Possible trades for Sabres forward Evander Kane

Going into the season, everyone had a feeling that the Sabres were not going to be a competitive hockey team. Fast forward to five days before the trade deadline and Buffalo is battling it out with the Arizona Coyotes for worst team in the NHL.

As the days roll forward towards the trade deadline,the possibility of Sabres’ forward Evander Kane being traded becomes more likely.The 26-year old forward is in constant ups and downs with the Sabres ever since being traded to Buffalo from Winnipeg three ago. Kane is now in the last year of his contract and seems to be on the fast-track out of Buffalo.

Recently, Kane got into a scuffle with teammate Justin Falk. While being separated, you could hear Falk calling Kane “selfish.” So things in Buffalo are not “peachy,” but what team will Kane fit on when he leaves? Kane is an excellent player, but with a significant cap hit and a sub-par attitude, he is going to have to land in the right position to be successful.

What He Needs

Kane will need a place with a stable structure, but again the issue with that is very few teams with structure have the cap space to bring in a guy like Kane. Two places that come to mind would be Nashville and Toronto. These teams have the cap space to take on a guy like Kane, and they have a veteran presence in the locker room that keeps everything straight.

Now comes in the issue of Kane’s value. Every team values players differently and that plays into how much they are willing to give up for a player. Kane has been a cancer in the Buffalo locker room, and that is an instant red flag for many of these teams. There are many great players available at the deadline this year in the NHL, and a guy with a bad attitude and a fat contract most likely doesn’t fit into that mix.

With that being said, here are some possible trades that you could see from these three teams at the deadline to acquire Evander Kane.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Sabres forward Evander Kane

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The Leafs are loaded with wingers, but that hasn’t stopped them from entering conversations with teams about forwards. The Leafs moved winger Nikita Soshnikov to the Blues. This was most likely to clear a roster spot for a trade.

Many people believe that they are setting up to land a defenseman such as Erik Karlsson potentially, so they probably have a shallow value on Evander Kane, but that does not mean they won’t throw an offer the Sabres way.

There is no reason for the Sabres to keep Kane. He is going to leave after this season, so it is ludicrous for them to think a team will come in breaking the bank for him. Toronto has the cap space to take on Kane’s contract outright, and they also have a plethora of prospects to work with.

Dmytro Timashov and a third-round pick for Evander Kane

The Leafs already have an incredibly large amount of young wingers so the trading of Timashov would not hurt their prospect pool that much. The Leafs most likely don’t value Kane that high, so this would be one of the lowest prices to pay. The Sabres would accept this deal if they get to the deadline and don’t have any offers available.

Buffalo also needs a playmaker, and Timashov could bring that to their lineup whenever he is ready for the NHL. This trade would benefit the Leafs for a run this year and then the Sabres for the future.

Nashville Predators

The Predators are in a battle for first place in the Central Division against the Winnipeg Jets. They could be looking to add a bigtime player to their roster for a playoff push.

There have not been many trade rumors buzzing around Nashville, but I could see them trying to acquire a substantial player like Kane. A change of scenery is needed for Kane. Going to a place that is hockey crazy like the Nashville could make all the difference in his attitude.

Scott Hartnell and a second-round pick for Evander Kane

At 35-years old Hartnell is expendable, especially in a trade for a guy like Evander Kane. Hartnell this season has been far less productive than Kane. Kane has 39 points on the season to Hartnell’s 16 points.

If the Predators make this deal happen, it could be the added boost they need. They are already a very good teae but add in a two-way player like Kane; it could put them over the top. I think that this move would be worth the steep price of a second-round pick.

Evander Kane

Sabres forward Evander Kane has known he was on the trading block for a while now. Kane is quoted at the start of the year saying that he knows it is going to happen, it is just a matter of when. His most recent quote solidifies that Kane knows he will be dealt. “There’s so many things that can happen, but it looks like we know what is going to happen.”We are four days off from the trade deadline now. It is inevitable that Kane will be on the move. It seems that he has already turned on the locker and it has done the same to him. A trade will be good for both teams to get a fresh start and move forward.

