Mar 032009
 

Some interesting non-trade moves have taken place today that might shed some light on trades and player value for tomorrows trade deadline.

First, Niklas Backstrom has signed a four year contract extension in Minnesota. That means, if there was any doubt, that Backstrom will not be traded. But what it does mean is that quite possibly young backup Josh Harding could potentially be used as trade bait for the Wild either leading into tomorrow’s trade deadline or in the off season.

A number of intriguing players have been placed on waivers today. The list included Miroslav Satan, Gary Roberts, Brendan Morrison, Martin Gerber (re-entry waivers) and lesser players Aaron Voros, Erik Reitz, Eric Perrin, Jon Sim and Craig Adams.

Miroslav Satan is interesting because while he hasn’t been great as a linemate for Sidney Crosby, he does have 17 goals and 36 points which has to be worth something to a team hoping to make a run in the playoffs. To me, seeing Satan on waivers can only mean that the Penguins need/want that cap space to make another move (who knows, it may be Guerin). I would say there is a chance that someone will pick up Satan, but if they don’t, will the Penguins look to alternatives to free up that cap space? Brian Burke has in the past said the Leafs would consider taking on salary dumps, if they came with a draft pick. Would the Penguins be interested in trading Satan and a 3rd or 4th round pick to the Leafs for next to nothing in return, just to rid themselves of Satan’s salary so they can make another move? We’ll have to wait and see.

Gary Roberts and Aaron Voros are interesting cases as well because they give us an indication of what the market value for that type of role player is. Presumably the Lightning and Rangers would have tried to trade those guys for whatever they could get, even if it were just a 7th round pick, before they decided to put them on waivers, but they found no takers. Their value, in terms of what other teams are willing to give up for them, is essentially zero. So if that is the case, what does that say for the value of similar players like Chris Neil of the Senators or Jamal Mayers of the Leafs or Ian Laperierre of the Avalanche? Not much, though Mayers is signed for next year so is not just a rental player.

This waiver wire process will also act as a blocker for when trades will get made. Any team who has put a player on waivers (such as the Penguins) or a team who puts in a claim on a player will likely have to or want to wait until after noon tomorrow before making some other trades to see whether they have lost or added a player.

Finally, Martin Gerber is back on re-entry waivers less than a week after he was in the same situation with no takers. Have the Senators been given any indications from other teams that there may be an interest in picking him up, or is Bryan Murray once again hoping? Possible takers are the Red Wings (whose 8-0 loss to the Predators on Sunday may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to their goaltending), Buffalo, Calgary, and Washington.

Brian Burke was just on Fan 590 in Toronto and said that he doesn’t think that the return on rental players will be anything like what it was in the past. There will be no rental players going for a roster player, a good prospect, and a first round pick like Forsberg and others have been traded for in the past. So unless things change, even though there are more buyers than sellers, the prices to acquire players may be at a discount from previous years.