It's my honest opinion that no deals of any value will take place before the trading deadline. If any huge deals are going to be made, they'll be made at the deadline. But, it's hard to predict the future.
However, just for the hell of it, let's make up some proposals for the deadline.
I'll start with the obvious team to make a trade, the Avs.
To the Avs:
G Sean Burke
1st round pick in 2004
To the Yotes:
F Alex Tanguay
D Martin Skoula
I'm giving Lacroix a huge amount of credit. He has tendencies of making lopsided deals in his favor. How, I don't know. But the Avs get a huge improvement from Aebischer and a possible shot to land Ovechkin in the draft.
Getting Burke will not help the Avs to win the Cup as much as lossing Tanguay and Skoula will hurt their chances. And a first round pick does nothing to help them reach the goal unless they can use it to replace a scoring forward and a defenseman.
If either Boston and NYI are still hurting in the goalie department come march and are just barely in the playoff race...
Cujo +4 million in 04-05(the max we can pay on any contract for any number of years), 1st in 04 and Jason Wooley for Dave Scatchard and Jeremy Colliton.
Reasoning behind this is that Detroit wants a big center. Dave Scatchard is 6'2", good defensively, hits, and can chip in a few goals.
Jeremy Colliton was a kid I hoped could slip to Detroit's position in the 2nd or 3rd round. Big enough, tough, good balance and works well down low. He hits and grinds it out along the boards. Could be a solid 3rd liner similar to Aaron Asham. NYI could afford to trade him because of a slew of RW prospects in their system.
Cujo by this time would have only one year left on his ginormous contract and be a much more valuable asset especially if something around half of it is payed off. Wooley has 2 years on his contract at 900k which is a very good bang for your buck. Also consider that Niinimaa, Hamrlik, and Aucoin's contracts are up at the end of the season. 1 or 2 of them might not fit the budget at years' end and have to look elsewhere for the big paycheck they'll want so Wooley if he sticks around could soften the blow to their D corp and be a good complimentary defenseman on the 3rd pairing.
Cujo, + 2 million in 04-05 and a 3rd in 04 for Rolston and Lapointe.
Rolston is a UFA at the end of the year who will likely seek 4.5 to 5 million a year if he has a succesful season as 2nd line center.
Lapointe has disapointed thus far in Boston and at a hefty price too. 5.5 million.
Detroit will definately need Rolston's speed and defensive skills along with lapointe's toughness come playoff time. Wings' fans will remember how great Lapointe was during our 2 cup wins in 97 and 98 and welcome him back with open arms even with that huge contract.
Cujo gives Boston a goalie who can potentially steal a series for them like he did in Toronto and Edmonton in the past years, and Boston also cuts quite a bit of Salary as well which will make Sinden and O'connel happy.