So, does the idea of trading for Los Angeles' Brent Sopel or Columbus' Bryan Berard get anybody excited? Not that anything is imminent, and it may never happen, but considering the puck-moving defensemen available right now, those two seem to be the best fits for Tampa Bay. The talk is both can be had for draft picks or prospects. Both have about $800,000 left on their contracts for this season, and that is manageable under the cap.
The question is do these guys give the team the boost needed? Let me say this, I have no idea how these guys are in the locker room or if they would be acceptable to Torts. What I do know is used in the right circumstances, the two have something to offer. Mainly that is an offensive sensibility and ability to move the puck.
Berard, especially, has offensive skills but he is coming off two back surgeries and has played only four games since his return. Sopel too was injured this season (a broken ankle) but seems to be healed.
GM Jay Feaster, as I noted in today's story, is in a tough spot. With so many teams still in the playoff picture, there are not many sellers, which means the pool of available players is not great. Feaster also has to deal with the shadow of Darryl Sydor. The 2004 trade for the defenseman was so good, all others he makes will be measured by it. He also has to think about maintaining the chemistry of a team that is playing pretty well right now.
Anyway, Feaster still has time until the Feb. 27 trade deadline. Perhaps he waits to see what other teams shake out and what other players become available before making a decision.