Deals and verdicts at the NHL trade deadline
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
Here’s a quick look at the transactions that caught my eye on deadline day:
DEAL: Atlanta trades RW Marian Hossa and RW Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh for RW Colby Armstrong, C Erik Christensen, C Angelo Esposito and Pittsburgh’s 1st-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft.
VERDICT: Pittsburgh overpaid for the Slovak superstar, who has rarely come through in crunch situations since winning the 1998 Memorial Cup with the Portland Winter Hawks. (That includes the IIHF World Championships and Olympics.) Sure, the combination of Hossa, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin will provide power play fireworks. But while Crosby is undoubtedly single-minded enough to put the loss of his buddy Armstrong behind him, how this deal affects the dressing room chemistry on a club that had just two regulation losses in 13 games so far in February is very questionable. Are the Penguins now good enough to win the Stanley Cup this year? That puts a lot of faith in Ty Conklin.
DEAL: Toronto trades D Hal Gill to Pittsburgh for Pittsburgh’s 2nd-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft and 5th-round pick in 2009.
VERDICT: They obviously want Gill to feed those stretch passes to Hossa. It’ll be Housley-Selanne ’93 all over again.
DEAL: Buffalo trades D Brian Campbell and its 7th-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft to San Jose for RW Steve Bernier and San Jose’s 1st-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft.
VERDICT: As sad as Campbell appeared to be leaving Buffalo, he turned down $17 million over three years from Darcy Regier. Buffalo was never going to give him Kimmo Timonen or Dan Boyle money. Good boost for the Sharks PP, considering their top back-end offensive presence so far this year has been Craig Rivet with 29 points.
DEAL: Dallas trades G Mike Smith, C Jeff Halpern, LW Jussi Jokinen and its 4th-round pick in the 2009 Entry Draft to Tampa Bay for C Brad Richards and G Johan Holmqvist.
VERDICT: Dallas gets the better players and should win this deal, but could live to regret having to eat Richards’ $7.8 million salary for the next three years.
DEAL: Columbus trades C Sergei Fedorov to Washington for D Ted Ruth.
VERDICT: Whoever would have believed that Sergei Fedorov would end up getting traded for a baseball player?
DEAL: Montreal trades G Cristobal Huet to Washington for Anaheim’s 2nd-round pick in the 2009 Entry Draft (previously acquired).
VERDICT: Although Washington’s acquired an upgrade on the weary Olaf Kolzig, I still expect to see Huet playing in the province of Quebec this May. (In Quebec City, wearing the uniform of Team France at the 2008 IIHF World Championship.) And as promising of a prospect as Carey Price is, I don’t see him replicating the heroics of Ken Dryden (1971) or Patrick Roy (1986), or hey, even Steve Penney (1984) this year.
DEAL: Columbus trades D Adam Foote to Colorado for a conditional 1st-round pick in the 2008 or 2009 Entry Draft and a conditional 4th-round pick in 2009.
VERDICT: Rob Blake must be feeling awfully left out.
DEAL: Carolina trades LW Andrew Ladd to Chicago for C Tuomo Ruutu.
VERDICT: This is a deal with a good player (Ladd) going for a player who could have been an excellent player (Ruutu), and now probably never will be, due to all his early-career injuries. Maybe a fresh start in Carolina, an organization that’s had recent experience of winning, will rejuvenate Ruutu’s confidence.
DEAL: Vancouver trades LW Matt Cooke to Washington for LW Matt Pettinger.
VERDICT: Dave Nonis had better hope Roberto Luongo plays twice as well as he did in last year’s playoffs (you remember how many awful, soft goals Luongo allowed in his numerous lackluster performances against Dallas and Anaheim, of course). Suffice it to say that when you look up “top-six scoring forward” in the dictionary, you do not see Matt Pettinger’s picture. As for Cooke, he just wasn’t producing enough for $1.525 million in a salary cap environment, besides annoying the opposition with his reckless hits.
DEAL: Chicago trades RW Martin Lapointe to Ottawa for Ottawa’s 6th-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft.
VERDICT: It’ll be the first time in six seasons Lapointe has had a chance to play in a winning environment. But he doesn’t have much left to give, physically or emotionally. Still, giving up just a 6th-rounder makes this a reasonable gamble.
DEAL: NY Islanders trade LW Chris Simon to Minnesota for Minnesota’s 6th-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft.
VERDICT: For some reason, this gives me a flashback to Nick Fotiu from the Rangers to Calgary for future considerations on March 11, 1986.
DEAL: Colorado trades D Karlis Skrastins and its 3rd-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft to Florida for D Ruslan Salei.
VERDICT: Two 33-year-old defensemen from former Soviet republics. Give this one to Colorado, as Salei brings more offensive upside–but only if the Avalanche make the playoffs.