The NHL trade deadline is less than 1 month away. However in this shortened season, the race for playoff spots is tighter than ever. The number of teams who have given up, at this the half way point of the NHL year is few, and as a result we have less confirmed sellers right now than we normally do at this point in the year.
Earlier in the week I looked at what Columbus had available for UFA rentals. Next we looked at why injuries will really hamper Florida’s ability to sell their UFAs. Yesterday we looked at the Buffalo Sabres. Today its on to Colorado.
Yes, I know, Colorado is just 5 points out of a playoff spot. But lets be realistic here, their 8-10-4 record so far does not inspire much confidence. They will certainly need to pick up their game in the next three weeks to avoid being a trade deadline seller. However, if the standings don’t significantly change between now and the end of March the following players could be available as UFA Rentals.
While teams don’t always trade for just draft picks, and often will look for prospects who are closer to NHL ready, I have valued these players all on the draft pick scale, so it is easier to compare them to what is available on other teams, in my other articles.
Milan Hejduk: Hejduk is the Avalanche’s longest serving player, as he joined the team for the 1998-99 season. Now 37 years old he’s certainly slowed a step over the years, but he’s a battle tested player with a Stanley Cup ring. He picked up 37 points last season, and has just 9 in 20 games this season. Still he can add playoff experience and some offensive depth on the bottom lines for a playoff contender and so I think he’ll be in demand if he allows the Avs to move him (it should be noted he has a full NMC). We really don’t know what Hejduk is thinking, but would anyone blame him if he wanted to stay in Colorado? If available he’s likely worth a third rounder.
Chuck Kobasew: The 30 year old has really fallen off the map since scoring 20 goals with the Boston Bruins in 2008-09. He’s an experienced player who will bring grit, a ton of work ethic, and solid defensive play to your bottom lines, but thats all he is at this point a bottom line player, and one who has been injured a lot in recent years. I really don’t see Kobasew as being in high demand. He isn’t really someone who will make a huge impactt on a playoff team at this point, other than as pure depth. I’m gonna peg the value as a sixth round pick.
Ryan O’Byrne: In O’Byrne we have a towering defenceman at 6’05 and 235 lbs. He’s physical and has been known to drop the gloves from time to time (but should not be confused for a goon). He’s also a decent defensive player playing 19:27 per game for the Avs including 2:48 on the penalty kill. Colorado is using him on the second unit PP as well this year, but really he doesn’t belong there, and shouldn’t play there on a contender. Don’t expect much offence, as he really has never produced points in his career. O’Byrne is a Right Handed shot which always adds value as they are more rare than Lefties. For reasons of his size, physicality and defnsive play I’m gonna peg him as worth a third rounder.
What do you guys think, have I valued these three trade deadline rentals too high? too low? Feel free to add your comments below.