February 28, 2011
There were a few points during the coverage of 2011 NHL Trade Deadline Day in which you realized that the inactivity had led to total absurdity.
Perhaps it was when the TV networks decided to start reliving the Olympics. Or when Brad Richards'(notes) decision on his no-trade clause became a by-the-minute drama heading towards 3 p.m. ET. Or when every hockey writer on Canadian television had, at one point, an imposter on Twitter breaking "trades" that fooled more than a few fans and other media.
Coming up, grades for all 30 teams; not only for Deadline Day, but for the days leading up to deadline day.
Anaheim Ducks: A surprisingly active deadline for the Ducks, who made several trades. It started back on Feb. 9 with the deal that sent Joffrey Lupul(notes) and Jake Gardiner for Francois Beauchemin(notes), an old hand and a nice addition to their weakest position. The rest of the month saw them trade for Jarkko Ruutu(notes) (Senators), Dan Ellis(notes) (Lightning, and a solid vet between the pipes while Jonas Hiller's(notes) on the mend), Brian McGrattan(notes) (Bruins, in a four-player deal), Brad Winchester(notes) (Blues) and then shipped Max Lapierre for Joel Perreault and a third-rounder. Factor in a conditional pick for Aaron Voros(notes) (Leafs) and a fifth-rounder for Paul Mara(notes) (Habs), and the Ducks had a double and a collection of singles ... but it added up to a productive trade game. GRADE: B+
Atlanta Thrashers: This deadline will be remembered for one trade, which is their role in the Kaberle Trade on Feb. 18, in which they took Blake Wheeler(notes) and Mark Stuart(notes) (re-signed Monday) from the Bruins for Rich Peverley(notes) and Boris Valabik(notes). The sent Brent Sopel(notes) and Nigel Dawes(notes) to Montreal. On Deadline Day, they snagged Radek Dvorak(notes) (with whom GM Rick Dudley was familiar) while dealing away the rights to disappointing winger Niclas Bergfors(notes), a pending RFA acquired in the Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) deal. They also flipped Freddy Modin for a seventh-round pick and picked up Brett Festerling(notes) for depth goalie Drew MacIntyre(notes). Needed to be more aggressive to turn their fortunes around, but also didn't do something stupid like dealing Zach Bogosian(notes). GRADE: B-
Boston Bruins: Aside from a minor trade with the Ducks, the Bruins' deadline was all about Tomas Kaberle(notes) and the ancillary trade with the Thrashers. We broke down the trades here, and they remain big wins for the Bruins in the short term. Add in Chris Kelly(notes) from the Senators for a second, and it was a great deadline for the B's. GRADE: A
Buffalo Sabres: One trade, but a calling card for Pegulaville nonetheless. Brad Boyes(notes) can play wing or center for the Sabres, and it sounds like he'll line up with Tim Connolly(notes). He makes $4 million, making this a trade that wouldn't have happened under the previous administration. He can be an erratic goal-scorer, but he's been a solid offensive contributor lately. Still, Derek Roy(notes) money for him next season is a bit much, but that's on the Blues for having given it to him. This would have been a higher grade had Buffalo added something to its blue line. GRADE: B
Calgary Flames: Freddy Modin for a seventh-rounder is the kind of trade you expected from Jay Feaster. It adds some offense (seven goals in 36 games), adds a veteran with an expiring contract and doesn't touch the chemistry in the room. They also added Brett Carson(notes) via waivers (more on that below). Standing pat, basically, was the best move they could make. GRADE: C+
"If we hadn't done that, if we hadn't added a defenseman later in the day, I'd be devastated about losing him. As it is, I'm OK with it."
