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Thursday, April 4, 2013

NHL Trade Deadline Reviews Part 2

Wild on Sports
An Ice Life: Team Trade Deadline Reviews
Part 2
By Wild on Sports NHL Analyst Brian Peirce
Winners and losers and other jumping of the gun, gut reactions.

Click Here to View Part 1 

Edmonton Oilers
We all know the Oilers, they are the team that is so awful that they have landed every offensive weapon that has been can’t miss in half a decade. They are the young guns that score in droves and have to win in shootouts. They have used the best player available strategy like the Detroit Lions have used in the NFL and they have had about the same amount of success if they make the playoffs this year. Therefore they come into the deadline as the most entertaining losers of the NHL. Did they change their moniker on this day?

Well they wisely took some of the best talent available and swapped prospects for areas of the game they are weak at, which makes it easier to say they are more prepared moving forward. Getting Fistric and keeping Smid were smart moves. However, these moves don’t wow me or make me think that they are definitely improved. They still have the biggest issue moving forward in a time-bomb cap issue. They needed to be sellers moving forward as long as they were not ready to contend, and as long as their cap situation was not structured. Hemsky at least should have been moved. I get they wanted to go for it and inspire the kids by saying we believe in you. I still think letting the youngsters play while selling parts isn’t going to make them never develop into winners.

It is my opinion that Hemsky might have just become a buy-out candidate because his 5 million has to go to Gagner, Magnus, and others moving forward. They could have gotten something for him, and they should have. I don’t think they are losers, but I don’t think they are winners.

Florida Panthers
What is there to say here? A bunch of minor deals happened that involved a lot of players and picks that aren’t necessarily going to result in anything. Cannot say if they are winners or losers, but they need to keep trying. I also think they need to leave Florida.

Los Angeles Kings
I think they are one of the four horses in the West in the playoffs. I wasn’t a fan of the Kings moving Drewiskie for a fifth, even though he was a spare part he was a good depth guy and will help Montreal a lot. However, getting Regehr for two second round picks in 2014 and 2015 was pretty awesome. They won’t miss out on this good draft while also adding the best stay at home defenseman available that will help the team get back to their style of play that won them the cup last year. Plus they cleared the space for him and their other youngsters moving forward by moving Gagne earlier in the year. I just think this is a huge win. They might have had the best addition of all the teams at the deadline.

Minnesota Wild
This team had the other candidate for the best addition, and in my opinion the winner of that award. Pomminville is a fantastic character player that has everything you want out of a winger. In my opinion his style and value will fit in with Koivu and Parise extremely well, so they might end up being the best line in all of hockey. He is hungry to win and will push them closer to the full rounded team needed to win. They are the final of the four teams to watch in the West. It was costly and it gives them cap problems next year, but if they don’t go for it now, they might have to wait until the other side of the cap valley of the next three years to go for it. I think they are winners, and it is about time.

Montreal Canadiens
Drewskie for a fifth was one of those really good moves, solid depth guy for a low cost. They did their other moves a while back which were more questionable but I think they are winners. They are a solid team that can win the Cup as of right now that added a dependable and proven depth defenseman without flipping their team upside down.

Nashville Predators
They are huge winners by getting a top ten prospect in last years draft for an old Erat that hasn’t ever proven he can help a team win and a lesser prospect. I seriously do not know how the heck this trade happened, but if Filip Forsberg turns out to be what everyone thinks he is, then this might end up being the dumbest trade in the last 10 years at least.

New Jersey Devils
Getting Sullivan back for a 7th round pick is a very large amount of offense added for the minimum value given back. Matt D'Agostini cost a fifth and but they got the 7th back, so in some way you can say that a fifth turned into two decent players that will help short term. I believe they needed to add bodies and didn’t spend much.

New York Islanders
They stood pat.

New York Rangers
Rangers added a ton and removed one player that didn’t fit with Torts. In all honesty they just got a bunch of undervalued players on their team in exchange for very little. Do not assume the first game six goal output is the norm, but they got players that fit their system. This is very important, and they completed the move to make the best player on their team Rick Nash instead of Gaborik. The New York Blue Jackets will do far better than the Columbus Rangers will in the coming years because they are a more complete team. It just shows you how a better team can pull it together at the right time. However, the Blue Jackets can get the better of it in the long run. They just never will get the better of the Nash trade. The Rangers will be a hard beat in the playoffs, if they make it. They are a tough team, and winners on this deadline.

Ottawa Senators
I think the Senators big trade was a win-win for both teams, so I will handle it all here. Ben Bishop was the third best goaltender on the team this season in an embarrassment of riches situation. While he was the third best player on the Senators between the pipes, he would be the best goaltender on half the teams in the league. He also was an AHL superstar in net. Therefore, it made perfect sense to trade for the same basic valued player to get him in Tampa. They got another young player who was an AHL all-star, actually an MVP, in Conacher. He has been one of the best offensive rookies, although most of his production came early in the season when it was harder to evaluate talent with all the rust. Bishop also had most of his value come in the month or so after Craig Anderson went down with an ankle injury.

The extra pick as the sweetener was nice, and that is because I think goaltending is a bit harder to get for Tampa so they were willing to pay it. In the end Ottawa got a high scoring forward that is young for a high save percentage goaltender that is also young and they had to spare. I don’t understand why this is though of as a hard deal to gage.

Philadelphia Flyers
I talked about the Mason trade a bit. I don’t think it is a bad idea, the guy might bounce back but I don’t think it makes them better. Their minor moves were all okay and I think they weren’t losers, but they weren’t winners.

