Some of the obvious buyers are the teams comfortably in a playoff position who might be looking to add some depth to their current roster, to shore up their talent for a deep playoff run, or to protect themselves should injuries occur.
The obvious sellers are teams who are basically already eliminated from the post season and are willing to move some impending free agents, depth guys, or none core players in return for draft picks or prospects to set the stage for the future seasons.
The interesting thing about this time of year is that every team is seemingly after the same type of player, whether it be a puck moving defenseman or secondary scoring depth etc. As we get closer to the deadline the price for these players increases as teams get desperate to add the pieces before the next team scoops the player up. This gives the selling team the upper hand and often gets the best of the buyer by forcing the buyer to over pay.
Most of the fun for fans at this time of year is all the rumors that surface with different people suggesting where players may be traded and for what, even if the rumor is so ridiculous, it gives you something to think about.
The highest profile players to appear to be available are both currently members of the NHL’s bottom feeder Columbus Blue Jackets, Rick Nash and Jeff Carter. Both players are among some of the most skilled players in the league and the both bring very big tickets with them.
Rick Nash is currently under contract until the 2018 season with a cap hit of 7.8 million dollars per season. Teams looking to add Nash had better be prepared to pony up big time. I expect the asking price to start with an established big name player, a highly touted prospect and a first round draft. Given the Jackets major issues in goal, it would be smart of Columbus’ GM Scott Howsen to attempt to get himself a goaltender as well. Every team should be lining up with an offer for Nash, a player of his kind is not easily had. This is why I think it would be smart of Howsen to wait until the summer to trade Nash as the list of teams who could A) afford him and B) have the pieces to trade, will be much larger.
Jeff Carter wasn’t happy about being traded out of Philadelphia this past summer, and that mixed with some injury trouble have led to a disappointing season thus far. The Jackets gave up last years 8th overall selection which turned out to be Sean Couturier, the Jackets 3rd round pick and the rights to restricted free agent Jakub Voracek. That is a lot to give up but seemed worth it for a former 40+ goal scorer. It will be interesting to see what kind of return the Jackets can get for Carter whose value may have slightly diminished due to Carters mediocre play thus far this season. The Jackets will certainly attempt to recoop their losses from the trade last summer. A lot of teams could use a big first line center who can snipe and I think a change of scenery could turn Carter’s season around.
Stay tuned for more articles profiling players who may be available, their price tag, and possible teams of interest.