days in Edmonton appear to be numbered. Stoll's got plenty of untapped potential, yet he somehow can't seem to be getting it done on an Oilers team where he can literally be the #1 center. Stoll might need better talent around him to help reach his potential. Rumours suggest that Detroit and Boston are interested in his services.

- L.A. will definitely be looking to deal some of their veteran talent, as certain free agent signings haven't exactly panned out. Nagy, Calder, Handzus, Stuart and Preissing may all be available to the highest bidder. On paper, the Kings look like one of the best mixed rosters of Youth and Veterans in the league, but the game is played on the ice, and the Kings are simply not getting it done. A goaltender continues to be the major need in L.A., and with Jonathan Bernier still not 100% ready to be a starter, L.A. will continue to struggle. LaBarbara's successes in the AHL haven't carried over into the NHL, and the Kings would be wise to trade for a solid starter. Maybe a return to L.A. for Cristobal Huet would be a perfect move for both teams? Price would be a starter, Halak would be an ample backup, Cap space frees up in Montreal for at least 2 years, and Montreal could get someone very worthy in return, like a defenceman? Or a forward? I would be calling L.A. right now if I was the GM, as a deal like that makes a lot of sense.

- *taken from : - Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon says that he's looking for a forward, telling the Chicago Tribune: "Maybe a forward, a good left winger to play with either Lang or Havlat or the kids (rookies Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews)," Tallon said. "If there's a forward in the 25 to 27 age range and he's a good player, we'll look at it."* Also, the 'Hawks are apparently in the market for a defenseman.

- Rangers have all sorts of rumours surrounding them involving defensemen. They are reportedly interested in landing John-Michael Liles from Colorado, Brooks Orpik from Pittsburgh, or taking a chance on Brad Stuart from L.A.

- The Penguins would reportedly like to add a stable winger to play with Sid. Some have suggested that J.P Dumont might interest them, as would impending UFA Kristian Huselius.

- The Isles are reportedly interested in Phoenix D's Derek Morris or Ed Jovonovski.

- Marleau rumours continue to float around, and will continue to so long as Marleau's production in SJ stays low. Also, with Cheechoo's horrendous start to the campaign, rumours have Cheechoo being dealt, POSSIBLY to Pittsburgh to play alongside could happen...

- The Canucks and Devils have reportedly spoken to each other a whole lot...of what is still unclear to me. Perhaps moving Zubrus to Vancouver, as he is underachieving in NJ?

Who would you like to add to your favorite team? Who do you think should be traded by Montreal? Who should the Habs pursue via trade? LET ME KNOW!!! As you all know, I want as much fan feedback as possible, so please, take a minute or two and leave a comment!

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