Another reason I like this time of the year, from an NHL perspective, is the Trade Deadline. While there’s so many rumors and speculation, it’s still nice to look at all the possibilities. “Rental Players” are a big piece of this time, players with expiring contracts who can help out a contender. However, this season seems to be dominated by some really good, young players, or at least ones with a lot of upside.
MATT DUCHENE AND GABRIEL LANDESKOG
You’d think a 26-year-old making $6 million a year wouldn’t be on the trading block, but after 45 games the Avalanche have a paltry 28 points. I don’t blame Joe Sakic for taking offers on anyone and everyone, but for this guy to be available is a bit insane. Colorado has a young team, and their coach quit just before the season started, so it’s not the end of the world.
Landeskog, while not having as big an upside as Duchene, is also on the block. The “Future of the Team” is only 24-years-old, and making just over $5.5 million for the next four years. While I can’t agree with some on their opinions on the asking price for Duchene, Sakic might want to loosen his belt, or put more faith in his drafting and get more picks.
Defenseman seem to mature at a later age, however, Shattenkirk is no slouch. Even this season he is putting up good numbers (11G, 21A) and is making $6 million for another season. St. Louis seems to want to get rid of him though, and while he might not be the most reliable preventing goals, any smart team could pair him with a stronger defensive partner. He’s also only 27-years-old.
While Eberle turned out better for the Oilers than his counterpart Sam Gagner, he has become a bit expendable as some younger guns have emerged. It’s actually put Edmonton in a good position. They have a 26-year-old Forward, putting up good numbers, and they’re already playing well. He will have to go at sometime, as his $6 million salary will be needed to re-sign the next wave after their Entry Level Contracts expire.
One thing I am looking forward to is what will the market charge this time around. It seems like every year is a crap-shoot now. Sometimes teams get the world for a has-been, while other years they can snag a good piece for next to nothing. It’s kind of crazy though that the TSN projected top ten pieces of “trade bait” average just under 29-years-old.