Thursday, March 5, 2009

NHL Deadline Day Wrapup

Well, the NHL Deadline Day 2009 is in the books and while it was not as active as years past, it did provide it's own excitement. Complex, last minute deals led to nearly an hour of trade excitement after the deadline officially passed. Now it's time to look back and see who were the winners and losers on Deadline Day.

Winners

Calgary - By far the biggest winner landing Olli Jokinen. Did they overpay for him? Probably, but it was a market that was tilted in the sellers direction this year. Don't overlook the trade they made for Jordan Leopold. He's the kind of role player that all teams need to have this time of year. The only mistake they may have made is in trading Kevin Lalande to Columbus. I have heard some good things about him. He's still young though, so time will tell.

Buffalo - The Sabres gave up virtually nothing and got a lot more stable. Resigning Tim Connolly worked like a trade. Mikael Tellqvist adds a very stable element in net that they need while Ryan Miller recovers from injury. Dominic Moore was one of the top gems available this year. While they did trade away Alis Kotalik, getting a 2nd round pick for a second/third line winger is a win for the Sabres.

Columbus - While the 'Jackets only made two moves, the ones they did make makes them better now and in the future. Leclare's health issues makes this a great decision for them. In return they get a player in Vermette who adds offensive depth, PK prowess and great faceoff skill. The trade that really makes them better, however, is the move to get Kevin Lalande. As I said in the Calgary analysis, Lalande looks to have a solid future ahead of him in the NHL. What that gives Columbus is a lot of young talent between the pipes. Mason, Lacosta, and Lalande make up one of the best young goaltending combinations in the NHL. Three goalies with NHL potential all 22 or younger. Scary.

New York Rangers - The Rangers looked to make a run for the cup this year based on the number of trades made and the talent they received. Nik Antropov and Derek Morris are key to making a playoff run, but one must wonder if they may have overpaid a bit too much. The other moves that will make or break the Rangers this year are; the hiring of Tortorella which is a decided philosophy switch and the claiming of Sean Avery who could either add needed grit or provide a distraction. We will have to wait and see.

Phoenix - Wayne and company may have slid under the radar this year with the amount of deals they made. They may not make the playoffs this year, but with all of the depth and picks they added this year, the 'Yotes look to be setting themselves up for a prolonged stretch of good hockey in the near future.

Losers

Toronto - Yes, I know they were the biggest sellers this year, but the trades they made made it look like they were planning for the distant future instead of the near future. Two 2nd round picks a 4th round pick and a prospect swap with Tampa makes it look more and more likely that the Leafs are about to completely tear down the team and rebuild. This summer ought to be interesting.

San Jose - As a Sharks fan this pains me to write. With Roenick, Goc, Grier and Mitchell out for some time, the Sharks really needed to add another top 6 type scorer. Instead they add a gritty third line winger and a depth D-Man. The D-Man I can live with. There has been some inconsistency in the bottom of their defense of late. Granted, Moen will do a great job in replacing Grier until he returns from his injury, but how much grit do they really need?

Montreal - For a team that has all of the momentum in the world in their centennial year, the management seems content just to make the playoffs. I know that Montreal is one of the hardest markets to play and manage in, but not even attempting to take the next step is confusing to say the least.

Chicago - The only reason I list the 'Hawks here is the amount of moves that Calgary made. Now Chicago is almost assured to run into San Jose, Detroit, or Calgary at some point in the playoffs. With what they have now, I can't see them making it past any of those teams. They did grab Pahlsson from Anaheim, but I can't see that deal being enough.

The next teams I can't categorize, but something needs to be said for them as well.

Minnesota - To their credit, they were in a lose/lose situation. At 11th in the West, they were not in a position to be buyers or sellers. Still, maybe a bottom six forward to add a little depth in case Gaborik hits a snag and is not back in a couple of weeks.

Anaheim - This one really confuses me. At 9th in the West, the Ducks are in the thick of the playoff hunt, but the trades they did pull off looked more like a selling team. Have they given up on this season and are building for the future? Who knows.

New York Islanders - I nearly put them in the winner column. At this point of his career is Bill Guerin worth a third round pick? Probably not, but with the talent that Pittsburgh has, it is possible that if they get a favorable matchup, they could advance out of the first round.

How will all this affect the playoffs and beyond? Who knows, but it will be fun watching and finding out!

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