Hockey Correspondent and Occasional Shakespeare Character, White Cover Magazine
The delay of the NHL’s most anticipated (and always least consequential day) is a bonus for all of us who were worried that a 48-game season still wasn’t short enough for our attention span.
And, again, we have April 3rd to look forward to. Here are the Top 10 Players You’ll Want To Keep an Eye On Before the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline (I’m working on a smaller title):
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Yeah, it’s not going away (even after it goes away). Expect trade speculation surrounding Lui to only ramp up once Sportsnet’s hosts clean up the milt they spilled the last time they thought he’d be moved.
Brenden Morrow, Dallas Stars
Morrow is older and therefore kind of forgotten. But, despite the unfortunate spelling of his first name, the Olympic gold medallist and longtime captain (and all-around two-way stud) would be a blessing and a winning asset for any team, although Dallas may not be in sell mode by April 3rd.
Mark Streit, New York Islanders
A superior puck mover, but not as fragile as past offensive d-man busts like Lubo Visnovsky or Aki Berg (yeah, really… Aki Berg). Streit would become known overnight in a new locale.
Paul Stastny, Colorado Avalanche
Like, for real. Stastny is actually on the chopping block, apparently. While I still think Colorado has a lot of game in them (due to the return of their captain, Gabriel Landeskog, and Ryan O’Reilly), the Avalanche could offload a higher priced piece if they’re not in the Top 8 by the time this deadline rolls around.
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Can you ever remember a year when so many all stars were reportedly on the move? Iginla has suddenly become the NHL’s version of Gandalf, but he’s had some great jump this year and he’s arguably been the best player in Cowtown. Pittsburgh will have their eye on him, but everyone else should, too.
(*I’m not going to provide links for Jarome Iginla Trade Rumours. Just fu*king Google it. It’s everywhere.)
Matt Cullen, Minnesota Wild
Win or lose, Cullen seems to have found himself sliding down the depth chart in Minnesota. In 2011/12, Cullen was the only offensive force keeping the Wild afloat. He’s a solid first or second-liner, and something tells me Chicago can still get better…
Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Wild
You know that whole Roberto Luongo thing? How long until some teams gets impatient and says, “Screw it, let’s just go with Backstrom for now”?
Jack Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumours of players leaving Columbus are always a thing because, well, it’s really easy to imagine why players would want to leave Columbus, and Johnson has been mentioned as a guy some teams would like to have (duh).
In the words of Simon Cowell, “Don’t. Believe. A word of it.”
Marian Gaborik and Phil Kessel, New York and Toronto
I’ve lumped these two players together because I feel the need to address it because Bleacher Report felt the need to address it (and I’m worried some of you may actually get your news from that site).
There is no chance Gaborik or Kessel are being moved. The Rangers are still the team a lot of people picked to the win the Stanley Cup, even if it hasn’t been roses, and they’re also trapped in the toughest Eastern Conference of all time. The Leafs are standing out above everyone and all their dreadful expectations and, while Kessel hasn’t been an offensive sensation, his presence and the fear he strikes into opponents’ hearts has allowed guys like Kadri to keep on dancing ’til you break it down and he’s not in the mood.
File this one in your “Talk For the Sake of Talk” folder.
Alex Burmistrov or Magnus Paajarvi, Winnipeg and Edmonton
The Paajarvi one was my own initiative and planning, while Burmistrov’s potential move was mused about by TSN’s Darren Dreger (seriously, Dregs, you’re, like, the only remaining guy I respect at ESPN’s Canadian satellite).
Here we have two immensely talented Euro stars who just can’t seem to find holes or openings in their respective lineups. While that strategy has worked out for players like the Sedin Twins (who were bottlenecked behind Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison, and Todd Bertuzzi for the first few years of their now-great careers), the Jets and the Oilers aren’t winning. Their teams don’t have the patience others in the past have.
Both players play a North American style of hockey, and both will be stars one day, regardless of how their first two or three years have unfolded.
I promise. No, really, I do…