Middletown, N. J. – Today was as crazy as advertised in the National Hockey League. The anticipation leading up to the trade deadline is by far at its peak over any of the four major sports we currently enjoy. After a very quiet morning which left people wondering just how much of a let down it would be, the final hour picked up pace in a very big way, culminating in the Washington Capitals doing their own impression of the boy who cried wolf when they led the media on a wild goose chase about a ‘major’ trade announcement only for us to find it involved Martin Erat. That is not a mistype, Martin Erat of the Nashville Predators was the player who was least expected to have us on the edge of our seats.
Below, I will break down the major trades that occurred leading up to and including today and share my thoughts. Whether you agree or disagree is not of utmost importance, for if it was, there would be no writers anyway. We do not do this for fame or popularity, its our passion (both the team and the writing) and at the end of the day, our opinions are our own just like yours. So, sit back and enjoy and by all means, feel free to leave comments of any nature. At the end, I will summarize what the Islanders DID NOT do and share my thoughts on that as well.
Blackhawks acquire C Michal Handzus from San Jose for 4th round pick in 2013
Good move by Chicago as the pick up the faceoff winning center they craved heading into the deadline. With Marian Hossa returning tomorrow and Patrick Sharp not far away, the Hawks are set for a long run through the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There really was nothing else for them to do except sit back and listen…The Sharks get a low draft pick for a player who did not feature in their future plans.
Blues acquire D Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary for D Mark Cundari, G Reto Berra and conditional 1st round pick in 2013
Bouwmeester has never lived up to his lofty expectations but has new life on a Blues back unit that features upcoming starts Alex Pietreangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. This gives the Blues 3 premier blue liners heading into what they hope is a postseason run where everyone expected them to do very well. With 3 points separating 8 from 13 in the Western Conference, they might need all the help they can get. David Backes absolutely needs to get going and real soon for the Blues to have a chance. Calgary gets a small defensemen in Cundari, a goaltending prospect at 26 not rated highly in Berra but that 1st round draft pick could prove to be huge, especially if the Blues falter late in the season and do not make the playoffs.
Canucks acquire C Derek Roy from Dallas for D Kevin Connauton and 2nd round pick in 2013
Roy can still play and do not discount based on his statistics from this season. He is only 29 and coming off a major quad injury that ended his 2011-2012 season. When healthy, he is a threat and the perfect candidate to take the reigns in Vancouver while Ryan Kesler nurses himself back to health. Connauton is a 23 year old defensemen who has shown some skill while in the American Hockey League and at age 23, the 6’1 prospect might prove to be a nice find for a team looking to rebuild their defense. The pick will be low and probably not ending up having much value.
Huge pickup by the big,bad Bruins who already are Stanley Cup contenders. With the news today that Patrice Bergeron has possibly suffered another concussion, it is even more important. Has had a real good season in Dallas at age 41 and this could be his last chance to once again raise the Cup. Payne is a big prototypical power foward who can grind and mix it up from time to time. MacDermid offeres no real value in my opinion and the pick is conditional on the Bs making it to the Eastern Conference Finals, in which case it becomes a 1st round selection.
Penguins acquire F Jussi Jokinen from Carolina for conditional 7th round pick in 2013
Major steal for the Penguins. Jokinen was just placed on waivers last week by the Hurricanes and surprisingly, went unclaimed. Pittsburgh, with Sydney Crosby on the shelf after having his jaw and teeth repaired, add an excellent faceoff man with scoring skill to an already stacked lineup that just picked up Jarome Iginla. My personal opinion is Iginla and Jokinen are still not enough to get the Pens out of the Eastern Conference, my main reasons being defense and goaltending holding the team back.
Interesting deal and alot of Twitter today was all over Tampa GM Steve Yzerman for getting ‘fleeced’. I am not one of them. Tampa addresses a MAJOR need in goal with Bishop, one of the most sought after commodities of the trade market and sold high on Conacher, a shifty but small forward who excelled at Syracuse of the AHL and early this season with Tampa before hitting the wall lately. We think Cory is a good player but you have to give something to get anything and Yzerman hit the mark here. Ottawa, who continue to amaze the entire league without 4 major stars in the lineup suffering long term injuries, can expect to plug Conacher right into one of their top 2 lines.
