James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Brain Deadline

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In Wednesday’s Daily Dose, I tried to sidestep the growing mound of Rick Nash trade rumors. My logic was pretty simple (and really still is, when you think about it): there wasn’t anything particularly substantial about them.


That being said, there’s a big difference between random Twitter weirdos making up seemingly random ideas and respected hockey reporters floating those same scenarios. That doesn’t guarantee that Nash or any other hotly rumored player will actually get traded, but it gives a lot of credibility to the idea that his name is being discussed in large boardrooms with sweaty general managers and their assistants. Perhaps more directly, it kinda forces us to ponder it a little more seriously.


With that in mind, it sounds like it's inevitable trade talk time, Part I. Let’s take a look at the three biggest trade stories from Wednesday in order of least to most probable. I’ll also provide some comments and/or dismissive disapproval of such ideas.

Zero chance (allegedly): Even if it would make a lot of sense when you really think about it, the Edmonton Oilers have reportedly slammed the door shut on Ryan Smyth trade talk. You’d think the aging former semi-star would bring in a nice amount of value for a team that’s still in rebuild mode, but the Oil are going in a strange direction right now. (See: the rather baffling contract extension for Andy Sutton.)


Then again, maybe Edmonton just didn’t want to see pictures of the guy crying again.

Less than one percent chance (hopefully): When I heard talk that about the idea of a Patrick Kane for Ryan Miller trade, I assumed it was a creation of a frivolous message board. (Surely the thought of Buffalo native Kane playing for the Sabres has resonated in such forums many times.)


Actually, I’m still kind of convinced that it is hogwash, but the idea is getting higher level play than expected. Jeremy Roenick even believes that the Blackhawks might just need to do it or that they can "afford" to get rid of Kane. Let me say this: the Blackhawks would be insane to trade a 23-year-old star winger with the drawing power, skill and affordable contract of a guy like Kane.


Anyone who thinks he should be traded is overreacting to his not-that-bad 45 points in 57 games. Those people are also ignoring his 6.8 shooting percentage, which says to me that he’ll get things together as soon as he starts getting some more bounces.


On the other hand, it certainly would be interesting – and a boon for Miller owners.

50 percent chance (seemingly): Finally, we get to Nash. Maybe a coin flip probability is too low or perhaps it’s too high. (Personally, if I owned the Columbus Blue Jackets or considered myself a fan, I wouldn’t be crazy about Scott Howson making what would be the biggest trade in franchise history. But that’s just me.)


Either way, the idea of the high-scoring winger being traded is about as interesting as things have gotten at the trade deadline in perhaps the post-lockout era. The salary cap is a big reason why huge trades are increasingly rare – and probably stands as the biggest obstacle for this thing to happen. (The other one is that contenders are unlikely to part with everyday players this late in the season, which CBJ will almost certainly be asking for in most trade situations.)


Still, if something does happen, where would be the best place for Nash? The two most commonly rumored destinations seem to be New York and Los Angeles, although Toronto and [insert other contenders here] are in the running, too.


The Rangers and Kings don’t exactly employ high-powered offenses, so the Maple Leafs could be particularly lucrative for Nash owners. If I had to choose one of the two, though, I’d go with New York. As much as I admire Anze Kopitar’s game, I have a feeling things would work better if Nash lined up with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. (If John Tortorella just threw all the big guns on one line, that is.) Perhaps it amounts to prejudice based on the Kings popgun offense, but that’s just my gut reaction.


Either way, Nash could get a real boost from a trade – unless he gets exposed and flames out in a higher-profile environment, of course. (Both the Kings and Rangers employ coaches who aren’t shy to slam players in public ways, for one thing.)



Marek Zidlicky waived his no-trade clause to go to New Jersey, but the deal didn’t happen. Yet? … Happy birthday to Jaromir Jagr, who turned 40 yesterday … Teemu Selanne tied Brendan Shanahan for No. 12 all-time with his goal No. 656 … Mike Knuble just wants the headaches to go away in Washington. Something tells me they’ll cease around Feb. 27. (The date of the trade deadline, in case you were wondering. Argh, I just explained my joke. That’s bad form.) … Olaf Kolzig says Alex Ovechkin is too wrapped up in his rock star image. He should probably take more shots if he wants to succeed … Chris Stewart has been bumped all the way down to the fourth line in St. Louis. That probably won’t last long, especially if he is indeed on the trading block, but his value's pretty low right now … Steve Mason tied Marc Denis for the Blue Jackets’ franchise record for wins with 84. Yup, that’s probably the funniest sentence I’ll write in February.



Jean-Sebastien Giguere left last night’s game with a “torso” injury, but Jiggy believe that it’s not too serious … James van Riemsdyk seems to be making progress in his concussion recovery … There’s some concern that Nathan Horton might be out for quite a while … Jimmy Howard’s latest return target date is Sunday … Patric Hornqvist is day-to-day with an upper-body injury … Marc-Andre Bergeron’s back is giving him issues, which some would say hurts fantasy owners more than his real team … Keith Ballard is day-to-day with either a neck injury, concussion or some combination of the two. (Click here for the full injury list.)

James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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