Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Apparently I'm Not The Only One Who Waits Until the Last Minute

Hello there one and all. One week from today, we are going to have a very special day, no it's not some other random holiday that you probably have never heard of. It is the NHL Trade Deadline Day. That's right, the NHL General Managers have their last chance to shore up their line ups and make the final stretch to take Stanley home.

So in preperation for this big event, I am bringing you a very special guest, live from his mother's basement (where I happen to be sitting right now..) my good friend Troy. For those of you have been following along here, you will recognize Troy from our Quarterly Predictaculars which we do on a semi-regular (i.e. whenever I damn well feel like it) basis.

On anothe note, we will be doing a Third Predictacular soon enough, I just want to wait until the aftermath of the deadline so we can make our predictions. Maybe we'll get something right after all.



The problem with this season is that many teams are close to making the playoffs. Maybe a little too close. For example, teams like NYR, Boston, and even Florida. These teams are not going to make the playoffs but they are close enough that they still consider it a possibility and as such may not want to make the trades that may be necessary to better their team down the road. Florida has many assets that they are not going to be able to resign, i.e., Bertuzzi, and Roberts. Keeping these players would only mean they will loose them for nothing in the off season as they are both Unrestricted Free Agents. The smart play would be to trade both, get some young prospects and start looking towards their future. Gary Roberts has mentioned that he only wants to go to two teams, Ottawa or Toronto. The buzz is that Toronto GM, John Ferguson Jr. isn’t pushing hard to get Roberts which to me is asinine. Roberts was built for playoff hockey. Not to mention his leadership. Toronto is a young team for the first time in a long time and you can never have enough leadership. If Ottawa is smart, and I believe John Muckler is a smart GM, they will jump on this opportunity and take Roberts. So look for Ottawa to take Roberts. They will probably have to give up some picks but more than likely no one from their immediate playing roster.


Florida sure is an interesting situation. For starters, they are full of nearly retired players who would be great for teams higher in the standings. But also, Jacques Martin is in his first year as a GM, and he really does not have an established track record for trades. I could see him being a very busy man over the next week. One name that I think a lot of teams should be interested in is Martin Gelinas. Anyone else remember his run as “The Eliminator” for Calgary in 2004? A team like Anaheim or Pittsburgh would benefit a lot from that kind of experience and would be foolish to think that a mid-round draft pick would not be worth that kind of clutch performer.

On the other end of clutch performance is Todd Bertuzzi. He really has gone downhill since the “Incident” a few years ago. Apparently Florida is asking for high draft picks and big prospects in return, I think with his health the way it is they will end up with some sort of conditional draft pick package depending on how many games he plays and if the team that acquires him ends up resigning him or not.


Bertuzzi is an interesting situation. He could definitely be useful to a playoff team but he has spent most of this year injured and as such he is a bit of a crapshoot. The price for him will be high and he is a big risk. There is big upside with him though if he can return to his form with Vancouver when he was the premiere power forward in the league. Look for him to go to a team in the West. Most likely Detroit.

Detroit is always a player at the trade deadline so look for them to lead a push for Bertuzzi. On a young team he could be a good fit. With the losses of Yzerman and Shanahan this team could use a player like Bertuzzi.


Detroit really amazes me. They have been among the leagues elite teams for the past 14 years or so. Sure they make a lot of trades but they draft a huge amount of their players. They were apparently in the running for Forsberg and their interest probably made Nashville pay the high price that they did. I don’t see Holland and co. giving up though. Their name has come up in rumours for Bill Guerin, and I could see them making a play for Ryan Smyth if the Oilers don’t resign him.


I don’t see any of the major players in the East making any big splashes except for Buffalo. But the only trade I see them making is Marty Biron. They didn’t want to trade him last year because Ryan Miller wasn’t a playoff tested goalie. Well since that is no longer the case Biron is expendable. The smart play would be to trade Biron to someone in the West for some defensive reassurance. Eric Brewer would be a nice fit. St. Louis needs a steady number one goalie and Biron would definitely provide that.

