Christmas wish lists for buyers and sellers – DobberHockey
With Christmas less than two weeks away, I thought it was a good time to kick off a quick two-part series on the team’s wishlists. I will examine potential buyers at maturity and identify the current needs of each. I’ll also be looking at some deadline sellers so we can see what might become available on the deadline.
There’s no better way to start than with the biggest surprise of the NHL season. A team that we thought was for sure to be a deadline buyer is now virtually guaranteed to be an NHL deadline seller.
New York Islanders – 24 games played, 19 points
Division: 7th Conference: 14th
Wildcard: 12 points behind Detroit (5 games less)
Wish list: Take a few choices and regroup for 2022/23.
Don’t be fooled by the ongoing games in Detroit. The Bruins are hiding within 1 point of Detroit, with several games in hand as well. The hill to get back into the playoff picture is immense.
Lou Lamoriello still loves the core of this team so I don’t see a huge tear on the horizon. Moving a few free agents to restock the cabinets is more orderly.
Unless they do a historic race, I suspect we’ll see Andy Greene and Cal Clutterbuck brew picks. Neither has any real whimsical value beyond your deepest multi-cat pools. Zack Parise is another name we should expect to be on the move and it’s the one name you should watch out for. There might be some late-season value if it lands in the right place and at $ 750,000 it’s no cheaper than that.
Anaheim Ducks – 28 games played, 37 points
Division: 1st, 3rd Conference
Wish list: Patience. Make decisions on free agents Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson. Are they part of the future of this team or not?
The Ducks are the biggest surprise of the season. We have waited years for Sam Steel, Max Jones and Maxime Comtois to reach their potential. Instead, Troy Terry, Sonny Milano and Trevor Zegras all passed them. There is a lot to love about moving forward. Especially with $ 40 million of ceiling space.
It’s easy to get ahead of a plan when you have sudden success. The biggest mistake the Ducks can make is pushing too far this year. They have to make logical decisions on which of these three free agents they are going to sign and how many. If they are not, they would be wise to move at least one of them for leads or choices.
All three will be sought at the trade deadline.
Lindholm, I guess, is the one the Ducks want to keep the most. He is incredibly underrated outside of Anaheim. For our purposes, that’s because it’s of such limited fantastic value. Only SIM leagues care about positioning.
Rakell is the most likely business candidate and offers the most fantastic potential. Especially if it is traded. Several teams will be looking for a top six winger for a Cup race. Rakell and his milestone of $ 3.789 million are more than inviting. If Anaheim keeps a salary, he should be able to win a first round and more. A team like Pittsburgh will strike early and often. If he’s not a part of the team’s future plans, he’s probably on the move.
Tampa Bay Lightning – 28 games played, 40 points
Division: 3rd, Conference: 3rd (tie)
Wish list: Find another Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman, deep in defense.
They miss these two a lot, so much so that I suspect they’ll do their best to recreate that third row by the deadline.
Like JT Miller in the past, the ones they add by the deadline will see their fantastic value diminish. They are inevitably part of a supporting cast for the deadly Tampa Bay top six.
They will want to add a defender for depth. Which is something almost all applicants do by the deadline. An invaluable move that won’t offer any fancy value.
Toronto Maple Leafs – 30 games played, 42 points
Division: 1st, Conference 1st
Wish list: 2020/21 version of Justin Holl, find another Zack Bogosian & cap space.
Holl plays without confidence and it shows. Time should sort this out on its own. If not, it may be the solution to create some ceiling space. Getting him back to last year’s form will be a big defensive improvement in and of itself.
The Leafs will also be looking for a physical defenseman at home to shore up their defense. Maybe this player will provide some hit and block value, but really nothing else.
They’ve hit home runs with Michael Bunting and Ondrej Kase. There will be little need to add a lot of depth to the front. If anything, they can add another actor like Kyle Clifford to the last six.
They’re too tight to the hood to make a big splash. Very little to see here regardless of what the media is saying over the next few months.
Minnesota Wild – 28 games, 39 points
Division: 1st, Conference: 1st
Wish list: powerplay quarterback, veteran leadership (ironic, I know)
Let’s start with the second first. There are few players over thirty in this team. Outside of Mats Zuccarello, none of them have had much success in the playoffs. The irony is that they bought out the two players with the most playoff experience from their roster. They will be looking for a Kyle Clifford type player to help the younger players in the room.
This team doesn’t have a natural power-play quarterback. Over the past two years, they’ve tried Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, Alex Goligoski, and Jonas Brodin, all with limited success.
Calen Addison is waiting backstage but he’s not yet ready for the role.
Look for someone to sniff someone like Shayne Gostisbehere in Arizona. He’s a power play specialist with an expiring contract. Minnesota can shelter him five to five and give him big minutes with the male advantage. This is the type of deadline splash that I think they’ll try to do
Boston Bruins – 25 games played, 30 points
Division: 4th, Conference: 9th, Wildcard: 1 point behind Detroit (4 games in hand)
Wish list: Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Top Six Winger, Trade Jake DeBrusk, Top Four Defender
It’s a long wish list. I assume Rask will sign with Boston when his return is imminent. This will push Swayman down the depth list and into the AHL for another year.
This team really missed Krejci. Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula are nowhere near filling their shoes. His hockey IQ was elite and his importance to this team was immense. Adding a second line center should probably be the number one priority.
Boston could try to resolve their need for a top-six winger or defenseman by including DeBrusk as part of the package going in the opposite direction. As a restricted free agent and similar ceiling shot to Rakell, this would seem like a good option for both of them to explore. I doubt Boston would have any problems adding a former 37-goal scorer. Food for thought.
Boston also has a young defensive core with only John Moore over 30. They will seek to add a stabilizing presence at the rear. I suspect this will also be near the top of their priority list.
I doubt Boston can do all of these moves with a flat cap on the deadline. That said, whoever they add to their top six will join a team that can score and likely join Taylor Hall on one side of the second row. There could be a solid offensive boost for the name (s) they add.
Next week, we’ll take a look at a few more buyers and sellers. And yes, the Arizona Coyotes, who are bound to be very busy for the next few months.
(statistics from frostedtools.com and salary information from capfriendly.com)
Thanks for reading.
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