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Thursday, April 4, 2013

NHL Team Trade Deadline Reviews Part 1

Wild on Sports
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An Ice Life: Team Trade Deadline Reviews
By Wild on Sports NHL Analyst Brian Peirce

Winners and losers and other jumping of the gun, gut reactions.
First thing I want to say is that I love to eat crow.   I was off on this trade deadline being the most boring ever.  I think there were some interesting moves and even though the first five hours of watching were humorous at the depths they hit.  It had great parts like Mike Milbury getting a call on the air after jokingly saying no one calls him for any reason ever.  Awww, even jerks who talk out of both sides of their body have friends to call them and make everyone have a good laugh!  There is a ton to talk about, but I am glad when I am wrong like this. (I wasn’t that far off though, it still was a low end day.)
Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks are winners, and maybe the biggest of them.  I know you are saying, “But they hardly did anything?”  That is right; they could have been trading away one or more of their big named players but instead signed them.  They could have been adding a bunch of players like the Penguins but they made a few minor moves.  That moved away extra pieces for different extra pieces they felt they needed.  Now Matthew Lombardi was the biggest name they added, but they are one of the best teams in the league and didn’t mess with what was working and that was the top lines.  Usually the Cup winner is the team that made a minor move or got that one player that put them over the top.  They might not have been the latter, but they surely didn’t mess around with chemistry.  I think they are a part of a four horse race in the West.
Boston Bruins
I think the Bruins were winners. They already were the best bet to take down the front runners in Pittsburgh and they added Jagr who has shown to be a strong elder goal scorer and I think it wasn’t as expensive for them at least in draft picks.  I do not know what package was offered for Iginla.  More interesting to me was the Wade Redden pick up for a conditional seventh rounder which is likely to be a sixth rounder.  A sixth rounder doesn’t have much chance of making an impact on a team, while Wade Redden has about the same amount of chance on turning his career around.  What improves the odds is that they could try putting Wade back with Chara, where they were the best defensive pair in the league back shortly after the turn of the century in Ottawa.  The Sens bet on Wade who was the better player than Zdeno at the time and lost big when Chara turned into a Norris Caliber player for Boston and Redden noise dived in a way that makes Shea Weber feel good about his performance without Suter.  If they get 50% of the quality of the pair when they were in the Red and Black, the yellow and black team will have turned the value of that sixth into a second pick in my mind. It is a huge reward, low risk so you have to love it from that standpoint.   If you want to throw in pawning off the Tim Thomas mouth/contract on the Islanders a month ago, they win big.
Buffalo Sabers
Buffalo were big winners for a seller at the deadline.  They really could have done more unloading so I won’t heap praise on them, but they might have the most picks going into a strong draft class.  I would have liked to see them move Miller if they are planning on it, but that could still happen later.  They keep one of their top line guys to teach the youngsters and didn’t give up on Myers and sell low.  They are looking good at possibly getting one of the top five monsters in the lotto and you have to think one of the two Halifax guys would look good moving down to play next to Vanek game one of next year.  Or both if they want to be really bold and aggressive.   They also moved Regehr for two seconds and Leopold for another second and a fifth.  They have two second rounders for the next three years.  That statistically works out to getting 3 NHL roster players on average.  That is good in and of itself for moving proven guys. 
Calgary Flames
I feel good that I nailed this team, but they are losers.  They didn’t move Kipper even though they did it for all the right reasons and it will help them attract talent in the future.  This is however a team that is trying to sell the present with a trade for Brian McGrattan and the recent signing of Jiri Hudler.  They left Cammalleri on the roster and might get value for him later, but I don’t see him sticking around.  Cervenka hasn’t panned out and you wonder if he will with no additions that really help now.  They should have moved Glencross and Stempniak now, but they really needed to get something for more UFA’s, but forwards weren’t getting much in this market.  I just look at their roster and think, they have a ton of money and no one to get, and didn’t get enough back to sell the future either.  Too little, too late is the story in Cal-Gary.
Carolina Hurricanes
These guys were sellers who had so many injuries it made it hard for them to move forward at this point in time.  I have a hard time calling them losers, until they made the worst trade of all time by waiving Jussi a few days too early and getting bullied by the Penguins, who are in their division next year, by getting a conditional pick for him that amounts to likely nothing.  Even with the Pens being the favourite team going forward, you cannot make the condition of getting a pick being making the finals for a seventh and getting a sixth if they win.  That is absurd and they could have gotten a second at least if they traded him last year.  That is the mark of a loser.   I think the Westgarth addition was an okay addition that they gave up way too much for an enforcer type.  He needs to be Chris Neil to make this a win in my mind, but I have been known to think toughness isn’t measured in penalty minutes.
Chicago Blackhawks
I don’t like Chicago because of Kane acting like a prick in every situation, Hossa stabbing me in the back, and that their fans classless-ly chant Detroit sucks when I feel no city should love another city like Chicago should love Detroit.  As a history major I know how much we helped each other along the way.  I don’t feel like they should ever talk trash about Detroit after rebuilding their city literally once and figuratively twice more with crime and automotive business flowing through their town.  I am always going to list them as a loser because of their lack of class.  I love them as an Original Six and enjoy them as a legitimate rival; even it took a miracle and a death to turn their program back from a Phoenix like brink. 
