yankee hockey

DEADLINE SPECIAL

Welcome to the Yankee Hockey Trade Deadline Special! It was, as I expected, a not so crazy day where only a few teams managed to get everything on their shopping list, and many teams moved horizontally rather then vertically. So let’s get to it.

The Big  Winners:

Calgary: The Flames are the big winners not because of their biggest trade, Olli Jokinen for  Lombardi, Prust, and a 1st, but because of the trade they made earlier for Jordan Leopold for two fringe defensemen and a 2nd round pick. Calgary’s offense didn’t need any sort of boost. Sure, Jokinen’s big body is helpful, just hardly necessary.  Their one weakness this year (other then Kipprusoff being sketchy at times) has been a shaky defense. Leopold is a great defenseman with a high offensive upside, he immediately makes Calgary tougher to play against. Jokinen is a good player, but he doesn’t make Calgary intimidating like Leopold does.

Phoenix: So they lost Jokinen, so what? He was hardly a force to be reckoned with in the desert anyway. What they did do was get a first, second, and fourth round pick, a bunch of good forwards in Scottie Upshall, Peter Prucha, Brandon Prust, Matthew Lombardi, and Nigel Dawes, as well as a decent defenseman in Dmitri Kalinin. They may be out of the playoff race this year, but next year they will be retooled and better then ever.

Boston Bruins: Mark Recchi was a pretty good pick up. He’ll help them more in the post season then he will now, but they didn’t give up much for him and somehow managed to get a second round pick in 2010 to boot. The addition that makes them big winners is getting Steve Montador in exchange for the currently injured Petteri Nokelainen, who isn’t even that good when he’s not injured. Montador is a great defensemen and immediately makes the toughest team in the East even tough. With Recchi and Montador on their squad they should go very deep into the playoffs.

Columbus Blue Jackets: They got rid of a goaltender they didn’t need, and in return got an experienced center they desperately need. This is a young team with almost not playoff experience, adding Antoinne Vermette, who went to the Stanley Cup finals two seasons ago, immediately makes this team a dark horse pick in the post-season.

Moving  Sideways:

New York Rangers:  Sure they got Derek Morris and Nik Antropov, and those two should shore up a bit of the holes in the Rangers’ ship, but what they really needed was a scoring winger. Antropov is both big and talented, but he’s a center who isn’t very good on the wing. They can’t put him with Gomez, and that’s really where they needed to add a player. Not only that they gave up young and talented Peter Prucha for Morris and that may end up hurting them in seasons to come.

Philadelphia Flyers: Already a scrappy team, I’m not sure why the Flyers felt they needed to pick up  gritty players like Jeff Carcillo and Kyle McLaren. With the most assets of any team in the league available for a big trade the Flyers fell surprisingly flat. Well, they didn’t need much, they didn’t get much, they are the definition of moving sideways.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sorry if I don’t think that addition of Bill Guerin for next to nothing is a winning move. The Penguins needed someone to add some life into their line-up. Guerin will add some goals, but he definitely won’t add any inspiration. What they have right now is Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke trying to breathe some life into this team, and that’s just not enough. Rumour was they were looking to bring back Jarkko Ruutu, and that would have helped big time. Guerin just won’t put them over the top of anything.

San Jose Sharks: Here was a team that didn’t need to make any trade at all, and then they went and made two. They got rid of Kyle McLaren who is a good every day defensemen, and then picked up a poor replacement in Kent Huskins. And where exactly do they expect Travis Moen to play?

Anaheim Ducks: I really probably could have put them into the losing category because they didn’t pick up anything good, unless your idea of good is untested prospects. But they didn’t lose anything good either. Maybe… maybe Travis Moen, but he’s only pretty good. Now, they very well could have traded Pronger or Niedermayer and gotten a pretty penny back. That they didn’t means they must believe they can make it to at least the second round this year, but because they will probably be facing either the Sharks or the Wings if they do make it, I highly doubt that.

Big Losers:

Toronto Maple Leafs: They got rid of everything and got almost nothing in return. I know that Brian Burke loves picks, but he hasn’t often shown an ability to use them well. Vancouver still suffers from his drafting years, in Anaheim he benefited from the previous GM’s picks. If he thinks that Toronto fans will be patient as he tries to rebuild this team entirely from scratch he hasn’t been paying attention. Further, the two goaltenders they got, Olaf Kolzig and Martin Gerber, haven’t done anything to merit a starting job in a few years. What’s the plan there?

Florida Panthers: I appreciate that they want to keep Bouwmeester around for the playoffs. Getting to the post-season is a super big deal in Florida this year. I think they’re getting in with or without the guy, and they would have certainly gotten both players and picks for him. I’m sure they could have convinced either Philly or Vancouver who were both rumoured to be frothing at the bit for him to give up one of their roster defensemen in return. Bouwmeester is not going to mean the difference between the first and second round for Florida, they will be beat early on and then they will lose him in the off-season

Vancouver Canucks: So you see your divisional rival Calgary Flames make two excellent deals and you can’t do anything? Not a god damn thing? Look, I completely understand that if there are no good deals to make then you don’t make a deal, but you need a center and the Rangers pick up Nik Antropov for a second round pick. At this point GM Mike Gillis better re-sign the Sedin twins and Mattias Ohlund quick before fans start to think he is incapable of any action whatsoever.

