Sunday, March 08, 2009

Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

My apologies for any delays in this, as it is far from instant analysis, but after some reflection, I think that we are now ready to assess teams performances at the biggest swap meat in sports, the NHL trade deadline!

As usual, I will look at a few teams that I think did particularly well on the day, or particularly poor. So without further ado....


WINNER: Ottawa Senators. While it was far from a blockbuster involving Jason Spezza, they still made a big trade aquiring Pascal LeClaire and a 2nd round draft pick for Antoine Vermette has to be considered a good deal.
Also, to have Martin Gerber get picked up on waivers is definitively a good thing, and to have him get picked up by the Leafs, certainly means that the Sens will get another few wins against their provincial rivals.

That being said, I feel that they overpaid for Kuba, and am rather surprised that they were unable to move Chris Neil. Certainly some team would have given up a 2nd round pick for him.
LOSER: Philadelphia Flyers. They were unable to make a big move to vault them into the upper level of the Eastern Conference, as they remain firmly in the second tier behind Boston, Washington, and New Jersey. Their one move of consequence was trading Scottie Upshall and a draft pick for Daniel Carcillo.
Carcillo will be loved in Philadelphia for reasons I have outlined before, but giving up Scottie Upshall, a second line winger for a third line pest really makes little sense. If they had needed this to clear cap space to make a later move then maybe it would have been ok, but they didn't, so thumbs down to them.
WINNER: New York Rangers. A few months ago, I certainly didn't see myself saying this, but the Rangers did the smart thing by reaquiring Sean Avery. Not only did the super pest return, but they also added Derek Morris and Nik Antropov. While, I know that none of those players will get them the Stanley Cup, they will shake things up nicely. This is a team that was playing far below their expectations, and need a shot in the arm.
While they may have overpaid for Morris, they were able to get Antropov for less than the asking price, which has to be seen as succesful. The change in team dynamic should help propel this talented team into the post-season.
LOSER: Vancouver Canucks. While I'm glad that they didn't overpay for Boumeester, as was expected, they still didn't quite do enough. This is a team that thinks that they can compete in the Western Conference, but are still well behind Detroit, San Jose, Chicago, and Calgary. They needed to make a big trade and make a statement, and they did nothing. Even getting an extra top four defenseman would have been beneficial.
WINNER: Phoenix Coyotes. What a great deadline for these guys!! They unloaded two disgruntled veterans, dumped some salary, and got some great picks and prospects in return. Both Dimitri Kalinin and Matthew Lombardi can play now, and should fit well on their new team, and the rest of the prospects (and draft picks) should develop well in a franchise that has an excellent recent history for player development. This should really help the Coyotes finally make it back to the playoffs in a few years.

LOSER: Buffalo Sabres. Adding Dominc Moore and Michael Telqvist are hardly going to set the world on fire, and certainly don't feel like they offset the loss of Kotalik. This team is supposed to be in the middle of a playoff drive and Moore and Telqvist are not even close to the answer.

WINNER: Chicago Blackhawks. They didn't make quite the splash that many have been expecting, but they made a quiet, but very solid addition of Sammy Pahlsson. Pahlsson was phenomenal in the Ducks run to the Cup, and was a great addition to their checking line. He was a huge part in shutting down the Sedins, Datsyuk, and Zetterberg en route to the Cup victory. Since the Hawks will probably be seeing both the Cancucks and Wings in the palyoffs, this pick could silently go a long way come spring.

LOSER: Anaheim Ducks. Talk about sitting on the fence. After weeks of speculation that they were going to move Pronger, they decided to keep him, indicating that they would "go for it", however, they turned around and dumped Moehn and Pahlsson, who would certainly help them in the stretch drive. It seems like they are aiming for 8th, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them finish 10th.

WINNER: Florida Panthers. As much as I have derided Vancouver for not doing anything, I am quite happy with Florida not doing anything. They did the right thing in keeping Bouwmeester, and sent a good message to their fans. The fact remains that this is a franchise that needs to make the playoffs, and are looking like tehy will. I am glad that they didn't sell out any part of their bright future, and did not get rid of any part of their present. Well done Florida, they should get about 6 games of palyoff hockey this year.

LOSER: Tampa Bay Lightning. On the other side of the state thigns are different, very, very different. This is a team that was suppsoed to be "going for it" in the off-season as they signed everyone out there, and then things do not work out for them in the end. They had a host of players to trade, but little was done. They give a classy guy like Gary Roberts a very unclassy end to his career, they go one step short of selling a 4th round draft pick to Toronto, and do very little to improve their team in the long or short term. Thumbs down for sure.
WINNER: Calgary Flames. The undisputed winner of the deadline. Oli Jokinen is an excellent long term addition, and should match well with Iginla, and Leopold is a smooth skater who will help their powerplay. Calgary is solidifying their status with the Sharks and Wings as the upper echelon in the West and should be a solid Cup contender.


Of course, games are played on the ice and not on paper (or blogs), so it remains to be seen what will happen. Back in 2007, I said that both the Ducks and Sens were losers at the deadline, and they made it to the finals that year, so shoudl that trend continue, expect a Vancouver-Tampa Cup showdown.

Until next time,


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