Vincent Lecavalier punched his ticket to the quarterfinals yesterday with a win over Brian Campbell, which leaves just two defenders in the tournament, and they'll be competing against one another today. Mattias Ohlund advanced to the second round with a 107-76 upset victory over Chris Pronger, while Wade Redden cruised to victory in the first round, pasting Derek Boogaard 196-76. After the jump, I'll make the case for each guy.
Redden's no trade-clause allows him to refuse a trade to eight teams, but I'm sure he'd take any NHL city over playing in Hartford and riding the buses, so that ought not be considered much of a factor. The point has been made a couple of times in the comments, but it's worth pointing out in the main body that while Redden's contract doesn't do damage to the Rangers' cap during the season, teams are only allowed to spend above the cap by 10% during the summer, and Redden's deal takes care of that and then some, which is a major constraint on what the Rangers hope to achieve in the off-season. It's a terrible situation for Redden too. He's a good enough player to be in the NHL, but that big ticket has made him prohibitively inefficient. The deal runs for just three more years after this one, but between now and then, the best thing for the Rangers is likely to eat the money and hope that Redden's desire to get back to the NHL results in a terminated contract and a fresh start.
That hope for termination doesn't exist for the Lightning. For a budget team, it doesn't make any sense to send an NHL player making big coin to the AHL unless he really isn't capable of playing in the NHL. Ohlund certainly isn't at that point yet (he's been playing a tough minutes role with Tampa this year), but he may get there between now and and when he turns thirty-nine at the start of the 2015-16 season. Redden's deal is bad, but it ends two years sooner than Ohlund's, and the total cash commitment from the start of the 2011-12 season to the end of the deal is actually less than Ohlund's (Redden is owed $16.5M, while Ohlund is owed $17.25M). The big Swede's deal might just be worse.