In his latest column, TSN’s Frank Seravalli looks at all 30 NHL teams (plus a note about the Vegas Golden Knights) and what their priorities are as they get closer to the deadline. The whole article is well worth the read but here is a sampling of some of the highlights:
- While the Sabres are likely to move pending unrestricted free agents Cody Franson and Brian Gionta, center Zemgus Girgensons (who is set to be a restricted free agent) could be someone teams look at as a reclamation project. Girgensons had a breakout year under former coach Ted Nolan in 2014-15 but has struggled since Dan Bylsma has taken over. His role has considerably diminished this season which makes him an intriguing ‘change of scenery’ candidate.
- The Blue Jackets could be poised to strike on what is shaping up to be a buyers’ market when it comes to goaltending. Given where the team finds themselves, Seravalli suggests that they may want a more proven backup behind Sergei Bobrovsky. Youngsters Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo are poised to battle for the number two job with Curtis McElhinney now in Toronto but neither have much NHL experience. One possible hiccup for Columbus could be the fact that a lot of the goalies believed to be available are signed beyond this season which may not appeal to them given the progress that Forsberg and Korpisalo have shown.
- Although the Red Wings don’t appear to be entering selling mode any time soon, one area that GM Ken Holland may look to improve on is their cap situation. They have roughly $68MM committed for next year already (though Johan Franzen’s $3.95MM cap hit is including and he’ll be back on LTIR) and have a few restricted free agents including forwards Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou. If they want to entertain the idea of keeping pending UFA Thomas Vanek around, they’ll need to free up some money and this might be the right time to accomplish that.
- Seravalli wonders if this might be the year for the Senators to consider dealing away their first round pick. With Clarke MacArthur’s concussion symptoms not subsiding as quickly as anyone hoped, there is a void on the left side that needs to be addressed and their trade assets (such as Curtis Lazar and Nick Paul) won’t be enough by themselves to secure a legitimate top winger.
- With the Canucks not likely to really be buyers or sellers at the deadline, they could be a team in the market for a reclamation project or two to try along the Sedins, similar to what Edmonton did with Patrick Maroon last year, a move that has worked out quite well this season. However, considering that they’re unwilling to move draft picks this year, being able to bring a player like that in may prove to be a bit more difficult.