With the team fading fast (for various reasons) These are the moves I would like to see:
1) Trade either Edler or Ericksson. One of these guys has to go this year (I realize that moving either will be tough, but Benning has shown a knack for dumping NTC/NMC type contracts). I think this is the year to move Edler. We have a glut of Defencemen and need room to keep the younger ones. With Edler gone, we can pay and keep Gudbrandson, and move him later if required. I prefer keeping Gudbrandson over edler (this year) as Goober is younger, bigger and plays heavier. They skate the same and pretty much make the same number of mistakes. Goober is near his sustainable peak, Edler is declining. Take picks or a defensive prospect (or both).. we hated to lose Ohlund, but when it's time to go, it's time to go. We got over Ohlund, we will get over Edler. Only 2 guys on this team should be allowed to choose their fate, and they share the same last name.
2) expose Eriksson in the expansion draft. If Jimmy can trade this contract for picks, amazing. I don't think he can, so expose the shit out him. we need we roster spot more than we need this guy.
3) Chaput heads back to Utica and stays there... forever. Dowd has been getting better every game as he learns our system, and plays just fine for a 4th line center. Chaput is expendable. Neither is worth a bag of pucks.
4) Gaunce is killed in a freak revolving door accident at the local Wal Mart.
Seriously, I fail to see the hard on some people have for him. I get that he is sound defensively, but offence goes to die on his stick. In the offensive zone, the play dies 9 times out of 10 with him. He panics (or whatever) in zone. It's a bad pass, worse shot, blocked shot, bad dump in, turnover, puck bobbled... count them next game. He hasn't scored on his own shot in YEARS.
Like Boucher, for whatever reason, the offence does not translate into the NHL. Any asset worth more than a 4th round pick is awesome for both, anything less, both those guys are probably more valuable in the AHL helping Utica with a winning culture (and I believe in that mindset as well)
5) Goldobin has about 2 weeks to prove he has the drive/compete level/motor (whatever you want to call intensity) to stay here and play top 6. You can't get by on skill alone. He is top 6 or bust. We already had a red light/green light Russian player.. we don't have the roster space for another. If Gobby can't show consistency, move him for an asset in this here deep draft. My opinion is he is more valuable as a pick than a pouty player in Utica.
6) Nilsson is moved. He is a servicable backup when he has decent defence in front of him (as proved early in the season when we were healthy). On a rebuilding defence corps, he can't handle it and plays small (as seen lately).. how can a man that large shrink down and expose that much of the upper net?? -- oh wait, it's a lack of confidence. If we don't get a backup in exchange, we pick up a scrub. This season is a write off anyways. Markstromm needs all the starts he can get, unless the plan is to shelter him (marks) to keep from ruining Markstromm from shell shock. (see the Oilers goalie prospects from the last 2 decades). If we are sheltering Marks a bit, then Nilsson is worth the price. It's Coaches call on this as coaches see goalies every day and we don't. Goalies are hard to read because they are so damn quirky.
We need about 28 wins in our last games to realistically have a shot at making the playoffs. I don't see that happening with the injuries we have. Time to start working the phones. I don't believe in tanking (we won't ever draft higher than 3) but I am also realistic.
If on any of these moves we somehow land (through amazing asset management) that defensive guy (read: 'Stud') then that gives us the ability to move Gudbrandson or Hutton as part of that stud trade. If no stud trade and we go into next year with Tanev, Gudbrandson, Hutton, Stetcher, Pouliot, and Del Zotto as our top 6, Biega (I love his compete level!) as 7, and callups of Joulevi, and whomever else is competing at Utica, I am comfortable with that. If there is an upgrade on Hutton or Gudbrandson added in, awesome. Speeds the rebuild process. Plus, Tryamkin might come back. If he does, Hutton will need to be moves in the offseason.
On forward, a top 6 of Horvat, Boesser, Bartschi, Peterson (if ready), Goldobin (if he stays) and Vanek is good. If the Sedins want 1 year deals for 1.5 million (plus incentives) they anchor the third line. A 4th line of Grandlund-Sutter-Gagne is the best 4th line in hockey. Dowd is the filler. Virtanen is a variable. Virts might blossom as the power forward we all drool about, he might play third line with the twins (he still has a couple more years before I pull the plug on him blooming into the second coming of Bertuzzi). Grandlund or Gagne have potential to play up if Goldobin or Petterson fail, but there is still internal competition for top six spots from Dahlin (prolly plays Utica next year with Petterson), Lockwood (after christmas), Gadjovich, Lind, etc to fill in the holes. If there is no Sedins next year (and I think there will be - they deserve the right to choose if they play here or not) we look for some UFA's like we did last year. We won't need 4 new ones next year, but we might need 1 or 2.
The 'Chain of Command' is the chain I am going to beat you with until you understand I am in charge.