So around same time last year, I put up a post exploring potential markets for our excess defensemen, specifically Brett Clark, Ruslan Salei and Tom Preissing. The Avs ended up doing nothing, and all three left as FA this summer (well, one was bought out for cap floor purposes...). I would argue that we should have traded at least one of them during the season, since I believe the Wheel of D was one of the main reasons for our near-collapse after the Olympics. Lo and behold, this season the Avs have too many bodies on the blueline again, and I believe it would do us good to make a trade.
Now, I'm going to presume that there are 7 spots on the D to be filled. Considering the age of our captain and the rash of injuries we've already experienced, it is essential for the team to keep an extra D-man on the team. Unlike last year, when I could point to those that are more likely to be traded somewhat easily, this season the picture is a lot more murkier. I think Liles, who is having a Norris-worthy year, is a definite keeper. Foote is not going anywhere. Hannan, after a meh start, has played really well IMO lately (his stupid penalty vs. Dallas in OT notwithstanding). Shattenkirk has improved rapidly since getting called up, and he is a huge reason for our PP being good again recently. O'Byrne was just traded, and he offers the size that none of our other D-men have shown. That leaves senior players Quincey, Wilson, and Cumiskey as well as rookies Holos, Cohen, Liffiton (he's a rookie, yes?), and maybe Gaunce and Chouinard, all potentially competing for 2 roster spots. That's um, a lot. I have a really hard time thinking the Avs will give up on Quincey so soon. He was the centerpiece of the Ryan Smyth deal, and he has shown the abilities to become a complete defensemen. Wilson's physical play would also be difficult to part with, and given that Sacco continues to play Wilson even though his form has been poor after returning from injury, I think the gaffer agrees with me. Cumiskey, of course, has that tantalizing speed which, end-product or not, at the very least cause all sorts of havoc against opposing defense. That said, once both Kyles returned from injury (and Quincey really already did), one of them has to go.
So again, surveying all 28 other teams in the NHL that could be our potential trade partner, I will rank each team's likelihood of acquiring these 3 guys on the following scale: no chance, unlikely, below average chance, average chance, possible chance. I think we are offering much better players this year than last year. This, to me, is a good sign. It means that we will potentially get us better returns, but it also signifies that we are improving as a team.
Visnovsky, Lydman, Sutton, Fowler, Lilja, Mara, S. Brookbank, Sbisa
Trade Potential: POSSIBLE. They have a Niedermayer-sized hole on their blueline, although Fowler has played really well. Both Kyles and Wilson, however bad they've played, are still automatic upgrades over, say, Lilja and Mara.
What we can get back: I mentioned Matt Beleskey last year, and I still like him. Dan Sexton, who scored a bunch of goals when he debuted last year, has also been sent down recently and could be had. Of course, draft picks. Perhaps Nick Bonino as well?
Byfuglien, Enstrom, Bogosian, Oduya, Hainsey, Sopel, F. Meyer, Welch
Trade Potential: BELOW AVERAGE. They are probably looking for forwards more, since their D, especially Byfuglien and Enstrom, has been their strong point this season. That said, a guy like Wilson would definite interest them.
What we can get back: Maybe we could unite the Stewart brothers? I seemed to remember Angelo Esposito being raved as the second coming of Hockey Jesus, but safe to say his stock has pummeled since then.
Chara, Seidenberg, Boychuk, Ference, M. Stuart, Hunwick, McQuaid
Trade Potential: AVERAGE. They lost Wideman in the Horton trade, so there is potentially a place for another blueliner. They desperately need to clear cap space, and Cumiskey and Wilson's low cap hit could be enticing.
What we can get back: They will want us to take either Ryder or Sturm. Ryder, though playing well this season, is inconsistent as heck. Sturm has barely played much the last few seasons, and you know how much we love injury-plagued wingers!
Myers, Rivet, Leoprone, Morrisonn, Montador, Sekera, Butler, M. Weber
Trade Potential: POSSIBLE. Their Calder-winning hot shot has hit a wall. Considering that their best defensemen so far has been, uh, Jordan Leopold, and we all know what an iron man that guy is, I'd think they might need an extra body.
What we can get back: Drew Stafford, maybe? Their picks also could be worthwhile, since they don't look like a playoff contender this year or next.
Bouwmeester, Regehr, Sarich, Giordano, Babchuk, Staios, Pardy, Mikkelson
TRADE POTENTIAL: AVERAGE. It would be the ultimate irony if they go after Ryan Wilson, after ditching him to us as a throwaway for Leoprone. That said, Cumiskey could really interest them, since most of their D-men are, uh, not that mobile. I still don't like trading with them.
What we can get back: They are also screwed cap-wise. Perhaps Niklas Hagman? Curtis Glencross? Jarom..uh wait...That would be L.A.
Pitkanen, Corvo, Gleason, White, McBain, Harrison, Carson
TRADE POTENTIAL: AVERAGE. This could turn into a "probable" if Ian White, who they recently traded for, continue to suck. Both Kyles and WIlson all have skillsets that could interest them.
