Today’s NHL trade deadline came and went, like a rushing NY taxi… (or a newark gunrunner on Market Street next to the ‘rock) There were some movers and shakers, and dealbreaker, and a few not so much moving and shaking clubs too. Breaking it down, the Ollie Jolkenin to the Calgary Flames might be the biggest name move as well as one of the best overall moves of the day.
Breaking down the East, as usual, here’s how it plays out with the splashes, crashes & burns and buoyantly neutral.
Boston Bruins – Steve Montador might be injured, but he’s an experienced, gritty, slaving veteran and will be back before season’s end – they paid nothing for him and lost a young contract year player in the process which if they take it all the way is not a big loss. Big play was on Recchi, a veteran that completely and totally compliments their current system, hard hitting, street ready, skillful UFA who will be playing for his final cup. Apart from Jolkinen this this the best move of the deadline.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Thinking short term this could work. Thinking longer term, this probably leaves them right back in the same short rink they were this season. Andy Wozniewski is an alight defensive swap that is more a change of scenery than anything else. You can make the argument that Guerin was a big haul, but for a team so desperate for help how is an aging, under-utilized winger going to fill in this team? Yes, he provides the leadership but so did the return of Gonchar. Yes, he can provide a wing spring board for two top flight centers, but then again, so could Gonchar. And, he’s not as fast, nor as vital as say Federov was last year in an old schooler moving to a young team, nor is he the big outlet player to restate play the way Hossa was. Nonetheless he is a good player who could help set a one where a tone needs to be set. This is still a quick fix to a bigger problem but, it might save them embarrassment
Ottawa Senators – Sens picked up Pascal LeClaire, a more than serviceable goalie that will backstop the pipes for at least the next year (if not longer) while Steve Mason is groomed. It is sad for LeClaire who could use a break as a younger goalie to build a team around, but in the text two years with the Sens who desperately need stability in net he can make an indelible mark. It does not solve the Sens short term problems for the season but could be a huge move in development for the next few years.
New Jersey Devils – By doing next to nothing, they probably did everything right for now. They made the biggest no-move move of the season by getting back Marty Brodeur after missing him most of the season. They could use the help on the blue line, but it’s nothing that they need to worry about considering the rest of their play. Nothing to upset the balance of the locker room and the questions about coaching were quelled quickly. So, the hot streak they are on is intact and they can ride it to the top of the Atlantic.
Crash & Burn
Washington Capitals – Honestly, the Caps needed help despite what their records show and with so many closely competitive teams making moves you have to wonder. First, they need a veteran force on the back lines to replace the oft-injured Captain Chris Clark. The could use an extra blueliner to help out the oft-injured Tom Poti and offset the aggressive youth of Mike Green. And, they could you a solid backup goalie to fill in the hole filled by two rotating rookies behind Jose Thedore while Johnson is out. So, why weren’t there moves despite the cap room, especially after a freewheeling year last year? Who knows?… but it does make you wonder this isn’t a SC team this year but they lost nothing for development
Islanders – No amount of rebuilding can undo the disaster this team is, in the midst of rebuilding to begin with. A conditional pick for Guerin?!? C’mon, what is that?!? Dougie Weitght?!?! More than that, what the heck, how are they still holding … Witt, Hunter, etc… and how are they trying to think they can develop Jesse Joensuu and company inside this half assed system… this is a team that has no place lower than, well, my local HS teams.
Flyers – OK, so, you could say the lack of moves was a bad thing, but considering their cap room, there’s not much they could have done, so playing and meddling might have cost them target happiness… they picked up a lame vet blueliner (kyle mclaren) for a pick… they gave up oft-underperforming Upshall for built to be a Broadyway Badboy Daniel Carcillo… this isn’t a bunch of one-time moves, but they are not exactly putting themselves in a longer term position either, thankfully beat-em-down mentality stays put but doesn’t really advance them.
New York Rangers – Premoves the Avery’s record with teams is undeniable. Ok, so, well, apart from that… the potential for him to reinvigorate a lackluster team is there… But… how are the deadline picks going to help that?!? Kalinin, Dawes and Prucha are all end of contract, but Prucha alone is worth more than Derek Morris, seriously. Add in giving up youth picks for Nik Antropov? Ok, well, Tornoto won’t do crap with them, but really, NYR is willing to bargain next season for what, a chance at first round elimination this season?
Canes – The dual 2nd round picks to move Eric Cole back to the team plus losing O’Sullivan seems strange. The ‘Canes seem to be trying to leverage a last ditch effort at making the playoffs this season. Now, if only they were able to pull off the rest of the moves… chances are they are working backwards from a B-level Devils team to where they are now
Toronto – How useless was Nik Antropov as a vet to unload salary for two pics that the team isn’t in a place to use anyhow?? Then losing Domi Moore for a pick??? does this team have a clue? Maybe they should ask obama for some rebuild money on the next help session
Buffalo – Mikael Tellqvist fixes the Ryan Miller situation as a patch, but not really a great fit as a UFA considering they probably won’t resign him, probably can’t ride him into the post season and might loss a pick that could do more in the mid-term. Getting Dominic Moore was a good move but he’s a UFA so it might buy them this season but unless they dedicate the signing him longer term the vote will still be in the same jello state they were this season. Ales Kotalik was a vet, but a player that underachieved with them and could bring up youth in picks they need.
Atlanta – Lost an uninspired move on Erik Christensen (to the West, where he should ultimately do more good) and got O’Dell, who only time might tell. Did nothing else, look like blind looking for bling with a set of dark sunglasses
Florida – I love the Steve Eminger move (ex-Cap / Flyer) for them in the fact that it should give them short term defensive pickup and in holding Jay Bouwmeester the basically contrived a ballist for the team. They didn’t lose anything but they didn’t gain any advantage, other than that of holding off most of their SE division rivals while doing nothing to really advance on the rest of the conference or make a real mark on the Caps.
Tampa Bay – The dump begins (though the heavy off-shitting didn’t occur). Dropping Recchi unloads huge salary but then again he was a UFA so it could come off anyhow. The return was a pair of young, untested defensivemen in a division that is going to get tighter on D in the coming years and both are UFA too! Did nothing good Noah Welch + 3rd round pick for Eminger, but did nothing bad either in loosing Recchi (-15), Kolzig (oft-injured backup since doing 70+ game seasons with the Caps for a decade), concussion prone Jamie Heward, dud Andy Rodgers and a pick. The deals are leary at best but considering, somehow, they managed to maintain underachieving Malone, LeCavalier, St. Luis as a first line plus familiar and productive ex-Caps Pettinger and Halpern and Marek Malik on D still gives them a potential backbone despite shedding excess. The cross-conference gain of Matt Lashoff & Martins Karsums might, just might, help that awkward Isles-esque rebuilding.