More on the deadline deals
Tired of hearing trade deadline deal talk?
Well, I really didn't get to much meaty analysis of a lot of the deals given how many there were on Tuesday, so consider this a roundup of a few things I missed:
- The Anaheim Ducks apparently had a deal for the New York Islanders' Jason Blake that was nixed when the trade was filed after the deadline
- The fact that Rob Blake didn't want to waive his no-trade clause left Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi looking to move his other veteran defender Mattias Norstrom, who ended up being a nice pickup for Dallas in exchange for former King Jaroslav Modry. Norstrom has slowed down a little bit, and combined with Blake's salary, the last-place Kings were paying two over-the-hill defencemen more than $10-million. Lombardi wanted to have at least one mentor for the soon-to-be arriving Jack Johnson, and by default now, Blake will fill that role if the youngster comes in next season. Strangely, pending UFA Aaron Miller stayed put.
- With all the talk of salary comparables for Ryan Smyth, the one thing I haven't seen referenced is the fact he's on a 48-goal pace this season. Only five players have scored at a better goals per game ratio than Smyth this season (Gaborik, Lecavalier, Havlat, Selanne, Heatley) and all but Heatley make north of $6-million. And can anyone argue Smyth's intangible contributions aren't greater than the individuals in that group?
- How about the Buffalo Sabres' deals? I'd guessed the Sabres would move out Marty Biron in order to free up cap room to beef up their depth on defence, but their big acquisition was a forward in Dainius Zubrus, who has had a terrific year this season riding shotgun with Alex Ovechkin. The thing I wonder, however, is where does yet another offensive centreman fit into the Sabres' line-up? And why acquire a player who has almost zero playoff experience for a team with big-time aspirations? (Buffalo did manage to add some blueline depth in Mikko Lehtonen and Timo Helbling, although they fall somewhere in the Rory Fitzpatrick camp in terms of quality injury replacements.)
- As for the Biron deal itself, Tyler Dellow and I talked about this a bit via email and disagreed over the significance of the compensation offered by the Philadelphia Flyers. To me, a second-round pick isn't a big deal given this could potentially be your team's No. 1 goalie going forward, especially when you have as much need for said netminder as the Flyers do. Granted, Biron's a pending UFA, but he's made no bones about the fact he wants to be a No. 1 somewhere, and given the paucity of available spots, will, I believe, opt to see what he can do as the main guy in Philadelphia. He's been waiting a long time for that opportunity, and isn't going to sign anywhere where he's not going to get it.
- Some interesting moves by the Boston Bruins. Brad Boyes looked like a star on the rise on the team's first line last season, but was shuttled out for the underrated Dennis Wideman, and then Paul Mara is dealt for the disgruntled Aaron Ward. This seems a little bit like shuffling deck chairs, although there's no question Boston needs more from its defence than it got this year — especially on the power play. My guess is Wideman helps lessen Zdeno Chara's role with the man advantage, where Big Z really shouldn't be the go-to blueliner.
- The Minnesota Wild were apparently quite close to getting Yanic Perreault until the Maple Leafs fell out of the Roberts business and came running with their Brendan Bell and picks offer. The Wild ended up only getting Dominic Moore, who probably came at the request of coach Jacques Lemaire, the only guy in the league who dreams of third-line checkers while standing in line at the supermarket.
- Everyone's piling on the Ottawa Senators for not making a move, but honestly, with the way they've played the past few months, what move did they have to make given their available cap space? (Although even I'll admit adding Oleg Saprykin is a head-scratcher.)
- Bill Guerin has played 98 career postseason games and has just a 0.50 points per game average. He should fit in well on a line with Joe Thornton come playoff time for the San Jose Sharks.
- I'm not sure what the Toronto Maple Leafs were thinking given Perreault could have been had for nothing a few months ago
- One more for the curious file: Why did the Montreal Canadiens hold onto Sheldon Souray and Andrei Markov, both pending UFAs, and pickup Michael Leighton? Chalk it up to cosmic mystery.
- The New York Islanders are being heralded by winners everywhere for acquiring Smyth, but given the number of pending UFAs on that team, GM Garth Snow will look mighty foolish if they miss the playoffs (more so than usual, I mean). Islanders set to walk out the door in the summer: Smyth, Jason Blake, Viktor Kozlov, Tom Poti, Chris Simon, Arron Asham, Richard Zednik, Randy Robitaille, Sean Hill, Joel Bouchard, Mike Dunham. I think, after a first-round exit at the hands of the Buffalo Devils, they're back to the Yashin and DiPietro tandem next season.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins aren't in any position to go deep in the playoffs, and shouldn't have been giving up any of their future, least of all for Georges Laraque — who is due another $1.2-million next season.
- Sure, Brent Sopel is a defensive liability, but when paired with Vancouver Canucks veteran Mattias Ohlund, they were the team's top defensive unit in 2003-04. If nothing else, at least this move will mean less ice time for Lukas Krajicek and Rory Fitzpatrick.
- For Keith Tkachuk, Bill Guerin and Dennis Wideman, the St. Louis Blues received Boyes, Glen Metropolit, Ville Nieminen, someone named Jay Barriball and a bunch of draft picks. Metropolit and Nieminen are pending UFAs, meaning only Boyes will be in the line-up for John Davidson next season. Well done, JD.