The NHL Trade Deadline is less than 20 hours away, and I have decided to venture into something that I have never done before. The dreaded live blog. Tune in the next day or so for some thoughtful thoughts and insightful insights into the latest happenings.
Monday, February 25, 2008
7:09pm: (all time EST) In the past week we have seen two huge blockbuster deals both featuring the Philadelphia Flyers as they acquired Jaroslav Modry from the LA Kings for a 2008 3rd round draft pick, and then sent Jim Vandermeer to the Calgary Flames for a 2009 3rd round draft pick. Yes, the words "huge" and "blockbuster" probably should have been replaced with the words "irrelevant" and "forgettable".
There have been some big stories however. Yesterday it was revealed that Mats Sundin refused to waive his no-trade clause, and he will be sticking with the Blue Shirts. Also, Calgary GM Darryl Sutter has stated that he will not be trading Alex Tanguay after all, as he likes the make up of his team. It must have been the Vandermeer trade.
By removing these two big impact forwards it really ups the value of the other big names on the rumoured list. I expect there to be a lot of calls about Brad Richards, Oli Jokinen, and Marian Hossa over the next little while.
Also, a solid 20 or so minutes ago, it was reported that Petr Forsberg has indeed decided to return to the NHL, and has signed with the Colorado Avalanche, the team that he had the most amount of success with in the late 90's/early 00's. I think that this is the first shot in the Western Arms Race, as the other big teams are going to try and Keep up with the Jones's. I expect any of Vancouver, Dallas, Detroit, San Jose or maybe even Calgary to make a big trade or two, anything to stop Colorado, or the other Western Powers from getting ahead.
10:10pm: I was about to write a "nothing has happened" post, but low and behold, my prayers were answered, as TSN reports that the Philadelphia Flyers have acquired one of the bigger forwards out there in getting Vaclav Prospal from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for prospect Alexandre Picard and a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick in 2009.
This is a big move for the Flyers, as they needed some scoring on the wing after it was announced that Simon Gagne would be out for the season, plus there have been a number of other injuries to Lupul and Richards. They need this, especially since they have lost 10 straight games, and are currently, somehow on the outside of the playoffs looking in. I think that this helps them get back into the hunt in the East, and I expect to see them move back up in the standings sooner as opposed to later.
Also, in the "guys that won't be traded" category, we now have Barrett Jackman, whose name was surfacing in the odd trade rumour, due to his status as a UFA, and the fact that many teams could use a depth defenseman to get over the hump. But well, it turns out all that speculation was for not as he resigned with the St. Louis Blues.
Man the Not Traded list is looking like the longer, and better one right now...
10:30pm: Add Dan Boyle to the Not Traded list. It was just announced that he signed a 6 year, $40 million contract, with a no-trade clause for the first four years...well we can hope for another bit Jim Vandermeer type trade.
10:58pm: Nothing is happening, I'm going to bed...hopefully I'll have stuff to talk about tomorrow morning. Here's hoping that Vandermeer gets traded again, lightning can strike twice you know!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
9:38am: So after going to bed, waking up, teaching a class, I still find nothing new on the trade front. Again, the Not Traded list grows as Rob Blake has made it very clear that he wants to stay in LA. There is talk that maybe he would accept a deal to go to Colorado, but that seems like it may be a bit of a long shot. Also, you can add Adam Foote to that list, he said that he wants to stay in Columbus, but would potentially accept a deal to his former team, coincidentally the Colorado Avalanche.
According to Bob MacKenzie on tsn.ca, the Chicago Blackhawks have sent out an e-mail saying that the following players are available: Nikolai Khabibulin, Martin Havlat, Robert Lang, Tuomo Ruutu, Marty Lapointe, Yanic Perrault, Andrei Zyuzin, and Rene Bourque. Obviously, Khabibulin, Havlat, and Lang are the big names on that list, but Ruuto, Zyuzin, and Perrault would make solid additions to a contender. There were rumours earlier in the season about Khabibulin going to Ottawa for Ray Emery. I'm not sure how I feel about that one, but I will wait and see what the trade is before I pass judgment.
Speaking of the Sens, apparently they join Montreal in the list of favourites for Marian Hossa. And on the left side of the continent, San Jose is trying to put together a deal for a puck moving defenseman, as they have targeted Brian Campbell, and Pavel Kubina, Kubina has that infamous no-trade clause, and the Sabres are in playoff position, so it is unclear if they are going to trade Campbell, unless they get some immediate returns.