What we can get back: They traded Corvo before, and they could do it again. I'm more interested in their forward prospects like Dalpe, Boychuk, and Osala, but I'm not sure they would move them.
Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, Hjalmarsson, Hendry, Boynton, Scott, Cullimore
TRADE POTENTIAL: UNLIKELY. During their summer sale, the one area of the roster Bowman Jr. didn't touch was the D. The D has simply played poorly so far this season (except Seabrook). Given that they've already gutted their forward corps, I doubt they'd do it even more.
What we can get back: Given their cap situation, I don't see them tacking on more salary, and they would not want to trade their prospects.
Commodore, Klesla, Hejda, Tyutin, Methot, Russell, Stralman, Guenin, Holden
TRADE POTENTIAL: AVERAGE. I really don't know what to make of this group. Every time I watch them against the Avs, they suck tremendously, but they seem to be shutting other teams down.
What we can get back: Lots of decent prospects. Kristian Huselius, once he returns from injury, could also be targeted.
Robidas, Daley, Niskanen, Grossman, Skrastins, Fistric, Woywitka, Larsen
Trade Potential: POSSIBLE. They have question marks all over about ownership, and their D sucks. However badly Cumiskey has played, he is still IMO better than Niskanen this season, and Dallas is talking about how much Niskanen has IMPROVED this season.
What we can get back: Depend on their playoffs prospects by trade deadline. Jamie Benn's name has been tossed around here, but if they trade Richards to someone else, they'll want to keep Benn. Alternatively, we could go for Richards (and uh, play him on the wing??), but I doubt our front office is that ambitious this season.
Ryan Whitney, Gilbert, Smid, Foster, Vandermeer, Strudwick, Peckham, Belle (Souray)
Trade Potential: POSSIBLE. They are looking to the future, and young Dmen with upside, which Cumiskey, Wilson and Quincey would all qualify, will definitely interest them.
What we can get back: We don't want anywhere near their really bad contracts (Horcoff and Souray), but both Penner and Hemsky's contracts end in 2012, which would be agreeable to Sherman. Cogliano was supposedly shopped to us in the offseason, but I don't know how well he could play wing (and we don't need a center of his caliber).
McCabe, Wideman, Allen, Kulikov, Ellerby, Garrison, M. Weaver,
Trade Potential: AVERAGE. I don't know what to make of this team, of what direction they are going. Considering that their D corps is decidedly unimpressive, and they will mostly likely lose McCabe and Vokoun this summer (if not earlier), I'd THINK they want another defenseman.
What we can get back: I think Stephen Weiss could be a good fit, if he could make the switch to the wings. Would take more than just one of the Kyles or Wilson though.
Doughty, Jack Johnson, Mitchell, Scuderi, Greene, Drewiske, Muzzin, Harrold, Martinez
Trade Potential: BELOW AVERAGE. They have their targets set high on big names like Richards and Iginla. They are also more preoccupied with keeping Doughty and Johnson.They have top prospect Thomas Hickey waiting in tow too.
What we can get back: The guy I think they're most willing to trade is Ponikarovsky, but do we want hime? Their best trading chip is perhaps Jonathan Bernier, but they won't use him to trade for a Kyle (back...), nor is he a good fit for us.
Zidlicky, Burns, Schultz, Barker, Zanon, Falk, Stoner, Scandella
Trade Potential: AVERAGE. Burns has returned to form after an injury-plagued season. They definitely have at least on spot on D open.
What we can get back: Fromer 1st round pick Colton Gillies has failed to impress so far in the NHL, but there could still be potential there. There's also Bruno, who I'd love to see back in an Avs jersey again, even though we may play at a much higher pace than he would be comfortable with.
Markov, Subban, Hamrlik, Spacek, Gill, Gorges, Y. Weber, Picard
Trade Potential: BELOW AVERAGE. Of course we already traded FOR one of their blueliners, so I'm not sure they'd want one back from us any time soon, even with Markov injured for eternity.
What we can get back: I don't know much about their prospect pool (someone else can perhaps elucidate?), and I don't see them trading their current corps of forwards.
Weber, Suter, Franson, Bouillon, O'Brien, Klein, Sulzer
Trade Potential: AVERAGE. Weber actually hasn't had a good season so far. They need an offensive Dman, and I'm not totally convinced either of the Kyles fit the bill.
What we can get back: Sergei Kostitsyn has pissed off another coach, and I really don't think we would want him in our locker room. Uniting the O'Reilly brothers would be fun, but Cal is actually their top scorer, so I doubt that'd fly.
Volchenkov, Tallinder, White, A. Greene, Salvador, Corrente, Taormina, Salmela, M. Fraser, Eckford......
Trade Potential: POSSIBLE. There is a school of thought here that we should let NJ rot in its cap hell, and I hear their point. That said, if Jamie Langenbrunner is available, I'd say we should consider.
What we can get back: Aforementioned Langenbrunner, to me, is the most interesting potential target. Jersey would prefer us to take Rolston or Zubrus, but I'm pretty meh on both (if Rolston gets healthier and show better play maybe).
