2006 Trade Deadline
I'll be bloggin' up until the 3 p.m. deadline, so have a look back here for breakdowns of the day's deals as they happen. It promises to be interesting.
UPDATE Time's up. Here's what we've got (most recent at the top):
- The Penguins have dealt defenseman Ric Jackman to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Czech center Petr Taticek
- Vancouver acquires Eric Weinrich
A heavily rumoured deal comes to fruition. Weinrich, 38, is a great defensive defender who obviously brings a ton of experience (1141 regular season, 81 playoff games in career). It's more depth for the Vancouver blueline, which , on paper, now looks the best it has in years. Once the team's top three of Salo, Ohlund and Jovanovski are back in the mix, the Canucks defence should rival that of the West's top teams. And when have we been able to say that?
Edmonton picks up Dean McAmmond
McAmmond's a great guy and a clutch player who plays his heart out. I spoke with Dean during the lockout last season, and the Grande Cache, Alta., native was heart-broken when he missed out on Calgary's playoff run in 2004 due to a back injury. He's going to be awfully hungry for the playoffs. He's had 15 goals and 30 points in 57 games for the awful St. Louis Blues and can give Edmonton more speed and scoring from the wing.
- Vancouver trades Steve McCarthy to Atlanta
With all of the defencemen coming in, this was inevitable. McCarthy has, for the most part, struggled this season for the Canucks but still has the potential to blossom into a No. 4 NHL defenceman for Atlanta.
- Calgary picks up Jamie Lundmark
The former No. 9-overall pick (1999) has been bounced around as much as anyone in his formative years. There's a lot of talent here, and my guess is GM Darryl Sutter thinks he can bring it out of him.
- New York Islanders acquire third round pick from Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for forward Oleg Kvasha.
Two non-playoff teams make a deal, and Kvasha is shuttled off to yet another team to try to find a (consistent) scoring touch.
- Willie Mitchell goes to Dallas for Martin Skoula and prospect Shawn Belle
Mitchell's a much better playoff performer than Skoula, and Dallas looks poised to be a huge threat in the postseason this year. This adds to the Stars grit and depth on the blueline, which, with the recently added Janne Niinimaa, has gotten a lot stronger than at the beginning of the year. Mitchell was excellent for the Wild during their 2003 postseason run and is as tough and mean as they come in front of the net (he's one of the few NHL defencemen who can shutdown a big man like Todd Bertuzzi effectively). Skoula has excellent offensive attributes and will help the soon-to-be-eliminated Wild in that regard. I saw a ton of Belle in the WHL, and he was a very poor first-round pick by St. Louis in 2003. Despite his phenomenal wheels, Belle will never be an NHL-level defender.
- Colorado picks up Jim Dowd
The Avalanche get a solid, defensive center from Brick, N.J. An excellent faceoff man and tireless forechecker.
- Philadelphia acquires Niko Dimitrakos
Dimitrakos played very well for San Jose in the playoffs in 2003-04 and could be a great guy for the Flyers to have on their third line. He's not very solid defensively, however.
- Tyler Arnason is dealt from Chicago to Ottawa for Brandon Bochenski
Ottawa really needed some offensive help at centre, and Arnason does bring that. It's difficult to say what we'll see from him, as he's an extremely gifted skater and goal scorer who has yet to live up to the potential he has. Arnason's only 25 and has the potential to put up much bigger numbers — in the 70-point range with a team like Ottawa — than he has so far in his career (he had 55 points and led the Blackhawks in scoring in 2003-04). If you're a Senators fan, don't let the rumblings about Arnason's work ethic bother you — on the ice, he plays hard. Bochenski is no slouch himself and has shown elite-level scoring talents in the AHL. Still, for all the potential Arnason has, I think this is a very savvy move by GM John Muckler. (Arnason's father, Chuck, played in the NHL in the 70s.)
- Sergei Samsonov is traded to the Edmonton Oilers
A huuuuge pickup comes in right at the wire, and what a great move for the Oilers. Edmonton needed secondary scoring in addition to Dwayne Roloson, and while Samsonov hasn't had a great season, he's a 30-goal, 70-point player in this league. He also instantly becomes the Oilers' top offensive threat on the wing, along with Ales Hemsky. I think Edmonton now has one of the most talented rosters in the Western Conference and can make a push to take the Northwest Division lead (although Vancouver also improved today).
- Detroit acquires Cory Cross
I'm not sure how much of an upgrade Cross is over Jamie Rivers. He obviously offers a much bigger presence and a different element, but both are, obviously, depth players on a team like the Red Wings. That said, Detroit has played so well this season and gotten such great contributions from players like Andreas Lilja and Niklas Kronwall on the backend that they don't really need any parts for an extended playoff run. You can't lead the Western Conference this season and not be a Stanley Cup contending team. (So much for the dire predictions made at the start of the season for the Red Wings.)
- Nashville picks up Brendan Witt
It's no surprise Witt moves, and kudos to Spector for reporting this move a few hours ago. For a mid-level defensive defenceman who is soon to be a UFA, however, he comes at a big price for the Predators who give up a first-round pick and former No. 7-overall pick Kris Beech — an excellent prospect from Salmon Arm, B.C., who will move right into the Capitals lineup.
- Sandis Ozolinsh joins the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round draft pick
It's a good move for New York, whose powerplay does need some help, but I'm shocked the Ducks are making such wholesale changes to their defence given they have been playing so well. GM Brian Burke doesn't have a reputation as a guy who tinkers much with his roster, but the overhaul this year has been unbelievable. Ozolinsh is a great defenceman offensively, and, if used in an appropriate role, can be effective. He has unbelievable playoff credentials, with three runs to the Cup with Colorado and Anaheim.
