First, let me give credit to Richard Cloutier. He is an Oiler blogger that sparked the following thoughts.
Obviously we have missed whatever chance there was to get a top 6 forward thru free agency unless, of course you believe any still remain. I don't. That leaves a trade as our only hope of such an addition. Who are the more likely trade partners. Cloutier's theory was cap strapped teams like the Flyers, Sabres and Caps. I added the Pens as well.
The Sabres have several possibilites. Jason Pominville would be great, but i find him highly unlikely due to the multiple roles he plays. Same for Derek Roy. Jochen Hecht may be their 1st choice, but he doesnt excite me. Lastly, is Brad Boyes. Decent size, a 4 mil cap hit, a scorer. He only has 1 year remaining on his current contract, but it does contain a no trade clause.
OK, so how about the Caps. Semin is a great talent, but very enigmatic and very expensive. Considering Laich just signed an extension that leaves Knuble. Trouble is he is 39 and would only relieve the Caps of 2 mil. Great for us, but offers very little help for the Caps.
How about the Pens? I would love to have James Neal. He's young, 23. Good size, 6'2" and around 210. Fairly cheap, cap hit of 2.875 mil, but 3.5 mil for 1 year. A likely resign? He wasn't very impressive for the Pens down the stretch. Maybe they saw enough, but I doubt he gets sent packing.Kunitz could be up for moving, but he doesn't really help our scoring much IMO. So, what do we do?
That brings me to my top target, or at least I'm guessing more likely than Neal. He would be a familiar face. He does have a no trade clause we would need to overcome. I dont have any idea what he would cost, but we have traded often with his current team. We need his size, edge and his willingness and skills in front of the net. He has 2 years left on his contract w/ a cap hit of 4.2 mil per year, would only cost a total of 6.8 mil in actual salary. He's also only 29 years old so keeping him beyond the 2 years would also be possible. He is Scott Hartnell. Yes, I know he and Trotz had a few run ins, but that was years ago. Could we reaquire Harts? While not the electric scorer we may wish for, he is a very effective net presence. He's big, physical and would/could be somewhat of an enforcer w/o wasting a roster spot on Stortini. He's also very good on the power play. Lord knows we need that. So, what are your thoughts and thanks for reading.