Well after seeing the Pens get bounced and reading over Puck Daddy's clip list, I got to thinking, "I see a trade scenario" and now that I've worked up the cajones to make this type of post, I would to toss them out there for your waiting scalpels. One disclaimer, all trades are assuming we've first locked up Backstrom.
I know, Evegni Malkin...really? Short answer is certainly no but before you go running off, hear me out. I would not normally entertain such a flight of fancy except that I saw this article and I got to thinking, "hey, we have a talented Russian who badly underachieved for us in the playoffs too." That's right, I'm talking about exploring a Malkin for Semin deal. Now Malkin is a hefty sum to add at 8.7 million but on the other, he's locked in for the next five years and assuming we extend Backstrom, can you imagine having that kind of nucleus in place long term? And Crosby really needs better wingers to play with. So I'm thinking of something starting with Malkin for Semin and then building up around it.
Still with me? I know this is not going to happen and would certainly be anything but a "tweak" for either team. But hey, since we're here, why not think big. Okay, moving on to my more realistic targets:
I don't know how the organization itself feels about him but the fans look ready to toss him over. Admittingly this based on anecdotal comments from two Sabres fans and a rather harsh assessment from a blogger but the point is, he could be available. Given the Sabres dearth of offense and our surprising abundance of one-dimensional skilled wingers -- smells like half baked speculation about to come from me! If we were to offer Semin, we could theoretically get Buffalo to add another player to the deal given that Semin instantly becomes their leading scorer. Seriously, Brooks Laich would be their fourth leading scorer based on the regular season stats. As Buffalo saw against Boston, having the best goaltender is kind of rendered moot if your own guys can't score (and the other team happens to have a goalie of their own to match the hotness).
Problems with this scenario becoming real consist of the following: 1. Buffalo has Roy on a very affordable contract given his capabilities, flame out aside. 2. If Lindy Ruff thought Maxim Afinogenov was head ache, well he'll be in for quite a ride. Then there's the fact that Buffalo just never has any $$ and Semin is not only a UFA after next season but could easily be KHL bait. So yeah, WAY more realistic than Malkin but it all depends on what direction Sabres' management wants to go.
And finally someone who is a very realistic target and someone I hoped the Caps would get in the trade deadline... Brad Boyes.
This guy had a terrible year this past season and has probably worn his welcome out in St. Louis. Assuming that is the case, it shouldn't be too expensive to pluck him from St. Louis. It is a risk in that his numbers have been in a decline but he is still young and possibly paired up with Semin, surpass the 72 points he notched with the Blues during the 2008-09 season. Would St. Louis turn down a proposal of Boyes for someone like Francois Bouchard? Maybe add in a player or pick to go to St. Louis?
There you have it, three targets: one fanciful, one slightly less so and one that I think could very well work.
As many others have said though, we need to first address in-house stuff first and of course, that means locking in Backstrom.