Trade deadline primer: Impending UFAs on losing teams

It seems like just yesterday we were watching the World Junior Championships and gearing up for the Winter Classic. However, it's already mid-January, and that means there's only a few more weeks before the NHL trade deadline hits. You can be certain that tires are being kicked, though both Jay Feaster of the Calgary Flames and Brian Burke of the Toronto Maple Leafs are more than happy to public talk about the lack of realistic deals coming their way.

From both Feaster and Burke, it sounds like teams want to match up both cap hit and skill in a deal, though you can bet on things loosening up as the trade deadline nears. Usually, it just takes the first domino to fall before things really get going. While there are certainly big-name question marks, the easiest trade fodder is the impending UFA, as their contract will be done come June and there aren't any worries about lingering cap hits.

In short, the following players have the potential to be hired guns. Of course, not all of them come with the cap hit or skill to be in it, but you can bet that GMs on losing teams want to get anything in return for assets that will disappear in a few months.

The following lists are impending UFAs from teams that are essentially out of the playoff race. That's the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, and Florida Panthers out east. Out west, the Edmonton Oilers are really the only team that factor into that, but let's throw the Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jacket in there as well just to round out the list.

The positional lists are sorted by team and cap hit (descending), along with any notes about injuries. All values are courtesy the good folks at NHL Numbers and all injury updates are from TSN.

Goaltenders

 

Player Age Team Position Cap Salary Injured
Lalime, Patrick 37 Buffalo Sabres Goaltender 0.6 0.6
Garon, Mathieu 33 Columbus Blue Jackets Goaltender 1.2 1.2
LeNeveu, David 28 Columbus Blue Jackets Goaltender 0.55 0.55
Drouin-Deslauriers, Jeff 27 Edmonton Oilers Goaltender 1.05 1.05
Gerber, Martin 36 Edmonton Oilers Goaltender 0.5 0.5
Vokoun, Tomas 35 Florida Panthers Goaltender 5.7 6.3
Hedberg, Johan 38 New Jersey Devils Goaltender 1.5 1
McKenna, Mike 28 New Jersey Devils Goaltender 0.5 0.5
Lawson, Nathan 27 New York Islanders Goaltender 0.5 0.5
Leclaire, Pascal 28 Ottawa Senators Goaltender 3.8 4.8 On IR
Brodeur, Mike 28 Ottawa Senators Goaltender 0.6 0.6
Giguere, Jean-Sebastien 34 Toronto Maple Leafs Goaltender 6 7

 

Obviously, the big catch here is Tomas Vokoun. Word has it that the Panthers are exploring contract negotiations with Vokoun, though his recent benching can't really help things. Would a team like the Philadelphia Flyers grab a veteran like Jean-Sebastien Giguere?

Forwards

 

