With the VGHL All-Star festivities now in the rear-view mirror, teams are gearing up for a second-half that, for many, will make or break their season. While league powerhouses such as Detroit
and New Jersey
have little to worry about in terms of securing a playoff spot, several teams in each conference are still battling for an invitation to the big dance. However, General Managers who may be looking to tweak their roster or bolster their lineup with a big trade are running out of time to do so-- the NHL's June 4th Trade Deadline
is only a week away.
When it comes to trades, Season 7 has already been filled with surprises. A handful of the league's elite are playing for new organizations and donning unfamiliar sweaters as the result of early-season blockbusters. Trading MVP-calibre players can be a risky business and naturally invites critics to voice their opinion, but once the disbelief and, for those who missed out, disappointment subsides, it's all about the bottom line. GM's are trying to win cups, not trades.
The drama set in during the pre-season when rumors began to circulate that new Toronto Maple Leafs
, was fielding offers for former Art Ross & Hart Trophy winner, Jay6219
. While that ultimately proved to be a farce, it set the tone and perhaps paved the way for some of the big deals that did
come to fruition:
- » Former Carolina Hurricanes' forward BARRYS_SNIPIN was the first domino to fall, being dealt initially to the division-rival Winnipeg Jets, and later to the Colorado Avalanche.
- » Standout forward CCPiper (acquired by Carolina in the BARRYS_SNIPIN deal) was later dealt to the St. Louis Blues along with other assets for reigning league MVP, bigyan__.
- » Hours later, the Dallas Stars traded high-profile prospect IIXOshie_74XII & a draft pick for perennial All-Star, B-Bunny, in what was one of the biggest talking points of the early season.
- » A big three-way trade between New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Florida sent No. 1 centerman CastroGStar to the Panthers, Twiztid78 to the Devils, and Se7entee to the Penguins.
- » Despite his world class talent, Carolina wouldn't be the final destination for bigyan__. After what was best described as a failed experiment, the Hurricanes then traded the league's marquee player to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for GUILBALT27.
Given the frequency with which we've seen big names traded this season, and with the deadline now looming, it begs the question: Is there another blockbuster trade out there to be made?
Only time will tell, but there are some interesting scenarios out there. Bubble teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Tampa Bay Lightning will almost certainly be looking for that last piece to push themselves into the playoff picture- but it takes two to tango. Bottom feeders like the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators, both plagued by a history of mismanagement, could benefit by trading roster players for future assets, but is anyone willing to pay the price?
- » The Blackhawks are currently tied for 8th in the West, but have scored the fewest goals among Western Conference playoff teams. Though it's unlikely they'll move any core players, they have some interesting AHL assets that could be packaged with some salary for some offensive help.
- » The New York Islanders hold the 7th spot in the East, but are trending downward having lost nine of the last ten (1-4-5). With over $5 million in cap space available and three draft picks to work with, it will be interesting to see if they are a major player at the deadline.
- » The Carolina Hurricanes are sitting pretty in the East, but new GM Boomheadshot is actively looking to put his stamp on the team. That shouldn't be a problem if the right deal comes along, as the 'Canes have loads of cap space and several quality prospects in the AHL.
- » The Toronto Maple Leafs, led by Jay6219 and GM Randulfski, have goal-scoring talent on part with any team in the league. However, they've conceded more goals than any other playoff-bound team. They rank just 8th in the East and are in danger of missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season. Can they get some help for their defensive deficiencies?
- » The Tampa Bay Lightning are on the opposite end of the spectrum. With one of the most lethargic offenses in the entire league, it's a wonder that the Lightning are even still alive in the playoff race. Yet, somehow they sit just one point behind Toronto, thanks mostly to a formidable defense unit and great goaltending. If anyone needs a goal scorer, it's Tampa Bay -- but who, exactly, is available?
The NHL/AHL Trade Deadline is 11:59PM EST on June 4th.
Stay tuned for more exclusive coverage from the VGHL News Team!
- jewofcanada (@jewofcanada)