Buyer and Sellers – CBJ v. ARI
By Tom T.
Scored the first goal – Check
Positive reaction after falling behind – Check
Losing streak over – Check
Two more games on the Western Conference tour at Arizona and Las Vegas. Both are playoff contenders with Vegas (64 pts) 3rd in the Pacific and the Yotes (51 pts) 3 points from the last playoff position.
Did I just write that Arizona is a playoff contender? What parallel universe am I living in? By the numbers this is the truth. They have 51 points, just three back of Vancouver, with a game in hand (53 played for Arizona v. 54 played for Vancouver).
Let’s talk about the West playoff picture. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, still has a chance to get in.
Even the last-in-the-West LA Kings are only 6 points out and have a game in hand on Vancouver. With just less than 30 games left in the season a team in the very last spot in the Western Conference still must decide if they want to buy or sell at the deadline. LA’s problem is the other 6 teams between them and that playoff spot. Chicago could still be a buyer at the deadline. No joke, they are only 3 points from the playoffs. I bet they still have an old #72 jersey that they would love to dust off.
By contrast here is the Eastern Conference Wild Card standings...
While it obviously isn’t mathematically decided yet, Florida, Detroit, New Jersey and Ottawa players are already making off season tee times. The Rangers win last night kept them in the conversation for another week. Without an 8-game winning streak no one would give Philly a chance either.
Who are the Sellers?
Certainly, the aforementioned quartet of East teams at the bottom (FLA, DET, NJ and OTT) as well as LA who began their sell off by grabbing up a TOR’s 1st round pick. NYR have assets that buyers want and that could bring back favorable pieces to build with next year and beyond. Western Conference team on the bubble, living in limbo for at least the next week include ARI, EDM, CHI and ANA. I would put CHI in the seller category now if they had something that others wanted to buy. The last team I want to add to the seller list is Columbus. That’s right, I have come to the dark side and am fully on board with getting what you can for the Russians. In addition to being sellers, I also believe Columbus to be buyers too. There is talk of both Russians going to FLA with Brass donning the Union Blue once again. If the media (wait am I media now?) is right and FLA and CBJ are dance partners for this trade what does it look like. My proposal looks like this:
Panarin and Bobrovsky
FLA’s 1st round draft pick, Derick Brassard, Roberto Luongo and a prospect or draft pick
Here are my thoughts behind this proposal. First rounder would be a must. Others have stated that CBJ could get a 1st for Bob and another 1st for Bread. That seems ambitious to me given everyone knows both are walking at the end of the season. FLA just wants to flip Brass and we could use a C. Luo would split time with Korpi and serve as a veteran mentor. Additional pick or prospect would be necessary to have Jarmo save face. Only issue is that FLA would want some assurance of both resigning.
As I peruse the TSN Trade Bait list I see some OTT players that would look good in the Union Blue too. Duchene would be nice, Stone too, but he will be expensive to re-sign. And then there is Ryan Dzingle. He has quietly put up 20 goals and mostly flown under the radar this year because he lives in hockey exile with the Senators. He has spent 4 seasons in the NHL, this by far his best (although he did score 23 goals last season). He is a midwestern kid (from IL) who has ties to Columbus (played with the Buckeyes from 2011 – 2014). Wonder what it would take to get him?
Oh, yeah, there is a game tonight.
These guys are hard to figure out. In January they were 6 – 3 – 2 with wins over the likes of VAN, SJ and TOR along with an overtime loss to PIT. In February they are 0 – 2 – 1 losing to SJ, DAL and NSH. They currently have lost 4 in a row. Bright spot has been solid goaltending by Kuemper with a .911 Sv% and 2.73 GAA.
Boone was back last game and provided a much-needed spark. More importantly Dubinsky found a seat in the stands. I have been underwhelmed by his play (Duby that is). If he finds his way into a trade deadline deal it wouldn’t hurt my feelings. Duclair got some 2nd team PP time in COL and Wenn found the back of the net. Things seem to be going the right direction. My assumption is that Bob will be back in net and I must admit he has been playing well.
What they need tonight:
1. Grit. Play tough. Score garbage goals.
2. Lock down defense. Just show that they are capable of doing it.
3. Confidence. This is a winning team. They need to act like a winning team.