Everyone is looking at Atlanta, wondering where they’re going to trade Ilya Kovalchuk.
But don’t forget to keep an eye on New Jersey, a team that also might be active before the trade deadline.
Not so much for Kovalchuk, but for a goal-scoring center who can help out on the powerplay.
I don’t think Kovalchuk is enough of a consistent two-way player for the Devils to be interested. Plus, he would be way too flashy of an acquisition for New Jersey. And of course, he’s not a center.
But Matt Cullen from Carolina? He could be a good fit. He’s a play-making center more than a pure goal-scorer. But he does have 11 goals on the season. That would put him in sixth place in goals on the Devils.
Cullen is also an experienced powerplay point man. He’s got just one goal this season, but he still seems to have his big shot.
I’ve also heard vague rumblings about Mike Modano coming to the Devils as a rental. I doubt he would leave Dallas, but one variable is the Stars’ GM: Joe Nieuwendyk.
Nieuwendyk won a Cup with the Devils acting as a key center. He took all of the important faceoffs and kept everyone honest in the defensive zone. It was a very specific role, but one he seemed to enjoy. Is he possibly selling Modano on that same kind of role, plus the chance to win another Cup?
Modano could be interested if the Dallas playoff picture gets irreparably bad before the trade deadline.