With one week of games left til the trade deadline it is that time, the time when GMs have to decide what there role is for the rest of S14. Are they Buyers, teams that defiantly or most likely in playoffs with a decent shot of winning. Are they Sellers, no real shot of going anywhere so looking to S15 by targeting 2 year players, players who will be cheap resigns, and pick. Are they lame ducks, GMs planning on leaving management just looking for guys who will show up and play. Here is how I see the east breaking down ...
Detroit is once again rolling, and looks like a lock to repeat, but I doubt any team in the east is gonna hand them a trip to finals without a fight. It is truly a tail of two conferences with 2 eastern teams over .500 on the outside and 4 teams fighting for the last wild card spot. Add to that the question marks in Columbus and New York, teams who have had stretches of dominance followed by struggles to even get 6 on the ice, and the east is gonna be fun to see down the stretch, and fun to see who gets aggressive and who stands pat.
Detroit Red Wings
While most would think Wings would stand pat, their last 24 hours has made you wonder, adding jayscott and moving Burst out of town. But Linde has told FNN they feel like they are done so unless something steller comes along they may end up in the Stand Pat column.
Toronto Maple leafs
While they have been a steady team rolling to playoffs, and have a pretty good team, I would be suprised to not see Rich not make one or two moves to better his chances
I do not see this team getting past tough draw of Leafs and Wings without at least one more piece.
Not sure what to expect here, they have quietly dominated, while showing it does have its issues, the quietness from the Capital city gives no real effort to improve. Maybe they are afraid to add an east coast player being the lag they cause in there games is there biggest strength
Just adding a piece to a team that has not lost their November 8th loss to Pittsburgh, I really feel they have what they need. I bring up Pens because there C has told me straight out they do not want to draw Pittsburgh round one, so passing Capitals may not be a priority.
New York Islanders
Since the departure of this teams C, they have been under .500 and lost to teams on bottom, but they are defiantly still good enough to win. That being said I think they must to add a piece to make a deep run.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Another team who is solid but fallen pray to the midseason drag, the question is will the players who have not shown up start once playoffs draw near, or do they need an addition to complete the team, a question I bet not even their GM knows seeing who those troublesome players are.
Trying to stay unbias, this team has overhauled themselves in past two weeks and shown great performances when top line is out. Also just getting past hardest part of schedule and many more teams on the bottom upcoming should help hold on to spot, maybe even jump up a spot, But with many TWCs some will have to be ELCd and cap space being tight, its hard to see anything besides maybe a first round upset without adding depth on the blueline.
New York Rangers
They are getting hot, but could be the product of an easy schedule last week or so, if I was NYR I would probably wait til deadline to make moves since 4 of the games they have next week are top 10 teams, by deadline the could be in wildcard spot, or 10 points out by then, so might want to wait before going full buyer mode.
Another team who have put together a streak based off a softer schedule, the difference for Ottawa is there soft schedule continues through Sunday so they could overestimate themselves and buy, but then again if they buy they could push themselves over the top and find a way to squeak into wild card spot. A larger issue, this team is $3.507 OVER cap when they have player off IR, so they either need to shed cap now or face S15 with a $28m Budget, so they need to decide if they are serious about contending and throw themselves under the bus for S15, or be realist and fix the issue now.
Yet another team who has been given delusion of catching up due to 5 of 6 games vs bottom teams while playoff teams had harder schedule. I see them adding for sure, plenty of cap space and management that will never back off, this team could defiantly utilize these factors to move from bubble team to contender quickly. The big question is, as I will address tomorrow when I do the west, is sellers are limited due to pathetic Central division and might limit how many pieces are out there to add.
Tampa Bay Lightning
This team needs to be realistic and see that even if they put together a run, 4 teams ahead by 8 points is too many to pass, they cannot all struggle. They have already looked toward S15 by compiling the max number of draft picks, they could try to move up draft or look for a 2 year or guy they know will resign cheap to help out more. This team could really do more to help themselves by utilizing the almost 10 million in cap by taking on a large salary in a 3 team deal in exchange for one of those things I said above.
With 11 million to take on overpaid flops,and a ton of cheap players who could add depth to buyers, this team would be insane not to take advantage and set themselves ups for a strong start to S15. If I was in Boston I would look at all the weak Central teams who have big holes and go to them with deals, at least 4 or 5 of these guys could start for those Central teams fighting for 3rd, and Beantwn should look at that as a great opportunity. In my opinion if he does it right this team is the one who could gain the most for S15 if they are smart and start selling NOW.
No doubt this team has to sell, the question is do they even have anything to sell that would interest buyers outside of maybe goaltending. I can not see many moves to be made here, purely out of lack of outside interest so they may just limp along to the end of the season.
Tapped out on talent, only real move is to use cap space to offer to clear some for buyers in exchange for picks, which they have very few of. I don't see any significant action here.
New Jersey Devils
Just a sad story, two of league most experienced management decided to cry about stupid things and quit, and in a disloyal move, sold some players that they should be "loyal" to the quitters and leave themselves. What is left is a dedicated GM who has done his best to even get 6 to show up, with very little to offer. Hard to see how this ends for this tragedy, but I doubt it will have an impact on playoffs moving forward
well that all I have for today, guess I should actually do some work today. I will do west breakdown for tomorrow, til then ...