Five Players Likely to Be Moved at NHL Trading Deadline

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The NHL’s Trade Deadline is just a little under two weeks away (February 28th, 3 P.M. EST).

There have already been four intriguing trades, to date:  Mike Fisher to the Nashville Predators for Nashville’s first round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and future considerations in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft; Michael Frolik to the Chicago Blackhawks in a five-player deal, to include Jack Skille; Francois Beauchamen returning to Anaheim in exchange for Joffrey Lupul, a prospect and a conditional pick; and Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers for a pair of draft picks, one of which is a future first round pick. Add to that the ultra-tight races for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and you have the makings of a very interesting trade deadline season.

Mathieu Garon, Columbus Blue Jackets

Garon, long believed to be a solid backup, but never a classic, No. 1 goalie—although he did nearly lead the Edmonton Oilers to the playoffs in 2007-2008 in place of an injured Dwayne Roloson —could certainly draw interest from teams who appear to be primed for post-season play.  If the Blue Jackets begin to struggle in their next few games and appear to be primed as sellers, expect Garon to be dealt.

Craig Anderson, Colorado Avalanche

With the Avs in the midst of an epic freefall, having lost eight games in a row, and with Anderson experiencing a dreadful second year in the Rockies, the Avs may ‘cut their losses’ and finish the season with Peter Budaj.  As the “Foppa” Forsberg experiment failed—again—what’s the harm in giving Budaj the lion’s share of work for the remainder of the skein?

Rostislav Klesla, Columbus Blue Jackets

This player carries a warning label, once which will definitely limit the chances he’ll be dealt by the trade deadline.  While a sturdy, stay at home defenseman, and a serviceable contributor, Klesla’s penchant for injuries over the past few seasons—Klesla is currently on Injured Reserve (IR)—might limit his value, even if Columbus does indeed go into seller mode.

Bryan McCabe, Florida Panthers

McCabe is regarded as a veteran big-minute, power-play defenseman and leader.  McCabe can certainly help a team in need of a PP specialist, particularly for a team making a playoff push.  Caveats for McCabe are his age, 35; him being in his last year of a contract; thus, a rental; and a propensity to make mistakes in his own defensive zone.  However, for both leadership and a heavy PP shot, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another player to fill the bill.

Cory Stillman, Florida Panthers

While not the offensively-prolific player he once was, the 38-year old Stillman relies on savvy and solid offensive instincts.  Stillman is slated to be an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) at season’s end, so this season might be his last chance at playoff glory.

–Ed Cmar

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