Streit, Wisniewski, Martinek, Eaton, Jurcina, Mottau, Hillen, Gervais, MacDonald, Reese
Trade Potential: BELOW AVERAGE. Their defensive corps is horr-awful, to quote Shaq (how we lost to them, I don't even...) But I see nothing I want from them that they'd be willing to trade (unless Garth Snow goes brain dead, which I won't rule out...)
What we can get back: Only guy I'd see us considering is Matt Moulson, who will be UFA after this season and might not want to stay in the Isle to keep losing. That said, he would be more likely a deadline trade with prospects/picks going other way.
Marc Staal, Rozsival, Girardi, Gilroy, Del Zotto, Eminger, M. Sauer
Trade Potential: BELOW AVERAGE. Their D isn't great, but their main target is a no. 1 center (e.g. Brad Richards).
What we can get back: They have several good prospects in their system, and they have several underachieving forwards they want out (Christensen, maybe Frolov).
Gonchar, Karlsson, Kuba, Phillips, Campoli, Carkner, Hale, Lee
Trade Potential: BELOW AVERAGE. I'm sure both Kyles and Wilson are much better than Chris Campoli, who for some reason remain a fixture on their team...
What we can get back: ...but there really isn't much from this team I'd like to take back. They are filled with underachieving/aging forwards, defensive prospects and bad goalies, none of which we need too much.
Pronger, Timonen, Carle, Meszaros, Coburn, O'Donnell, Bartulis, Walker
Trade Potential: UNLIKELY. They are one team that won't need more defenders, and they don't have the cap room for more anyways.
What we can get back: I'm actually out of ideas for this one. Maybe Braydon Coburn in one-on-one trade for, say, Wilson or Cumiskey, to save some money to sign Leino.
Jovanovski, Aucoin, Morris, Yandle, Schlemko, Lepisto, Ekman-Larsson, Yonkman, BizNasty
Trade Potential: AVERAGE. I could certainly see a guy like Wilson fit into their plans (cheap, hard-working, plays physical).
What we can get back: I'd have a chuckle if they trade us Kyle Turris. I doubt they want to keep sending us their lottery picks though. Another former high prospect that they might trade is Mikkel Boedker, who'll also be a RFA soon and is not in their first team right now.
Martin, Letang, Michalek, Orpik, Goligoski, Engelland, Lovejoy, Hutchinson
Trade Potential: UNLIKELY. They invested a lot of money already on D-men, too much actually IMO. Their cap situation is not quite Hawks of last season, but they'll only have 5 forwards under contract with 8 million of cap space to maneuver (if cap roof doesn't rise).
What we can get back: Whatever investment they would make on the blueline would be during the trade deadline, for an impending UFA most likely.
Boyle, Vlasic, Murray, Wallin, Demers, Huskins, M. Moore, Joslin, Braun
Trade Potential: AVERGE. Their D has not been great this season, and with no Nabby to hide their problems it has led to below-expected results.
What we can get back: Devin Setoguchi is in the doghouse right now, but he might be an interesting reclamation project. Cumiskey for Sexmith would be a great trade for their names alone.
Brewer, Jackman, E. Johnson, Pietrangelo, Colaiacovo, Polak, T. Stralman, Oystrick, I. Cole, Nikitin
Trade Potential: AVERAGE. They are a bit similar to us (though they do love getting stomped by us). Their defensemen are quite injury-prone as well (I mean, Colaiacovo...).
Hedman, Kubina, Ohlund, Clark, R. Jones, Lundin, Smaby, Vernace, Roy
Trade Potential: AVERAGE. They seem to like former Av defensemen (Clark and Vernace are playing for them). They are probably more worried about locking down Stamkos right now though.
What we can get back: Brett Clark? Ok probably not (Bolts probably don't want to trade him...). I don't know much about their prospects...(except for Durno, and Toronto would outbid us for him).
Kaberle, Phadouche, Komisarek, Beauchemin, Schenn, Gunnarsson, Lebda, Aulie, Holzer
Trade Potential: BELOW AVERAGE. Last thing they need is more defensemen. Well ok, you never know with Brian Burke.
What we can get back: If we want any of their players, we are more likely to trade them our defensive prospects, like Elliott or Barrie. I'm not sure we want any of their players though. Mikhail Grabovski, anyone?
Ehrhoff, Hamhuis, Ballard, Salo, Bieksa, Edler, Alberts, Rome, Parent
Trade Potential: UNLIKELY. Another team that don't need more D-men. They are going to trade for a forward instead.
What we can get back: Ryan Parent is waiver wire material these days. Maybe Sergei Shirokov?
Green, Carlson, Poti, Schultz, Alzner, Erskine, Sloan, Fahey
Trade Potential: AVERAGE. They do need to improve their defense (but people have been saying that every season). They might be more worried about their forthcoming exodus among their forwards though.
What we can get back: Most of the forwards that might interest us are all impending UFAs. Their best prospects are all already playing for the big club or are Russian, except maybe Francois Bouchard.
Again, I don't claim to know all these players, so I'm very likely completely off-base about a lot of this. Please comment and discuss.