McKenzie: Lots of activity still possible ahead of deadline

Bob McKenzie

2/27/2011 11:28:55 PM

Although the Chris Phillips situation with the Ottawa Senators is now settled, General Manager Bryan Murray still has the capability to be quite busy between now and the deadline. Chris Campoli and Phillip Kuba are two defencemen that could be on the move if there is a market for them.  Chris Neil is another Senators player that has time left on his contract, The New York Rangers among others have expressed interest in the rugged forward.   The problem is that there are so many moving parts with teams having priority lists and where Neil fits in remains to be seen, but certainly Murray isn't finished making deals.

Florida Panthers' David Booth and Steve Weiss are interesting players because Booth still has four years left on his contract at 4.25 million and Weiss has two years at 4 million and 4.1 million they are both talented, offensive hockey players.  The situation in Florida is that there are going to be lots of bodies flying out the door.  However these two contract players are interesting because the sense is that General Manager Dale Tallon inherited these players and he isn't finished stripping this organization down to the bare bones.

It appears as though this is probably a team that's barely going to be above the salary floor next year.  If they can continue to bring in prospects, draft picks and guys that are playing junior hockey in exchange for those more established commodities, Tallon will be able to do the same thing in Florida that he did in Chicago and build the team from the ground up.

On the subject of Brad Richards, at this point we don't know if he is going to be traded but what we do know is that he remains the biggest fish in the sea.  There have been all kinds of obstacles to making this transaction, the very first one that popped up was the fact that he's been injured.  That obstacle is going by the wayside a little bit because he's starting to feel better and getting back to skating. 

The teams that are interested in him the Los Angels Kings, New York Rangers and to a lesser extent the Toronto Maple Leafs who might be more interested in adding him on July 1st in free agency, are starting to get the sense that they might want to make the move and add him. 

The second obstacle is the price factor, the Dallas Stars because they are in a playoff race aren't just going to give him away and for sure they aren't going to give him away to the Kings, a team they are battling for a playoff spot.  There are lots of complications standing in the way of him being moved, what the price will be and what the other teams would be willing to give up to get him. 

Even if all of those situations can be satisfied, Richards has a no movement clause so there is just layer upon layer upon layer of hurdles to jump prior to a deal.  I would say it's 50-50 that he gets moved. Also, he might have as much chance to make the playoffs staying in Dallas than moving to Los Angeles or New York.