Nobody, outside of general managers of course, has an idea of who will be traded in the next week before the United States Hockey League trade deadline.
But that’s not stopping us from playing GM and taking a look at teams that could be making some deals down the stretch run. So here it is, our take on who could be players at the trade deadline.
We’ll start with the Eastern Conference where Green Bay and Cedar Rapids look pretty solid and barring a collapse, those two probably finish 1-2. But as for the 3-4 finish, here’s some contenders that could use a jolt.
-Indiana Ice: Scoring hasn’t been an issue, but defense at times has been. Goalie Casey DeSmith, a New Hampshire commit, has been one of the been one of the better goalies in the league this year but he could use some help up front. A defensive-minded blue liner would work well in this situation.
-Muskegon Lumberjacks: Same thing. A solid, puck-moving defenseman would be needed here. Losing defenseman and Maine commit Sebastien Gingras to another league was a blow because Gingras was that and there’s no telling how well he could have developed if he had stayed in the league.
-USNTDP: They cannot make trades, but we did not want to ignore them because they are fifth in the standings.
-Youngstown Phantoms: This is a decent team that’s a few pieces away from really making a strong run. Easy as it sounds, getting a top-six forward would work wonders because Sekac-Loney and Strang cannot do all the scoring. A guy like Chicago’s Danny Mattson could work well in this situation. He hasn’t scored a lot this season, but Mattson has enough to help Youngstown create some scoring chances and a push for the last two playoff spots.
Notable: Chicago can be a player in this trading deadline for all the wrong reasons while Waterloo has talent, it is just a matter of putting it all together. P.K. O’Handley is the best coach in the league and that guy can get things back in line, it is just a matter of when.
Dubuque: There have not been any weaknesses with them at any point. Offensively, they are about as gifted as it gets. Defensively, they’re solid too. At goalie, they probably have the guy who might be the league’s best in Matt Morris, a recent Maine commit. Just sayin’.
Fargo: Injuries to top-six forwards (see Demers, Mullin) have been an annoyance at times, but the Force have found ways to get past it. Picking up another forward could help, but like Dubuque, it appears there would be no reason to add pieces.
Omaha: A scoring forward like Chicago’s Cole Gunner would work wonders here. Omaha is arguably the league’s best team on defense. They just need some scoring. Get a forward like Gunner in there and this is a team that will be dangerous down the stretch.
Des Moines: Top to bottom, pretty solid team. Easy to see them standing still or making a push at the deadline. Maybe they add a defenseman or a forward. Either way, they don’t need much other than to just keep winning games.
Sioux Falls: They’re are tied with Des Moines for the fourth spot and getting St. Cloud commit and defenseman Andrew Prochno was a great move. Perhaps adding another defenseman could be enough. These guys and Des Moines are going to make things really interesting over the stretch.
Sioux City: Talented but not too sure if there’s really a move or two that can be made to put them over the hump because the Western Conference is strong and Sioux Falls has played more games than anyone excluding Fargo in the top five. Not saying it can be done, but things have to change before buying into cracking the top five.
We’ll be around all this week and come Monday’s deadline we will break down the moves that were made. Take care and we’ll see everyone tomorrow.