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Discussion Starter #1
Darren Dreger
1/5/2007 1:00:11 AM


The NHL trading deadline, Winnipeg's NHL hopes and the Colton Orr-Donald Brashear suspensions are some of the topics discussed in this month's Insider Trading.

Hi Darren,

With the trade deadline less than two months away, who are some of the better "rent-a-players" available?

Steve Angeline, Fairfax, VA

Darren Dreger:

Steve,

Thanks for the interest. The concept of the “rent-a-player” is a difficult one to truly take hold of because it traditionally targets players who are positioned to become unrestricted free agents.

The crop of UFA's in 2007-2008 is very strong and too lengthy to list. However, as you'll quickly see when viewing the list, the importance of these players to their current teams makes me reluctant to throw out names without evidence they may genuinely be available.

In Toronto, Darcy Tucker's name has been attached to multiple trade rumours based on the reality the gap between team and player in any form contract negotiations take, remains significant. If John Ferguson floats his availability, Tucker will draw broad interest, but only from teams interested in a long term relationship, as any deal the Leafs make that includes Tucker will be considered a blockbuster.

The same logic applies to Ryan Smyth, Scott Gomez, Joe Sakic, Daniel Briere, Chris Drury, Sheldon Souray, and so on...

Check out the list, it's loaded with talent and veteran players who most certainly will fit the label of “rental-player.”

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Good day Darren,

Everybody knows the fan support would be there in Winnipeg if the Pittsburgh Penguins were ever allowed to move north! But why is Winnipeg not considered? Is it because the MTS Centre does not hold enough? Is it due to not enough corporate support in the city? What is the deal? My dog's name is Teemu Selanne and even she wants to know what the deal is!

Thanks for your time.
Scott Wilson
Calgary, Alberta

Darren Dreger:

Scott,

Sorry man, you're living in the past!

You don't need my input, because you've answered your own questions. However, I've never been short on words, so here we go…

The MTS Centre is a state of the art building and by American Hockey League standards, it doesn't get any better. But, with a seating capacity of under 16,000, it's small, and although I don't have the evidence to support this, I don't think the Corporate support is sufficient enough to sustain an NHL franchise.

Winnipeg is an awesome hockey city and the fine fans around the province of Manitoba have embraced the Moose. Mark Chipman and his group have done an incredible job of filling a void with a professional product that in many respects is the envy of the AHL.

It's time to move on.

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Darren,

We're half-way through the season, and I'm still shrugging my shoulders at Colorado's acquisition of Jose Theodore last March. I thought David Aebischer was really coming along, so I didn't really like the trade from the get-go. Peter Budaj has been a real surprise, but right now, neither goaltender has really stepped up and performed like a No. 1 guy.

What do you think about both Budaj's and Theodore's performances and who do you see carrying the Avs down the stretch?

Thanks,
Ryan Sise
Denver, Colorado

Darren Dreger:

Ryan,

Unless Jose Theodore finds a way to consistently stop the puck, I don't think there is much doubt Peter Budaj will continue to get the majority of starts.

However, Budaj is still largely considered a developing goaltender, so I don't see the Colorado Avalanche “writing off” Theodore anytime soon.

At the time he was acquired, (March 2006) it was the belief of Avalanche management, Theodore, a former Hart and Vezina trophy winner was entering the prime of his career.

He isn't playing like he's in his prime, but based on history and a contract that pays him 5.5 million this year and 6 million next year, the Avs have little choice but to try and rebuild Theodore's confidence. Even though watching David Aebischer enjoy great success alongside Cristobal Huet in Montreal might be painful in the process.

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Darren,

With San Jose's December struggles, the biggest hockey topic in these parts is "What's wrong with the Sharks?" My own (albeit uneducated) opinion is that they have too many finesse players and too few grinders; too much talent and too little intensity. What do you think?

Thanks!
Jerry M. Kaiser
Boulder Creek, CA

Darren Dreger:

Jerry,

It's a long season! No team goes wire to wire and facing midseason adversity is a much better alternative then stumbling late in the year.

I consider the Sharks a strong Stanley Cup contender and know if there is a need for reinforcement's, Doug Wilson will use the assets he has to make such a move.

But, it's far too early to question the make-up of this team. I like the mix, and I also like the fact young players like Bernier and Carle were recently reassigned to the AHL to build confidence and help them work through their “struggles.”

The talent on this team is too deep from the crease out, but all teams suffer through dry spells.

Relax, and enjoy.

Regards,
Darren

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Hi Darren,

I'm writing in regards to Saturday's game between the Rangers and Capitals. As you already know, Colton Orr cross-checked Alex Ovechkin in the head in retaliation for Donald Brashear's actions earlier in the game. Now Brashear is supposed to protect Ovechkin, and his actions Saturday seemed to have led to a cheap shot by Orrthat could've seriously injured the young Russian superstar. Brashear was assessed an intent to injure penalty for his sucker-punch on Aaron Ward. My questions are: Why wasn't Orr also assessed an intent to injure penalty for what he did to Ovechkin? And in your opinion, is enough being done to protect superstars in the league right now?


Thanks a lot, I really enjoy Insider Trading!
Stephan Souliere
Ottawa

Darren Dreger:

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