A few weeks back, we postulated that Jean-Sebastien Giguere seemed an unlikely trade target.
Most teams who are in playoff contention like their goaltending just fine, Giguere was battling a groin injury, and why dispense with part of the future - even a draft pick - for a UFA who's not much more than an insurance policy given that the trade deadline occurs with less than 20 games to go?
Giguere's latest injury, on Wednesday against Buffalo, brings out another thought (perhaps not coincidentally hours after getting a haircut): players who, if they are going to continue in the NHL next season (no guarantee), are looking at an end to the salad days.
Here's a look at some pending UFAs and their cap number this season:
The list of course is not exhaustive (we only looked at UFAs), and these type of things are always debatable.
At one end of the debate continuum is Vokoun. His current rate seems high for a goalie that has been to the playoffs just once in over a decade and who's often had a dip just when Florida starts to tease with playoff potential (take a look at his March and late February stats in recent years in relation to other months). But there are seemingly NHL people who love this guy - he's been traded to Detroit just one less time than Tomas Kaberle has been dealt to Boston.
At the other end is Leclaire. How could you rely on him as a backup goalie? It seems likely he'd have to string together at least a full season's worth of health in some other league to even think about returning to the NHL.
Injury histories could scare teams off Marco Sturm and Steve Sullivan (assuming they even feel fit enough to play), and pride is another factor. Would someone like Alex Kovalev play for a fraction of his current salary when he could probably make some decent coin in the KHL?
Then there's the terrific to solid players who are overpaid to a slight or significant degree. Most Bruins fans would probably love to have Michael Ryder back at a ticket about 60 per cent of what he makes now, and you can't just grow young defencemen who'll play to the minutes and level of Bryan McCabe, Ed Jovanovski and Roman Hamrlik. Up front, Simon Gagne's been there, done that and possesses offensive instincts. No one's crying for millionaire hockey players, but on their terms, they will likely feel a bit of squeeze..
It wasn't much of a fight, but it probably made Toronto and Vancouver team officials a bit nervous. Pension Plan Puppets has video of Nazem Kadri of the Marlies dropping the gloves with Sergei Shirokov of the Manitoba Moose.
The Canucks play the Predators on Thursday, and interestingly, the return of Marcel Goc and Marek Svatos from injuries, as well as the acquisition of Mike Fisher, led to a notable name being scratched from the lineup on Tuesday against the Sharks - J.P. Dumont. Bonus feature from the article from the Tennessean is Carrie Underwood in her new team attire.
It's a day old, but this story on recent Pittsburgh call-up Joe Vitale is a compelling read. Courtesy of Shelly Anderson of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
It's official. The trade period has officially begun. Paul Mara has been traded. It marks the third time Mara's been dealt in February or March. Can Jim Vandermeer be far behind?
Feb. 17, 1978: The Cleveland Barons threatened not to play their next game after their owner missed the Jan. 31 payroll date and threatened to do so again with the mid-February target. The NHL was propping the Barons up at the time (the Coyotes weren't the first!). The Barons somehow lasted the season and one more, merging ahead of 1978-79 with Minnesota.
But really, all this is a feeble excuse to trot out maybe the best-named NHL team of any era:
Owner: Mel Swig. Players: John Baby, Len Frig, Jim Moxey, Brent Meeke, Mike Fidler, Rick Shinske, Rick Jodzio, the gone-too-soon Juha (Whitey) Widing, and of course, No. 1 goalie Gilles Meloche and star Dennis Maruk.
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