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"Ek Notes." Rumors on "Game Changers" with 49 Days to Go

January 12, 2010, 12:07 PM ET [ Comments]
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So I turn 42 today. And as you geeks all know....that is a magic number!

The Rumor Chart is on its way, so I thought I would start a new kind of feature today called:

"Ek Notes."

Essentially, how I prepare for this deadline is maybe a little odd, but it works for me. I have a ton of these little notebooks and they are in boxes by teams. (yes a little like a kid collecting cards) Whenever I speak to someone in the biz and they mention something about a player I go to the box for that team and I pull out the notebook for that player and I add that tidbit of info. No matter how small or insignificant it may appear at the time.

When I begin to prepare for the Rumor Chart I pull the UFAs and start to go through the various notes. So these "Ek Notes" blogs I will be some of these little tidbits for you.

Today I wanted to focus on a few of the players that will be impact guys but aren't named Kovalchuk, Niedermayer, Selanne, Whitney, Jokinen, Phaneuf and aren't guys I have spoken about yet. I have several more players that I will give Ek Notes on over the next 49 days..

Today's players are the true rentals that can make a difference in the playoffs.

These are "Game Changers."

On Colby Armstrong...

The talented fireplug is quite sought after. Colby is a player that you know with 100% certainty will always work hard. The one trait that I feel Armstrong has that sets him apart is he is a player that actually raises his level when his team is down (the literal Game Changer). He is the kind of guy that feels a personal responsibility to get his team back into a game "by any means needed." I am hearing Detroit, Ottawa, and Nashville.

On Nick Boynton...

The other Duck dman that is a UFA. Not hearing a ton yet, except that the Ducks have options with him should they turn to sellers. I have really only heard Boston at this point.

On Braydon Coburn...

One of the classiest guys in the league. He has struggled this year, leading many to wonder if he is perhaps playing a bit injured. I have heard Edmonton and LA love him, not sure the Flyers are moving him unless they need to for Cap purposes. He is a chip, but only if a bigger option exists.

On Joe Corvo...

One of the many valuable chips that the Hurricanes currently hold. The Canes are down but not out. If they do the right things with their chips this deadline and then land Taylor Hall...well, they could be right back in top quickly....I have heard Chicago (tied to another move), Dallas, and Montreal.

On Brett Clark...

Could be an interesting pickup. I think Clark is really very undervalued and underrated. I have heard Ottawa, Montreal, and Washington.

On Matt Cullen...

Another Cane chip, Matt is the kind of player who makes a difference in a long playoff run. He is versatile. I have heard Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, and Vancouver (pending another move)

On Alexander Frolov...

There was a time he was as good as gone, but injuries in LA has made that possibility far more murky. I know that Montreal is waiting on this. I have also heard Washington and Atlanta (do the math there)

On Dan Hamhuis...

The Preds are still very much hoping to keep him, but the reality is the Preds are likely not given him top 2 money that he may deserve. He is a huge chip though and many teams think he is far better than probably even the Preds do. It is hard t look like a major factor on a team with Weber and Suter. I have heard Ottawa, Philly, and NJ

On Jere Lehtinen...

The Stars may be wise to make this move this year lest they get stuck as a bubble team. The Stars need to rebuild and Lehtinen is perhaps the best defensive forward available. I have heard the NY Rangers, NJ, and Detroit (which would be weird I admit)

On Jordan Leopold

Jordan is really a player who looks to be a big factor here because the two teams that I have heard are interested are two teams that I predicted, and still predict, to battle for the big trophy: Washington and San Jose. Jordan reminds me of Brad Stuart before he landed at the deadline in Detroit. He was highly touted, has sort of become a little lost, but put into the right situation could once again show how effective he can be.

On Paul Mara....

Kind of surprised to see him on this list? Me too. The Habs may move him if they get the right deal. I hear LA and Edmonton....so you can do the math.

On Owen Nolan...

Owen has always been a personal favorite of mine, so I am very much enjoying his emergence. He is the Bill Guerin of this year's deadline to a degree. I say "to a degree" because Minnesota is in a really interesting spot. The Wild have major decisions to make here over the next 49 days. If they feel they can take a run then Nolan of course stays, but if they can't the Wild only have 10 of their starters under contract for next year and more UFAs (8) who are playing serious roles. Guys like Clutterbuck and Latendresse are RFAs and will be up for serious pay raises. I have heard San Jose (which would be cool), Washington, and Buffalo

On Raffi Torres...

I talked to someone yesterday who really said a lot with a single phrase..."Can you imagine Torres on the Penguins?" And I could. Torres is the kind of player who everyone likes. He is quick and mean. Unfortunately, he is also a role player who has yet to be on the team that can allow him to play his role. (with the exception of early on in Edmonton when he was his most effective.) Put him on Washington, Pitt, even Boston or Philly and he could be the perfect pest. A much more talented and much more wise version of Sean Avery. I am hearing Pitt.

On Marek Svatos....

I still believe in Marek Svatos. And I am not alone. This may be a stretch, but Svatos reminds me in some odd ways of Prospal. He was highly touted early, had some success, has fallen off in terms of the role we expected of him, but he could, like Prospal, have another legit NHL career ahead of him elsewhere. I am hearing Buffalo, Boston and Toronto (who may just wait to sign him in the offseason if he isn't moved)

I will be back later with more players I am tracking for the Rumor Chart which will likely launch tomorrow.
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