It’s January, a brand new year, and the NHL trade deadline is now on the horizon, ensuring speculation will only increase in the coming weeks over which players might be shopped. Here’s a list of those I believe who won’t be changing addresses by February 27th.
Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators. Every team in the league would love to have either guy, let alone both, patrolling their bluelines. It remains to be seen if the Predators can afford to re-sign both, but regardless of the status of contract talks, they won’t be dealt as long as the Preds remain in the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames. The rumormongers love to keep his name in the mill, but he doesn’t want to be traded, GM Jay Feaster doesn’t want to trade him, and with the Flames currently in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, it would be madness to shop him now. One rumor had the Flames and Capitals talking a swap of Iginla for Alexander Semin. If Feaster even dreams of making that deal, he better wake up and apologize!
Rick Nash and Jeff Carter, Columbus Blue Jackets. It’s been a season from hell for the Blue Jackets, which of course has led to speculation of Nash and Carter getting traded, even talk of the pair wanting out of Columbus. They and their agents strongly denied those rumors, and unless they change their minds by the trade deadline, they won’t be shopped.
Kris Versteeg, Florida Panthers. He’s the Panthers leading scorer, on pace for career-highs in goals, assists and points, and yet his name has been floated as a possible trade candidate? Probably because he’s been moved around so much over the past couple of years, but honestly, suggesting the Panthers could move him is ridiculous.
Eric Staal and Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes. Yes, the Hurricanes will likely have a “fire sale” near the trade deadline. Don’t expect Staal or Ward to be among those on the move, as they’re the Hurricanes cornerstone players.
Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks. As much as Winnipeg hockey fans would love to see “The Finnish Flash” finish his career back where it began, Ducks GM Bob Murray insists Selanne will finish his career as a Duck. Selanne has a soft spot in his heart for Winnipeg, but Anaheim is his second home.
Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators. Earlier this season there was talk the Senators should trade Alfredsson to a Cup contender to give him a chance at winning a championship. Alfredsson dismissed that speculation, correctly pointing out being dealt to a contender is no guarantee of winning the Cup, adding he wasn’t in any hurry to leave Ottawa. Given the Senators surprising improvement this season, don’t expect “Alfie” to be going anywhere.
Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils. Yes, I’m well aware of his contract status, and of the Devils potential financial problems, but as long as they’re in the playoff hunt, Parise won’t be dealt, regardless of his contract status, by the deadline.
Shane Doan and Ray Whitney, Phoenix Coyotes. Doan’s also a UFA, but he loves Phoenix and has indicated he wants to finish his career with the Coyotes. Of course, his mind could change if it appears the team could be relocated this summer, but I don’t see him bailing on the Coyotes in mid-season while they’re still in the playoff race. Whitney’s name keeps popping up this season in the rumor mill, but the Coyotes won’t shop him while they’re in the playoff hunt, as difficult as that is for rumormongers to believe.
Josh Gorges, Montreal Canadiens. The Habs could indeed conduct a deadline fire sale if they fall out of the playoff race by February, but I don’t believe Gorges will be among them, as the Habs will be intent to re-sign him to a long-term deal.
(Update: The Canadiens have re-signed Gorges to a six-year extension. So much for talk of the Habs shopping him at the deadline, unless you want to buy into the premise of “sign-and-trade”).
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins. Some folks look at the Bruins goaltending tandem and believe Rask has no future with the Bruins. That, of course, is absurd. Rask has been getting more playing time this season, and the Bruins envision him as Tim Thomas’ eventual successor, a role he seems keen for. They won’t trade Rask because, put simply, he’s their future between the pipes.
Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks. Luongo’s too expensive and has a no-trade clause, while Schneider is terrific insurance if Luongo struggles or gets hurt. Schneider may not have a future in Vancouver, but he hasn’t made an issue out of it, and the Canucks aren’t in any hurry to move him.