1. Shea Weber (if Suter leaves and Nashville looks to trade, wouldn't you consider packaging Edler, Schroeder, and some other piece? Of course it's a longshot, and I'd prefer signing him next off-season as a UFA, but if Nashville decides to move him, I'd be fine with moving a few assets and signing him immediately to a long-term deal.)
2. Justin Schultz (the ball's in his court, but I've gotta think Salo won't be offered a contract, and if playing in his hometown appeals to him, everything I've heard about this kid is that he could fit right into the lineup. Maybe Tanev plays the steady role alongside Edler, Schultz plays with Ballard, and quarterbacks the PP with Edler.)
3. Paul Gaustad (I might also say Chris Kelly or Jarret Stoll here, and I'm guessing they'll all get similar money, but I like Gaustad's size, faceoff prowess, and the guy hits and fights; Hansen and Higgins are great third-line wingers, but a huge centreman with some physicality would create a powerful checking line. Also, I prefer playing Schroeder on the second line while Kesler's out to see what happens when we have a play-making centre to play with Booth and whoever we target for the second line right wing role--assuming the plan is to have Kassian cut his teeth on the fourth line for the time being.)
4. Joe Pavelski/Ryane Clowe (After another disappointing end to their season, you've got to expect San Jose will be making big changes. I can't see Gillis being interested in Marleau or Thornton, even though I'd be looking to move one of those contracts if I were Doug Wilson. But like Chicago, San Jose has got to replace Niemi as their starter, and maybe Luongo enters the picture. So who could you get in return? Pavelski may be a bit of a stretch, although he'd fit beautifully with either the Sedins or on the second line. Or how about Ryane Clowe? He actually collects more assists than goals, he's a warrior, big, from Newfoundland, and he'd make for a nice net presence wherever you put him.)
5. Nail Yakupov (I think Edmonton is looking for a trading partner because they want defensemen, maybe one high in the draft and one via trade or free agency. Columbus won't do it because I'm certain they don't want to draft another Russian after failing with Filatov and Zherdev. Neither Montreal nor Toronto will do it because what they need is a big centreman, so they'll be looking at Galchenyuk and Grigorenko. How good would Yakupov look on the right wing with Booth and Kesler? What would it take? If you think you can land Schultz on July 1, maybe a package of Edler, Raymond, and Vancouver's 1st rounder would get it done. I also think Edmonton needs some muscle to protect their young stars, but we're not trading Kassian and I don't know who else we have that could fit that bill. Or Maybe Gillis needs to get creative and land a Top 5 pick to then flip it as part of a package to land Yakupov.)
6. Luke Schenn (other than Jake Gardiner, every defenseman's stock in Toronto is low, which bodes well for a trade if Burke is interested in Luongo. If the Weber or Schultz possibilities don't pan out, I could see Shenn, Komisarek, or Cody Franson as the return, maybe along with a 2nd or 3rd rounder. Obviously, Weber is the ideal because he's a beast offensively and defensively; Schultz could step right in and replace the puck-rushing improvisational ability we lost with Ehrhoff's departure; but our D could also use some added toughness, and Schenn would be my first choice of the three right-handed D-men Toronto would be open to moving. I think he still has the tools to be a top-pairing shutdown defender with some offensive upside, and the guy shoots right and threw 270 hits. Could be a nice steadying influence alongside Edler.)
7. Ryan Malone (This guy is a warrior, and at $4.5 million/year for another three years, his contract isn't too hard to swallow. If Tampa has any interest in Luongo, this is the guy I'd want back. Unless Brett Connolly happens to be available, that is. While Kassian cuts his teeth on the fourth line, Malone can fill the missing second line role. But I think Yzerman wants Schneider, not Luongo. And if Schneider's not available, I'd guess he'd turn his attention to Jonathan Bernier or some other young goaltender who can step right in and assume a starter's role.)
8. David Clarkson/Anton Volchenkov (Alright. If Jersey wins the final, which I don't think they will, and Brodeur retires on top, which I don't think he will even if they win, then Luongo to New Jersey becomes a possibility. If this happens, I'd ask for Adam Larsson first, but Jersey wouldn't trade him. Then I'd ask for Clarkson, then Volchenkov.)
9. Patrick Kane (He's a partying prima donna, no doubt, but he's a playmaking winger and has a skill set unlike anyone else in the league. Lord knows, Vancouver doesn't have anyone with slick moves and speed like that, although Schroeder, Rodin, and Jensen may bring some of that to the table as they graduate to The Show. Anyway, like Yakupov, Kane would add a more dynamic dimension to the second line because he could find Kesler and Booth when they're driving the net and he can certainly keep up with them. And who knows? Maybe Chicago is interested in Luongo, although I think they'll look at Tim Thomas first. Wouldn't you? But if they want Luongo, maybe they're tired of Kane's antics, and maybe Gillis has realized that a team of nice guys with high IQs needs an element of cockiness and flare. And maybe those nice guys could help Kane tone down the partying. Don't you think we could use some more Bieksa-style swagger and less of the Kesler/Lapierre-style diving and whining?)
9. Kris Versteeg (In looking at Florida's lineup if Luongo goes there, Gudbranson would obviously be a great addition, but like Larsson in Jersey and Hedman in Tampa, these are guys that just won't get moved. Not for Luongo, at least. But Versteeg is a right winger with second-line ability, he gets more assists than goals, and he's 26, so he could be a nice complement to Kesler and Booth.
10. Jay Beagle (He's an RFA, but I'd make a pitch. 26 years old, just coming into his own, a great faceoff man who's coming off an outstanding playoffs, a 6'3" centreman, he'd be a great fit on the third line. I only list him lower than Gaustad, because I think Washington matches any offer we give him.)
What's your Top 10?
Edited by TheCanuckleheads.ca, 27 May 2012 - 10:21 AM.