Change doesn’t always have to be for the worst. There comes a point in many players’ careers where the options diminish and the only outlet is a new club. Your former teammates, coaches and city become history while different challenges wait.
Whether it be more money, greater playing time or just a matter of not fitting into the mix, it’s certainly better to have a variety of choices. But it’s not always going to be up to you where and when you make a departure.
Radim Vrbata, Rich Peverley and Craig Anderson are three cases of individuals getting moved for the sake of their careers. Vrbata headed back to Phoenix where he had his best year offensively. Peverley has become one of the finest waiver wire acquisitions in recent memory. And Anderson came to Colorado to earn a shot as a starting net minder.
That’s three instances of alterations being for the best. With Christmas looming closer, here are ten players who should have a trade on the top of their wish lists.
10) Jack Skille (Chicago Blackhawks)
On most teams, Skille would be a legitimate third or fourth line grinder. Chicago has such offensive depth though that the kid rarely gets a look from head coach Joel Quenneville. That work rate of his is undeniable which is what will keep him in the league later on.
Skille is a fast skater with sound fore-checking skills whose continuing to fight for his position on a starting roster.
9) Michal Rozsival (New York Rangers)
Rozsival’s production has taken a dive since fellow Czech native Jaromir Jagr decided the KHL was the way to go. Youth is emerging on New York’s blue line and the veteran is feeling the heat.
Shooting more and sending direct passes both can change his fortunes but time is more of the essence as each day concludes. Signed through 2012, Rozsival may turn into another example of big bucks creating large disappointments.
8 ) Derek Meech (Detroit Red Wings)
Like Kyle Quincey before him, Meech is desperate to get a full season under his belt. Detroit’s defensive line has been tough to crack and the 24-year-old occasionally gets the nod when injuries pile up.
He’s got the offensive instincts and great skating like that of a powerplay quarterback. With six defensemen ahead of him including rookie Jonathan Ericsson, Meech has the deck stacked against him.
7) Cory Murphy (New Jersey Devils)
Opposites attracted here. Murphy is a smaller defenseman more known for his offense but has found himself in New Jersey where the hockey is turning back to defensive first. Unsurprisingly, he’s played in just three games this season.
After amassing 17 points as a rookie and 15 in 25 games with Tampa Bay last year, someone should give him a look. I think it’s safe to say the Devils won’t.
I simply believe Salo would benefit from a move because his health record has become pretty sketchy. Sure, it hasn’t been awful as he’s missed no more than 22 matches in a season after 2006 but when is it enough?
Hey, a different club could help the body work better. Marian Gaborik is still hanging tough thus far is he not?
5) David Legwand (Nashville Predators)
Legwand, who has been with Nashville from day one, is on pace for eight assists if he plays 82 games. If luck isn’t shining on him currently, his contract which has him locked up until 2014 definitely is.
The Predators might just buy him out when the finish line gets closer. Right now, Legwand is overpaid and underperforming and that’s putting it nicely.
4) Vladimir Sobotka (Boston Bruins)
Sobotka is in the same position as Skille; a fine young energy player finding it difficult to breakthrough because of his squad’s assets. A lot of impressive features are in this 22-year-old’s game and the most significant is passion.
Due to the absences of Marc Savard and Milan Lucic, Sobotka should see his chances widen greatly in the coming weeks perhaps creating interest from staffs elsewhere.
3) Kari Lehtonen (Atlanta Thrashers)
The Finnish goaltender has missed 15 consecutive games. That’s the bad expected news. What’s good about this is Ondrej Pavelec has shown glimpses of brilliance in goal while the starter recovers.
And if the Thrashers decided to deal Lehtonen in the future, chances are they will receive something substantial in return. Injury woes are a pain to deal with but he still has tons of upside and he’s only 25.
2) Nathan Horton (Florida Panthers)
Let’s face it; Horton’s 40-goal potential will probably never be reached in Florida. He’s got a terrific release, particularly on his snap shot, yet has scored 30 goals once in five seasons with the Panthers.
Reports in the summer suggested a possible trade-off with the Buffalo Sabres for Drew Stafford. The deal didn’t go through however Horton’s sluggish start with three points in nine games will keep the fire lit.
1) Michael Nylander (Washington Capitals)
I’ll bet Nylander didn’t envision himself in this position after posting 162 points in two seasons with the New York Rangers. Sent to the AHL’s Grand Rapids last week, the Swede refused to wave his no-trade clause movement numerous times in 2009.
An offer, any offer from an NHL club should be taken in a heartbeat. Nylander can still be a top-of-the line playmaker but his salary of $8.5 million combined in the next two years will bring about hesitation.