Either way, I hope that something happens, because all of this speculating is getting a little boring!
10:54am: The New Jersey Devils have acquired defensemen Bryce Salvador from the St. Louis Blues for known agitator Cam Jansen. Leafs fans will remember Jansen for his dirty hit on Kaberle last year in that infamous "Why didn't we dress Wade Belak?" game. The Devils get to add some depth to their defense, which really has lost a lot of star power in recent years, but somehow is able to roll on.
Maybe somewhere, someone is planning a Marian Hossa for Oli Jokinen trade, just to give me something to talk about...
11:20am: Speaking of Wade Belak, the Leafs have traded him to the Florida Panthers for a 5th round draft pick. Looks like bringing Cliff Fletcher in to rebuild the franchise is paying off, because lord knows JFJ would have offered Belak a no-trade clause.
Also, apparently Hossa has been told by the team to skip the practice today, and stay in the hotel. Word on the street is that Ottawa is offering the Thrashers Vermette, Schubert, and Foligno, while the Habs are offering Michael Ryder, Mikael Grabovski and Maxim Lapierre. Please Senators, don't go for Hossa, he was a huge part of the "chokers" label that we got in the early 00s...
11:26am: I forgot to mention earlier, that the Isles have resigned Mike Comrie to a one year extension, which pretty much takes him off the table. Quite the shame, I miss him in Ottawa.
11:29am: These lack of trades disturb me...I'm going for lunch, something awesome better happen by the time I get back.
12:02pm: Ask and thy shall receive!!! In the past 33 minutes there has been a flurry of activities involving some big names.
Let's start with the biggest name on the market, as the Dallas Stars have acquired centre Brad Richards and goaltender Johan Holmqvist from the Tamp Bay Lightning in exchange for goalie Mike Smith, centre Jeff Halpern, and winger Jussi Jokinen. This is a huge coup for the Dallas Stars. They have been a surprise of sorts in the West, mostly due to their lack of scoring, but it seems that fear can be resolved, as they added one of the top playmakers in the league, with a proven playoff record. I think that Holqvist will probably spend a good portion of his time in Dallas on the bench, as Turco has been playing very well lately. The Lightning get Mike Smith, who looked like he was going to usurp Turco for the starting spot earlier in the season, and they may have finally solved their goaltending woes that they have been suffering since Khabibulin left a few years ago. Halpern, and Jokinen are solid forwards, who will give the Lightning something that they haven't had since before the lockout, depth. All in all, I think that this was actually a good trade for both teams. I expect Vancouver and/or Columbus to do something big in the next few hours since they were in the hunt for Richards.
Next, it looks as though Brian Campbell's days in Buffalo are over, as he has gone to San Jose in exchange for forward Steve Bernier and a first round draft pick. The Sharks, get a high priced rental player, who should help their surprisingly anemic offense, especially on the power play, and the Sabres get yet another promising young forward in Bernier. They apparently were trying to shop some of their young scorers, including Kalinin and Afineganov before the deadline. I wonder if they are done dealing or not.
Lastly, it appears as though the Carry Price era in Montreal is going to begin today. Upcoming UFA, Cristobal Huet has been traded to the Washington Capitals for a 2nd round draft pick. I'm pretty surprised that they got so little for a starting goalie, as I thought a few more teams would be in the running. Also, I thought that the Habs were going to be buyers instead of sellers at the deadline. Maybe they needed to get another draft pick so they can trade a bunch of them away. Also, I had mentioned Washington as a potential home for Dwayne Roloson, but I guess that's out of the question now. Perhaps he'll end up somewhere else.
Well I'm glad something happened.
12:20pm: Also worth noting, for lunch I had a tofu stir-fry with rice. Yes, I am attempted to corner the ever-elusive "Vegan-Sports-Fanatics" Demographic.
12:29pm: Looks like the Florida Panthers have got quite the appetite for trades after the Wade Belak Blockbuster. They have sent Ruslan Salei to the Colorado Avalanche for Karlis Skrastins and 3rd round pick. Also, the Hurricanes and Hawks have swapped Tuomo Ruutu and Andrew Ladd.
I'm not sure who wins either of these trades to be honest, as the Panthers-Avs trade looks to be a legitimate hockey trade, as neither man's contract is expiring (shocking, I know...). But the Avs get the veteran for a younger model. Good one for both teams.
