I love predicting things that will happen in the NHL, even if I'm wrong on most of them. Coming up with a prediction means thinking about hockey, and that never gets old for me (except for a couple of weeks after the Leafs get bounced in Game 7). With that said, here are five predictions about the NHL trade deadline.
Shea Weber gets traded
This one is way out there. She Weber is basically retired due to injury, but that's actually what makes him attractive as a trade target. He's not retired, he's on Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR). The catch here is that any team that acquires Shea Weber can place him on LTIR. When a player is on LTIR, teams get relief for their cap hit. The NHL salary cap this season is $82.5M. Shea Weber's cap hit is $7,857,143. If Shea Weber were on LTIR the entire season, the team that owned his rights could spend $90,357,143 in player salary. Why does this matter? Well, a team that is up against the cap could acquire Shea Weber and then spend more on players that can help their team once he's on LTIR.
Marc-André Fleury gets moved
This one is a no-brainer since Fleury is a world-class goaltender who can help a team win a Cup, and he's on a team not going anywhere. Fleury is almost certainly getting moved before the deadline, so I'm taking an easy prediction here in hopes that I don't get shut out entirely.
Max Domi lands in Toronto
I'm just swinging wild here, but Domi in Toronto wouldn't be the worst idea, would it? He's on the final year of his deal so the Leafs don't have to pay him after this season. He's a 40 to 50 point player, so he's likely going to cost a 1st round pick. He plays both left wing and center, giving you options. Not to mention, if there is a position the Leafs need to upgrade, it's left wing (if we're talking forwards, at least). He's got some bite in him, and his dad is one of the most popular Leafs in history. Of course I'm likely very wrong, as the Leafs are likely to target a top four D before the deadline.
Patrik Laine gets dealt
You have to think Columbus moves Laine, right? I get that he's a great player (at times) and can score loads of goals, but you have to get something for this guy. He's got 18 goals in his last 68 games, which makes him a 25-goal guy right now (at best) making $7.5M. He's very likely to get back to 40-goal form at some point in the right setting, but it's unlikely that's in Columbus in the next few years. Trade him while his value is still decent, I say. Oh, and as a parting shot to Winnipeg Jets fans, remember when you were dumb and thought that Laine was better than Auston Matthews? How'd that work out for you? Oh, you're about to miss the playoffs? Shame.
A core player from the Jets leaves town
It won't be Dubois, but a core player from the Winnipeg Jets should be on the move. Their about to miss the playoffs, and their coach left mid-season because he felt the team needed a new voice. They just aren't where they think they are. They aren't as good as they believe they are. They have a world-class goalie that covers up a lot of their problems as a team. Even so, they have 9.1% chance to make the playoffs, lower than Vancouver, San Jose, the New York Islanders, and a few other teams that are ahead of them and also not making the playoffs. Time to ship out some old guard in Winnipeg and re-tool. You hate to see it. It's clear I'm a big fan.