In the final hours of shopping prior to the NHL's Olympic roster freeze, three deals were made, while it's almost certain seeds for countless others were planted.
The NHL went into general shut-down mode at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, and the roster freeze lasts until 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 28.
The biggest of the three trades Friday involved the Chicago Blackhawks
acquiring veteran defenseman Kim Johnsson
from the Minnesota Wild
in exchange for defenseman Cam Barker
. The Blackhawks also acquired the rights to Nick Leddy
, the Wild's 2009 first-round pick currently in his first season at the University of Minnesota.
Earlier Friday, the Ottawa Senators
added depth to their forward unit by getting center Matt Cullen
from the Carolina Hurricanes
. The 'Canes received defenseman Alexandre Picard and the Sens' 2010 second-round draft pick.
Also, the New York Rangers
picked up rugged forward Jody Shelley
from the San Jose Sharks
for a 2011 sixth-round pick that could become a fifth-round pick if the Rangers sign Shelley to a contract extension.
Those moves, however, don't answer any of the questions surrounding the future of a number of big-name players, as the rumor mill continues its near-uncontrollable spin.
Carolina's Ray Whitney
, Columbus' Raffi Torres
, Montreal's Jaroslav Halak
, Boston's Michael Ryder
and Tim Thomas
, Dallas' Marty Turco
and Edmonton's Sheldon Souray
have been some of the bigger names mentioned to be on the move.
Some teams could be more active than others. Toronto GM Brian Burke
, after dealing away six players recently to acquire defenseman Dion Phaneuf
from Calgary and goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere from Anaheim, declared he still was "open for business," with forward Alexei Ponikarovsky
the most-talked about name on the move.
Florida GM Randy Sexton, with his team losing five straight, sounds like he'll be selling.
"There's no player off limits," Sexton said. "There are players we'd like to keep, but at the end of the day Wayne Gretzky
was traded. We have to get better and get our team to the point where we want it to be. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions.
"We have too many guys who don't compete. You can't win in this game unless you're ready to show up and go to war every night. We don't have enough of them. This is not the type of team we want. We're going to keep making changes until we get that. It takes time. It's like turning around the Titanic and not a rowboat." -- Florida Panthers GM Randy Sexton
"We have too many guys who don't compete. You can't win in this game unless you're ready to show up and go to war every night. We don't have enough of them. This is not the type of team we want. We're going to keep making changes until we get that. It takes time. It's like turning around the Titanic and not a rowboat."
He started the process by moving center Dominic Moore
to Montreal Thursday, and other players that could be packing their bags -- either sometime today or prior to the March 3 trade deadline -- include goalie Tomas Vokoun
, and forwards Steven Reinprecht
and Rostislav Olesz
. Power forward Nathan Horton
, out with a broken leg but expected back after the Olympics, also could be on the move.
The Oilers also could be very active, as owner Darryl Katz called his team's play this season "completely unacceptable," and empowered GM Steve Tambellini to do whatever he needed to do to improve the situation of the last-place club.
"'Tamby' has the absolute green light to do whatever he needs to do to rebuild the hockey club," Katz told Edmonton radio station 630 CHED. "Notwithstanding the injuries, what we have to date is not working. That's clear. I expect, and we should all expect, to see some changes."
Among the teams that could be buying are the Philadelphia Flyers
, especially if Vokoun becomes available. Goaltender Ray Emery
is out for at least three weeks with a hip problem, leaving the starting duty to Michael Leighton
. Leighton has played well, but he has no NHL playoff experience. Vokoun doesn't have much himself (11 games), but he leads the League with a .930 save percentage and seven shutouts.
The New York Rangers
, Pittsburgh Penguins
, Buffalo Sabres
and Boston Bruins
all could use scoring help, which a player like Whitney or maybe St. Louis' Keith Tkachuk
Teams looking for help on the back end would love to write Souray's name in their lineup, but the broken hand he suffered in a fight with Calgary's Jarome Iginla
will keep him sidelined until after the Olympics. He also has a no-trade clause in his contract, so any team that wants him might have to do a bit of convincing.
Washington, which has allowed six goals in each of its last two games, could be looking to add some muscle to its defense corps. Possibilities include Edmonton's Steve Staios
or Jason Strudwick
, Carolina's Andrew Alberts
or Aaron Ward
or the Islanders' Brendan Witt
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com