As for the Canes-Hawks, I really thought that Ruutu would go to a contender looking for some grit for the stretch run. I think that Ladd is the better player, I'm not really sure why the Canes did that one. Well done Chicago.
For the record, the 2nd round pick that the Habs got from the Capitals was in 2009...still a rip-off.
Alright I need to go to a meeting now, hopefully something else good will happen! (Hey it worked last time....)
1:23pm: Well it worked this time, as the Columbus Blue Jackets have shipped out a pair of veterans, who are approaching UFA status. Sergei Federov joins his Russian counterparts Alexandre Ovechkin, and Alexander Semin in Washington for prospect Theo Ruth. Also, the Jackets sent their captain, Adam Foote back to Colorado for a conditional first round pick either this year, or next.
These are some interesting moves, as Columbus was one of those teams that could have gone either way on the buyer/seller spectrum, but seems to have decided to sell, and not make the push for the playoffs. Ultimately, I think that this was the right decision, as this team has too good of a young core to temper with. The Caps on the other hand, appear to be making the push to topple the Carolina Hurriances and take the South East Division title...not that that's hard or anything.
Also, a day after the Avs sign Petr Forsberg, they seem to be trying to turn back the clock, and get another player who was a big part of their 1996 and 2001 Cup titles. How long until they bring Patrick Roy back from retirment?
Lastly, it seems that the Ottawa Senators have acquired gritty journeyman Martin Lapointe from Chicago for a 2008 6th round pick. I think that this is a good pick up for the Sens, as they need another solid checking forward, especially one with a few Cup rings from his time in Detroit. This could be extra important if they are going to trade Vermette and/or Schubert for a big name player.
Speaking of big names, nothing has happened thus far with Marian Hossa, interesting...
1:32pm: BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!
Fresh off the Brian Campbell coup, the San Jose Sharks have made another huge deadline aquisiton, as they receive defenseman Rob Davidson from the New York Islanders for a 7th Round Draft Pick. Sure it's no Vandermeer trade, but the entire hockey world watches on as the Sharks become a Western power house.
Stay tuned for more reaction on this massive deal.
1:39pm: I just checked Jay Onrait's Trade Deadline Blog, and he made the same crack about Patrick Roy as I did 20 minutes before...I swear I didn't steal it.
1:42pm: It turns out that the difference in numbers between Adam Foote and the Columbus Blue Jackets was less than $500, 000. For normal people like you and me, that's a lot of money, but for sports teams and players, that's chump change. I'm pretty shocked the Jackets would through in the towel and ship out their Captain with such a little difference. They had best not Daigle that pick
1:49pm: Another hour, another meeting...then I have to teach, then I have my co-curricular to go to...I probably won't be back on until this evening, when it'll be time to wrap things up.
This is probably for the best, interesting things seem to happen when I'm not there to post about it. I can only assume that Jokinen for Hossa deal is coming any minute now. It should be of note though that Detroit has been suspiciously quiet...
Alright, back to my meeting.
2:04pm: Alright one more...Washington has added some grit for their push to the playoffs, as they got their third rental player of the day, getting Matt Cooke from Vancouver for Matt Pettinger. Pettinger has struggled this season, but is a former 20 goal scorer. The Canucks, hope that they can get him back to form as they desperately need some secondary scoring.
6:22pm: I leave for a few hours, and this is what happens! Wow...
First off, I'm not going to talk about many of the small trades, as there were a lot, but I just want to talk about the big ones here.
For starters, let's look at the biggest trade of them all, Pittsburgh acquires Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis for Angelo Esposito, Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen and a 1st Round Draft Pick. This is a huge deal, and the Penguins are really, REALLY taking a gamble with this trade. For starters, much has been said about Hossa's playoff record, but then again, he's never played in the playoffs with Crosby and Malkin, so I'll wait and judge that part of the deal until the spring. But the real gamble, has been giving away two of their solid depth players in Armstrong and Christensen, and a potential impact (or bust) prospect in Esposito. Remember, Esposito was the guy that was supposed to go near the top of last years draft, but his rank continued to drop, and drop, until the Penguins snatched him near the end of the first round. He is one of those players that will either be a superstar or a huge bust. I guess the Pens are banking on him being the later.