The biggest buzz in the Western Conference is over what St. Louis is going to do over their two prized soon-to-be Free Agents, Bill Guerin and Keith Tkachuk. These two names have been floating around a lot and apparently the price for them is going to be steep, a high end pick and a high end prospect. Unless the prices drop I don’t see too many teams taking a major interest in them. These are two places on the tail end of their careers. They will definitely provide some leadership and some grit, but no one should be expecting them to lead their team offensively. If Toronto decides not to pick up Gary Roberts then look for them to go after Bill Guerin.


I really don’t think that Toronto should buy. Their team is young and a year or two away from making some serious headway. It would be a huge mistake for them to sacrifice some of their young talent or future draft picks in exchange for short term gains. Anyone else remember the time that they traded away the first round pick that became Roberto Luongo in exchange for an over the hill Wendel Clark? I can’t help but wonder if they will do the same for Roberts, Guerin or anyone else on the block….And my anti-Leaf bias comes through again.

I would agree with you though that most of the serious buyers seem to be in the West. The biggest buyers in recent weeks have been Calgary, Dallas, and of course Nashville.


Nashville has already made their splash with the trade for Peter Forsberg and make no mistake about it, this trade solidifies Nashville as a strong cup contender. They were already a contender before this trade so look out for this team.

Vancouver is desperately looking for a little help up front and a nice fit may be Anson Carter who is available at the right price. He was great last season with the Sedin twins.

The rest of the playoff teams in the West are pretty much set for their playoff runs and don’t look for too many big deals. Probably just the usual smaller trades to shore up some deficiencies.


You know, I can’t help but have faith in the Oilers. Last year they were on the bubble and probably should have been sellers. But you know they went out and made a big splash on deadline day, acquiring Samsonov and Roloson, oh and making it to the Cup Final as a result. While I would be surprised if that last bit came true, but I still think that they will make some deal to make a charge for that ever elusive eighth spot. Their name keeps popping up around Eric Brewer, and I think that they really need to make a grab for a top-level defenseman.

If Edmonton makes a big deal than I expect a lot of other teams to react. Troy mentioned Vancouver and I could see them adding some depth up-front, which they really need. Also, Minnesota has been quiet, a little too quiet for a team in the thick of a really tough race. I would not be surprised if they make an effort.

Also in the West, there are the two big Pacific teams, Anaheim and San Jose. Both of these teams are good, really good. If they plan on making a big run this year then look for them to try and add some depth players for the long stretch. I would be surprised if either of these teams gives up much in the way of big prospects for short term gain.

Lastly, I am going to say that Montreal needs to make a big deal or two. That team is sinking, fast. A shake up is in order, especially with Huet out for the rest of the season. They want to get rid of Samsonov, but I really do not see any takers out there. I could see them cashing out some prospects for short term gain to try and crawl their way back into playoff position where they really belong.


Glen was gracious enough to allow me the last word.

My hope this trade deadline is that the biggest deal, is in fact no deal at all. I am speaking of Ryan Smyth. Smyth will be a free agent after this season and Edmonton has a big decision to make. Smyth is the heart of that team and it will definitely take a good amount of money to sign him; probably in the 5.5 - 6.5 million dollar range. If they don’t feel that they can re-sign him then the smart thing to do would be to trade him now so they don’t lose him for nothing in the off-season. But this is the thing, Edmonton cannot trade Smyth. He has been everything to Edmonton for so long that to lose him would be a huge blow to fan morale. When you think of Edmonton, you think Smyth. He brings so much to his team. Leadership, grit, and an attitude that forces the rest of his team to never give up.

As I previously said, I am dearly hoping that the biggest deal of this trade deadline is the deal that isn’t made.



Well I said that I would give Troy the last word but I'm a big fat liar face. I could never end a blog without my catch phrase.

Until next time,


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