Phoenix Coyotes
Their selling moves were good without destroying the future of the franchise. Leave that to the Arizona tea party people who are doing everything possible to drive the team out of town. The Coyotes sent Lombardi, Sullivan, and Torres out of town and it was nothing they will miss. They never made the deal for Yandle that would have set their team back, nor did they do anything to make things worse next season. I call that a win for the dogs.

Pittsburgh Penguins
I totally get why people hated the Red Wings ten years ago. It is frustrating when a team gets so much respect that it becomes like a snowball, allowing a general manager to do whatever they please. This is what happened for the Penguins this year. They are making trades where they are sending nothing back. Jussi for nothing just blows my mind, even knowing he was on waivers. I think Morrow isn’t anything significant and might even hurt the team. I think these trades could make them unstoppable or it could just mess with their chemistry. It is too soon to tell, but they were pretty much on fire going in to these trades. I don’t think this buys them the Cup but you can’t call them losers for this deadline. You can call them losers if they whine their way to some extra penalties and that pushes them over the top. I still think this team goes as Malkin goes. I don’t think they have replaced what they lost in Scudari yet and that might keep them from the Cup.

San Jose Sharks
They brought back Hannan for the cheapest cost which will help. Torres is a prick who will play for them in a rough manner, but it was kind of costly in my mind for a guy who gets suspensions as much as contributes. Hannan replaces Murray and upgrades their picks.

St Louis Blues
I think you have to wait and see how the top four defensemen work together to figure out if they were winners. They are banking on two power defensive lines with a righty and a lefty each. It is rare for a team to put that together so I think they might have a really good back end for a few years, although it will cost them on the cap. Moved Redden out of there, which was a good thing. I have always loved Jordan Leopold for his skating ability and using it to put less space between him and forwards. I think the size of Bou and the speed of Leopold gives them options in match ups with tough lines. I think they way overpaid for Bouwmesster and I am glad it was them and not Detroit. However, they were a team that needed to be aggressive to keep the fans coming. Making the playoffs consistently is very important to making money and the Blues took on some cap to keep the fans coming. I hope it works for them.

Tampa Bay Lightning
They really needed Ben Bishop and they got him for something they had extra. Conacher was a free agent they got because he was way undersized, he blew up and suddenly had enough value to get what they needed, a goaltender. I believe there is a place in the NHL for Conacher, but there is no way of knowing if he can be like Martin St. Louis or more like a Jiri Hudler. Goaltenders can be up and down so now they have a pair of young guys and can move forward. They also needed to shake up their team and did with many minor moves. I think they are winners.

Toronto Maple Leafs
There are so many articles out there about what they didn’t do. I am in the group that thinks they were wise to not trade for Luongo. They made some minor moves and added O’Bryne which is a solid add, but a bit overpaid for it. They didn’t mess around much, and they shouldn’t. They just need to make the playoffs and in this compressed season messing around a ton would hurt those chances.

Vancouver Canucks
Well, they obviously are the biggest losers and Luongo said it best, “my contract sucks.” I am not a fan of the Luongo recapture rule and I think it is simply wrong for any CBA or rule or law to be put in place that goes against what was acceptable in the past by negotiation. Everyone in the league could do these front-loaded contracts and if you didn’t like it, you were not alone. They got rid of them by making other rules and changes, and the recapture rule had only one purpose, to punish teams that followed the rules and took the risks and rewards into consideration, then had those rules changed and the risks hiked up to an extreme.

You really should check out capgeek.com and their calculator to get an idea on why no one wants Roberto on their team. The math is shaky at best, but basically if he retired as little as four years early on his contract even if due to injury both Vancouver and his new team would be on the hook for at least 1.7 million dollars of cap hit for the final four years.

If he got a career ending injury immediately after the trade then the team who just traded for him would have in the ballpark of 4 million dollars of dead cap until 2021. Who on earth would take that risk. You are talking about losing a top six forward off your roster for the better part of a decade because Vancouver did what was completely legal. Vancouver now has a toxic asset that they cannot get a bag of pucks for let alone a deal that makes sense. Vancouver was losers twice because they should realized it and moved him for nothing, much like the Jussi trade, but instead asked far too much of a team who didn't need the risk. I think the bigger losers is the NHL who decided to punish a handful of players and teams for their inability to properly negotiate a CBA back then and I think that is awful. Leave contracts in the past, in the past because you have just seen that instead of a situation that would have been better for two teams and two players being swapped, you have one guy left holding the bag. I don’t feel sorry for him, but neither do I blame him for taking the money that was freely offered. The NHL are big losers on this one.

Washington Capitals
What the hell are they thinking? I have seen a lot of Erat in my time and I wouldn't have made this trade in his prime. There is just too much long term risk for way too little short term opportunity. I could eat my words on this but I just think you are talking about moving a can’t miss top six forward for a guy who was always a really solid secondary scoring option that seems to have never helped any team go over the top and seems to be slowing down. They must see something in Michael Latta that other scouts do not see but I can’t figure this trade from any angle as shrewd.

Winnipeg Jets
They could have been the biggest seller or the biggest buyer and neither would have surprised me. They are a mystery to me. They have enough quality players, but they don’t ever seem to be on the ice, playing at their best. Instead of making a big deal, they made one minor deal getting an AHL offensive guy who isn’t producing, for an AHL leader guy who has more grit than glam. I say they are losers just because they are in the playoffs and could be the third seed, or they are out of the playoffs based only on their division. They were a team that had many pieces that are okay with a few great pieces. IF they brokered a deal or at least moved some of their large amount of UFAs they could have built a real chance in the 7 team division (ugh) next year. Instead they will likely be a bubble team that misses out more than not. Good luck on signing all those free agents.


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