With the trade deadline approaching fast, the standings around the league have changed, and new sellers at the deadline have emerged. We previously went through this exercise before the Olympics roster freeze, where we identified five sellers (Buffalo, Islanders, Florida, Calgary, Edmonton) and two “likely” sellers (Winnipeg, Nashville). Now, we have more teams that will have a difficult time leapfrogging the necessary teams to make the playoffs.
Using Sports Club Stats, we have a quantifiable number we can use as a cut-off for teams that might make the playoffs. In addition to the seven teams noted above (check out the previous post for details), we have six teams that now fall under the 50% threshold we are using (arbitrary number picked for the sake of the post). These teams –naturally– have less than a 50% chance of making the playoffs, and thus should (note: SHOULD) be sellers at the deadline.
Sellers are likely to deal their UFAs for prospects and/or picks to load up for the draft.
Carolina Hurricanes – Manny Malholtra, Radek Dvorak, Ron Hainsey, Mike Komisarek, Anton Khubodin, Justin Peters, Jiri Tlusty (RFA)
Ottawa Senators – Milan Michalek, Matt Kassian, Chris Philips, Joe Corvo
Of these new players available (all UFAs), only Jagr and Grabovski are appealing in some manner (I’m assuming Phoenix wants to re-sign Vrbata). The best deadline deal the Rangers can make at the moment may be to stand pat, get Ryan Callahan locked up, and ensure that Rick Nash gets going. With two-thirds of the top line under performing (Nash, Derek Stepan), getting these guys going is more important than dealing for some unimpressive names.