Here it is. USHL Trade Deadline Day.
This is a day where USHL coaches and their staffs are able to make those few moves needed to push for the playoffs or perhaps further. Or if you’re some teams, it’s a day to officially wave the white flag and look forward to the future.
Before the trading commences, here’s a look at a few teams from each conference and what they can do to get better right away or down the road.
Whatever they do, the deadline is 3 p.m. Central Time.
Let the games begin.
-Youngstown: It’s time for this year’s Cinderella to turn into Beyonce: A diva and a hustler. The Phantoms are tied for third this season and are only two points out of second. Scoring hasn’t been the issue for the Phantoms and neither has defense but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to go out and get a defenseman with some playoff experience. Youngstown has guys who were there last year when they missed out by one point. It doesn’t appear they’ll miss out this year. But having a veteran could help be the difference between a first-round bye or a first-round playoff series.
-Cedar Rapids: They are in a really interesting spot. Maybe the most interesting of any team in the Eastern Conference. Unless Chicago makes the comeback from hell (you never know), there’s a feeling Cedar Rapids has wrapped this thing up. When it comes to what moves this team could make, take your pick. It can be argued they would need help at front or even in the back. Either one wouldn’t be a bad thing given how tight things are in the Eastern Conference. We’ve seen nine-point leads shrink before and if it shrinks enough for Cedar Rapids to make a run, having a scoring punch might not be a bad thing.
-Muskegon Lumberjacks: Face it. This isn’t Muskegon’s year and they know it. That’s why they’ve already made trades and word has gone around for a while now if things haven’t changed, they could be a seller at the deadline. You’d have to think there are a few attractive pieces some teams would be interested in. Trading Nick Seeler (Nebraska-Omaha) in exchange for another defenseman in Michael Brodzinski (Blaine/MN-HS) says they’re willing to build for next year. They already have three first-round draft picks so why not add up on more
-Chicago Steel: Don’t see them being sellers but stranger things have happened. They’ve got a decent nucleus there to build from heading into the future but there could be a player or two a team could want for a late season run.
-Lincoln Stars: OK. So this might be a surprise but if they’re serious about catching Omaha getting another piece to go with USHL scoring leader Kevin Roy (Brown) could help. Not to mention, Waterloo and Fargo aren’t too far behind. Getting another player – particularly a forward – could help.
-Waterloo Black Hawks: So far they’ve been really busy with a few trades here and there. They got Stephon Williams and Alex Barron (Quinnipiac) for some experience on defense and in the net but a forward with experience could certainly help given they’re trying to make a run in the top two.
-Des Moines Buccaneers: Getting Seeler was certainly a sign in the right direction. This is just a team which needs more up front. They need a scorer who can come in and really get things going whether it be as a playmaker or a player who can just be a sniper. Offense has been an issue in Des Moines all year long. Maybe this is where the remedy happens.
-Sioux Falls Stampede: Getting Jay WIlliams back from Waterloo is a sign they’re not going to give up quality players without something in return. Sioux Falls does have some experienced players from last season’s playoff run which wouldn’t be bad to acquire right now. You just don’t know because they are very much alive in the chase for sixth place.
-Tri-City Storm: There are plenty of teams who would be fond of having a forward like Nick Lappin (Brown) on their roster. Tri-City is one of them so for anyone thinking he could be moved, don’t be too shocked if he stays. Tri-City is very much alive in the No. 6 spot race and have all the reason in the world to maybe be a seller as they were with Dubuque in hopes of getting an extra piece to make a difference.