- Detroit moves Jamie Rivers to Phoenix
Making room to bring in another defenceman? The word out of Detroit is that team owner Mike Illitch is sitting beside Ken Holland in the GM's office, so the Red Wings are certainly looking to add someone (possibly Brendan Witt). If so, this doesn't free up much as Rivers was only making the league minimum. (As an aside, TSN host James Duthie is talking to Rivers on the air right now. That alone lets you know what kind of a deadline day it has been.)
- Anaheim deals Keith Carney to Vancouver
A fantastic pickup by the Canucks. Carney is exactly the sort of solid, veteran talent Vancouver needs on the blueline heading into the playoffs. Obviously, the relationship between the two GMs, Brian Burke and his former protege Dave Nonis, had more than a little to do with this deal. That said, I'm surprised the Ducks would deal such a valuable asset to a team directly in front of them in the standings. With everyone healthy and Sean Brown added to the mix, Vancouver's top six defence consists of Jovanovski-Ohlund-Carney-Salo-Baumgartner-Brown. (Burke does get an as-yet-unnamed prospect in this deal, and one wonders if the savvy Ducks GM has had his eye on reclaiming someone he left in Vancouver's system... until we hear who that is, I'd be at least a little worried if I was a Vancouver fan.)
- Mark Recchi joins Carolina in exchange for defenceman Niklas Nordgren, forward Krys Kolanos and a second-round pick in 2007
The rumours all had Recchi rejoining the Philadelphia Flyers, but at some point, I'm sure their Eastern Conference rivals all wanted to prevent such a move. Recchi has 24 goals this season and is an excellent playoff performer with 97 points in 110 career postseason games played. A great, veteran replacement for the injured Erik Cole.
- Olli Jokinen signs a four-year contract, $21-million with Florida
He won't be going anywhere now, and this goes a long way towards Roberto Luongo staying in Florida. Nice job by Mike Keenan.
- Vancouver acquires Mika Noronen for a second-round draft pick
The Canucks desperately needed a reliable backup goaltender for the team's final 20 games, as current backup Maxime Ouellet has been downright awful in limited action. Noronen, 26, gives coach Mark Crawford an option that allows him to rest Alex Auld heading into the playoffs. Auld has played well this season and is currently 4th in minutes played in the NHL this season after coming into the campaign with just 13 career games.
- Washington trades Jeff Friesen to Anaheim in exchange for a second-round pick
Friesen has had an awful, awful season this year (seven points in 33 games) but does have excellent playoff experience with the New Jersey Devils. Friesen played for the Ducks from 2000-02 and gives Anaheim some veteran depth (at a low cost) on the wing.
- New Jersey acquires defenceman Brad Lukowich from the New York Islanders in exchange for a third-round pick in 2006
The popular former Kamloops Blazer joins the Devils. This is a guy who played a fairly big part for the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 and is a great pickup for the Devils. Most pundits said New Jersey would be inactive at the deadline due to salary-cap concerns, but so far they've added both Lukowich and Klee, leaving the team with an impressive group of experienced defencemen heading into the playoffs: Rafalski-Martin-White-Lukowich-Klee-Matvichuk.
- Ottawa has picked up goalie Mike Morrison from waivers
It's an interesting move by Ottawa, who definitely needed at least a backup goaltender behind rookie Ray Emery with Dominik Hasek out injured. I would have thought the Senators would pursue someone more experienced than Morrison, but my guess this is an indication that Hasek's injury isn't so serious to keep him out of the playoffs for a prolongued period. I thought Morrison played fairly well in his short time with the Oilers and his 10-4-2 record would seem to back that up.
- Philadelphia acquires defenceman Denis Gauthier from Phoenix in exchange for two second-round picks in 2006
Derian Hatcher left the Flyers game last night with a minor knee injury, simply adding to the injury woes Philadelphia has had this year. GM Bob Clarke has a ton of defencemen in play here, but going into the playoffs, Gauthier gives them another big, mean veteran to play with Hatcher-Rathje-Desjardins-Pitkanen-Johnsson-Meyer-Therien. With everyone healthy, Gauthier doesn't figure prominently among that group, but, as with every other team today so far, the Flyers want depth on the blueline.
- Phoenix has traded veteran defenceman Sean O'Donnell to Anaheim
With the way they've played lately, I'm not surprised the Ducks are buyers and not sellers. Anaheim has been red hot the last few weeks and are breathing down the backs of the teams in front of them. Depth on defence was an issue, as rookie Francois Beauchemin is currently being counted on for around 24 minutes a game. O'Donnell hasn't had a particularly strong season, but he has good playoff experience, including a run to the finals with the Devils in 2001.
- Vancouver acquires defenceman Sean Brown from New Jersey in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2006
Canucks fans are hoping GM Dave Nonis isn't finished with retooling his black-and-blue blueline. Brown has had a decent season with the Devils, the best of his motley career, and was even used on the powerplay earlier in the season. He's better than most fans think, but, that said, he's not much more than a No. 5 defenceman and has just nine games of playoff experience.
- Montreal acquires defenceman Todd Simpson from Chicago in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2006
Don't get too excited Habs fans. Simpson's played with four teams the past three seasons and with good reason. He's as 'spare part' as they come and has averaged just 13 minutes per game with Chicago behind a pair of rookie defencemen.