All that said, they were making very minor moves and it would be wrong for pass judgment right now, but Hanzus is a good move for a fourth.  That is a character addition that teams like Colorado, New Jersey, and Detroit would have made on the way to Cup runs.  They are one of the four horses in the west.
Colorado Avalanche
Let’s face it, they hardly did anything.  They got a pick for the odd man out and it was a decent pick for O’Byrne.  An additional player swap means we can’t know what Colorado has done for sure for a few years.  They are in the other category. 
Columbus Blue Jackets.
They made me laugh more than any other team.  I am not buying that this is the major statement that changes the course of the trajectory for the team.  They have moved a ton of top picks in the last two years, and all their moves seemed in the same fold but aren’t necessarily improvements. 
They basically have no traded a bunch of players around with trading partners that their last trade causes as many holes as were filled.  The major blockbuster was Gaborik, who is well documented as being a me first type guy who can go north and south by himself and win a game, or do nothing.  Columbus needed a top tier guy because their pieces were not generating any offense.  However, Gabs is a weaker on the puck and more inconsistent version of Nash.  Both were 30 goal type guys and Nash should have been a 40 guy always.  They couldn’t win with Nash, so why should I think Gaborik will make them win now?  In fact, I listened to him talking about waving his no trade clause to go to Columbus.  It didn’t sound like Columbus changed their image and he wanted to go, it sounded like Prospal talked him into it and he figured, at least he can get away from Torts.  The BJs now feel like a worse version of the Wild when it was his team. 
Yeah you can respect them for going for it when they were the worst team in the league and got hot.   We have seen that the Columbus guys all play okay in New York, but not as well in Ohio.  It feels like it was the same way with the Carter trade last year.  They go cold after these trades for just one week, and they could be right back out of it and I am not sure that all the other additions are going to make a difference.  Blake Comeau is one of those hit or miss moves.
The other funny as hell part was in the same thread, but they looked like the smart ones.  Moving Steve Mason for Leighton AND a third makes me laugh.  They just fleeced Philly by getting Bobrovsky for a couple of picks, and finished it by moving a guy who had one season for the other depth goaltender who showed flashes for the Flyers.   Bobrovsky deserves a Hart nomination if they make the playoffs in my mind and he really showed flashes of that in Orange.  Leighton did the same so just imagine if the whole sale change of goaltenders leaves CBJ with a duo that costs less than Bryz and accomplishes more.   If I was the Flyers I would worry about that.  Yet they did get the better end of the Carter deal, so karma balanced.
I just don’t know if they are doing the right thing going for it.  They would be better off getting a top pick and drafting better so they don’t end up with another Nash player situation.  They haven’s shaken that reputation until they start winning playoff series a bit more often.  It is too soon to tell, but I don’t give someone a winner status for questionable moves.
Dallas Stars
They were sellers, and they got big returns before the deadline day for an old guy and the Canucks desperate need for a center.  They also got a bunch for Brenden Morrow who hasn’t had value for two straight seasons.  They got a fair return so I call them winners.
Detroit Red Wings
I could go on and on about this deadline because you can take it so many ways.  First off I think they are winners for recognizing that the talent they have coming up is better than what was offered up in this trade year.  They need top end guys and those were few and far between.  I look at every trade made and say, yeah this trade would have been nice but they would have wanted this guy who would have been overpayment.  There were only a few trades that made me say, “I wish Ken was in on that.”  I think Pomminville would have fixed the forward situation and Clowe would have been nice instead of having some of the depth guys on the team, but trades wouldn’t have worked out and would have burned guys that Detroit fans should get excited for sooner rather than later.  I think they are winners for recognizing this.
I think they are losers for two reasons.  Making the same tired excuses for not wanting to make a trade pisses me off.  Winners don’t justify their moves to people and they certainly don’t justify their lack of moves by saying stupid cliché crap.  Bertuzzi might be back, as might Helm and Sammuelson is not a deadline addition.  If they were, Holland would be run out of town likely.  He nearly was when he resigned Sammy.  The fact is he only had one shot at adding the two players they needed and missed out only because they were born in Minnesota.  He isn’t a loser for not trying, he is a loser for acting like he is happy with the outcomes when he isn’t and trying to sell the hard sell. 
What really makes them losers in my mind, is them passing on being sellers.  I get that there is a huge playoff record on the line, but Babcock and Holland made bad choices in the summer and in this season that it seem that Filppula and White were gone, and Cleary seems to be out the door as well.  When other teams were moving these guys for picks, they passed on it and justified them as trade acquisitions. 
I get it Ken, you were screwed for not having enough defensemen once and having a luxury like a 9th defenseman would have gotten you one extra cup back when Schneider got hurt in the Western Conference finals.  That was a different time when you were the best team in the land, and not when you were a coin flip away from missing the dance.  He passed on what could have been a first, second and seventh round draft pick by not moving UFA’s when he had more than enough AHL talent to cover them leaving now, and likely would have been better without them.  When the draft class is that deep and you draft better than anyone else you should have made those moves.
All I can say is there once was a Ken Holland who made trades like the Penguins made where they pushed around teams and moved garbage for garbage that turned to gold while making hockey trades that made the team better.  I don’t blame you for not forcing it, but I think you need to figure out a team identity and don’t be Calgary where you just hope you get there someday without doing anything.

See Part 2 Here 

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