 

Featured image by: Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

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winger rick Nash

Three potential landing spots for Rangers’ winger Rick Nash

The New York Rangers have received a no-trade list from winger Rick Nash meaning he will likely be on the move soon. Nash is set to be a free agent at the end of the season and will most likely be a rental player for a team that needs scoring help.

Nash has a full no-trade clause allowing him to veto a trade to a team that he would not like to go to. The most likely landing spot for Nash would be a middle to upper tier team that has assets to make a splash. The trade deadline on February 26th is fastly approaching, but the Rangers have given themselves enough time to explore their options with the veteran winger.

The 33-year old winger Rick Nash currently has 25 points on the season in 52 games. Lately, he has struggled considerably with only two points in six games, but that doesn’t mean Nash wouldn’t be valuable to a team in need of scoring. The 6’ 4” 211 pound Nash brings a combination of size and skill that is unique to the NHL. Whatever team he goes to will gain an instant boost on the offensive end.

Minnesota Wild – 2nd Wild Card Spot – 61 Points

winger rick Nash

(Photo By: Jim Mone)

The Rangers most likely will not be looking to send Nash to a division rival, so that eliminates a lot of the on the bubble playoff teams in the east. The Wild’s offense is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but they could use a boost. Nash could bring a two-way forward mentality that the Wild have been looking for this season.

Minnesota is currently 13th in the NHL scoring 2.9 goals per game. The Wild have a lot of veteran leadership with Eric Staal, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu. Winger Rick Nash could help add to this veteran leadership in Minnesota.

The Wild currently have the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference by one point, but they are starting to hit their stride. They recently got Parise back at the beginning of January, and he is already making a difference in the pace of play in Minnesota.

The Wild don’t necessarily need Rick Nash, and there is no telling if they even want him, but after last year’s fail of a trade acquiring Martin Hanzal the Wild front office may be looking to redeem themselves.

Los Angeles Kings – 3rd Place in The Pacific – 61 Points

The Kings defense has been outstanding this season. They are giving up just 2.39 goals per game this season, and their penalty kill is the top unit in the NHL, but on the offensive side, they have struggled.

Right now the Kings are 18th in the NHL scoring 2.8 goals per game. A lot of this is due to a lack of chances. Los Angeles ranks 23rd in the NHL in shots on goal which is why I think winger Rick Nash would be perfect for this team.

Nash could come to Los Angeles and help space the ice and create more chances for a team that is lacking on the offensive end. The Kings wouldn’t need to ask too much of him defensively considering they have on of the top defensive units in the league and Jonathan Quick.

The Kings are in a tight division out in the Pacific, and a scorer could make all the difference for this team down the stretch. If the price is right, I could see the Rangers shipping Nash out west. It is an ideal situation for New York because they could acquire assets while at the same time sending Nash out of the conference.

Pittsburgh Penguins – 3rd Place In The Metropolitan – 61 Points

This trade I think is a little bit less likely. The Rangers have full control over where Nash ends up so I am sure they won’t send him to a team inside the division; however, I could see Pittsburgh giving the Rangers an offer they can’t refuse.

The Penguins are a very aggressive team when it comes to making their team better and is in a win-now mode. The Penguins offense is already excellent and they have a power play unit that is levels above anyone in the NHL.

Adding Nash to this roster would only make the rich-richer, but Pittsburgh could be looking to do just that. Taking on a role as 3rd or possibly 4th line player with the Penguins, Nash could help light a spark underneath some of the young guys by giving them looks and chances they haven’t been able to get this year.

This trade is a long shot in my opinion, but if any team is going to get Nash in the Metropolitan division, I would guess that it will be Pittsburgh.

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goal

The “goal” of reaching the NHL playoffs

There are some teams who need a lot of different pieces to become a good team and there are a few who already have what it takes to make the playoffs, but one thing every NHL team needs is another “pure” goal-scorer.

