Above the 49: No big names expected to move north on deadline day
By Daniel Fung
Sports Network Columnist
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) -
The NHL trade deadline on Feb. 27 promises to be one of the most compelling deadline days in years, but not so much if you happen to be a fan of one of the seven teams north of the border.
Among the big names rumored in play this season include Columbus' Rick Nash and Jeff Carter, Anaheim's Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan, Phoenix's Shane Doan and Washington's Alexander Semin, but don't expect any of them to be swapping zip codes for postal codes in the near future.
Only one Canadian team - Vancouver - has virtually guaranteed itself of a spot in the postseason picture, but the Canucks are nowhere in the discussion when it comes to one of the marquee names floating around.
Vancouver would ideally like to add a top-four defenseman or a power forward before the deadline, but it's hamstrung by salary cap concerns and is not likely to part with backup netminder Cory Schneider, who is the Canucks' biggest asset in a potential deal. Mason Raymond's name also has come up in trade speculation.
Toronto has been floated as a potential destination for Nash and would have the ability to maneuver his contract into its lineup, but the Maple Leafs simply don't possess the assets Columbus will demand in return for dealing away its poster boy - namely an elite forward (with the exception of Phil Kessel), a blue-chip prospect and a franchise netminder to replace the struggling Steve Mason.
|Cory Schneider is the Canucks' biggest asset in a potential deal.|
The Leafs are barely hanging on to a spot in the top eight in the Eastern Conference and may be in selling mode by the time the deadline rolls around. Their 6-2 spanking at the hands of the Canucks on Saturday should quash any thoughts about them being a legitimate Cup contender even with the addition of Nash or another top-tier forward.
Selling season has already begun in Montreal with the Canadiens shipping defenseman Hal Gill to the Nashville Predators last Friday. They'll be trying to move out several more impending unrestricted free agents before the deadline in forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Travis Moen and defenseman Chris Campoli.
Meanwhile, a major fire sale is expected in Edmonton with Ales Hemsky at the top of the exodus list.
Calgary and Ottawa are likely to remain in a holding pattern through the deadline with the exception of perhaps a few minor upgrades with playoff spots within grasp, but not to the point where they'd be willing to mortgage the future.
Winnipeg has done an admirable job sticking around in the playoff conversation, but the Jets are more likely to go the route of a seller as opposed to be a deadline buyer.
The last Canadian team to add a marquee player at the deadline was the Calgary Flames, who plucked top-line center Olli Jokinen from the Coyotes back in 2009.
Jokinen had eight goals and 15 points in 19 regular-season games down the stretch for the Flames, guiding them to a fifth-place finish in the Western Conference. He was the team leader in playoff points that season, notching five points (2-3-5) in six games in their opening-round series loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.