ALBANY, NY — The NHL trade deadline is looming over the NHL and the AHL and many organizations will be positioning themselves for Stanley Cup runs or strategizing for years to come.
There will certainly be many moves made before 3 pm on Monday that will impact both leagues. Earlier this week, the Toronto Maple Leafs organization made a trade that resulted in two Marlies’ players being recalled to the NHL. Just like that the best team in the AHL lost two of its top players.
Head Coach Rick Kowalsky says he will be watching closely as a move during the next couple of days could play a major factor in how far the Devils go in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
He reflected on the 2012 deadline, which propelled New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Finals.
“We were right in the hunt for the eighth spot,” Kowalsky said. “We had Stephane Veilleux, and Nick Palmieri had just come back into the organization and was playing well for us. They were two key guys for us, and we lost them both and got nothing back. The big club got Marek Zidlicky, and that’s what it’s about. They went to the Stanley Cup Finals, and he was a big part of it.”
There has been much speculation on what is going through the mind of New Jersey General Manager Ray Shero with the NHL Devils in the hunt for a playoff spot. But until late Monday afternoon, no one for certain will know what Albany’s roster will look like.
“We will keep a close eye on that,” Kowalsky said. “Obviously as a fan, you see how it impacts NHL clubs, but as a coach you certainly see the difference it’s going to make in the AHL teams.
“Toronto’s made a couple of deals and those players have gone directly to the NHL. We certainly will keep an eye on it and it will be an interesting couple of days leading up to Monday.”
Until then, Albany will play a pair of road games Friday at Springfield and Sunday at Bridgeport. The team then jumps on a bus the morning of the deadline destined for Toronto. The team might be a little lighter or fuller by the time it arrives in Canada.