Speaking of the Pens, they also added Hal Gill from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2nd round pick this year, and a 5th round pick next year. This is a solid deal, as the Pens need a hard hitting defenseman to compliment the offense that Sergei Gonchar, Darryl Sydor, Chris Letang, and Ryan Whitney. I think that the Pens may have overpaid, especially if they gave up their first pick for Hossa. This is going to be a solid draft year, so to not have any picks in the first two rounds is a bold, bold move.
Speaking of the Leafs, I need to mention that they also traded Chad Kilger away for a 3rd Round Pick. So Fletcher's grand rebuilding leads to a collection of 4 draft choices, none of which were first. Well at least it's better than trading away the 1st round selection that became Roberto Luongo for an aging Wendel Clark, like he did back in 1997. Fletcher says that there have been some "preliminary discussions" with teams for trades to make in the early part of the summer, and that the "Face of the Maple Leafs will be different come opening day"...we'll see about that...
An interesting, but minor trade comes as the Minnesota Wild acquire Chris Simon from the New York Islanders for a 6th round selection. Simon has a proven track record as a goon, and joins a very rough and ready Minnesota team. Remember, this was the team that got beaten up and outclassed by Anaheim in the first round last year. Do you think that they are trying to send them a message?
Back to something bigger...the Detroit Red Wings have added Brad Stuart from the Los Angeles Kings for a few draft picks. I have always liked Stuart, and I thought that he would do really well in LA, but I guess I was wrong on that one. He should be a great fit in Detroit, as their D just got a lot scarier, especially when Kronwall, Lidstrom, and Rafalski return from injuries.
Speaking of defense's getting scary, the Anaheim Ducks added Marc-Andre Bergeron from the New York Islanders for a 3rd round pick. While Bergeron is a not a typical Brian Burke tough guy, that may make him the best addition that they could have done. This gives the Ducks a 5th top level defensemen, as Bergeron joins Pronger, Niedermayer, Beauchamin, and Schneider. I wonder how much time they can give all of these guys, especially on the power play. Who knows, maybe they will just give Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, et al. a rest for the two minutes, and put all five defensemen out there...that'll work.
Now as far as assessing the day, I think that the key winners (in the short term) are the Stars, and Sharks, with the Penguins as the distant bronze, and the Capitals and Avalanche rounding out the top five. Getting Brad Richards and Brian Campbell, respectively, while not giving up a lot in the short term, may just help put the Stars and Sharks in the same category as the Ducks and Wings in the "Western Conference Teams That Nobody Wants To Face in the Playoffs".
The Caps really have made a big push for the South East title, as Federov, Huet, and even Cooke should help them pass the Hurricanes and give the superstar Alex's a chance to show their stuff in the spring. Lastly, the Avs won big by signing Petr Forsberg, and have addressed their most obvious needs by getting tougher on defense with the additions of Salei and Foote. That being said though, the West is still scary, and the Avs will have a tough time competing with the Wings, Ducks, Sharks, Stars, Flames, and Wild in the West, but they have probably distanced themselves from the Canucks, Predators, and Blue Jackets as far as the top mid-range Western teams go.
As far as the big losers, I think they are the Blue Jackets, the Canucks, the Senators, and the Canadiens. All four of these teams had been mentioned as possible teams to make a big splash, but did pretty much nothing. The biggest losers are definetly Columbus and Montreal as not only did they fail to gain any major assets, they lost some big ones. The Blue Jackets still had a reasonable shot to make the playoffs, but they sold Federov and Adam Foote and got nothing tangible in return. And Montreal...crazy...how oculd they have traded their starting goalie away for a 2nd round pick? They are putting way, way, way too much pressure on Carey Price heading into the playoffs. It just doesn't make sense to me. I know that they keep mentioning Price in the same sentence as Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy, but you can't count on Price to win the Cup and Conn Smythe just because those two did. If they were going to trade Huet, I was fully expecting them to bolster their roster for a stretch drive. The East really is wide open, especially as Ottawa struggles, and Philadelphia falls apart, so why not the Habs? I guess Gainey didn't think so as well. I would also like to point out one thing, in my deadline wrap-up last year, I put both Anaheim and Ottawa on my list of Top 5 Losers, and they both made it to the finals...shows what I know...
Alright, it's 7:32pm right now, making it almost 24 hours since I started this post. I need to stop now. Even though a lot of the big names such as Sundin and Jokinen, didn't move at all, there was still some interesting activity going on around the league, and the last few months should tell a lot about how successful they will be...it's quite an interesting time to be the hockey fan!
Until next time,