Friday, February 27, 2009

Trade Deadline Closing In - Part 2

Between now and the trade deadline - Wednesday, March 4 at 3pm ET we'll take a look at some of the hottest rumors & most likely players to be dealt before the deadline. This is a continuation from Part 1 last week

Chris Pronger (Defenseman, Florida) - UFA end of 09/10

With Anaheim trading for Ryan Whitney (who is under contract for the next 4 seasons) it looks like the Ducks are getting ready to unload one of their big two (Niedermayer or Pronger). Niedermayer is actually a UFA after this season, so it's also possible that the Ducks are just anticipating that he won't be back after this summer. But, rumors have been circulating for the past month that Chris Pronger is on the trading block. Known as being one of the most physical (often dirty) defensemen in the league. Pronger definitely improves any blue line in the NHL and immediately slots in as one of the top two defensemen on any team in the league.

Where's he going? The most often circulated rumor is that the Boston Bruins are interested (are they willing to trade Phil Kessel?). Imagine Pronger next to Chara on the Bruins blue line! No doubt though that it will take a significant offer to land Pronger as he is still a top 10 defenseman in the NHL and not only can he put up points, he has a rocket of a shot and is very physical. Since he is under contract for at least one season teams might be willing to give up more assets in a deal than they would if he was only under contract till July 1st {don't tell that to Kevin Lowe!}

Vincent Lecavalier (C, Tampa) - Under contract till 2013

It seems like Vinny Lecavalier's name is in the rumors every single season. In my opinion it's because he's French-Canadian and the Montreal media wants him to come to Montreal so badly. He was supposedly on his way to Montreal a few seasons ago when he was having major problems with head coach John Tortorella (now head coach in NY). Then, again this season after Barry Melrose was fired Vinny was rumored to be on his way to Montreal again. He's a franchise center, he's young and he's damn good.

Where's he going? Nowhere! I am certain that Lecavalier will finish this season in Tampa. I know that Tampa ownership is known to be strange but I don't think that they are stupid enough to trade Vinny. He's under contract until the end of the 2013 season, so they already have him locked up long term. Vinny continuously says that he loves living in Tampa (who wouldn't??). Brain Lawton, the Tampa GM, also recently said that he isn't trading Lecavalier. If he were to be traded it would take A LOT to get Lecavalier and no doubt there would be league wide interest, since he is a superstar in the NHL and he's still young.

Nik Antropov (RW/C, Toronto) - UFA July 1st

Antropov is huge - he's 6'6, 230lbs. But, he isn't in Brian Burke's plans and since he won't be re-signed by Toronto after this season it wouldn't make much sense for them not to trade him to get something in return.

Where's he going? He is basically guaranteed to be traded by the deadline next week, the only question is whether Brian Burke will get the 1st round pick that he said that he wants in return. With the Senators basically giving the Islanders a frst round pick last week for Chris Campoli, then anything is possible. Once again the Bruins a real front runner to land the big man by the deadline (I think it's because the media think that Boston want every big player that is available - Tkachuck/Pronger/Antropov). I think that he'll be traded out West. Chicago is a possibility and I think that Antropov would be a good fit there. The Blackhawks are a young team but they are good and they might see the chance to add a big, top-six forward to their team. Plus, since they have a lot of young players on their team would they be more willing than other teams to trade a draft pick? Will Burke make a deal with the Ducks, his old club? With the loss of Kunitz yesterday via the trade with the Penguins, the Ducks are another team that needs a top-six forward...the question is will they or any other team give Burke what he's asking in return?

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