Monday, February 24, 2020

Weekend Rankings: Deadline day thoughts, Ovie’s 700th and Zamboni drivers

It’s deadline day, which means you’re either reading this in the morning while you wait for the action to kick in, or it’s the afternoon and most of what follows is already out of date. Either way, I won’t waste your time with thousands of words of deadline analysis, because soon it won’t matter. The day is here. Let’s settle in and watch the fireworks.

That’s assuming there are any since the weekend was quiet and several big names are already off the board. But we do this every year. Deadline day seems like it might be a dud, almost nothing happens before noon, and then we end up with 20+ trades by the end of the day. Stay patient, the deals will come.

Here are 10 situations I’ll be watching today, in no particular order.

Chris Kreider: He’s the big name on the board, which kind of tells you everything you need to know about this year’s deadline. He’s a good player. He’s fine. He’s not exactly Jarome Iginla or Martin St. Louis or Rick Nash or Ron Francis. But if he’s the best option, somebody should overpay. It’s up to Jeff Gorton to make it happen.

All that Colorado cap space: It’s kind of amazing that it was just three years ago that Joe Sakic had one of the worst deadlines ever, trading Iginla for nothing at all and not adding any future assets of note for his 48-point disaster of a team. Now he’s got an elite Cup contender and a ton of cap space to bring in reinforcements. Life for an NHL GM moves quickly.

The Blackhawks’ goaltending situation: They’ve got two big names in Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner, both of whom are pending UFAs, and based on the standings don’t really need to keep either. A trade or two makes all sorts of sense, but the problem is that contending teams aren’t usually looking for goaltending this late in a season.

The Hurricanes’ goaltending situation: As you may have heard, they lost both of their goaltenders to injuries in Toronto on Saturday. And yes, I put this right after the Chicago entry for a reason. There has to be a fit here, you’d think.

Marc Bergevin: He’s off to a solid start, turning a profit on deals involving Marco Scandella and Ilya Kovalchuk. There’s a chance to do more, but he could also stay the course, which would be an intriguing call in its own right. Those post-deadline media scrums with GMs are usually pretty worthless, but it could be interesting to watch Bergevin spin if he chooses to have a quiet day.

Kyle Dubas: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Unfortunately, both the smoke and the fire are coming from the torches being held by the hoard of seething fans outside his office, so this suddenly doesn’t feel like a great time to do anything big. Waiting a few days for things to cool off isn’t an option, though, so let’s see what he can do. A Tyson Barrie deal? Moving a forward for blue line help? Something smaller? Nothing at all? There are no easy answers, but here’s a spoiler alert: Whatever he does, Leaf fans will think it was wrong.

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