The NHL's holiday roster freeze kicked in on Monday, dropping the league's trading activity all the way down to zero from its previous level of… well, zero.
NHL GMs don’t really seem to like to trade anymore; we've had just four since the season began, none of them especially interesting. There are plenty of theories as to what's behind the decline of the trade — mine is that 90 percent of today's GMs are risk-adverse wimps who'd rather mumble excuses than do their jobs — but it's undeniable that it's happening.
Still, there's hope on the horizon. As of yesterday, we're officially ten weeks out from the 2017 trade deadline. And trading does tend to pick up early in the new year, which is when we saw last year's first true blockbuster. It's time for NHL GMs to get to work. And we're going to help them out.
Last week, we traded Jarome Iginla five times. People really seemed to enjoy that post — some friendly Flames fans even offered to help heat up this frigid Ottawa winter by burning my house to the ground. So today, let's build on that success by proposing five deals that could make sense as the deadline nears.
No need to thanks us, NHL GMs. Just helping you do your jobs.
Trade #1: Ryan Miller to Dallas
We all know that the Stars need a goaltending upgrade, and it's safe to assume that "we" includes Jim Nill. The rumor mill has linked Dallas with names like Ben Bishop and Marc-Andre Fleury, and those could make sense. But let's throw another veteran star into the mix by sending Miller to the Stars. Hey, it wouldn't be the first time he was part of a big mid-season trade to a Central contender. And that last one probably worked out great.
Of course, we need a few things to happen for this deal to work. The first would be for Miller to waive an NTC that reportedly lists just five teams he can moved to. Given how things have gone in Vancouver this year, that doesn't seem unreasonable. The second would be for the Canucks to realize they're rebuilding, and while there's been plenty of resistance to that notion in Vancouver, you'd have to think that by the deadline they'll be ready to bite the bullet.
The third condition might be the shakiest: We need to Stars to actually be contenders. That's looking dicey these days; right now, they're not only outside the playoff picture, but they're only a few points up on Vancouver. Still, they seem like a decent bet to straighten out, especially if they can get a real goaltender.
Miller isn't having a great year, but he'd be an upgrade on what the Stars have. And with an expiring deal, Dallas could afford his cap hit. Send some picks and prospects to the Canucks, along with, say, Kari Lehtonen with Dallas retaining salary. That gives the Canucks a boost to their future and a reasonably priced veteran backup for Jakob Markstrom for next year.
And since we're rebuilding the Canucks, let's make one more Vancouver deal…