Deformation of the 50-goal mark

Through the All-Star break, there are only 28 players who have reached 20 goals for the season and only one, Alexander Ovechkin, who has surpassed 30. Only seven players have scored 50 or more in the last 10 years (Ovechkin having done it six times) and he only has done it in the last five years (be it three times). On top of that just three players have topped 100 points in the last five seasons (McDavid, Kane and Crosby).

These stats are a tribute to Wayne “the Great One” Gretzky for accomplishing 50 goals in 39 games, a record in which most likely no one will ever break, let alone come close to. That being said, Ovechkin “the Great Eight” has proven to be just that over the course of his regular season career. His scoring has carried the Washington Capitals into the playoffs nine out of the last ten years.

The 63-point club

In the 2017-2018 season there are seven teams who have placed themselves atop the league with 63 or more points through the All-Star break. The St. Louis Blues have played 51 games and only have 63 points so they will be excluded from the Power 6: three from the Eastern Conference and three from the Western Conference. NHL Standings

Team Games Points 20+ Goal-Scorers 10+ Goal-Scorers
Tampa Bay Lightning 49 71 2 6
Vegas Golden Knights 48 68 2 6
Boston Bruins 47 66 3 5
Winnipeg Jets 50 66 1 7
Nashville Predators 47 65 0 6
Washington Capitals* 49 63 1 7
* Ovechkin leads the league with 30 goals

These six teams were the best through the All-Star break because they have what every team needs, goal scorers. Having a guy, or better yet two or three guys who you can rely on to put the puck in the net is a crucial factor in making the playoffs. The league’s best are where they are because of the sustained scoring of one or two players.

Except Nashville…

 

goal

(Photo from Mark Humphrey / AP)

The Nashville Predators are back to the “good ol’ days” with the absence of Filip Forsberg. A strong defense has carried the “Preds” into the playoffs three years straight. The defense solidified and highlighted by the talented All-Star goalie Pekka Rinne. The Preds commonly rely on the backend of their team to do the heavy lifting.

However with the development of Filip Forsberg, the Preds now have a sure-fire goal scorer to rely on. Nashville does not currently have a 20+ goal-scorer because Forsberg has been out of the lineup since late December with an upper-body injury.

Forsberg still leads the team in goals with 15 tied with Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith. Once Forsberg returns, don’t be surprised if Kyle Turris and Ryan Johansen begin to score more. Thus this Nashville team could easily prowl their way back into the Stanley Cup Finals.

Score your way into the playoffs

The Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils currently hold playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, but neither team currently has a 20+ goal-scorer. Both teams started off the season well, but injuries and lack of scoring have caused both teams to slip.

The Jackets will continue to look for even better play from Panarin. Nevertheless the Blue Jackets must get some production from Alexander Wennberg and Cam Atkinson. These two have shown the potential to become the leaders of this offense. They will need to bring all they have in order to stay afloat in this playoff race.

As Columbus waits for the flair of Sonny Milano, the Devils now face another concussion protocol for Marcus Johansson. Getting Kyle Palmieri back into the line-up should boost the Devils scoring some, but all Devils fans know that Taylor Hall is the man people pay to watch. With his hand injury occurring close to the break, the Devils are hopeful for his return soon. Hall will have to start providing more goals off his own stick for this team to sneak into the playoffs.

goal

Decision Time

Decision Time

Other than the Jackets and Devils, the Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes are the only legitimate teams who have a shot at the playoffs without a 20+ goal-scorer. The Kings are missing Jeff Carter and hoping that Marion Gaborik can up his level of play down the stretch. Anze Kopitar is the backbone of this offense and continues to impress.

The Hurricanes on the other hand are stuck in usual territory as the trade deadline comes along. Will they push for the playoffs or rid themselves of their veterans? The Canes lack a scoring threat, a first line center and a true starting goaltender. Cam Ward has stepped in to the role for now. However the Canes need a lot more production upfront to secure a long-awaited spot in the playoffs.

