March 03, 2010
(Ed. Note: We're live blogging every hour of the NHL trade deadline until its completion at 3 p.m. EST. Older time-stamped entries are found at the end of the post. Visit here for a primer on our Milbury Scale for rating trades.)
1:46 p.m. EST. Not sure I get the shock and awe over the Phoenix Coyotes adding salary and bodies. Last deadline they added Dmitri Kalinin(notes), Petr Prucha(notes), Nigel Dawes(notes), Scottie Upshall(notes) and Matthew Lombardi(notes), while dealing away Daniel Carcillo(notes), Derek Morris(notes) and Olli Jokinen(notes).
The Wolski trade is a salary add this year, for sure; but Derek Morris and now Mathieu Schneider(notes) are both UFAs. It's not like they didn't add bodies last season and it's not like they've taken on Sheldon Souray's(notes) contract yet either.
Two trades just rolled in. The first finds the Los Angeles Kings trading the forever-promising Teddy Purcell(notes) and a third-round pick that belongs to Florida to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Jeff Halpern(notes). Nice grinder down the lineup for the Kings, with some leadership, and the Kings can clear his salary after this season.
As for Purcell, the majority opinion on Purcell is that he ran out of chances in LA and, in the opinion of one observer, is "soft as a pillow." Sounds like a 3 Milbury trade at the moment.
Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals traded a second-round pick for Eric Belanger(notes) of the Minnesota Wild, which pretty much confirms our theory that the Caps believe they can grind down the forwards on the Penguins and Flyers with their own depth at forward, and not have to worry about adding many significant bodies on the blue line.
One Milbury deal for a UFA.
1 p.m. EST. Here's why the acquisition of forward Peter Mueller(notes) by the Colorado Avalanche is a good one: He's a 21-year-old drafted eighth overall, and this is the first time he's going to be pushed by North American peers at his position. Paul Stastny(notes), Matt Duchene(notes), Ryan O'Reilly(notes) ... these are young guns that might be able to inspire whatever it is Mueller's been unable to capture in the NHL. They don't need him in the middle, they need him on the wing. And he could develop there.
The trade is Mueller and Kevin Porter(notes), a former captain and Hobey Baker winner at Michigan, to Colorado for Wojtek Wolski(notes), who has a $3.1 million salary this season before going RFA this summer ... which means he's up for a raise the Avalanche apparently didn't want to give him. (It's also a nice move for Phoenix in that regard. A player of Wolski's stature may not go to Phoenix on the open market; now he's shackled to them.)
Wolski is a floater, but that's OK. What's not OK is his inconsistency. He's hit 20 goals and 50 points once, and his numbers this season took a nosedive after the calendar turned to 2010 (two goals since Jan. 1). He's going to make the Phoenix Coyotes more dangerous up front, and that's essential for them in this playoff push.
Best of all for Phoenix? The Denver Post's Adrian Dater, who knows the Avs pretty damn well, doesn't like the trade. His analysis via a pros/cons piece this week:
I think trading Wolski isn't the most outlandish idea in the world, but if I'm the Avalanche, I'm scared to death of only getting a Peter Mueller for him. Yeah, this guy had some good numbers his rookie year, but, no exaggeration, he's been AWFUL since. Wolski's numbers look like Gordie Howe's next to this guy. I don't like getting "Guy Trying To Live Up To Previous Potential" guys. They almost never live up to their previous potential. It always seems to be one long downward spiral for the once-promising guy, who leaves a bunch of disappointed teams in his wake. Think Bryan Fogarty. Think Alexander Daigle. Think Michael Ryder(notes). Think Jeff Jillson(notes) and whole bunch of other guys.
I don't know, I can go both ways on a Wolski deal. He's a frustrating player in a lot of the ways described above. You always are left feeling there's more he can, and should, do. But then you look at numbers of all the other guys around the league and you think, "Are we really going to get anything better for him?"
We're going to give this trade Three Milburys, because there's a real danger here that Wolski blows up in the desert and Mueller remains the enigmatic, marginal player he's been in the NHL.
Plus, the Coyotes clearly win this trade now, and "now" is when both teams are going for a playoff spot.