Author: NBC Sports

Just the beginning: Expect flurry of trades over the next week


Spezza.jpgThe Nashville Predators and their two big trades today likely broke
the ice for the NHL as we gear up for the NHL draft next weekend and
then the start of free agency right after that. With the free agency
pool not as good as it’s been in the past, many are speculating that
this could be the busiest period for trades in the NHL since the lockout
as teams jockey for upgrades while battling roster and salary cap

Since the free agency pool is limited, those on the
open market will likely demand a high price, leading teams to try and
save money by making trades to upgrade their team. The question is, who
will be next to be traded and which teams are likely to be the busiest?

is no doubt that Nashville isn’t done yet, as their two trades leave
the team with an insane amount of space under the salary cap with 17
players already under contract. With Jason Arnott headed to New Jersey,
the Predators are now in dire need of a top line center; they still have
pieces that can be moved and the cap space to pick up a large contract.
Jason Spezza has been a name that keeps coming up, and the Predators
have made the moves necessary in order to be able to take on his $7
million a year contract.

Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun
seems to think that Tim Thomas will be
the next goaltender to be traded, saying that “as teams gather for the
draft in Los Angeles next week, expect Thomas to
be at the top of the most wanted list for GMs seeking help in goal.”

The issue there is that Thomas is set to make $5 million next season,
is 36 years old and had a woefully mediocre season last year; you have
to wonder if there are better options out there for teams looking to
acquire a goaltender this summer.

Despite the lack of a great free
agent market this summer, there are a number of experienced and
talented goaltenders set to become UFAs in two weeks. With not that many
teams in dire need of a starting goaltender, teams like Philadelphia or
San Jose can wait and have their pick without giving up any assets for a
player like Thomas.

You can also guarantee that teams like
Chicago, Calgary, Ottawa and perhaps even Detroit will be needing to
dump some salary over the next week or so, while other teams like
Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal and the New York Rangers could be buyers. Other teams, such as Florida, will be looking to retool and rebuild and could be shopping some of their top players as they hope to restock their system moving forward.

This is as close to another trade deadline as we’ll ever get, as teams
fight for space under the salary cap in order to prepare their rosters
for next season.

Not done yet: Predators trade Jason Arnott to the New Jersey Devils

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Arnott1.jpgThis afternoon has suddenly turned busy. Just hours after trading the
negotiating rights for Dan Hamhuis to the Philadelphia Flyers, the
Nashville Predators have traded their Jason Arnott to the New Jersey
Devils. From the team’s press release:

Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile
announced today that the club has sent captain Jason Arnott to the New
Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Matt Halischuk and New Jersey’s
second-round selection in the 2011 Entry Draft.

Halischuk, 22 (6/1/88), split the 2009-10 season between New Jersey and
Albany (AHL), posting a pair of points (1g-1a) in 20 NHL games and 22
points (11g-11a) in 32 AHL contests. In his rookie professional season
of 2008-09 the Toronto, Ont., native amassed 29 points (14g-15a) in 47
games for Lowell, and also made his NHL debut with the Devils, notching
one assist.

Arnott, who is now the former captain of
the Predators, heads back to New Jersey where he experienced the most
team success of his career. As part of one of the most dangerous top
lines we’ve ever seen in the NHL with Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias,
Arnott scored the Cup-clinching goal for the Devils in 2000 with he
knocked in a one-timer 8:20 into double overtime against the Dallas
Stars in game six.

He was later traded to Dallas as part of the
deal that sent Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner to New Jersey,
perhaps the most unpopular trade in Dallas sports history, and now heads
back to the Devils to join Langenbrunner as a teammate.

Arnott is
entering the final year of his contract and is slated to make $4.5
million next season, according to
, and the trade suddenly gives the Nashville Predators an
insane amount of cap space with 17 players under contract for next
season. It seems that the Predators are gearing up to make a big splash
in free agency, as they have now traded away two of the top players on
their team (although Hamhuis was highly unlikely to stay in Nashville).

the Devils, you have to think that acquiring Arnott might mean the
likelihood of signing Kovalchuk to an extension is now extremely low.
They get back a player who enjoyed success as a Devil and who —
although he’s near the end of his career — can certainly provide some
needed offensive punch.

In order to pay Hamhuis, Flyers will have to make more moves


Carter4.jpgNow that the Philadelphia Flyers have acquired the negotiating rights
to Dan Hamhuis, the question is now whether they’ll be able to sign him
or not.

According to, the Flyers currently sit just
over $8 million under the $56 million salary cap for next season with 17
players under contract. The Flyers have 11 forwards under contract but
just four defensemen, with Lukas Krajicek, Danny Syvret and Mike Rathje
all set to become UFAs this summer. It’s unlikely the Flyers will be
keeping any of those three, especially with Hamhuis now on the
negotiating table.

More importantly, the Flyers will be looking to
keep defenseman Braydon Coburn, who was absolutely incredible during
the playoffs this past season and who will become a restricted free
agent after making $1.4 million last year. The Flyers will certainly aim
to keep him, will want to sign Hamhuis and will need at least one more
defensemen, two forwards and will likely be looking to acquire a new

Hamhuis will be looking to make at $4 million a season
and has all of the leverage on his side when it comes to negotiating
with the Flyers, and if you factor in Coburn’s salary for next season
that’s likely at least $6 million tied up between the two defensemen;
nearly two-thirds of the remaining cap space with six spots still open.

the Flyers do hope to sign Hamhuis and keep Coburn — giving the Flyers
what is likely the best blue line in the NHL — then you can almost
guarantee that one of the top forwards on the Flyers will have to be
traded, and in the best case scenario be traded for a goaltender. There
is some thought that the Flyers will be shopping one of Jeff Carter,
Scott Hartnell or Simon Gagne in order to free up salary space.

a scenario that makes sense. A trade with the Los Angeles Kings that
sends Carter to LA in exchange for either Jonathan Quick or Jonathan
Bernier. You have to think that the Kings would be much more willing to
part with Bernier, who makes $843,000 next season over Quick, although
either would work well for the Flyers. Obviously, it wouldn’t be a
straight up trade, but with those major pieces the trade would work for
both sides.

The Flyers would instantly free up $3-4 million in cap
space, while either acquiring a solid starting goaltender to go with
their top defense or at the very least a very capable goaltender who can
work in tandem with Brian Boucher. Obviously the Flyers would prefer
Quick, who is under contract for three more seasons at $1.8 million per
year, but the extra cap space here will be key.

The Flyers aren’t
done making moves over the next week, not if they hope to sign Hamhuis
and especially if they aim to keep Coburn as well. Expect one of the top
forwards on the Flyers to be on the market and it’s very likely they’ll
be traded; if not, then Hamhuis tests the open market and the Flyers
get a seventh-round draft pick next summer.