This guest post is by Stephen A. Croiciata. Make his day and follow him on Twitter…
The NFL Draft, the MLB Trade Deadline, and the NHL Trade Deadline: What do these three events have in common? They are my three days of Christmas! Being someone who is going into Sports Management these are the days I look forward to the most all year; and to a lesser extent, the NBA Trade Deadline. Now one of those days is quickly approaching as the NHL Trade Deadline is less than a month away. Over the next few weeks you will read loads of trade deadline preview articles about team needs and predictions on who goes where, but I’d rather be simple. Being a fan of the Colorado Avalanche, I wanted to take a look at the Northwest Division and give my outlook on what each team should be looking to do at the deadline: Buy, Sell, or Stand Pat.
Back in December, the Flames seemed undoubtedly headed toward a team that would consider going into the 2011-2012 season with a whole new look. It was thrown around that the Flames may possibly make Jerome Iginla, the face of their franchise, available since the outlook for this season was, for a time, grim. Now Calgary has turned things around and have found themselves in the fight for the last few playoff spots in the West, where teams 4-13 are separated only by 8 points. Calgary has a good deal of secondary scoring supporting Iginla, but if they can improve their team while moving a contract such as Steve Staios, 1 year 2.7 million, they should jump at the opportunity. BUY.
Last season all of the so-called experts predicted the Avalanche to finish dead last in the West, but after a surprising season many of those same experts expected the Avs to grow on last season and get even better in 2010-11. Early on the Avalanche looked great, but of late they have slid and at times look just as bad as they did two years ago. The thing that makes the Avalanche so mysterious is they are putting up huge numbers and in fact they are the only team in the Northwest division with four guys with over 35 points and yet they still can’t gather any consistency. As an Avalanche fan myself I can recognize that this team just isn’t there yet and with even more game-changing guys in the lower levels such as Tyson Barrie, Stefan Elliott, and Joey Hishon, it may just be better off to make some changes now. They could possibly sign Peter Forsberg (Editor’s Note: Avs signed Forsberg to a pro-rated, $1 million contract), if he is ready, and then ship him off to a contender, they could trade a guy like TJ Galiardi who can be a valuable bottom 6 forward, or they may even look into trading Craig Anderson who is a UFA after this season. SELL.
I promise fans of Edmonton that one day this team will be very good! I myself am not a fan of Taylor Hall, but the kid seems to be the real deal. Plus they have Gagner, Paakarvi, Eberle, and whoever they happen to draft this season. Until they reach that plateau of being a competitive team, the Oilers have to continue to rid themselves of veteran players who crowd the team. Although I don’t see them moving any of their large contracts, I expect Vandemeer and Strudwick to be moved and potentially even young center Andrew Cogliano who has yet to really fit in Edmonton. SELL.
The Wild seem to fit into a very similar place as the Calgary Flames. They were a team no one really expected to compete much this year, but as we just crossed into February they are in the mix for one of the last spots in the West. I personally do not have as much faith in Minnesota keeping up as I do the Flames. Much of Minnesota’s success has been in large part to a great performance on the road this season but can they maintain the pace. They have done a poor job on home ice in 2010-11 and usually that will come back to bite a team late in the year. The Wild have a good enough squad to sneak into the playoffs if they keep up the road warrior mentality, and I’m not so sure if tinkering with what they have will help much in improving their stance. One move I make if I am Chuck Fletcher is moving Chuck Kobasew who is a UFA at the end of the season and may bring in a decent young piece in return. STAND PAT.
Seriously what am I supposed to say here? This team was expected to be great and yet those expectations have been trampled. This team is expected to win every game they play and what else can you expect when you have a team with dynamic offensive twins, a top notch goalie, and a load of shut down defenders? This team has no reason to try and get better because it may not be possible. If anything, I’d say this team may be better off doing a little selling of guys like Raffi Torres and Manny Malhotra, who also happen to be 2 of the 3 regular starters who have a negative +/-. Also depending on how Sami Salo comes back from injury, they may look to move one of their defenseman. STAND PAT.