Will the Islanders make a blockbuster deal? Why haven’t the Blues made any significant moves? Could the Blackhawks trade Bryan Bickell? Read on for the latest.
Columnist believes Islanders should make some big moves.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the New York Islanders could dominate the Eastern Conference if only GM Garth Snow “will get off his assets” and make a dramatic “go-for-it” trade deadline deal. Brooks believes the first order of business is to acquire a true top-line winger for John Tavares’ line and add depth to their defense corps, perhaps a puck-moving blueliner. He feels the Isles have the cap space and the assets in young players to make such a move. He wonders what it would take to acquire Carolina Hurricanes left wing Eric Staal, or Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd from the Winnipeg Jets, or to see if Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos might accept playing a few months with the Isles. Brooks wonders if the Isles have enough to acquire Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin or to pry Taylor Hall out of Edmonton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: These aren’t rumors, of course, and some of Brooks’ suggestions (Hall or Stamkos) are pure fantasy, but there is some merit to his suggestion. The Isles could be a club worth watching as the trade deadline approaches. Of course, Staal must agree to be dealt to the Isles, and there’s no guarantee a change of venue will improve his steadily declining production. I also don’t see how Snow could acquire both Byfuglien and Ladd. Maybe one or the other, provided the Isles are on their respective lists of preferred trade options. I think the Isles certainly have the depth in young assets to make a competitive pitch for Drouin, who might blossom skating on Tavares’ left side.
Latest on the Blues.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy P. Rutherford reports Blues GM Doug Armstrong said injuries to several of his players have delayed trade talks. Sources claim defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, a UFA in 2017, could be available for the right price, but Armstrong’s yet to receive that offer. The Blues have also been linked to Tampa Bay Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin. The emergence of rookie Robby Fabbri, Patrick Berglund’s return from injury and the impending return of Jaden Schwartz has Armstrong less concerned about his offense. The Blues GM isn’t expecting any activity until after the All-Star break, possibly leading up to the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues aren’t in any danger of falling out of playoff contention in the Western Conference. Armstrong can afford to take his time. I still anticipate he’ll do something, but that move might not come until nearer the trade deadline. As for Shattenkirk, I’m not expecting him to be dealt until the offseason.
Bickell’s agent hopes for a trade.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES; Scott Powers reports agent Todd Diamond, who represents recently demoted Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell, remains hopeful of working out a trade for his client. This is the second time this season Bickell’s been sent to the AHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think several NHL teams could be willing to take a chance on Bickell if he wasn’t carrying a $4 million per season cap hit through 2016-17. To trade him, the Blackhawks will have to pick up part of his salary or take back some dollars in return.