It’s no secret Glen Sather has been shopping Michael Del Zotto for weeks. Unfortunately, the names attached to the trade rumors (e.g, Gardiner, Franson, Wiercioch, etc.) aren’t really anything to get excited about.
It seems MDZ’s trade value has plummeted this season and all we could apparently get in return are bottom-pairing d-men who are also in and out of their respective lineups. I mean you know things are bad when GM’s are hanging up on you over names like Marc Methot and Raphael Diaz.
With the Olympic roster freeze just over a month away and the trade deadline about a month thereafter, Sather still has time. However, the likelihood of MDZ turning his game around to the point where his value could fetch an elite player or prospect remains a pipe dream. If Sather really wants to upgrade this team significantly, players are likely going to have to be packaged together, which brings us to the point of today’s post.
Who on this team is good enough to have value on the trade market, but isn’t considered an untouchable or a critical piece to our championship aspirations?
This pick will probably anger many of you and cause some internet hate to be thrown in my direction. It’s ok. I can deal. Look, I love Carl Hagelin. His speed makes him a tough matchup. His forechecking ability drew raves from the previous regime and ultimately prevented him from riding the bus up I-84.
With that said, some times players get lost in the shuffle due to numbers, coaching changes, etc. Unfortunately for Carl, he isn’t being relied upon the same as last year. Carl hasn’t been used on the PP at all after getting about a minute a game last season. His even strength ice-time has also been cut about 2 mins a game, and yet he is one of the few players on this team maintaining his year over year production.
As a left-winger, Chris Kreider and Benoit Pouliot have climbed ahead of him on the depth chart. Both have been locked on the top 6 of late, and Pouliot specifically has been getting time on the second power play unit (1:30/game).
Miller has been sent back and forth to the AHL seven times in his short career, two more than Kreider. He is another guy I really like as he has an in your face game, but can also make plays. He can also slot in at any forward position, which makes him very versatile.
Still, despite his ability and his upside, AV has said aloud that he doesn’t know what to do with JT. Is he a top six player? Is he a bottom six player? Does he belong in Hartford or in the Show?
Questions like these are hard to answer when you’re in and out of the lineup. Although Miller doesn’t have a substantial body of work at the NHL level, you’d have to think more physical teams that rely on heavy forechecking may value JT higher than we do.
Brassard is another player that I probably wouldn’t be quick to move in a trade if MDZ had value on his own. Brass was also one guy I figured would have faired better under AV than the previous regime, especially since he is getting more offensive zone face-offs (43% vs. 31% last year).
This season he’s putting up about 0.55 pts per game, which is right in line with his career average. However, if Sather is going to be aggressive at the deadline and looking to acquire a top 4 right-handed defensemen, salary and skill will have to go the other way.
For his production, Brass is a little expensive. He carries a $3.2m cap hit, which isn’t cheap for someone on pace for 12 goals. Though he’s been playing better of late, he’s still not a three zone player and he is mediocre on the draw (47%) — two things you really need from a second/third line center. Forget moving him to LW; his lack of forechecking and physicality precludes him from being a long-term option there.
Aside from these guys, I’m not sure I’d be looking to trade anyone else at this point. A few people have mentioned moving Girardi, and his time will come, I can’t see Sather trading him at this point. He’s a right-handed defensemen who eats minutes and shuts down the league’s best. That’s a tough skill to come by.
Others have also mentioned moving Boyle. He skills are redundant and definitely coachable (thank you Torts), but he wouldn’t net us more than a second round pick or depth player. If we’re looking to seriously upgrade our roster, a Boyle and MDZ package won’t get us there.