That's because the Hurricanes acquired Bryan Allen from the Panthers, on the endorsement of newly reacquired Cory Stillman(notes), for the suddenly redundant Sergei Samsonov(notes), whom Dale Tallon had in Chicago. Stillman and AHL call-up Jerome Samson(notes) made Samsonov expendable, and he's a UFA next summer. Allen has another year left at $3.15 million next season, giving them four D-men under contract for 2012 with Joni Pitkanen(notes) going UFA. Best news of all? Eric Staal(notes) will return to the lineup shortly. GRADE: B
Chicago Blackhawks: Since his acquisition on Feb. 9, Michael Frolik(notes) doesn't have a point and is a minus-4 in eight games for the Blackhawks. Which is not so good. Better news: Defenseman Chris Campoli arrives from the Senators for a conditional second-rounder and Ryan Potulny(notes). Campoli's an RFA and will fill the void left by the injured Jordan Hendry(notes) quite well. GRADE: C
Colorado Avalanche: The deals that Avalanche made deserve more time than the immediacy of this report card to pan out. But taken at face, Chris Stewart(notes) and Kevin Shattenkirk(notes) have been great for the Blues, and Erik Johnson(notes) has not been for the Avs. Craig Anderson(notes) has been lights-out for the Senators, and Brian Elliott(notes) has not been for the Avs. They pulled a first-round pick from the Blues in the former trade, which is important. But right now, the Avs are on the short end of these deals and didn't turn
UFA John-Michael Liles(notes) into any deadline assets, even if he's good in the room. (As pointed out in the comments, he has another year left at $4.55 million.) Later, this grade can change; as for now? GRADE: C-
Columbus Blue Jackets: GM Scott Howson didn't improve his blue line, unless you consider moving Rostislav Klesla(notes), the last remaining original Jacket, as addition by subtraction. But Scottie Upshall(notes) is a solid addition to the forwards corps, able to create his own offense and bringing an energy game. Sami Lepisto(notes) brings some wheels to the blue line, but not much scoring. Tom Sestito(notes) was later traded to the Flyers in a minor league swap, which Aaron Portzline says "will not sit well with many Blue Jackets fans." For getting out from under a contract that runs through 2014, Howson had a good day. If Craig Rivet(notes) bolsters the blue line as a waiver addition, all the better. (Note: Portzline adds late Klesla must pass a physical for the trade to be completed.) GRADE: B
Dallas Stars: Leahy broke down the James Neal/Alex Gologoski trade here. Monday came down to whether the Dallas Stars were to stay or hit with the biggest card in the deadline game: Center Brad Richards.
They kept him, expect him back shortly, and Joe Nieuwendyk said the following via Dallas Stars Blog:
"In my mind, I wasn't going to move him unless somebody knocked our socks off with something we couldn't refuse. We've said all along that we want to sign Brad, and we still feel that way. We want to sign Brad Richards to be a Dallas Star for a long period of time.''
"I don't really want to talk about what transpired. Bottom line is, we're quite please to keep our team together the way it is.''
"He likes it here, he likes these guys, and he's going to play hard for us. Our position has not changed, and I don't think his has either. He likes it here, and we would like to have him, and we'll see where it goes. But those things are for down the road and the focus is on the games we have to play here.''
If the Stars make the playoffs and he re-signs, this is a huge win. If they don't and he leaves, it's a gamble he lost. If they make the playoffs and still lose him ... we say it was worth keeping him. For the trade and keep -- GRADE: B
Detroit Red Wings: Re-signed Jimmy Howard(notes) to a two-year extension ... and that was it. Could have been in the market for another defenseman, but are instead rolling with the roster they have. GRADE: C+
Edmonton Oilers: We broke down the Dustin Penner trade here; for the Oilers, they receive defenseman Colten Teubert(notes) (former first-round pick) and two draft picks-including a first-rounder this year. If Teubert develops, it could be a solid return. The Oilers stood pat with defenseman Ladislav Smid(notes), whom many felt would move. GM Steve Tambellini said that they received calls on Ales Hemsky(notes) but nothing that would have "made him think twice" about not returning the call. Based on the Penner trade, and keeping other assets ... GRADE: B
"We stuck to our plan. These were very hard decisions to make,'' Tallon said soon after the deadline ended, his Blackberry still ringing. "We kept our core together and kept our eye on the ball as far as the future is considered. We added picks, prospects and got younger. We really solidified our future."
Florida's moves gives Tallon a ton of money next year as the team has just $18 million in committed salaries. If the salary cap remains close to this year's ceiling of $58 million, that means Florida will have $40 million to remake things -- if Tallon is allowed to spend close to the cap.
Wideman went to the Capitals for big forward prospect Jake Hauswirth(notes) and a 2011 third-round pick. Dvorak became RFA-to-be Niclas Bergfors. Bryan McCabe(notes) became Tim Kennedy(notes) and a 2011 third-round pick. Cory Stillman became Ryan Carter(notes) and a 2011 fifth-round pick. Higgins became Evan Oberg(notes) and a third. Allen became Samsonov, an expiring contract. Michael Frolik became Jack Skille(notes) and Co. Add in the acquisition of Alexander Sulzer(notes) on defense, and Tallon traded everything but his core for little more than picks and several bags of pucks. It's all about what he does with the space and if keeping a core than hasn't won on a decade together was the right decision. GRADE: B
Los Angeles Kings: We broke down the Dustin Penner trade here. He's exactly the kind of winger and veteran scorer this roster needed, and they gave up significant assets yet dealt from a position of strength to get him (young defenseman, lower first-round pick). It's not Brad Richards, but it's a hell of a pickup for a Western Conference contender. GRADE: A
Minnesota Wild: Aaaaannnd ... nothing? Nada? Zip? Zilch? They traded goaltending hero Anton Khudobin(notes) to the Boston Bruins in a minor league deal for Jeff Penner(notes) and Mikko Lehtonen(notes), but that was it. No significant acquisitions for a team battling for its playoff life on the Western Conference bubble. Perhaps the asking prices were too high, and the no-trade clauses too prevalent, for the center this team could have used to come over at the deadline. Todd Richards puts his faith in the room. GRADE: C-
Montreal Canadiens: Brent Sopel and Paul Mara were quality additions to the banged-up blue line, but that was it as far as big-name acquisitions. From Habs Inside/Out, an explanation on the deadline day from GM Pierre Gauthier:
In explaining his inaction during a late-afternoon media briefing in Atlanta, Pierre Gauthier compared the Canadiens' situation to that of someone who has set aside money for a summer vacation only to discover his roof had to be replaced.
