By Jeff O’Connor
Most every year at the trade deadline, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello goes after depth pieces as opposed to the stud scorer or big-time assist guy. He likes to add some grit, hustle and something to prove. I think he will do that again this year. Here’s a few guys I think fit what Lou is going for:
Benoit Pouliot – Pouliot is a big guy (6’3″) that has a little bit of scoring touch. He’s had at least 10 goals in each of his last three seasons, all with quality teams in the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. He’s on track to do so once again in Tampa Bay. His cap hit for the full year is $1.8 million so it wouldn’t be much of a blow to Lou’s cap. He’s also a +6 on a Tampa team that is very poor in its own end. He’s a restricted free agent at season’s end but I think he would demand too much of a raise for Tampa to keep him after 2013.
Steve Sullivan – A former Devil….meaning this would be right up Lou’s alley. He’s had a tough year on a struggling Phoenix club but he’s just one year removed from a 17-goal season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. His contract runs out at the end of 2013 and his pro-rated cap hit from a full season $2.6 million would not be tough for the Devils to handle. Putting him on a playoff team might rejuvenate him.
Radim Vrbata – Another Coyote could be on the Devils radar. Vrbata has put up some nice numbers in a limited season. In 19 games, he has four goals and 10 assists. His contract is for #3 million dollars a year and it expires at the end of the 2013-14 season. He’s a winger who not only has scoring ability…he has great vision and can distribute as well.
Some of you threw us some trades on Twitter/Facebook. Here’s the ones we’d like to discuss:
Garri Saganenko brought up the name of Jay Bouwmeester. While many Devils fans wanted him BADLY a few years ago, his stock has dropped a bit. That said…he’s still a physical body that can play at a high level. He is under contract through next season at $6.6 million. So he is certainly affordable for this year…maybe Lou can get them to shave a million or so off the contract for next year? If so, I can definitely see the Devils being in on J-Bo.
Ian Walker wanted to know if Marian Gaborik will be available and if the Devils will make a play for him. I don’t think he will be available at all. After just missing out on the Cup Finals last year, I think the New York Rangers have to keep all the pieces from last year and try to make another run. Glen Sather has put a lot of money and effort into building this team and I think he wants to see it through. That and the Devils have never made a trade with the Rangers ever. Can’t see them starting now.
Becky Sobel wants to see Lou acquire Evander Kane. While that would be AWESOME, it’s just not feasible without parting with SEVERAL top prospects. Even then, Kane is a sure thing for Winnipeg. There’s no guarantee that someone like Reid Boucher or Stefan Matteau pans out to be a stud like Kane.
Brett Neumann makes a interesting proposal. He says Henrik Tallinder could be shipped out for a 5th round pick. I think that’s about the max value you can get for him. However, if Tallinder goes….I think you need SOME type of asset back for him. Whether it’s a slight upgrade at defense or perhaps a depth forward…something needs to head back to NJ. So if Tallinder leaves, I hope it’s for more than a pick, but I certainly won’t be disappointed if that does indeed happen.
Brian Oeckel says Tallinder and a second for Ales Hemsky of Edmonton. Not bad…I think a pair of prospects would also be required….with one of them being a top youngster. He’s another guy Devs fans have wanted for some time.
Avid Devils Fan on Twitter says that Mike Cammalleri of Calgary and a 4th round pick could be had for Tallinder and Mattias Tedenby. Like the idea, but I think Tedenby has little value at this point. Calgary is looking to get younger and while Tedenby would fit that ideal, Tallinder certainly wouldn’t. Also, I don’t think Lou is going to pay a guy like Cammalleri $6 million next year unless he’s a sure-fire thing. Camalleri is good when he’s on his game, but he can be streaky.
Several more of you have mentioned names like Ryan Whitney, Ryane Clowe and Jaromir Jagr. I don’t see Whitney going anywhere…Edmonton is only three points out of a playoff spot. I think Clowe would be the ultimate fit for this team. So much postseason experience, a heavier guy that’s tough to push around and can fit on most any line. Jagr would be an unbelievable get. How much can Dallas haul in for him? With Jarome Iginla off the market, he seems to be one of the prettier options out there. Even though he’s up there in age, I don’t think the Stars will let him go for just any deal…they want the right package from a team desperate enough to pay it. Lou won’t pull the trigger if he thinks he’s being had.
We’ll have to wait and see, folks.