Monday, July 03, 2006

Pronger dealt to the Ducks

Brian Burke strikes again?

It certainly looks that way at the moment, as reports have Chris Pronger being dealt to Anaheim for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid and three conditional draft picks. The reports of Pronger-to-Anaheim came in late last night, and like the Battle of Alberta fellows, I couldn't for the life of me figure out just what the Ducks had to deal other than high-end prospects.

It's a stunning deal, really, and for a number of reasons, the main being that Edmonton deals within their conference and doesn't get a high-end defenceman in return. Given that both Jaroslav Spacek and Dick Tarnstrom are unrestricted free agents, the Oilers blueline has been massacred this off-season — so much so that Smid, a top defensive prospect who played in Portland of the AHL last year, may be Edmonton's No. 4 defenceman at the moment:

Steve Staios - Jason Smith
M-A Bergeron - Ladislav Smid?
Matt Greene - Danny Syvret?

And that's not a blueline that's going to lead a club to Game 7 of the final.

Now, obviously GM Kevin Lowe isn't planning to go into the regular season with a defence core like that, but the blueline free-agent pool has been decimated the past two days, so much so that the best remaining options are Aaron Ward, Danny Markov, Brian Leetch and Spacek. Factor in that you'll likely have to overpay whoever you sign on defence, and it doesn't look promising.

You know, I like Joffrey Lupul, but only as a second-tier prospect, a guy who will eventually score 30 goals and 70 points. Lowe would have likely been better off asking for Ryan Getzlaf given the fact he's more likely to be a much more well-rounded top-flight contributor in his career.

As for the Ducks, the loss of Lupul does suck a little offence out of a team that needs all the goal-scoring it can get (although Pronger was essentially a point-a-game player in the postseason), but their defence core looks much, much better than it did (sorry Oilers fans):

Scott Niedermayer - Francois Beauchemin
Chris Pronger - Sean O'Donnell
Joe DiPenta - Vitali Vishnevski

Still, it's the draft picks part of the equation that's really befuddling. Edmonton's not a rebuilding team, and any picks you're going to get from a Ducks team with Pronger on it the next three years are coming from the playoff-team portion of the first round.

Not many of those players turn into superstars, and especially not when the Oilers are drafting them.

Not that it's much consolation, but Smid is considered one of the best defenceman not playing in the NHL at the moment. While some are lamenting his lack of offensive production, those numbers are all from playing in the Czech Extraleague as a 17- or 18-year-old blueliner.

Still, he's not an elite European defensive prospect, he doesn't play physical and he's not a phenomenal skater. Even if he is going to blossom into anything resembling a Top 2 NHLer, it's not going to happen in the next few years.

What more is there to say?

The Battle of Alberta is certainly getting good at their one-word headlines.


At 2:00 p.m., July 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Lowe asked for Getzlaf, but with all the other GMs taking themselves out of the running and Burke being smart enough not to bid against himself it looks like Lowe had nowhere to go.

The Ducks will miss Lupul - he's a terrific young player and (unlike many) is willing to shoot. But they've been working on bringing Chistov back from Russia and have some more good forward prospects (Bobby Ryan) that might be ready to move up.

Another coup for Brian Burke.

At 2:49 p.m., July 03, 2006, Blogger andy grabia said...

James, is there a place where one can see who is a free agent at the end of NEXT season? Apparently Oilers fans need to start thinking about it.

At 3:41 p.m., July 03, 2006, Blogger CMcMurtry said...


Ripped from the HF Boards

David Legwand*
Peter Forsberg
Joe Sakic
Daniel Briere*
Pavel Datsyuk
Scott Gomez
Petr Nedved
Marty Murray
Tyler Arnason
Michal Handzus
Andy McDonald*
Ian Laperriere (player/team option for `07-08)
Martin Straka
Radek Bonk
Pierre Turgeon
Sammie Pahlsson
Bryan Smolinski
Scott Nichol

Marian Gaborik
Martin Havlat
Alex Tanguay*
Simon Gagne*
Shane Doan
Todd Bertuzzi
Teemu Selanne
Paul Kariya
Brendan Morrow
Erik Cole
Mike Knuble
Fred Modin
Kyle Calder*
Ales Kotalik*
JP Dumont*
Maxim Afinogenov*
Darcy Tucker
Ladislav Nagy*
Brian Gionta*
Steve Konowalchuk
Mike Johnson
Tomas Holmstrom
Richard Zednik
Sami Kapanen
Brad Tapper
Brad May
Adam Mair*
Antti Laaksonen
Andrew Brunette
Scott Mellanby
Aaron Downey

Brad Stuart
Chris Phillips
Sheldon Souray
Andrei Markov
Brian Campbell*
Toni Lydman*
Henrik Tallinder*
Dave Tanabe*
Craig Rivet
Sean O'Donnell
Joe Dipenta
Anders Eriksson
Patrice Brisebois
Lars Jonsson

JS Giguere
Tomas Vokoun
Martin Biron*
David Aebischer*
Robert Esche
Patrick Lalime
Brent Johnson
Mike Morrison

* = guys who are eligible for UFA status next season but are RFAs right now, meaning, their status could change

At 4:34 p.m., July 03, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

It seems to me that the UFA market next year will probably be just as nuts as it was this time around, if not moreso considering fewer players will be available and more teams will want to jump in as early as possible.

At 6:30 p.m., July 03, 2006, Blogger Hawkeyi's Blog said...

I'm confident in this trade and The Oil will not be sorry for it in the next season, I never once expected to get a Pronger type for a Pronger trade. But With Roloson between the pipes we have only to grow and get better with our new defencemen up front

At 8:11 p.m., July 03, 2006, Blogger andy grabia said...

Thank you for that list.


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