Calling all contenders… let the goals run wild

As for all other contenders, they must continue to rely on their own “pure” scoring forwards to make the playoffs. The NHL has become a league where goals are prized; therefore each team must allow their star goal-scorers to do just that, score goals. Making the playoffs without such a guy is a difficult thing to do.

Featured Image from NHL.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Goalies, Goalies Everywhere, yet Not a Save to Spare

What started off as a season flush with goaltenders has quickly eroded into one where quality starters have become exceedingly scarce. The 2016/17 campaign has been particularly tough on net minders across the League.

Take a quick glance around the NHL and there is one thing you’re guaranteed to see, goalie problems. Whether they’re the product of an overzealous media, mismanaged expectations, injury or under-performance, the league is rife with goaltending troubles.

From our Haus to yours, here’s The Game Haus’

top ‘tender troubles of 2016/17

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins sport a unique problem. They have two number one goalies. Not only do they have two number ones, they have arguably two of the best number ones in the League. As far as problems go, this is a pretty good one to have.

Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury have been at the center of speculation since before the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign.

Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to their fourth Stanley Cup championship last year, has effectively taken over the starting spot from veteran net minder Marc-Andre Fleury. Still eligible for Calder consideration, Murray’s contract extends until the 2020/21 season; at which point he’ll be a Restricted Free Agent.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press.

Murray’s annual cap hit is $2-million-dollars less than that of Fleury’s and his contract term one-year longer. Murray is also 10 years younger than Fleury.

Basically, the Penguins have two options. They can hold on to both Murray and Fleury for the remainder of the year or they can make a move, trade away Fleury, and gain something in return.

If the Penguins choose to retain both players the inevitable choice will have to be made, who to protect in the upcoming expansion draft?

Now the Penguins can only protect one goalie, and Fleury has a No Trade Clause built into his contract. So if the Penguins choose to go with Murray (which seems most likely) they will need Marc-Andre Fleury to waive his No Trade Clause. And if he does, there is a good chance that the Las Vegas Golden Knights will take Fleury off their hands.

The upside to this strategy: The Penguins will have the world’s best back-up for the remainder of the season.

The downside: Playing a two-goalie, hot-hand gets the start system, is tough on teams and net minders alike. Not to mention that if the Penguins go down this road they will most likely lose a world-class goaltender while gaining nothing in return. It would be the equivalent of letting him walk in Free-Agency.

Accordingly, there has been lot of talk about moving Marc-Andre Fleury.

Keeping in mind Fleury’s NTC, there are plenty of teams in need of a solid number one net minder right now. While one might speculate that the Penguins ought to shop Fleury sooner rather than later, Rutherford has made it known on several occasions that he is in no rush to relocated Fleury.

There remains the distinct possibility that the Penguins will ride with both guys for the remainder of the season.

The Penguins could also potentially buy Fleury out after the season’s end. Though this scenario is unlikely to play out.

 

Los Angeles Kings

Second last in the Pacific Division is not where the Los Angeles Kings saw themselves before the season started. Unfortunately, it is what it is.

When the Los Angeles Kings’ lost Jonathan Quick to a groin injury at the beginning of the season the Kings knew it would be a rough go without their Stanley Cup winning, Vezina nominated, net minder.

It was originally hoped that Quick would miss only a few weeks. Having recently undergoing a non-surgical procedure on his groin, however, it is unlikely that the Kings will see Quick back in fighting form until March.

Without Quick, the Kings were forced to turn to their back-up Jeff Zatkoff. But lightning struck twice in Los Angeles this season. Shortly after Quick sustained his injury, so too did Zatkoff. Zatkoff suffered a groin injury during practice back in October.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Canadian Press.

And so it was without their number one starter and back-up that the Kings recalled goaltenders Peter Budaj and Jack Campbell from their AHL affiliate.

Budaj has been remarkably solid in net for the Kings so far, going 20-14-3 on the season. His Save Percentage is a respectable .916 and his Goals Against Average is 2.14.

