2011 NHL Trade Deadline Cheat Sheet (February 14)

The legions of people who play fantasy hockey makes one thing clear: deep down, a lot of people wish that they could run an NHL team. Or at least think they want to run a hockey club.

Of course, the actual job is a lot more complicated than swindling your hockey-newbie friends into making bad trades. (Go ahead, make your requisite Glen Sather/other frequently mocked general manager quips.)

One of the things that can be a little tricky is accounting for the fact that players’ cap hits are pro-rated to account for the fact that they’ve already played a big chunk of the 2010-11 season. That can make armchair GMing very difficult, but NHL Fanhouse provided this handy cheat sheet of players who might be trade bait and what kind of cap hit they’ll carry with them.

Note: I highlighted some of the players who I think might be the biggest trade targets.


(click to enlarge)

Now, keep in mind that Adam Gretz put that list together based on teams in a tough spot playoff-wise and also players with expiring contracts. There might be some other players who could be trade targets who still have some years remaining on their deals, such as Ales Hemsky in Edmonton.

Gretz also pointed out that CapGeek.com provides estimates of what each NHL teams’ cap space will look like on the trade deadline day, February 28th. Here’s a quick-and-dirty list of what the teams’ cap space will look like, from highest to lowest amount of space.

(Note: Obviously, trades can make this list subject to change. This list is according to rosters listed on February 14, 2011 at noon ET. All amounts are in millions, unless noted with a K for thousands. Also note that figures have been rounded up or down to two digits.)

Team    Cap Space
Atlanta    $17.97
Islanders    $17.81
Colorado    $16.49
St. Louis    $13.33
Edmonton    $13.23
Tampa Bay    $10.31
Carolina    $9.56
Phoenix    $9.11
Nashville    $8.57
Florida    $8.52
Dallas    $6.78
Columbus    $5.27
Buffalo    $4.31
Anaheim    $4.28
Los Angeles    $4.14
Toronto    $3.37
Rangers    $2.39
Ottawa    $2.31
Washington    $1.62
Minnesota    $1.26
Philadelphia    $1.06
Chicago    $615K
San Jose    $568K
Boston    $71K
Vancouver    0
Detroit    0
Pittsburgh    0
New Jersey    0
Calgary    0
Montreal    0

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

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Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.