photo: Svenska sporten
If we take a look at the names that have been bantered about over the last few weeks, only a few real difference makers appear to be on the market as we approach the trade deadline. I just don't think guys like Bertuzzi, Weinrich, Cujo, Souray, Biron, Noronen or Brendan Witt are difference makers. They are "nice" additions to complete teams, but not difference makers.
Here’s my top to bottom list of the few guys I see as real difference makers:
- Ollie Jokinen: Does it all. Provides on ice leadership, hits, grinds, agitates, passes and finishes with the puck.
- Roberto Luongo: Huge and athletic workhorse who would really shine on a better club. Leading the league in time on ice, saves, and shots against. Sick and tired of loosing and ready for a change.
- Bryan McCabe: Career year. Third-ranked point scorer among defensemen despite losing significant time due to injury. Simply a better player without the Mohawk.
- Keith Tkachuk: Still a big, fast finisher when relatively healthy. ‘Chunk would bring physicality and goal mouth havoc to softer teams like Nashville, the Rangers and Dallas.
The top two on my list happen to be unsigned Panthers who have already rejected contract offers. The idea of a blockbuster deal involving both makes your head spin. Mike Keenan can’t seem to be able to sign either, but if he moves both, I wonder how they will keep the few remaining Panther fans interested. If he moves them in a blockbuster deal, he might generate enough excitement to keep folks in South Florida intrigued for the rest of this year. If it's a good deal, he might actually generate real excitement that will extend into next season. Kings, Oilers, Sens, Canucks all have needs these guys could fill, but they don't seem to have guys of even comprable value or star power.