McKenzie: Trade market as hot as it's been post-lockout

Bob McKenzie

2/22/2011 9:47:35 PM

The shock waves are still being felt after last week's flurry of trade activity, especially the St. Louis-Colorado blockbuster involving Erik Johnson and Chris Stewart in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Consider the Los Angeles Kings as a highly motivated buyer with lots of cap space and bountiful assets that could be used to get one, or maybe even two, top six forwards. Dallas centre Brad Richards is unquestionably a person of interest for the Kings, but his current medical status, that is to say concussed, is clouding the issue somewhat. Other targets for L.A. may include Edmonton's Ales Hemsky, and to a lesser extent Dustin Penner, and Florida's David Booth. Los Angeles has plenty of draft picks and young prospects in Manchester but if the Kings are to part with Brayden Schenn or, and this is a real long shot, Wayne Simmonds, it's going to take an astronomical contract player coming back. Personally, I would be leery of any Kings' trade rumor involving Simmonds or any other young, core player on the Kings' roster.

Richards, no doubt, is also coveted by other teams, including the New York Rangers and Toronto. Those teams may be in a position to be less concerned about his short-term health, with an eye towards signing Richards to a long-term deal. Keep in mind, though, Richards calls his own shot with a no-trade clause.

Atlanta, meanwhile, maintains its not trying to unload young defenceman Zach Bogosian but he's coveted by many teams and do keep in mind, he's a restricted free agent at season's end. Atlanta already has big money, almost $17 million dollar a year going forward, committed to Dustin Byfuglien, Ron Hainsey, Tobias Enstrom and Johnny Oduya.

There are plenty of Paul Stastny trade rumors coming out of Denver, but with three years at $6.6 million per left on his deal, that's a tough ticket for the Avalanche to move.

New Jersey isn't peddling hard-rock winger David Clarkson but his minutes played have fallen off lately under Jacques Lemaire. Other teams are taking note and curious to see what it might take to pry him out of there.

All we know for sure is that after last week's activity, it doesn't pay to assume any player couldn't or wouldn't be moved because the trade market is as hot and as volatile as it's been post-lockout.