Today is February 19. That means there's hardly a week until the NHL trade deadline. We all know it's common for teams without hope of a post season to put on a fire sale of their roster. Columbus is certainly no exception. We at the Jacket Times are bracing ourselves for what could be some major changes in the CBJ roster.
Aaron Portzline's article in yesterday's dispatch discusses Modin, who has become an important player to the team, both on and off the ice. According to the dichotomized duo of Hitchcock and MacLean, they're really trying to hang on to #33, despite several other teams trying to make a deal. MacLean insisted that the deal is almost done on Modin, and he's confident he'll stay in Columbus.
More importantly, Portzline's account also includes a warning that there may be some surprise trades by CBJ administration. By trading away a chunk of the roster, the team may be able to free up some cash for free agents this offseason. They may also try to grab some more picks in this summer's NHL draft, which is going to be held in Nationwide. I've said this before, but I would rather see some solid trades and some offseason pickups than draft picks. Our only draft pick to really move this team forward has been Rick Nash, and he's having a pretty rough year to this point. A bunch more young guys isn't going to get this team moving right away, barring something of a Crosby-Ovechkin anomaly.
So who might be packing their bags that would constitute a 'surprise'?
- Fedorov, for one. He's the highest paid player on the team, making somewhere around six million per year. He has certainly helped our team this season, but has it been six million dollars worth of help? Hard to say. With only 35 points on the season, that's about $171,000 per point. Yeah, I know there's a lot of intangibles to consider with a talent like Sergei, and he's arguably my all-time favorite player, but that's a lot of cash.
- Carter is as good as gone. He'll be an unrestricted free agent at season's end anyways, and has not generated as much offense as expected this season. No surprise here.
- Berard, right now, is on the "damaged goods" rack. He has generated interest from other teams, but with his recent surgery is unlikely to fly off the shelves. No surprise here either, whether he stays or goes.
- Svitov has potential to move. He's not as tied into the franchise as some other players, and has a rough & tough attitude that bodes well in the playoffs. He would be a good 3rd or 4th line fill-in for any playoff-bound team
- I would hate to see the "energy line" broken up because they've been such a solid line for the last month or two, but what about Chimera or Malhotra? Chimera is arguably the fastest guy on the team, and speed is a key weapon of the new NHL. Who wouldn't want a guy who can fly from one goal line to the other in the blink of an eye?
- I'd like to see Chimera stay, but would be ok with Malhotra going. Manny's been in and out of the box too many times of late and hasn't been the biggest stick on the line. Frtische' work ethic and Chimera's speed completely overshadow Malhotra, and I don't see Manny as being the glue that holds that line, or the team, together. He could be on the block.
- Beyond Berard, none of the CBJ defensemen would add substantial value to another team. Klesla is becoming a franchise player, and Foote has attained captaincy and seems to be taking root in the Columbus community, thereby making neither of them likely to move out of state. Erikkson and Hainsey are good on the blue line, but wouldn't give a team any more advantage over their current lines.
For another player-by-player analysis at potential trades, check out Drew's take at End of the Bench.