Counting down to the AFHL Trade Deadline
Can you smell the meat on the burner?
Choice cuts have been in display cases for some time now, including the prime rib known as Alexander Semin which continues to have Boston Giants fans drooling.
Earlier this week, an AFHL analyst might have shot down one rumor with a report that the Castlegar Wolves have pooh-poohed suggestions they were shopping Brad Richards. Guess which team was mentioned in that deal? The Manhattan Supermen.
Every year there will be wild-eyed fans suggesting trades that run the gamut from sublime to ridiculous. First rule of thumb here is: Never propose — or believe — a deal that would send a bag of used pucks one direction to get the world’s biggest diamond in return.
There are only a few more days to go until the big day and no one seems too sure what March 4 will bring. Under normal circumstances, a large percentage of GMs could count on being active.
“There’s a number of factors that are playing into this trade deadline,” Hamilton Outlaws GM Don Vincent said Sunday on a conference call. “The tightness of the (playoff) race, the future of the franchises. There’s all sorts of stuff that is going to play into it.”
“At this point, I really don’t know what we’re going to be presented with or what we’re going to be asked for.”
Even though the deadline is fast approaching, it’s still extremely tough to identify who is going to be buying and who is going to be selling.
“Part of the driving force in these deadline deals is getting depth,” said Hollywood Stars GM Mike Bassett. “I think that I can speak for all the teams: They always want to get as deep as they can.”
BOSTON GIANTS – Battling for the final playoff spot, GM Mike Phelan apparently wants a defenceman and was thought to be in the bidding for Winnipeg Wheat Kings rearguard Jay Bouvmeester, but the Wheat Kings say he isn’t for sale. Perhaps Bryan McCabe (Manhattan), Nicklas Lidstrom (Buffalo) or St. John’s Joe Corvo could be enticing. Reports also suggest they are the front-runners for Hamilton forward Alexander Semin.
DEER PARK CHIEFS – Also battling for the final playoff spot, GM Nellany is said to be interested in bolstering blue-line (Heroes’ Ivan Vishnevsky?) following injury to Marc-Andre Bergeron.
MANHATTAN SUPERMEN – Acquired left winger Alex Tanguay after trading away Thomas Vanek. Still needs more consistency at left wing and may look in that direction. Reports say they may trade with the Hellstars for Evander Kane.
HOLLYWOOD STARS – GM Bassett is believed to be looking for an impact forward (Oshawa City’s Shane Doan?).
FORT DRUM KILLERS – Landed Jussi Jokinen and Valterri Filippula, but may want to add another star forward or second-line right winger. Names like forwards Scott Gomez (Oshawa City) and Tomas Holmstrom (Hamilton) have been mentioned.
BUFFALO PHANTOMS – Still has the best record in the league. Rumoured interest in a goalie (Edmonton’s Cam Ward, Seattle’s Tim Thomas) to help Craig Anderson in playoffs won’t go away.
SEATTLE BRUINS – The names of forwards Maxim Afinogenov and Jarret Stoll likely will be of interest to some teams if the Bruins declare themselves out of the playoff hunt.
DETROIT GLADIATORS – Good, young team may be willing to unload a veteran (forward Brendan Morrow) for a young player in return.
WASHINGTON POWER – Thomas Vokoun (St. John’s) and Cory Schneider (London) are gone, Power GM Ray Irwin is shopping Ondrej Pavelec and apparently listening to offers for Vinny Lecavalier.
ON THE FENCE:
LEXINGTON LEG HOUNDS – They’ve been unsuccessful in landing a top-six forward to make a playoff push. There’s a small chance they can still make it but it’s doubtful. Forward Derek Roy has been linked to trade rumours involving Manhattan and Fort Drum.
LONDON MUSTANGS – Could look to Seattle forward Maxim Afinogenov after watching Boyes (Toronto) and Setoguchi (Deer Park) go elsewhere. Adding scoring depth at defense is another potential move.
OSHAWA CITY LEAFS – Were said to be interested in acquiring forward Zach Parise before London scooped him up. GM Earl McNeill may find the price for Alexander Semin too high, but might settle for Maxim Afinogenov (Seattle).
VANCOUVER HEROES – Best record in the conference. Stanley Cup contenders. Could be in the market for a star forward (Hamilton’s Semin or Washington’s Lecavalier?). GM Ben Rauscher apparently not willing to hurt team chemistry or part with youth.
WINNIPEG WHEAT KINGS – Another good, young team only looking for future help. Traded Mike Richards and Mike Green in a blockbuster trade with Washington in the middle of January. Traded Andrew Cogliano to Manhattan last week. Could Mike Fisher and Chris Kunitz be far behind?
CASTLEGAR WOLVES – Forward Zach Parise is now a London Mustang, while forwards Michal Handzus and David Backes also could be moved.
EDMONTON HELLSTARS – Shipped defenseman Kris Letang to Winnipeg in early January. Reportedly shopping forwards Evander Kane and Bryan Little. Not expected to do too much.
TEMISCAMING STORM – GM Ryan Vincent traded veteran defenceman Sergei Gonchar to Manhattan in December. Most prominent names to be sent packing include forwards Danny Briere, Keith Tkachuk and Mike Knuble.
TORONTO RED DEVILS – Fire sale could be nearing an end. Zetterberg (St. John’s), Heatley (Temiscaming) and Ehrhoff (Seattle) gone. Goalie Steve Mason, defenceman Sheldon Souray and forward Andrew Ladd supposedly drawing interest from numerous teams.
ON THE FENCE:
ST. JOHN’S RED WINGS – After making several big moves a month ago, the Red Wings finally are jelling under coach Barry Hickey. They’re still in the playoff race but it could be too little too late. Suitors are lined up for a shot at Zetterberg and Datsyuk should Hickey be forced to trade.
HAMILTON OUTLAWS – Alexander Semin’s name tops the list and they’re asking for a lot in return. Several reports say they’re in the market for a reliable starting goalie. Making the playoffs is a long shot and if they decide to sell then players like Holmstrom, Bertuzzi, and Clarkson will be dealt.