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Hossa Trade Talk

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Kukla's Korner just reported that Kevin Allen was on the radio in Detroit and mentioned that "negotiations with Hossa and the Thrashers are not going well." Potential trade partners mentioned by Allen include Anaheim, San Jose, Detroit, Boston and Pittsburgh. Allen speculated that the Red Wings would not be willing to part with young forwards such as Hudler of Filppula.

As a general point I very rarely post links to rumors. I'm extremely skeptical of the usual rumor mongers such as Bruch Garroich and Eklund based upon their spotty-at-best track. However, when Kevin Allen says something I sit up and listen.

Why? For one thing Allen is a top hockey journalist and current head of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. But perhaps more importantly he appears to have Don Waddell on his speed dial. My guess is that Don Waddell has been quoted more frequently in Kevin Allen's columns than all the Canadian media outlets combined. When it comes to the Thrashers Allen has a track record of accuracy.

EDIT: Allen now has a column up in which he says Don Waddell wants to keep Hossa and thinks the playoffs are still possible but "If no deal is in place, general manager Don Waddell almost certainly will trade Hossa because he won't let him leave without getting something in return." and "he'll want at least one player back who can help [the Thrashers] stay in the race."

The next two weeks are a huge crossroads for this team. If they play well in the tough month of January they have a very good shot at returning to the playoffs. It is possible that the Thrashers might keep Hossa and take the risk that he will leave this summer in order to create some playoff buzz in this market. On the other hand, if the team tumbles in the next few weeks and Hossa decides not to sign the contract he has been offered I could see him being moved if a trade brings an important piece for the next Thrashers playoff team.

What might Hossa bring if he were moved to one of those teams mentioned by Allen?

Anaheim: and The Ducks would need to move a salary about as big as Hossa's since they are squeezed up against the cap ceiling. My assumption is that Getzlaf is untouchable. Niedermayer and Pronger are also unlikely to be available. Beauchemin is so cheap I can't see the Ducks dealing him. In my mind the Ducks are probably offering Mathieu Schneider since they have so much salary tied up in their top three defensemen. Schneider is old (38) and has one more year on his deal. His brother lives here in town. On the one hand the Thrashers clearly need defensemen, on the other hand this team has repeatedly been burned by acquiring older players entering their decline phase.

San Jose: I have followed the Sharks as closely as I did last when they were my pick to come out of the West. Patrick Marleau signed a big contract extension and has struggled this season. He is signed for two more years at $6.3 each. Cheechoo has also had a down year and might be available. He has a cap hit of $3.0 per year and is signed for three more years. The Sharks have offer a defensemen as well. Christian Ehrhoff will be a RFA this summer and Matt Carle might tempt Atlanta but he just re-signed for a couple of years and they may not be eager to deal him.

Detroit: I'd be interested to see Brett Lebda in a Thrashers uniform. He has two more years left on his very affordable contract. But the Wings D is getting very old and they would likely resist moving either Kronwall or Lebda. Filppula and Hudler were mentioned earlier. Both are skilled but Hudler is tiny and we already on the small side.

Pittsburgh: I'm sure the Thrashers would like to get their hands on young defenseman Chris Letang and that the Penguins would want to keep him. They will no doubt offer Atlanta the very undisciplined Brooks Orpik and I pray that they say no. Jordan Staal could be a fit at center but this franchise needs a star defensemen much more badly than a center with Bryan Little available in Chicago and Riley Holzapfel on the way from juniors in the near term.

Boston: I know that a lot of Bruin fans have soured on Phil Kessel this season so perhaps he might be available for a trade. To be honest I'm not terribly excited about most of the Boston roster.