The San Jose Sharks are playing both buyer and seller at this year’s trade deadline. The Sharks are currently second in the Pacific Division, looking to hold off the Ducks, Kings, and Flames, and are known to be looking for scoring help up front. They have been attached to names like Evander Kane, Rick Nash, and really most high-profile forwards on the market. At the same time, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the team has requested a no-trade list from veteran forward Joel Ward. Ward, 37, is an impending free agent who has fallen out of favor in the San Jose lineup. He has a six-team no-trade list that he can use to slightly reduce the number of possible destinations, should he be traded. Ward has played in only 46 games this season, with just 11 points to show for it, but more importantly, has seen his once-valued penalty kill role diminished, along with his even strength ice time. Ward can still be an asset for many teams as both an experienced locker room presence and reliable two-way depth option, but he’s worth much more to another contender than the defense-conscious Sharks. A trade is far from a certainty, but is a definite possibility now that a list has been officially requested.
- An unexpected suitor has entered the bidding for New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Sportsnet’s John Shannon believes that the Florida Panthers have interest in the top-pairing defenseman. Going up against divisional foes like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, as well as many others, the Panthers will try make the top offer for McDonagh, as the Rangers continue their fire sale. The Panthers are still fighting for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference this season, and McDonagh would be a major help with that, but more likely the motivation for the Cats is to bring in McDonagh for next season and with the intent of extending him. PHR recently identified a top-four defenseman as a need for the Panthers going forward, and McDonagh would round out quite the top four in Florida with Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, and Michael Matheson.
- Count both Johnny Oduya and Tomas Plekanec as the latest big-name players being held out of lineups tonight prior to the deadline. Dreger says that Oduya’s benching is just precautionary, but that the Ottawa Senators are working on trading the veteran defenseman as part of their own fire sale. The news of Plekanec, from TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, comes after a report yesterday that the Montreal Canadiens have received an influx of interest in the veteran center over the last 24 hours. Both players are expected to be moved in the coming days.
No doubt Plekanec has become more valuable now that Brassard is off the market.