The Canadiens' injuries on D -- Andrei Markov(notes), Josh Gorges(notes) and Jaro Spacek -- obliged Gauthier to make acquisitions -- James Wisniewski(notes), Paul Mara and Brent Sopel -- that left the GM with little cap space or wiggle room to make a major deal today. "We have an established identity and style of play," Gauthier said. "We had success in the playoffs last season with this nucleus of players."
Hard to argue with that ... well, save for the fact that there's one piece that's rather different than last year's playoff team, and he's in St. Louis. No disrespect to Carey Price(notes), mind you. GRADE: B-
Nashville Predators: Center Mike Fisher(notes) was the deadline piece for the Preds, having sent a first and a third to Ottawa for him. But with names like Ales Hemsky being tossed around for Nashville today, one has the sense that David Poile and Co. could have added a little more weaponry to compete in the Western Conference race. GRADE: B
New Jersey Devils: Our analysis of the Jason Arnott trade is here. Getting a second and center David Steckel back for a high-priced rental with a no-trade clause was a win for Lou Lamoriello. GRADE: B
New York Islanders: For all the chaos on the roster this season, the Islanders ended up making one more around the deadline in acquiring goalie Al Montoya(notes). They lost Robbie Schremp to the Thrashers on waivers. Should Garth Snow take heat or be applauded for not selling Zenon Konopka(notes) and Radek Martinek(notes) for under market value? GRADE: C-
New York Rangers: Our analysis of a very good trade for Bryan McCabe is here. The Rangers acquired Maple Leafs hustler John Mitchell(notes) in exchange for a 2012 seventh-round pick; a good depth center, but not the center they wanted. From Andrew Gross:
Quick analysis: GM Glen Sather adhered to what the organization wanted to do and did not give up young talent. Rangers are probably fairly confident they have a good shot at Richards this summer. Of course, the Stars could work out their ownership situation and re-sign Richards. And, of course, the Rangers need to clear some salary cap space, especially with Wade Redden(notes) back on the docket for the summer. Still, a pretty good run for Sather: Wojtek Wolski(notes) for Michal Rozsival(notes) and some cap relief, Bryan McCabe for a third-rounder and Tim Kennedy, stuck in the minors anyway, and all the young core still together.
Crap-tastic news after the deadline, by the way: Marty Biron is out with a broken collarbone. Minus the injury, this is a ... GRADE: B
Ottawa Senators: They got a first and a third for Mike Fisher, a sixth-rounder for Jarkko Ruutu, a second-rounder for Chris Kelly, another second-rounder for Chris Campoli(notes) and ... well, a bag of pucks for Kovalev. Meanwhile, they snagged what could be their starting goalie from the Avs in a rejuvenated Craig Anderson and re-signed Chris Phillips(notes). Would have liked to see them flip Chris Neil(notes) and Filip Kuba(notes) for something, but they didn't. GRADE: B+
Philadelphia Flyers: Snagged Kris Versteeg(notes) from the Leafs for a first and a third, and he has two points in seven games thus far. Added Nick Boynton(notes) on waivers. But other than a minor deal, stood pat on deadline day, which is expected when you're the class of the conference. GRADE: B+
Phoenix Coyotes: The ownership situation being what it is didn't prevent the Coyotes from shipping Scottie Upshall to the Jackets for Rusty Klesla, who is under contract through 2014. From Jim Neveau of The Hockey Writers:
Looking at the trade from Phoenix's perspective, it is interesting that they elected to take on salary when they have been so adamant about not doing so throughout their ownership transition in recent years. Klesla has the Coyotes on the hook for the next three seasons at an annual cap hit of nearly $3 million, and with his injury concerns that have popped up in the past, this could be a big risk that Phoenix is taking.
