Dreger's Mailbag: Questions on goalies, Stastny and Johnson

Darren Dreger

2/10/2012 2:14:28 PM

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Hey Darren,

It's been quiet - why do some NHL GMs wait until the last second to make a deal? I know they want to see how their team or teams they want to deal with play out to see if they should be a buyer or seller, but sometimes waiting for so long leaves you little time for a) To make ground on making the playoffs and b) the new player(s) to get accustomed to the new team and teammates!

With best regards,
Conor Reilly
New Jersey

A: Conor, all valid points. However, if the fit financially and otherwise isn't there, then the trade doesn't happen. That seems to be what's going on right now. The buyers remain active...making calls, following ledes, but the list of available players is still far from complete. Outside of two or three teams, the vast majority of NHL clubs not currently in the playoff mix are shelving reality and hanging on hope to keep their fan base engaged. Plus, those with pending unrestricted free agents are taking a good, hard look at each player and weighing the upside of re-signing them as opposed to offering them to the trade market. A number of managers acknowledge the significant gamble that goes in to banking on free agency to either add either a key player, or fill holes.  I still believe the week leading up to the trade deadline and deadline day will provide ample movement, but as we've witnessed over the past few years, the NHL Entry Draft has also become prime trading ground with big-name players in play.


Buffalo has started to turn it around the last few games but they are still 10 or so points out of the playoffs. Will they try to sell players like Boyes and Gaustad or will they try and trade some higher-profile names (Roy, Stafford) for different talent (Carter?) and shake up the roster?


A: Hi Jon. We joke in the TSN hockey department all the time with the term, "crickets," because that's what we're hearing out of Buffalo these days. Darcy Regier and those close to the Sabres are quietly going about their business and considering a number of changes, to be sure. Roy's name is out question. Same applies to Boyes and Gaustad. Some believe the Detroit Red Wings are interested in Gaustad and Travis Moen. Either would certainly add more grit to the Wings up front, but it's still a tad too early to suggest the Sabres have any intention of blowing it up and making mass changes.

What are the chances of a goalie being traded this deadline? I'm thinking Schneider, Bernier, Nabokov, Steve Mason, etc. Haven't been hearing very much in the rumour mill about goalies these days!


A: Peter, a lot depends on where teams are in standings. Canucks GM Mike Gillis insists two quality goaltenders are required to win the Stanley Cup. So, it's hard to imagine he moves Schneider before the summer. As is the case with most players, if a deal is presented Vancouver can't refuse before the 27th then the possibility exists. For me, Bernier's status is similar, although he doesn't have the same marquee value Schneider seems to have. I'm told Steve Mason is available which shouldn't come as a shock to anyone as goaltending in Columbus has been questioned over the past few seasons. Islanders GM Garth Snow, earlier this week, said he has no plan on trading Nabokov. The Islanders are clinging to a fading playoff hope and needs the veteran goalie to steal a bunch to keep the dream alive as the regular season winds down. If - or perhaps when - the Isles get to a point where it's clear there will be no postseason on Long Island, Snow will reassess his deadline day strategy and may entertain the interest that is sure to be there for Nabokov.
Hey Darren,

Why wouldn't the Leafs or any other team go after a guy like Paul Stastny?  He would be a lot cheaper than a guy like Eric Staal or Ryan Getzlaf, no?  He is a top point producer on a so-so team - is he on the market?


A: Kevin - sorry man, but comparing Paul Stastny to either Eric Staal or Ryan Getzlaf is tough given the individual and team success both of these guys have achieved. Also keep in mind, the Avs are in the midst of a playoff push and will need Stastny to stay in the fight. Stastny's name is often tossed out because he has not yet lived up to expectation and is constantly scrutinized because of the five-year contract he signed going into the 2009-2010 season that pays him $6.6 million for another two seasons. Yes, he's second in team scoring on the Avs, but that's a ton of money and cap space for a player who has yet to reach the 30 goal mark in six NHL seasons. At 26, he's young enough there might be a team willing to take the chance and believing all he needs is new voice (coach) and a fresh start. With so much uncertainty constantly swirling around the front office in Colorado, it may also be best to hold on to Stastny, see if any changes are made and then revisit the possibility in June.
Hey Darren,

I keep reading Jack Johnson's name in trade rumours from various sites (probably guys who don't really have any insight posting for conversation). Is there actually a chance L.A. would be shopping Johnson?  Also, I've read St. Louis is seeking a Top 6 playmaker, any chance of them acquiring one?

What are your thoughts? Always a pleasure to read your blogs as well as Bob's, as always the most credible guys in the business.

Warren, Spruce Grove
A:  Warren, there's no reason to believe Los Angeles is shopping Jack Johnson and based on recent dealings I've had with Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, he's tired of all speculation. It's believed Lombardi would like to add a forward and the names of Carter, Hemsky, Huselius, MacArthur and Kulemin are considered potential candidates, but Lombardi is one of the more unpredictable GMs, so zeroing in on a specific target is a tricky business. As for St. Louis, Blues GM Doug Armstrong goes about the hunt in a somewhat sleuth-like fashion. We know St. Louis would like to add a defenceman and if there is an affordable upgrade to his top six available, I'm sure it will be considered. But as I said, Armstrong is masterful at staying under the radar and is always a prime suspect when we start hearing the rumblings a blockbuster may be in the works.