Tuesday, February 27, 2007
If reading about hockey makes you fall asleep please stop reading.
So today was the trade deadline in the NHL. A time when teams that think they can win it all this year drop 1st round draft picks and prospects faster than you can say Ville Nieminen. The teams that have no hope of winning the Cup this year hoard draft picks like little boys with their Lego blocks. And then their are teams that trade away their most popular player, the player who has the name Mr. followed by team name, out of the blue right as the trading period comes to a close. When the 2007 deadline is discussed the deal that will come to mind is that of Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders for prospects Nilson and O'Marra along with a first rounder in this years draft. Many will say that Lowe could have got more for Smyth, others will simply want to enter Lowe's office with a machete. This deal simply came down to money. The Oilers didn't want to risk losing Smyth to free agency in the off-season and didn't want to have to cut off an arm and leg to pay his salary next season. There is room for loyalty to players by teams but only to a certain extent. Look no further than the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have a nack for handing out multi million, multi year contracts to gray beards who they like and end up regretting it a few years into the deal (i.e. buy outs of Tie Domi and Ed Belfour). And there still is a chance that the Oil can bring him back next season. But don't forget some Oiler fans are also the ones the wanted Pronger's head and made up some nasty rumors about his family when he wanted out of town after last year's run. It will take a few seasons to see how Nilsson and O'Marra pan out but this could end up being a great move for the team in the long run.
Enough about that, how did the other Canadian teams fair?
Ottawa Senators - They said they weren't going to be active at this years deadline because of the high prices. They picked up Oleg Saprykin, but I think this will pan out like last years deal for Arnason. They made a deal for Arnason last year? My point exactly.
Toronto Maple Leafs - The Return of the Perreault part 3. The Leafs brought back the NHL's best face off man for a third stint. As much as I dislike the Leafs I think this was actually a good move. He is a guy who can make a difference at critical moments in an important game.
Montreal Canadiens - Moving Rivet on Sunday was predictable as half the defense is headed for free agency. Perhaps the biggest move was the one they didn't make, and that was trading Souray.
Calgary Flames - They did there wheelin' and dealin' a few weeks ago bringing back Iginla's favourite side kick Craig Conroy.
Vancouver Canucks - Nothing to big, just adding more depth on defense and forward by bringing in Smolinski and bringing back Sopel. Sopel excelled with the Nucks a few seasons ago so I'm sure they are hoping for the 2002-2004 version of Sopel, not the post-lockout-suitcase-man Sopel.
Other trades of note: the Red Wings brought in Big Bert who has been sidelined most of the year with and injury. If he can get back to full strength this could turn out to be good move for a Red Wings team who have had tonnes of success in the regular season but hit the playoffs and their wheels start spinning. St. Louis got Brad Boyes for a bargain. And Dallas made a blockbuster deal to acquire Mattias Norstrom. He is no Rob Blake but he has been the captain King for many seasons now and is one of the best defensive defensemen out there.
And the last little bit of my thoughts: The winners and the losers this year.
Buffalo - Brining in Zubrus helps, but if Miller goes down they are relying on Conklin? Yes that is the goalie who blew a Oiler lead in the finals last year. Biron is a capable backup who could carry the team just fine in case of injury.
Atlanta - I think they simply gave up too much to acquire Zhitnik and Tkachuk. Tkachuck is a good player but not worth multiple high draft picks.
Pittsburgh - Gunning up to take it all. They finally have somebody to protect Crosby and Malkin and keep the other team honest. And Gary Roberts brings with him great leadership and experience.
San Jose - Adding Rivet fills the whole on defense. Guerin also adds more experience and scoring prowl to an already very talented exciting San Jose team.