Anaheim calling to the hockey world...
With 15 scouts credentialed for last night's game, any joy derived from Anaheim's 2-point performance is tempered with the certainty that a trade is coming, and, as far as the pro scouting world is concerned, so is a fire sale.
Daniel, based on last night's performers, what move do you think has the best chance of shaking up this roster and getting the Ducks the 37 wins they'll need to contend for the playoffs-- should the team move one of last night's superstars (be they point-streaking dynamos or Finnish power play machines), one of last night's role players or the man between the pipes? And for what? Give me your single key trade (and only that trade).
I'd like to take this opportunity to hate on James Wisniewski. Wiz has the most movable contract, with the highest upside. After all, how many top 4 defenseman have expiring contracts that can be shipped to contenders with cap problems? I'm looking at you Chicago, Washington, and New York, the Rangers not the Islanders. Wisniewski would have provided a high draft pick and NHL player. Instead he proves to half the teams in the league that he's made of glass. So, why don't you go make another mistake on the kill WIz so you can force the knife a little deeper into my back?
Now that that's out of the way, I have to say our best trade bait is still Joffrey Lupul. I hate to do it to the guy since he's so happy to be back, but he's on pace for around 25 goals despite a relatively slow start. His contract is a little scary, but on the right line he can still be a force, as he demonstrated when he was getting time on the top line. I think some of the surprise teams this year, Phoenix, or the Islanders might see Lupul's extra 20 goals as a way to keep themselves in the hunt all year long.
When we trade Lupul for a second time as punishment for not being able to mesh with Selanne, my ideal return would be a solid stay-at-home defenseman, and a high draft pick, like a second or third rounder. If the team doesn't want to part with the pick, then I think we need a prospect with top 6 potential. In my real world he goes to Phoenix for Kurt Sauer and a 3rd round pick In my happy fantasy world we trade Joffrey Lupul to the St. Louis Blues for Paul Kariya and a 2nd round pick. I know this doesn't involve that defenseman I want, but I'd love to see Kariya back in Anaheim, on a line with Koivu and Selanne. Make my dream come true Murray and I might forgive you for giving Beauchemin's money to Wisniewski.
I'd accuse you of freely ignoring the "ONLY THAT TRADE" caveat, but as a trade for Paul Kariya would do very little to get us 37 wins, I'll let it slide as the same trade i would make as an EA NHL 10 general manager if my season was going down the toilet.
And I share your Wisniewski hatred because I, too, would have pegged him as bait when his fragility was still a west coast secret, when we could point to his repeated knee injuries as bad luck. But it's now obvious to 15 NHL scouts that from shoulder to knee to foot, this guy does not have the body to play a full career as a professional athlete. And as we received anonymous Blogger hatred the last time I said that, I should reiterate that there's nothing wrong with that. From Mario Lemieux's back to whatever is going on with Marian Gaborik's hips and groin, some players just aren't built to go the long haul, regardless of how much talent they have. And that's why the truly responsible and durable athletes in contact sports deserve every penny they get; it's astounding what they do.
My trade is exactly what was on the table in a Marchant for Higgins deal. I think we send a role player out for a scorer, perhaps buying low on a struggling player but nothing as feeble-minded as the McDonald for Weight deal, I mean a real scorer. At minimum, we move Marchant for a larger, and thus (sadly) Pahlsson-like, checking line center.
And that seems feasible after the bottom six performance last night. It would hurt to move a fan favorite like Parros or a quality player like Marchant, but if we can get by with players like Sharp, Beleskey and Calder, then we should consider adding someone with more utility than Parros or more size and scoring skill than Marchant. I'll miss either player, and the facial hair that goes along with them, but the Ducks are not in a place to turn down an upgrade for sentimental value.