Though it would appear that the Kings have managed to stop the bleeding, it will be interesting to see what happens when Quick returns from injury.

 

St. Louis Blues

For far too long the St. Louis Blues rolled with two tender system without any appreciable success to show for it. For the Blues, a choice had to made; it was between Brian Elliott and Jake Allen.

The Blues decided to go with Allen, trading away Brian Elliott to the Calgary Flames for their Second round (35th overall) draft pick in the 2016/17 NHL Entry Draft.

Putting their faith in Allen, the Blues went ahead this season with a clear number one net minder. No more splitting starts for Jake Allen, or at least that was the plan. For the most part, Jake Allen has received (and will continue to receive) the lion’s share of starts for St. Louis. But it has been a rocky road as of late for the 26-year old New Brunswick native.

On January 19th he was pulled for the fourth time in six starts after allowing four goals on only 10 shots against the Washington Capitals.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo Credit: NHLPA.

And while the Blues began a three game road trip this weekend in Winnipeg, Allen stayed home.

Listed as Day-to-Day, General Manager Doug Armstrong believes that Allen’s goaltending woes are largely mental. He maintains that Allen is their “long-term goaltender” but with a Goals Against Average of 2.85 and a Save Percentage of .897 his performance has been troubling for the struggling Blues squad.

In the 2015-16 season Allen posted a 2.35 Goals Against and a .920 Save Percentage.

With the Blues reportedly shopping around Shattenkirk, it is conceivable that they may take the time to consider adding another quality goaltender to the team.

 

Calgary Flames

Did somebody say Brian Elliott?

After the Calgary Flames let both Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo walk when their contracts expired last year they sorely needed a new net minder. While reports whirled around about who it might be the Flames found a suitable trade partner in St. Louis.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Will Nault.

The Flames traded away their second round draft pick in the 2016 Entry Draft for Brian Elliott and never looked back. Until now.

Though Elliott was received with much fan fair, the Flames have been forced to rely on their back-up Chad Johnson.  As the situation would have it, it now appears that Johnson is Calgary’s new number one; while Elliott rides the pine as the team’s new number one in reserve.

Johnson signed as a free agent in the offseason. With a record of 16-11-1 and a Save Percentage of .917 (as compared to Elliott’s 8-11-2 and .893 Save Percentage), it looks as if the Flames will be rolling with Johnson for the remainder of the year.

Elliott is on the last year of his $2.5-million-dollar contract, which makes him attractive to teams looking to add a solid back-up before the trade deadline might be interested in Elliott.

Don’t be surprised to see him dealt at before the Trade Deadline comes and goes.

 

Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets are in a funny spot right now.

After assigning Ondrej Pavelec, their one-time starting goaltender, to the Manitoba Moose in the AHL, head coach Paul Maurice and the Winnipeg Jets elected to go with their young guns Connor Hellebuyck and Micheal Hutchinson to start the season.

Though the season kicked off with a bang for the Jets their follow through has been less than stellar. The Jets are currently fifth in the Central Division and have consistently failed to crack .500 on season. And it was in the midst of these underwhelming results that the Jets decided to mix things up a bit.

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Photo credit: John Woods, Canadian Press.

To the surprise of Jets fans everywhere Ondrej Pavelec was recalled from the Manitoba Moose last week. While noting that the move was not permanent, Maurice did mention that “nothing is set in stone.”

Pavelec got the nod against Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday and then again on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues. He won both games, posting a Goals Against Average of 3.03 and a Save Percentage of .914.

And now the Jets are stuck with three mediocre goaltenders.

Given that Pavelec is in the last year of his $4.75-million-dollar contract, don’t be surprised if the Jets start shopping him around. It is likely that they will try to move him before the season ends and go with Hellebuyck and Hutchinson in the long run.

 

Dallas Stars

  W L OTL SV% GAA
Antti Niemi 10 7 4 .902 3.16
Kari Lehtonen 9 13 5 .899 2.87
Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Tom Fox, Dallas Morning News.

