Which player is most likely to be traded by the March 3 trade deadline?
It’s hard for me to believe that Ilya Kovalchuk will remain in Atlanta much longer, but where he goes is a better question. There have been rumors with him going to pretty much every team in the league, including my hometown Blackhawks. While it would help the Blackhawks win a title this year, it’s not the best move long term since he would only stay for a couple of months and their demands would be extremely high.
I think Boston has the biggest need for him. They have been lacking an offensive spark since trading Phil Kessel this past off-season and I look for them to make a big bid.
Kevin Orris, fantasypros911.com
With all the turmoil in St.Louis, it seems as if the Blues will be out of playoff contention by March 3. The biggest UFA on the team is Paul Kariya, who has underpreformed this season, but his veteran experience would be beneficial to any contender. This makes Kariya the perfect candidate to be moved at the deadline. Other big names like Ilya Kovalchuk, Scott Niedermayer, Nicklas Lidstrom, Patrick Marleau, Evgeni Nabokov, Olli Jokinen and Sergei Gonchar should all remain with their current teams. Niedermayer is assured to stay in Anaheim after a recent press conference by the GM stating he will keep his promise to Niedermayer and let him finish his career in a Ducks uniform.
Marcus Schalle, dobberhockey.com
It’s hard to say because almost everyone is still in the playoff race. Really, the only teams that you can guarantee will be sellers on March 3 are Edmonton and Carolina. Toronto isn’t going to make the playoffs, but since Boston has their first rounder, they may be reluctant to pull the trigger on any trade that’ll make their 2009-10 squad worse, unless it’s a clear win for them.
That being said, if the Thrashers can’t sign Ilya Kovalchuk soon, he needs to go. He’s simply too big of a chip to let walk away for nothing (or next to nothing if you try to trade his rights after the season). Yah, the Thrashers may still be in the playoff race come March 3, but really, what are they fighting for? A chance to be the heavy underdogs in a first round series against Washington, New Jersey, Buffalo, or Pittsburgh isn’t worth sacrificing the future of your franchise over. They’re much better off conceding this playoff race in the hopes of assembling a team that can actually compete for a Stanley Cup down the road.
Ryan Dadoun, Rotoworld.com
It’s tough to pick who’s most likely to be traded when you consider that pretty much all of the Carolina Hurricanes are up for grabs. In addition to that whole team, Sheldon Souray seems destined to be traded out of Edmonton. The team is horrible and he’s one of the few valuable pieces. Plus, it seems he wouldn’t mind leaving Edmonton either.
No one claimed Minnesota’s Petr Sykora off waivers, but I think there’s some team that’ll be willing to take a chance with him. He’s never been an offensive juggernaut, but he’s playoff tested, and that might be enough to entice a team to grab him. Of course, intangibles don’t show up on fantasy scoresheets, so for our purposes, it really won’t matter.
Steven Ovadia, RotoRob.com
When I first assigned this question, the first name that came to mind was Ilya Kovalchuk. The Thrashers appear less likely by the day to be able to sign their captain. Will the Thrashers hang onto him to appease their small fan base with the slim hope of a playoff run (like the Panthers and Jay Bouwmeester last season), or will they auction him off to the highest bidder at the trade deadline (like they did with Marian Hossa two seasons ago)? We don’t know for sure, meaning that I can’t rightfully say that he will be the most likely player to be traded at the deadline.
In my mind, a more certain player to be dealt at the deadline is Ray Whitney. The Hurricanes recently asked Whitney to waive his no-trade clause, which will clear the way for the Canes to receive some youth in return for the 37-year-old veteran. Whitney fits the profile of a rental player: a veteran in the final year of his contract who is playing for a non-contender. Whitney will provide veteran leadership to a team priming for a Stanley Cup run. Perhaps he will be this season’s Bill Guerin: a player who went from the last-place team to the first-place team.
Ian Gooding, fantasyhockey.com