Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Trade Deadline Review

Similar to last year, here is my quick analysis of the trade deadline moves of the last few days:

Biggest Winner Short Term: Colorado Avalanche Colorado is the biggest winner because they added Peter Forsberg and all it cost them was money. They did not give up any players to sign him. Likely, he will be refreshed after his sabbatical. There are injury questions given his ankle/foot problems that he used as an excuse for his absence, but he should be able to provide Colorado with a top player for the rest of the season. Colorado also added Adam Foote for draft picks. Foote is a very good stay at home defenceman who can log a lot of tough minutes. The first round pick Colorado gave up to acquire him will be a big price, but it is not a player on their current roster (Colorado also gives up a 4th round pick if they resign Foote). Finally, Colorado added Ruslan Salei, who was playing pretty well in Florida. This costs Karlis Skrastins and a 3rd round pick. Salei is an upgrade from Skrastins. It is reasonable to ask how much Colorado should be willing to mortgage their future to win now (with the current standings, they would miss the playoffs), but they are definitely a much improved team. Given the recent returns from injury of Paul Stastny, Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth, this team could go on a tear, but likely if they do make playoffs, they will likely not have a deep run. Nevertheless, nobody is as improved after the deadline as Colorado.

Biggest Loser Short Term: Montreal Canadiens Montreal is a team that should be gearing up for a playoff run. They currently hold down fifth seed in the East Conference. Instead they gave up their starting goalie Cristobal Huet for a second round pick in 2009. Huet is a borderline All Star (I would have picked him for the All Star Game). He gave Montreal the quality goaltending they would have needed for a playoffs run. Now, they will have to rely on Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak and both are unproven. It's true that Montreal had three NHL ready goalies this year and would have eventually had to make a decision to part with one of them. Given the fact Huet is an unrestricted free agent this summer, it seems clear he is the one to go, but right now they need him. Although it is always possible for a young goalie to get hot, Price only has 13 wins in his NHL career to date and Halak has ten. Handing the reigns over to them for a cup run significantly reduces the chance of it happening. It was rumored that Montreal was trying to make a deal where they added players, but none were finalized.

Biggest Winner Long Term: Atlanta Thrashers Atlanta gives up the last 18 games of Marian Hossa's contract and journeyman Pascal Dupuis to add Pittsburgh's first round pick, Angelo Esposito, Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen. That is a huge haul for a short term rental. Don Waddell played this trade well by waiting until the last minute and playing the various suitors for Hossa against one another to get a huge price for a short term buy. Atlanta also acquired Joe Motzko from Washington for Alex Giroux in a trade that should have very little NHL impact.

Bigger Loser Long Term: Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh made headlines grabbing Marian Hossa (and Pascal Dupuis), but it comes at a big price. They give up two NHL regulars in Eric Christensen and Colby Armstrong and their first round picks this year and last (Angelo Esposito). Hossa is strictly a short term rental. It is highly unlikely that Pittsburgh resigns him. Even if they do, in a salary capped environment, it is highly unlikely that they can provide much of a core around Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Hossa to be a Stanley Cup winner in the future. Pittsburgh pulled out all the shots to try to make a Stanley Cup run this year, but it is highly unlikely to be a successful one. Most likely Pittsburgh won't make it to the finals with or without Hossa. Pittsburgh also gave up a second and a fifth round pick for Hal Gill from Toronto. Gill has some value as a stay-at-home defenceman, but this seems like an overpayment when you consider that the New York Rangers added Christina Backman from St for a fourth round pick. Pittsburgh paid a lot for likely little gain. Marian Hossa is a good player, but he won't be a Penguin for long and they still face long odds to win the Stanley Cup

1) We agree with you 100%. While most were applauding the Penguin move we were wondering why it was made. Did the Pens need more scoring? No. They lost 2 key locker room guys as well as a top prospect and a 1st round pick for a guy who has never been a big playoff performer.
2) Ditto the Habs moves. Why the rush to get a late second round pick? Huet at the very least was great insurance going into the playoffs in case Price crashes and burns. Unless he's the reincarnation of Dryden or Roy (since both are still living its unlikely) this was a bad move by BG. You'd think he could have received a 2nd rounder for Ryder if that was his goal?
3) Our biggest winner is the Ducks. Not for what they did, but for what they didn't. They resisted (again) the urge to make a splash. After all the dust settles, they are STILL the team to beat.
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