 

For the Stars it’s a bit of a ‘damned if you, damned if don’t’ type of situation. They sport an abysmal minus-22 on the season.

Neither of their net minders, Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen, can be played with confidence and they’ve lost seven of their last 10 matches.

The Stars are in serious need of some new life in net. Conveniently, they have roughly $2-million-dollars in cap space and a full 14 players set to hit Unrestricted or Restricted Free Agency next year. Taken together, the Stars are fully capable of being both buyers and sellers before the trade deadline.

Don’t be surprised if they make a move to improve their back end.

 

 

Detroit Red Wings

Though they didn’t make a long run into the playoffs last year the Detroit Red Wings were able to keep the streak alive. Largely due to the unprecedented effort of their young guns and the unbelievable net minding of Petr Mrazek.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Dave Reginek, Getty Images.

Mrazec’s effort last season earned him a two-year $8-million-dollar contract extension. Accordingly, the Wings’ former number one Jimmy Howard was relegated to the role of back-up.

Before the season began the plan was pretty straight forward: roll with Mrazec, expose Howard to the expansion draft, and call upon their farm team to replace the missing piece if need be.

But those plans never panned out.

Instead, Mrazec underperformed, Howard hit the Injured Reserve, and the Wings were forced to call up the youngster Jared Coreau.

And now the Wings find themselves in somewhat of an awkward position.

Do they protect Coreau? He appears to be the Wings’ new number one going forward.

Do they protect Mrazec? Though Coreau has been solid thus far, Mrazec has a much larger body of work. Coreau is young and relatively untested, as were Mrazec has a few solid years under his belt.

One thing is for certain, the Wings aren’t likely to protect Howard. But they aren’t likely to trade him either.

Detroit’s biggest problem, when it comes to net minders, is the amount they pay them.

Howard comes with a hefty $5.3-million-dollar a year price tag. With two more years remaining on his contract it is unlikely they will be able to move him without retaining some of his salary.

That said, keep an eye on the Wings’ at the deadline.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Even when big Ben Bishop was healthy the Tampa Bay Lightning were having a tough time stringing wins together. Now that he’s injured, they are having an even harder time.

Detroit Red Wings, Tampa bay lighting, pittsburgh penguins, dallas stars, winnipeg jets, st. louis blues, calgary flames, los angeles kings, jonathan quick, jake allen, petr mrazec, jimmy howard, jared coreau, antti niemi, ben bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, brian elliott, marc-andre fleury, matt murray, steven stamkos, kari lehtonen, peter budaj, jeff zatkoff, chad johnson, ondrej pavelec, connor hellebuyck, micheal hutchinson, paul maurice, jim rutherford, NHL, goalies, trade deadline, NHL trade deadline, no trade clause

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images.

Now you might think that Andrei Vasilevskiy would shine in Bishop’s absence but that simply hasn’t been the case. The Bolts have struggled immensely without Steven Stamkos in the lineup and things do not appear to be getting any better.

The story here is nothing new. The Bolts have two of the League’s most elite net minders in Bishop and Vasilevskiy but can only protect one in the expansion draft.

Whether it’s Bishop of Vasilevskiy, it’s better for the Bolts to make a trade and get something – rather than nothing – in return.

 

(Dis)Honourable mention

The Philadelphia Flyers have been struggling as of late. Both Steve Mason and Michael Neuvirth are pending Unrestricted Free Agents and it remains unclear if either of them will be given extensions or resigned in the off-season.

The New York Islanders seem to have found a new number one in Thomas Griess and Jean-Francois Berube. After Jaroslav Halak cleared waivers earlier this season it is unclear what will become of their former starting net minder. Halak’s hefty $4.5-million-dollar salary will make him hard to move. He has another year left on his contract.

The Colorado Avalanche are unlikely to right the ship any time soon. With Semyon Varlamov out until at least after the All-Star break, Calvin Pickard playing sub-par at best, and a ton a trade bait on their roster, the Avs’ are going to be a team to watch come the trade deadline.

 

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