Suffice it to say, Phoenix had a better deadline last season. GRADE: C
Pittsburgh Penguins: Leahy broke down the James Neal/Alex Gologoski trade here. Adding Neal and Matt Niskanen(notes) on Feb. 21 was a more significant trade than anything that went down Monday, save for the Penner deal. Kovalev's been welcomed back and is performing well. The prices were too high for the Penguins to add anything else. It all comes down to when, or if, 87 returns anyway. GRADE: B+
San Jose Sharks: Added Ian White(notes) on Feb. 18, and apparently they feel he's he puck-moving defenseman that group has needed since the retirement of Rob Blake(notes). Otherwise, there are a few good reasons why the Sharks did nothing at the deadline. GRADE: B
St. Louis Blues: If you ask Peter Stastny, it was a hell of a deadline for the Blues. And it sorta was. Chris Stewart looks like a power forward that'll be an impact player for years. Getting a second-rounder for Brad Boyes's $4 million salary next season was a coup. They said goodbye to Eric Brewer(notes), Jay McClement(notes), Erik Johnson, Boyes and Brad Winchester. In a season that isn't going to result in a playoff seed, it sets up the Blues well for next year and, most importantly, the summer. This assessment from The Sports Jury is fairly spot on; we'd average it out to ... GRADE: A-
Tampa Bay Lightning: Snagged Blues captain Eric Brewer and shipped out goalie Dan Ellis in their deadline moves. From Lightning Strikes, the rationale behind Stevie Y's quiet day:
That the Lightning was quiet on Monday was pretty much telegraphed by Yzerman on Sunday. While acknowledging having nine defenseman on the roster is not ideal, something that likely will happen this week when Mike Lundin(notes) and Mattias Ohlund(notes) are back in the lineup, Yzerman said he would not trade a defenseman unless he could get back a forward who could step in and play right away and was better than anything Tampa Bay has in the minors. He obviously didn't see anything he liked.
Part of that equation is that the Lightning believes injured wing Ryan Malone(notes) will be recovered from what is believed a stomach muscle injury and playing the first week of April. If so, that would be a huge piece back in the lineup.
Will this team regret not loading up like the Capitals did? Will it regret going to war with Roloson and Smith? GRADE: B-
Toronto Maple Leafs: As Brian Burke says, he likes to get ahead of the deadline. So while John Mitchell moved Monday, Burke had already shipped out Kaberle and Versteeg and Beauchemin. From the Toronto Sun:
Still in play between now and the June draft are the first-round picks acquired from Boston and Philadelphia in the Kaberle and Versteeg deals, picks that Burke would a) like to package to move up in the draft or b) use to acquire further players. He would prefer not to use those picks himself, impatience being one of the trademarks of his time in Toronto.
From restocking the draft war chest to remaining in the playoff hunt even in shedding that talent, it's been a great deadline for Burke. We're knocking the grade down just a peg because of the Clarke MacArthur mystery as far as his future goes. GRADE: A-
Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks added injured winger Chris Higgins and pain-in-the-rear Max Lapierre on a day in which adding another depth center seemed to be at the forefront. From the Canucks Blog:
Lapierre gives the Canucks a couple of things: a fourth-line center and some added sandpaper to the roster. He's big (6'2″, 207 lbs.), speedy as hell, is a pain in the ass to play against, and in limited ice-time with the Habs and Ducks, has won 54.6% of his faceoffs. He's also averaging just a shade under 12 minutes per game.
There's a perception -- a fair one, IMHO -- that Lapierre takes some bad penalties, but a quick look at his stats show he's only taken 16 minor penalties in 59 games this season. What might help is Alain Vigneault has coached him in the past so I'm sure the Canucks have some comfort level with him.
Oh, and did I mention that he's a pain in the ass to play against?
Why yes, you did. GRADE: B+
Washington Capitals: George McPhee was as aggressive as any GM in the League near the deadline, grabbing Marco Sturm off waivers and trading for both Dennis Wideman and Jason Arnott on deadline day. From Capitals Insider, his take on the day:
Part of the appeal of both Arnott, 36, and Wideman, 27, was that they bring experience to a fairly young Capitals team, McPhee said. 'We've got a young group, as we all know, and we got guys that have been around a long time," McPhee said. "Specifically with Arnott, he's been a captain of an NHL team and he's won a Cup [in 2000] and those kind of intangibles are something that we wanted in the room like we had when we got Sergei Fedorov two years ago."
McPhee also said that what the Capitals gave up -- prospect Jake Hauswirth and this year's third-round draft pick for Wideman, and forward David Steckel and a 2012 second-round draft pick in exchange for Arnott -- leaves Washington in good shape going forward.
"We did not give away our first round pick, we did not give away any of our A-prospects," McPhee said. "We took [Steckel] out of our roster; he's just a great guy and he's done really well for us here and he's become an NHL player, a solid NHL player. But we felt that we had some depth there with Boyd Gordon and Jay Beagle, and if we were going to upgrade the club at another position, this was asking price.
With an undeniable need at center since last postseason, and with Mike Green out at last two weeks with an injury, these were essential moves from a personnel standpoint. As a kick in the ass for a team that hasn't played to its potential, may be even more important. GRADE: A-