Am I correct that nearly every D-man in peoria is a L shot? The only other righty that fits the bill is Polak, and I would trade him if we got back a scorer.
After watching Johnson this season, I see no way that you can trade him.
At this point Johnson has played about 1.5 seasons (~120 games) of NHL hockey and no postseason games. He has continued to get better this season, and shows no signs that I can see of reaching a plateau.
As he gets better over the coming years you are looking at a Norris Trophy-type player imo. The question becomes which is more valuable/[b]harder to find - a 30-40 goal scorer (Semin) or a #1 Defenseman with offensive upside?[/b]
It's harder to find an amputee goalie...
The only question is which is more important
to a Cup winner; the scorer or the D-man?
If Johnson, Kovalchuk, Stamkos, Tavares, Cane, Crosby and Ovechkin were all in the same draft - who do you think would get picked last? While there's no accounting for individual team needs, I think Johnson would be the 'least desired' among those players for a hypothetical 'average' NHL team.
Johnson was seen as the defensive equivalent of those guys (perhaps not Crosby's level), but his role is marginalized in the new(ish) NHL. Then you have to consider our own system - we have built a very nice group of young D-men in the minors. If any team in the league can live with losing EJ, it's the Blues.
The Pens have this figured out - goalies and scoring. With the defensive depth in our system and the lack of an elite forward anywhere to be found, this is a deal you should consider making even without throwing in a top-shelf goalie prospect.
Ultimately, I wouldn't take it straight up, as Varlamov has reached an age where he is what he is (see: Boyes). At 26 yrs old, he's not going to become more than a 35 goal scorer most years, with the potential to pot 40+ from time to time
. Now that's incredibly valuable, but it also represents his high side. As a guy with a reputation as a floater and some injury history, there's significant downside here. He's also going to be paid very very well in the near future and if we're going to give him that kind of scratch, we might as well try to go the UFA route first and not lose our cornerstone D-man in the process. Even if we can't keep EJ as an RFA, we'll get a nice pick package for him. So it's not as though we have to worry about losing him for nothing.
However, if Varlamov is included, I think you pull the trigger. He looks like a great prospect and a guy that could anchor us between the pipes for years.
If Varlamov can pot 35 goals a season, I say take it. Where else are you going to get that much production from your goalie?