With news that Tim Thomas and Jason Spezza are looking less likely to
be traded, the number of big moves we were expecting before (or after)
the draft is dwindling. Teams are locking up their potential free agents
and the big names that might have been traded appear to be staying put
— for now.
So what is left out there that we could see happen
before, and during, tonight’s draft?
– It appears that Kris
Versteeg is still being made available for trade by the Blackhawks, but
that Chicago doesn’t appear in dire need of trading the winger. With the
blockbuster trade with Atlanta, the Hawks gave themselves some needed
space under the cap — although that’s just $6 million under with just
13 players under contract. We’re still expecting some sort of move by
the Hawks to further alleviate their salary issues, but it doesn’t seem
that Versteeg will be the one to go.
There’s also been talk that
Patrick Sharp isn’t going anywhere either. So who knows exactly what the
Blackhawks have planned as far as their roster goes, but for now it
seems this team is going to look just a bit different a few months after
winning the Stanley Cup.
– There are a number of first round
picks being made available to be traded, which is either a sign that
team’s aren’t happy with the first round depth this year or are more
concerned with getting maximum value out of the draft. It’s been known
for a while that Columbus is shopping the 4th overall pick, while
Atlanta (#8) and Florida (#15) are also looking to trade down as well.
Columbus will want a high caliber, NHL-ready player for that fourth pick
as whichever team slides into that spot will have a choice at a prime
– I’m still getting word that a Mike Riberio
trade is very likely, although there have yet to be any rumblings of
anything resembling a legitimate offer for the center. With Spezza and
Marleau off the market, Ribeiro’s value via trade has significantly
risen and the Stars could be poised to get a handsome return, although
GM Joe Nieuwendyk won’t hesitate to keep the center if the offers aren’t
as high as he’d like.