Among other players on expiring contracts, it is likely that Alex Semin, Patrick Elias, Michael Ryder, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Pascal Dupuis, Sergei Gonchar, Matt Cullen, David Clarkson, Vinnie Prospal, Nathan Horton or Daniel Alfredsson aren’t going anywhere because they mean too much to their current teams.
There is greater uncertainty about Ryane Clowe (unrestricted this summer, but hampered by injuries all year); and Brad Boyes of the Islanders because he too has a history of moving at the deadline.
In the end, usually the sorts of trades that occur are the ones involving the likes of Matt D’Agostini, who was swapped by the St. Louis Blues to the New Jersey Devils for a conditional mid-round draft choice. The Blues needed the roster spot because T.J. Oshie is ready to play again and the Devils figured D’Agostini was a worthwhile gamble because two years ago, he scored 21 goals in 82 games for St. Louis. That’s decent production if he can ever get close to those numbers again.
THIS AND THAT: NHL teams went 7-1-1 on the road Thursday night. The only home team to win was the Nashville Predators. They defeated Calgary, which lost its eighth in a row on the road. Overall, road teams have had a decent winning percentage this year, according to nhl.com (197-200-53). The two main exceptions are Calgary (3-8-2) and Philadelphia (4-12-0), both of whom have been abysmal away from home – probably the biggest reason they’re going to miss the playoffs this year … The game of the week – the NHL’s No. 1 team overall Chicago vs. the No. 2 team overall Anaheim – went to the Ducks this past Wednesday, and it was a good one. Playing in front of a Honda Centre record crowd of 17,610, Anaheim erased a 2-1 third-period deficit by scoring a pair of late goals, both set up by a flu-stricken Ryan Getzlaf, and then iced it with an empty-netter. It marked the fifth time already this year Anaheim won a game in which it trailed after 40 minutes, a rare occurrence in the era of parity. Anaheim played without Corey Perry, serving the final game of his four-game suspension, but the Blackhawks were without two key injured players as well – Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. The teams meet again next week in Chicago for the final time this regular season and if they end up meeting in a conference final some time in June, the battle between Getzlaf and Jonathan Toews could be a tong war … Their loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this week, plus a growing injury list that includes Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Malone and now goaltender Anders Lindback, means that the Tampa Bay Lightning could be sellers at the trading deadline as well. Lindback was injured in relief of starter Mathieu Garon and if his injury is a high ankle sprain, that could mean an extended period on the sidelines, this after he’d finally gotten back on track in the past half-dozen appearances. In the meantime, Cedrick Desjardins is up for the minors to replace him. Among the bottom 15 teams in the NHL standings, Tampa is the only one that has scored more goals than it has given up (plus-8).