Player Age Team Position Cap Salary Injured
Connolly, Tim 30 Buffalo Sabres Forward 4.5 4.5
Grier, Mike 36 Buffalo Sabres Forward 1.4 1.4
Niedermayer, Rob 36 Buffalo Sabres Forward 1.25 1.15
Ellis, Matt 29 Buffalo Sabres Forward 0.63 0.625
Stuart, Colin 28 Buffalo Sabres Forward 0.55 0.55
McCormick, Cody 28 Buffalo Sabres Forward 0.5 0.5
Tanguay, Alex 31 Calgary Flames Forward 1.7 1.7
Glencross, Curtis 28 Calgary Flames Forward 1.2 1.2
Morrison, Brendan 35 Calgary Flames Forward 0.73 0.725
Conroy, Craig 39 Calgary Flames Forward 0.5 0.5
Clark, Chris 35 Columbus Blue Jackets Forward 2.63 2.5
Moreau, Ethan 35 Columbus Blue Jackets Forward 2 1.75 On IR
Murray, Andrew 29 Columbus Blue Jackets Forward 0.63 0.65
Jones, Ryan 27 Edmonton Oilers Forward 0.98 0.975
MacIntyre, Steve 30 Edmonton Oilers Forward 0.5 0.5
Giroux, Alexandre 30 Edmonton Oilers Forward 0.5 0.5
Stillman, Cory 37 Florida Panthers Forward 3.53 3.5
Dvorak, Radek 34 Florida Panthers Forward 1.7 1.8
Higgins, Chris 28 Florida Panthers Forward 1.6 1.6 Day to Day
Reasoner, Marty 34 Florida Panthers Forward 1.15 1.2
Hordichuk, Darcy 30 Florida Panthers Forward 0.78 0.8
Cullen, Mark 32 Florida Panthers Forward 0.6 0.6 On IR
Thomas, Bill 28 Florida Panthers Forward 0.53 0.525
Arnott, Jason 36 New Jersey Devils Forward 4.5 4.5
Mair, Adam 32 New Jersey Devils Forward 0.52 0.515
Mills, Brad 28 New Jersey Devils Forward 0.51 0.5
Moulson, Matt 27 New York Islanders Forward 2.45 2.45
Weight, Doug 40 New York Islanders Forward 1.15 0.85 On IR
Sim, Jon 33 New York Islanders Forward 0.65 0.65
Parenteau, P.A. 28 New York Islanders Forward 0.6 0.6
Konopka, Zenon 30 New York Islanders Forward 0.6 0.6
Gillies, Trevor 32 New York Islanders Forward 0.5 0.5
Kovalev, Alexei 38 Ottawa Senators Forward 5 5 On IR
Ruutu, Jarkko 35 Ottawa Senators Forward 1.3 1.3
Shannon, Ryan 28 Ottawa Senators Forward 0.63 0.625
Sjostrom, Fredrik 28 Toronto Maple Leafs Forward 0.75 0.75
Brent, Tim 27 Toronto Maple Leafs Forward 0.58 0.575
Boyce, Darryl 26 Toronto Maple Leafs Forward 0.53 0.525
Crabb, Joey 28 Toronto Maple Leafs Forward 0.53 0.525
Zigomanis, Mike 30 Toronto Maple Leafs Forward 0.5 0.5

There are a lot of two-way depth forwards available, such as Rob Niedermayer and Marty Reasoner. Zenon Konopka is a brawler, but he's also strong at faceoffs. For teams looking for scoring depth, some skill options exist, though there's no slam dunks when you've got guys like Radek Dvorak on the list.

Defense

 

Player Age Team Position Cap Salary Injured
Rivet, Craig 36 Buffalo Sabres Defence 3.5 3.5
Montador, Steve 31 Buffalo Sabres Defence 1.55 1.55
Staios, Steve 37 Calgary Flames Defence 2.7 2.2 On IR
Babchuk, Anton 27 Calgary Flames Defence 1.4 1.4
Pardy, Adam 27 Calgary Flames Defence 0.7 0.7
Kronwall, Staffan 28 Calgary Flames Defence 0.5 0.5
Hejda, Jan 33 Columbus Blue Jackets Defence 2 2
Vandermeer, Jim 31 Edmonton Oilers Defence 2.3 2.3 On IR
Strudwick, Jason 35 Edmonton Oilers Defence 0.73 0.725
McCabe, Bryan 36 Florida Panthers Defence 5.75 4.15 On IR
Callahan, Joe 28 Florida Panthers Defence 0.53 0.525
Wilson, Clay 28 Florida Panthers Defence 0.5 0.5
Greene, Andy 28 New Jersey Devils Defence 0.74 0.75
Davison, Rob 31 New Jersey Devils Defence 0.5 0.5
Martinek, Radek 34 New York Islanders Defence 1.5 1.9
Phillips, Chris 33 Ottawa Senators Defence 3.5 3.5
Hale, David 30 Ottawa Senators Defence 0.68 0.675
Kaberle, Tomas 33 Toronto Maple Leafs Defence 4.25 4.25

Now here's where it gets really interesting. You've got the ongoing Tomas Kaberle saga, Bryan McCabe and his broken jaw, and former #1 overall pick Chris Phillips. Anton Babchuck is an interesting possibility, and there are plenty of depth journeymen that could be used to round out the 5/6 spots on the blueline.

There aren't any gamebreakers, such as last year when the New Jersey Devils sold their soul to the, erm, devil by acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk. Instead, it's a lot of depth players and over-30 talent that could be the missing piece of the puzzle.

Take a good look at these lists. Do you see targets you want to round out your team or is this much ado about nothing?

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