With all of the moves that Darcy has made in the past few weeks, it is starting to look more and more like there is a trade in the works. The main question though is who? Who has the assets that we need and the cap space to make the deal work. Lets look at the state of the league to see who has the cap space.
Least Likely to Deal (Cap space less than $1 million)
Ottawa - Cap Space of -$563,333, 22 players signed; San Jose - Cap Space of -$332.497, 19 players signed; Philadelphia - Cap Space of $372,085, 22 players signed; Detroit - Cap Space of $529,347, 22 players signed
These four teams basically have their rosters in place at the moment. The Senators and Sharks need to work themselves under the cap and the Sharks have three less players signed compared to the other three teams. The Senators are still trying to work a deal out with some team to take Heatley off of their hands but at this point in the season no one seems interested. The Sabres are going to be looking to dump some salary in the process of trading and hence these teams probably are not on the radar unless they want to take some salary in return.
Better options come after the jump.
Possible Trading Partners (Cap space between $1 million and $6 million)
Boston - Cap Space of $1,131,668, 22 players signed; Edmonton - Cap Space of $1,176,667, 23 players signed; Washington - Cap Space of $1,312,707, 23 players signed; Calgary - Cap Space of $1,422,168, 23 players signed; Chicago - Cap Space of $1,431,752, 23 players signed; Pittsburgh - Cap Space of $1,811,667, 21 players signed; Toronto - Cap Space of $2,171,668, 23 players signed; Montreal - Cap Space of $2,225,443, 23 players signed; Rangers - Cap Space of $2,520,834, 21 players signed; Vancouver - Cap Space of $2,660,834, 23 players signed; Carolina - Cap Space of $2,770,835, 20 players signed; Anaheim - Cap Space of $4,063,335, 23 players signed; Minnesota - Cap Space of $4,217,224, 22 players signed; New Jersey - Cap Space of $5,179,167, 22 players signed.
This large list of teams look to be pretty much set with their rosters heading into training camp but could take on a little extra salary. That being said, none of these teams are setup for a salary dump and therefore the Sabres are going to have to send someone back in return. Only two teams have less than 22 players signed, Carolina and Pittsburgh. Both teams could use another defenseman so either Tallinder or Lydman would probably be the centerpiece of the package. Carolina could send in return Sergei Samsonov who is coming off his best season since 2002. With a cap hit of $2,533,333, the Sabres could gain some cap space and could gain some more if they made a Tallinder and Hecht package. The most likely trade with the Hurricanes could be Samsonov and a third for Tallinder and Hecht.
Pittsburgh has the same look with defensemen but have less of a need for forwards. Sending Lydman to the Penguins for picks could be an option but not one that seems very likely.
Probable Trading Partners (Cap Space greater than $6 million)
Florida - Cap space of $7,655,000, 19 players signed; St. Louis - $8,810,002, 23 players signed; Colorado - Cap space of $8,991,667, 21 players signed; Los Angeles - Cap space of $9,436,668, 21 players signed; Atlanta - Cap space of $10,376,117, 23 players signed; Dallas - Cap space of $10,543,334, 22 players signed; Columbus - Cap space of $11,460,141, 22 players signed; Tampa Bay - Cap space of $11,895,587, 22 players signed; Phoenix - Cap space of $14,135,001, 23 players signed; Nashville - Cap space of $15,254,167, 20 players signed; Islanders - Cap space of $18,749,934, 23 players signed.
Most of these teams have the cap space to take on a salary dump and some of these teams have room for the players to actually play. Florida, Los Angeles and Nashville are some teams to take a look at.
With Florida, the idea of trading for David Booth has come up before. Booth is a good player with a large contract. Booth's $4,250,000 cap hit is until the 2013-14 season and that is if the team doesn't buy him out. There aren't many players that the Panthers would want in return. Stafford is the most likely candidate, hence the Booth for Stafford article last week, but the trade most likely wouldn't happen.
Los Angeles has a lot of young players that could make an impact on any team. They would need to trade for a veteran presence in the lineup and Lydman would probably be the first player offered. Frolov would be a good player and would come at the cheap, cap hit of $2,900,000. Also another option for grit and toughness would be Matt Greene, defenseman signed until 2013-14 with a cap hit of $2,950,000.
Nashville could use a defenseman badly. Sending Lydman or Tallinder there would not be a bad thing but they wouldn't have much to send in return. Dumont could come back to town but I would assume that there would be a frosty relationship there. Most likely there would be a player for picks deal if that came up.