It’s a Seller’s Market With 25 Teams Still In The Playoff Hunt

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    Habster:

    The NHL trade deadline is always a mixed bag of emotions for NHL hockey fans around the world. We sit in front of our televisions, listen to our radios and receive text messages anxiously verifying if our team has made any significant moves to improve their chances to make the playoffs or better yet, win the Stanley Cup. We treat the day like Christmas morning, waiting to open our gifts, only to be disappointed once we realize that the power drill we asked for is a pair of slippers or a rainbow coloured tie!!! In hockey terms, wanting Hossa but getting Satan…..

    There is no place in the hockey world (including Toronto!!!) more obsessed and “geared in” to every move their team makes than Montreal Canadiens fans.

    The usually reserved and secretive Bob Gainey has been remarkably candid about his trade day wish list which in turn has raised Hab fans expectations for tomorrow’s trade deadline action.
    With constant rumours of Gainey hotly pursuing players like Marian Hossa, Alex Tanguay and even Mats Sundin (until he decided to not waive his no-trade clause), there is rightfully or wrongfully, a sense of excitement building for tomorrow’s big day but don’t be surprised if Gainey and other NHL general managers get cold feet with the escalating asking prices for Hossa, Tanguay or Richards…..etc. It’s definitely a sellers market with 25 teams still within striking distance of a playoff berth. I can’t remember having that many teams in the playoff picture at the trade deadline……we can thank the salary cap system and the three point games for the parity within the NHL.

    Let’s Do Some Name Dropping, Shall We….

    There have been so many crazy, unfounded rumors flying around the media with “glovegate” and Hossa/Recchi alleged sightings at PET airport………it gets absolutely nuts at times!!! Let’s take a deep breath and be realistic about the whole situation.

    The constant Marian Hossa to Montreal rumors have been prevalent and fueled by both teams heavily scouting the other with the most recent scouting job by Thrashers GM Don Waddell attending a Hamilton Bulldogs game last night. There is no question that Gainey and Waddell have exchanged names and possible trade options with each other. When highly respected and connected hockey people like Pierre McGuire and Bob McKenzie are stating that the Canadiens and Senators are the top suitors for Marian Hossa’s services, then you know that there is some truth to these rumors.
    I listened to McGuire talking to the Team 990’s Mitch Melnick who asked McGuire what he thought hypothetically the Canadiens would have to give up to get Marian Hossa. He hypothetically stated that a roster play of Christopher Higgins’ calibre plus Ryan McDonagh or Alexei Yemelin and one or two draft choices………way too high a price for a rental player as far as I’m concerned!!!!

    There are also some more recent rumors which state that Gainey may be interested in Brad Richards with Jay Feaster being interested in Cristobal Huet or Jaroslav Halak as part of a bigger package which would also include a prospect and/or a conditional draft pick. Richards has had a rough season at times but is a proven playoff player and a former Conn Smyth Trophy winners with the 2003-04 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. He is a character guy who would fit in well with the current roster but there is that huge contract which runs through the 2010-11 season at an annual cap hit of $7.8 million. A huge deterrent to say the least as it would handcuff Gainey’s ability to sign his young core players like Komisarek, Higgins, Price, the Kostitsyns and Pleckanec.

    The other options at Gainey’s disposal would be to target the “smaller fish” of the NHL hockey world, players like Jarret Stoll, Alexander Frolov, Mark Recchi, Bobby Holik, Ruslan Salei and Robert Lang.
    Not the sexy names most Habs fans want to hear but we have to be realistic about the trade market that will be unfolding as the trade deadline day quickly develops. Bob Gainey will be rightfully apprehensive to mortgage the teams future for a quick, rental solution like Hossa.
    Habs Players In Play
    As far as who Gainey would consider moving from the Canadiens, Michael Ryder is as good as gone and don’t be surprised if Mark Streit isn’t in play as well with another young, talented Swiss player like Yannick Weber waiting in the wings. Other names that could be available: Latendresse (yes, the golden boy who hasn’t scored a point in over 10 games!!!), Dandenault, Begin, Chipchura, Bouillon, Grabovski, O’Byrne, Halak, Huet, Valentenko, D’Agostini, Carle, Emelin (?), Pacioretty.

    Yes, Gainey has an abundant of good prospects in the Canadiens systems which can and should be used to better the current roster but there has to be some common sense when the asking price is unrealistically high, even for a Marian Hossa!!!……..enjoy the 2008 trade deadline!!! I’ll be blogging the day’s action live all day so check in often for updates.