Chicago Blackhawks: If this team wants to be considered one of the elite of the league then they needed to make a move. What move did they make? Sami Pahlsson? Really guys? Is that the best you can do? They have two starting goaltenders eating away at their cap space and they couldn’t rid themselves of either of them? This will come back to haunt them in the post-season.

Trading Day Oddities:

Dallas Stars pick up Brendan Morrison on the waiver wire: This is an oddity because Brendan Morrison is a Stars killer! He scored an awesome overtime goal a couple years ago against Turco in the playoffs that really killed the Stars. But, I guess keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.

Three-way deal of nothing: The Kings, ‘Canes, and Oilers made what the most frustrating deal of the day with O’Sullivan going to the Oil, Cole going to the ‘Canes, and Williams going to LA. All three players aren’t exactly having banner years, emphasis on Williams and Cole there. O’Sullivan is the best of the bunch, and he’s going to the team least likely to make the playoffs. What an excercise in futility this trade was.

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BUY OR SELL?

Posted in Players by yankhockey on March 3, 2009

As of the writing of this articles there is… 15 hours, 43 minutes, and 8 seconds until the trade deadline, and nothing of note has occurred. Well, unless you consider about 12000 man hours of coverage in the last week something of note.

This year the trading deadline is looking a lot like the world economy, fears of big money commitments and getting rid of an under appreciated commodity immaturely. With the deadline less then a day away there have been more players put on waivers then traded, many of them good players. Certainly you’d think that a player like Miroslav Satan or Brendan Morrison, both people who in deadlines past have garnered a lot of attention, could elicit at least a third round pick from a team looking for a proven point producer, but instead their respective teams have put them on waivers… and it doesn’t appear that anyone is willing to take them on.

The reason is the same reason why we may not see any big deals going down this year. Though Satan and Morrison’s contracts would hardly have been considered big money in years past, with a salary cap set to decrease in the coming year teams have to be much more aware of what exactly they are adding to their roster. Now, I expect at least Morrison to be picked up seeing as how his contract is finished at the end of the season, but picking up any player these days is risky.

If there is one big deal that is going to go down it will involve Jay Bouwmeester. Not only is he the best upcoming unrestricted free agent, he is the best unrestricted free agent by far. Not only that there is very little chance he will re-sign in Florida meaning the team had best move him because he is going to bring to them a lot of prospects. The big problem comes in the nature of prospects in today’s NHL. Many teams have used prospects to great effect instead of costly stars. It turns out you can pay a really good prospect 850k to score as many points as a veteran being payed 3.5 million. Not only that, their leadership skills are being utilized as well. Jonathan Toews is captaining Chicago in his second year. Mike Richards is captaining Philly and he’s only 25. And what about Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, they’ve been leading their teams since they came into the league. The league is looking younger and younger every year, except for Detroit which is looking older but keeps winning. Prospects may have once been something you could trade like hockey cards, but no longer. Now a prospect is a potential cheap point producer, and GMs are less willing to give one up, especially for a rental player.

In years past you would have seen many rental players like Bouwmeester being traded at the deadline, but now the only way it’s going to happen is if the team taking on the rental contract believes that that player is the difference between an early playoff exit and the Stanley Cup, or at least the division championship. Bouwmeester could make that difference to a couple teams, Scott Niedermayer in Anaheim could make that difference, but no other potential UFAs this year really have that kind of make or break presence. No, this year you’ll be seeing many players with contracts extending past this year being traded. No GM worth his salt is going to trade good prospects and young players for a rental, and that’s what teams are going to want back. The team paying the prospects will want at least another year of a reasonable contract or no deal.

In the end there will be some deals being made. Toronto will be broken up into little tiny pieces so Brian Burke can remake it in his image. Bouwmeester will find himself wearing different colors by the end of the day. And some team will stupidly give up a fine young player that hasn’t reached his potential yet for an over-appreciated veteran with the full support of the fans, until they realized what they’ve done. (I’m looking at you Vancouver). That’s the trade deadline for you.

So far the only thing of note was the Ray Whitney to Anaheim for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi to Pittsburgh which everyone immediately called a win for Anaheim. I disagree. Whitney is a fine offensive defenseman, but anyone who has really watched him play will tell you his defense has more holes than my sock once the dog’s gotten through with it, while Kunitz is a good young forward who easily has thirty goal potential. Oh, and guess what? Tangradi is going to be one awesome defenseman in the future.

Other then that, Montreal did great picking up Schneider. Comrie and Campoli  for McAmmond was a horrible move for Ottawa since they managed to give away their first round pick for Mike Comrie. And picking up Havelid just shores New Jersey up that much more.

Check in Thursday for a special “After Trading Day” Yankee Hockey.

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