We have a category for “Irresponsible Rumormongering,” but this post probably belongs under “Completely Irresponsible Rumormongering That Might Raise Eklund’s Eyebrows.” Sorry for that, but it’s that time of year…
Boyle for Gaborik is the rumor mentioned most frequently by those in the know and it also happens to be the deal that makes the most sense. The Rangers get the puck-moving defenseman they so desperately need and the Sharks add some punch to their 28th-ranked offense. The cap hits are a wash and each run through next season. I actually thought this trade was a lot more likely a couple weeks ago before San Jose converted Brent Burns – its other offensive-minded defenseman – into a forward and traded Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh. The Sharks could still definitely use Gaborik, but it’s a little hard to see how they’d replace Boyle. New York also may have interest in scoreless forward Ryane Clowe, but they’d need to send more than Gaborik to make that blockbuster happen.
Gaborik and Christian Thomas (?) to Los Angeles for Rob Scuderi and Tyler Toffoli
The Rangers get the second-pairing defenseman they covet and add one of the better offensive prospects in the game. Scuderi has an expiring contract and is a solid stay-at-home guy that could really balance out the blueline, while Toffoli has already shown flashes in his brief NHL tenure with two goals and two assists in five games. The 20-year-old tallied back-to-back 50-goal, 100-point seasons in the WHL and posted 28 goals and 20 assists in 55 AHL games his first year as a pro before being called up. But the Kings have loved Gaborik for a long, long time and learned last season when they traded for Jeff Carter what kind of impact adding a star to the lineup down the stretch can make. Los Angeles might not be eager to part with one of its few promising prospects, but the Kings are obviously in win-now mode and could probably be persuaded to deal Toffoli if they got another youngster with goal-scoring potential in the swap. Los Angeles does rank seventh in the league in offense though, so there may be no reason for the Kings to tinker with what’s working. You could also argue that the last thing the Rangers need is another raw young forward.
Gaborik to Vancouver for Mason Raymond and Chris Higgins
Seem like a weird fit? It’s been a weird year for the Canucks, who are struggling to stave off the Minnesota Wild in the Northwest Division after capturing the President’s Trophy in each of the last two seasons. Ryan Kesler’s injury woes have crippled Vancouver’s secondary offense and the Canucks have to at least be thinking about getting some help for the Sedin twins. Raymond is actually one of Vancouver’s more reliable producers, ranking fourth in points with 18, but he’s obviously not on Gaborik’s level. Higgins’ first stint in New York was disappointing, but the 29-year-old has revived his career in Vancouver with 18 goals last season and eight so far this year. Though Higgins didn’t put big numbers on the board with the Rangers, he was a trusted two-way forward by coach John Tortorella. This would be a pretty dramatic overhaul for both teams to make in-season, but both find themselves at a bit of a crossroads and the deal could turn Vancouver’s offense around while replenishing New York’s depth. The Blueshirts would probably love to get 27-year-old Jannik Hansen in this trade, but I’d be surprised if Vancouver would consider dealing him.
Gaborik to Minnesota for Dany Heatley
@TheWrage threw this out there on Twitter a couple weeks ago half-jokingly, but it actually makes some sense. Both players have one year remaining on their contracts at $7.5 million and both could use a change of scenery. Heatley is in a sharp decline, but he’s a proven goal-scorer and he’s money on the power play. Gaborik is beloved in Minnesota and might be an intriguing piece for the Wild to add as the team transitions into a contender. This is kind of a “what the heck?” trade – the kind that doesn’t often happen in real life – but it’s not as crazy as it sounds.
Gaborik to Detroit for Ian White and Valtteri Filppula
Detroit is obviously a team in transition. The loss of Nicklas Lidstrom has transformed the franchise and is one of the reasons the Red Wings rank 18th in offense. Detroit has a host of young defensemen and has had trouble finding White a spot in the lineup, while Filppula is a pending free agent with an uncertain future with the organization. Detroit is attempting to retool on the fly while its other stars still have something left in the tank, so bringing a 40-goal scorer on board for two more playoff pushes would be logical. New York adds a depth defender with some puck-moving ability as well as a forward that put up 66 points last season and seemed on the verge of stardom.
New York won’t deal Gaborik to an Eastern Conference foe, and given the payroll issues and standings in the Western Conference, these seem like they may be the five trade partners worth considering.
So have at it: Which deals would you do? Which am I crazy for proposing? What other deals make sense to you? Why the heck do I want Higgins back?