Monday, April 23, 2007

A look back at the trade deadline

Here's a question: If you're the Nashville Predators or Atlanta Thrashers, are you regretting the Forsberg/Tkachuk pickups at the deadline?

Here's my take over at the redesigned Globe on Hockey.



At 7:00 PM, April 23, 2007, Blogger Paul Nicholson said...

Predators Fan: Not in the least. He played great and despite taking (or being called for) a few bad penalties, we were still better with him than without, especially in the playoffs.

Not to mention: Much like the LA Galaxy and David Beckham, I think we made back his salary in the flood of extra merchandise and a few extra tickets.

Most of all, it got us press and got people talking about Nashville, which not many people were before that trade. Even if it didn't make a huge difference on the ice, the off-ice benefits make the trade genius.

For more complete write-up from me on the trade and the end of Nashville's season: read here.

At 10:04 PM, April 23, 2007, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

If I'm a Preds fan, I'm at the team offices with a pitchfork and a torch right now. That was a horrible trade. Ray Charles could have seen that Peter Forsberg was too old and, more to the point, too injury riddled to be of any real use in a long playoff run, yet David Poile gave away a useful role player in Scottie Upshall, a potential top four defenseman in Ryan Parent, AND a first rounder? To rent a guy for 20 games, and go out meekly in the first round? Awful, awful trade. Any jerseys or tickets the Preds sold over the last two months will more than be cancelled out by the ones you WON'T sell later.

The worst part is that you gave away young guys who can be productive under entry level contracts. In a capped world, those guys are like gold. Even a guy like Upshall, who might not score a lot, is a useful guy to have around because you know he can long valuable minutes, doesn't cost you a ton, and isn't eligible for arbitration yet. And yet you gave all that away for a guy who was so bad off they couldn't even find a freaking skate that would fit on his messed up foot. Wasn't that at least a bit of a clue that the guy might be done?

As for the prestige of having Forsberg in a Preds uniform, it didn't do much for the Blues and Hawks when they had Gretzky and Orr respectively in for cameos. Come to think of it, Forsberg in Nashville very much looked and felt like Orr in Chicago -- like Orr, Forsberg's heart might have been willing, but his body just wasn't anymore.

At 10:08 PM, April 23, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

(No offence intended but) I'm not sure how many of the games you saw Dennis, but Forsberg was terrific in the first two, and one of Nashville's best players overall. He created a ton of offensive chances and was fairly sound defensively; the problem was he had absolutely no support from the Preds supposedly deep cast.

Not that I'm defending the deal — this is just to say he certainly wasn't a washed up old codger out there. He may not have been Peter the Great, but he was pretty darn good still.

At 9:50 AM, April 24, 2007, Blogger Paul Nicholson said...

Absolutely - I shouldn't have understated his on-ice performance either.

Who do you honestly think would have performed better in the playoffs, Forsberg or Upshall? Who do you thinkwould have drawn more attention from the defense that opened the ice for others?

Forsberg led the team in hits in the first game (I think maybe the first two). He was one of the only Preds to have a multi-point playoff.

Did we have to pay more than I would have liked: yes. But we are so deep at D-man that we could loose Kimmo to UFA this summer and I wouldn't panic. And Upshall was never going to be more than a solid role-player.

Did Forsberg win us a cup single-handed? No. But he wasn't brought here to do that. He was brought to be a piece of the puzzle.

[being rant]
Unfortunately, much of the rest of the team was not ready for the playoffs and most of all, the coaching staff wasn't. I love Trotz. He has been fabulous. But he was totally unable to adjust to the schemes the Sharks developed to shut us down, and was not able to adjust to a scheme to stop them without us taking dozens of penalties. And I still haven't heard an explanation for why a player (Vishnevski) with 40+ games of playoff experience (which was sadly lacking on the Predators) sat on the bench through the whole end of the season + playoffs.
[end rant]

At 12:09 PM, April 24, 2007, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

James, you are right in that Forsberg wasn't staggering around out there embarrassing himself, or mailing it in like some veterans in the League did this year. (*cough*Roenick*cough*). It's instructive, though, that he scored just two goals in 17 regular season games. Yes, he had plenty of assists, and in watching him you could still see the guy had the instincts of an elite player, but if you are going to make a trade like that, you want a difference maker, not a "piece of the puzzle". This is the kind of trade you would make for the Peter Forsberg of 1997, not the Peter Forsberg of 2007.

This reminds me a bit of the Canucks' signing of Messier. Messier was still a good, smart, two way player, and was the Canucks' best forward many nights, but Canuck fans were surprised when he wasn't the dominant power forward everyone remembered from years gone by. Well, those years gone by were precisely that, years gone by, and Messier was now well into his 30s and was no longer the offensive force he once was. It strikes me that the Preds made this deal hoping that Foppa could put himself in a time machine and become the guy he was for the Avs in so many of those playoffs, and of course he couldn't do that.


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