Looking for a Defenseman?

Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres

As we approach the midway point of the 2009-10 season in the National Hockey League, many questions remain unanswered.

Which teams are serious about playoff contention?  Who needs a massive upgrade to make the push from a bubble team?  Which team should sell off the year and attempt a mini-rebuild?

Those are some thoughts circulating the League as we take a look at the state of all teams around the NHL.  Now, when perusing through certain rosters some names that could bring in returns which would benefit a team in need of depth.

Today, we look at the defensemen around the NHL likely to be moved by the March 3rd, 2010 trade deadline. As a side note, be sure to tune into “The Hockey Guys” on deadline day as there will be an all day live event with a live chat room for discussion on all the rumors and news as it breaks in the NHL.

If you have not noticed the way d-men are being brought into the NHL, I will help you understand the recent developments. We are beginning to see, more and more, the crop of blueliners entering the NHL have an offensive style game. To give you an example of what I mean:  Drew Doughty, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Duncan Keith, Zach Bogosian, Mike Green, Michael Del Zotto, Shea Weber are a few names from recent drafts with the gift of scoring from the blue line.

When you think playoffs, it’s about experience, two way hockey, leadership and heart and soul type players.  You also think about, outside of goaltending, offense.  However, the defense is an absolute crucial part of a roster and the game as it gives a balance at both ends of the ice.  As a team you need to be able to protect your end of the ice as well as get the puck up the ice to an offensive transition.  So, in summary the blue liners play a very vital part of the team and there will be some names in discussion come the new year and second half of the
NHL season.

Some of the potential names that can see their names sewn onto the back of a different sweater:

As discussed recently here on NHL Hot Stove as well as the recent “The Hockey Guys!” podcast, Scott Niedermayer will be the biggest name on the trading block when the deadline approaches. With the Ducks currently out of a playoff position and the season not looking like it will take a turn for the better, the Ducks would be smart to move out the duel captain (named Candian Olympic team Captain earlier today).  Scott can make one more run at a cup and the Ducks can get an important piece for their future.

Possible destinations: NJD, WSH, LAK, PHI

Joe Corvo, when healthy, provides a team looking to shore up some help on the blue line with veteran experience as well as an offensive touch that can help out a power play when called upon.  The News Observer’s Javier Serna first reported Corvo on the block on December 2nd.

Possible destinations:  PHX, NYI, BOS

Jean-Michael Liles might not be having his best season this year; queue the rumors. Liles could be packaged with a forward in order to get an upgrade up front. He is a good puck mover and has the ability to score from the blue line as well.  Another potential PP QB to add to this list.

Possible destinations: FLA, NJD

Sheldon Souray hears his name come up in rumors all season.  As the Bruce Garrioch of Ottawa Sun reported the Oilers are falling apart and if they can move Souray and relieve
themselves of the cap hit they kill two birds with one stone.  Souray will provide not only a massive shot from the point, but a leader both on and off the ice.  He plays with grit and is one of the better power play quarter backs in the league.

Possible destinations: MTL, NYI, PHX, BOS, WSH

Kim Johnsson and  Marek Zidlicky are both important pieces to the blue line in Minnesota, but if the Wild season doesn’t tame there will not be a playoff appearance. Both players bring puck moving abilities as well as defensive presence.  Pure speculation on my part, but wouldn’t you move these two if your team falls out of the race?

Possible destinations: BUF, NYI, FLA

Michal Rozsival of the New York Rangers, although a hefty price tag, could be shipped out just to have one of the younger blue liners step up and into the line up on a full time basis. It helps free up cap space in New York to acquire more important pieces which are scoring forwards. This could be one of the key figures in a Pavol Demitra deal, or a salary moved to fit said player under the cap.

Possible destinations: VAN, FLA, PHX, BUF

One of Alexander Picard or Chris Campoli, who are both RFA’s at seasons end, could be shopped by the Senators as The Sporting News recently mentioned.   Carlo Colaiacovo and Darryl Sydor of St. Louis could also be shopped.  Sydor would add great veteran depth to a playoff team. Brett Lebda, if the Wings are out of the playoffs around the deadline, could be a welcome addition as well to a younger team.

We hope you enjoyed our latest feature here at the NHL Hot Stove.  You can help NHLHS stay alive by visiting our sponsors to the right.

Follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates

Anthony Curatolo
NHLHS Contributor

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