Flyers acquire G Steve Mason from Columbus for G Micheal Leighton and 3rd round pick in 2015
Really Paul Holmgren? Did you seriously deal Sergei Bobrovsky to the Jackets last season, give Ilya Brzgalov a huge contract extension, then go back to Columbus for Mason? Mason clearly suffers from confidence issues after being highly touted after a solid rookie season. He then proceeded to lose his play under absolutely no media pressure now has to come to the city of brotherly ‘love’ and perform? This is a disaster on all levels for the Flyers.
What a deal for the Sabres, who despite losing their captain, bring back a tremendous haul in return. Blue chip prospects and 2 high draft picks. The Wild, obviously desperate for more scoring might have bitten off more than they can chew in this deal.
Capitals trade F Filip Forsberg to Nashville for F Martin Erat and F Micheal Latta
Latta is a small but physical forward but this was the deal that had everyone glued to their phones well after the 3pm deadline passed. Word out of Washington was a ‘major’ deal that had people dreaming of Backstrom, Green or even Ovechkin heading out of the capital. But alas, it was Martin Erat, a good player but hardly a superstar for Forsberg, who is one of the top rated prospects in the game today. This does not make Washington a better team. In fact, it hurts them severely in the long run. Latta does not have the promise to turn this into anything other than that for the Caps.
NY Rangers acquire F Ryane Clowe from San Jose for 2nd round pick in 2013, 3rd round pick in 2013 and conditional 2nd round pick in 2014.
Yeah, I saw all the zero goal jokes and they were funny to be totally honest. As a lifetime Islanders fan, it pains me to say the Rangers did very well in this deal. Clowe is a big, physical forward with 20 goals in his stick. Forget the numbers this year. This season is so unique that abnormalities like Clowe’s goal total are thrown out the window. He has playoff experience and replaces the grit of the departed Brandon Prust, who I think the Rangers admitted with this deal they miss more than they would like to admit. 3 picks could be costly for a rental, but with the move to be detailed below, the Rangers have the cap room to resign Ryane, especially if an amnesty buyout awaits Brad Richards.
Wow…the deal of the day. The teams had been talking for days and kept it hush hush from the media. The only thing we knew was that Marian was very much in play, due to his spiraling negative relationship with head coach John Tortorella. In one sense, I love the message of not letting the inmates run the asylum, as if you don’t play for the team and the system the coach implements, you are gone and not the coach. The return the Rangers got I probably like more than most. I have always like Brassard’s skill and think he was never given a fair chance in Columbus. It also reunites him with former teammate Rick Nash. Dorsett is nothing more than a replacement for traded Mike Rupp, a physical grinding protagonist. Moore is the wild card, a young, big mobile defensemen who plays a steady stay at home game. Last time the Rangers pulled off a similar deal, they got Ryan McDonagh for Scott Gomez and we all know how that worked out for New York. The only negative is can the Rangers, last in the NHL in goals per game, replace the ‘potential’ that Gaborik would get things worked out and start burying pucks again. My bet is that he returns to form on an improved Columbus team and nets 34-38 goals for them next season.
Snow Stays The Course
All in all, 17 trades were made involving 28 players and 14 draft picks. It was a rental type market as I stated prior on Twitter and the cost for players to provide a future in their new home was astronomically high. Garth Snow was given a very set precedent by team owner Charles Wang to stay the course, rebuild the farm system and keep costs down until a steady revenue stream arrives with the team relocating to Brooklyn in 2015. He has accomplished those goals. Thought to be a joke when he first was offered and accepted the job, he has earned respect from those around the league for his professionalism and dealings, especially when it comes to taking chances off the waiver wire with under appreciated talent (ala Micheal Grabner, Matt Moulson and Thomas Hickey). That is not to say Garth was not busy today choosing to spend this deadline day at the salon getting a pedicure. He was working the phones in an attempt to make the Islanders better. He lit some fires on Brandon Saad of the Blackhawks, with Mark Streit no doubt being a part of those conversations, and also was rumored to be talking to Phoenix about defenseman Keith Yandle. But the return for those two would have been tremendous and maybe the best deal that Snow made today was the ones he did not.
The Isles are currently tied with the New Jersey Devils for 7th place in the Eastern Conference and after winning five of their last six games, head into Washington tomorrow with chemistry building among the current regulars. Stay the course, as the ship is sailing into uncharted waters right now. The attitude around the league is changing towards the orange and blue in a positive direction. Teams now know we are no longer the doormat, an easy two points towards their march to the playoffs. They now know we are heading in exactly the same direction.
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