James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Not very sunny in Philadelphia

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


The Roberto Luongo trade intrigue continues, with the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks sprouting up as the latest possible suitors according to some rumors.

Both teams represent sensible fits.

Chicago might be off to a hot start (they topped fellow Central Division giant St. Louis last night), but aside from the need for a second-line center, goaltending has been the team’s Achilles heel for ages. Adding the netminder whom they have tormented in the past - United Center staffers might want to start auditioning new goal songs just in case he’s added - would make a ton of sense and would be a bountiful gift from an entertainment perspective.

Loud supporters of Devan Dubnyk probably weren’t particularly abundant on Tuesday, as he allowed all six of San Jose’s goals in a humiliating first period meltdown. Honestly, I’ve never seen Dubnyk as much more than a lesser-evil option in Edmonton and I’m not overly optimistic about his future. With their goalie needs in mind, Luongo could be a great boost for the Oil. They even have some excess talent (Sam Gagner anyone?) to entice Vancouver GM Mike Gillis.

Really, though, there are plenty of sensible locales for Luongo if the price is right. Of course, Luongo’s own price tag is a big part of that equation.


Cory Conacher (zero percent?) - It’s important to note that Conacher has indeed had some beginner’s luck in notching five points in three games. He’s connecting on 40 percent of his shots so far; that number is likely to dip to around 10 by the end of the season.

Still, there are some reasons to at least give him a gander. The pint-sized forward has been a pretty effective scorer at the AHL level, drawing inevitable Martin St. Louis comparisons. So far, he’s getting nice reps with St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and occasionally Vincent Lecavalier, which is fantastic news and obviously improves his chances of being more than a flash in the pan.

One area where he breaks from the St. Louis comparison? He’s shown a feisty side, with 114 PIM last season in the AHL. If he can net a penalty every other game or so, he could bring value even if his scoring dries up. I’d say give him a tryout if you’re weak depth-wise.

Bonus: He’s listed as a C/LW so he can be adjustable, too.

All that being said, if you guys like these two players and they are available, pick one or two of them instead:

Cody Hodgson (24 percent) - How is Hodgson owned in less than a quarter of leagues? Have I been beaten down by being in too many 14+ team messes?

Either way, Hodgson is a great depth addition, especially if you’re the type who targets rarer wingers because centers are easier to come by. He’s getting big minutes in Buffalo at appears to be the team’s go-to No. 1 pivot, so the much-hyped forward could have a significant season. If nothing else, the opportunities are there.

Chris Stewart (45 percent) - You’ve gotta love those big PIM guys who can score.

Stewart had a down year with 15 goals in 79 goals last season (after scoring 15 in the 26 games he netted after being traded to St. Louis in 2010-11), but I think he's the type who can flirt with 25-30 tallies in a normal season. He also has the kind of edge that helped him rack up 109 PIM in 2011-12, although his average PIM season could fall closer to the 70-80 range. So far, he has seven penalty minutes, so he's not exactly being a wallflower.


Andrei Markov’s two goals make his injury risks seem less pronounced. For now … Steve Downie left Tuesday’s game with a knee issue of unknown severity. This is a huge bummer for the PIM-hoarding power forward, who has had his problems in the past … Looks like Carlo Colaiacovo will be back around Feb. 19. Probably in time to get injured again ... Ben Eager is day-to-day with an eye injury, which probably won't yield too many years (pun sort of intended) ... Adam Henrique appears primed to return in early February ... Jason Demers is day-to-day with a wrist ailment.

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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