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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.
…with all that cap room?
With the loan of Michael Nylander to Grand Rapids of the NHL, the Capitals gained financial flexibility which should allow them to acquire some help in areas they deem necessary. As of this writing, the Caps 24 wins lead the League making the average fan ask: How can they possibly get better?
Corey Masisak of The Washington Times lists five speculative picks that would bolster this team as they prepare for a lengthy playoff campaign. As the team stands there is little need for improvement but one could make a case for another top defender.
As we know from our history watching the playoffs, depth is key. The team’s current construction has featured numerous players shifting up and down the teams forward lines as coach Bruce Boudreau dealt with injuries and juggling in order to find the proper mix. Still Masisak believes the most glaring need is this top defenseman. His solution: Scott Niedermayer.
Niedermayer currently captains the Anaheim Ducks and has lead them, as well as his former team the New Jersey Devils, to the Stanley Cup. In addition, this may be the last year in the NHL for the 36-year-old. Although he only has three goals on the season, he would become a powerful weapon on the Washington powerplay, something dreams are made of. He along with Mike Green would give them two elite puck-moving defensemen which would be incredibly dangerous for this already powerful offense.
TSN’s Bob MacKenzie reports the news around the waiver wire. The Florida Panthers placed defenseman Ville Koistinen on re-entry waivers. His cap hit is a meager 1.2 million, which if claimed would be split by both the claiming team and the Panthers. In 17 games with Florida the 27-year-old has one goal and three assists. In 103 career games between his team and Nashville the Finn has 8 goals and 24 assists.
As we predicted yesterday, Jeremy Reich and Michael Leighton cleared waivers.
In other news, the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues made a minor move. The Blues get Pascal Pelletier while the Blue Jackets receive Brendan Bell and Tomas Kana.
The largest part of the deal seems to be Bell. The 26-year-old defenseman posted 17 points in 21 games with the Blues AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. The former Leaf draft pick played 53 games last year with the Ottawa Senators and was recently selected by Hockey Canada to represent his country in the Spengler Cup.