Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A WESTERN VIEW OF THE TRADE DEADLINE

Winners, losers, and everyone in between.  It’s hard to properly evaluate what the trade deadline actually means in such a short timeframe, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a hockey fan’s favorite hobby the next few days after.

It certainly wasn’t a frenetic day around the NHL, but of the 15 deals, 31 players, and 11 draft picks that moved around, there were some points of interest in the West.

It was interesting to see the Dallas Stars do nothing. Pegged as a seller two weeks ago, the Stars were simply playing too well to do anything drastic. Mike Ribeiro may be playing the best hockey of his career, and a rumored package of Mason Raymond plus clearly wasn’t enough to pry away Steve Ott.

Colorado, winners of four straight, dealt away Dan Winnik and TJ Galiardi to San Jose. This is a big win for the Sharks, who have struggled with effective bottom-six depth all season. Winnik is underrated as a shutdown guy, and will be tough to stop down low paired with Michael Handzus. Galiardi meanwhile, could be the hidden gem of this deal. He can skate, shoot, is underratedly tough, and has an offensive upside that Joe Sacco wasn’t able to harness in Colorado. From the Avalanche point of view, they don’t really take a backwards step, as they had 15 healthy forwards going in, and added some size, in Jamie McGinn.

As Peter Loubardias pointed out yesterday, the much talked-about Zack Kassian for Cody Hodgson swap could wind up working for both teams. If I had to give one thumbs up though, it would be to the Sabres.  Kassian is a pretty unique specimen, but Hodgson is going to play in multiple all-star games for the Sabres.  They touched a guy that could have easily have had an “untouchable” label.

-The Calgary Flames did nothing, which comes as no surprise if you’re paying attention. Everyone of note has no trade clauses, a bit of a parting gift from former GM Darryl Sutter. The list of “availables” meanwhile, read like the bin of used VHS tapes at the local convenience store. Jay Feaster had no options at his disposable, which unfortunately for him, certainly re-fixed the spotlight on Thursday’s impassioned rant.

-You have to like the deal between the Wild and Oilers. In the span of six months, the Wild switched out stalwarts Brent Burns, 700-game Nick Schultz, Greg Zanon, and Marek Zidlicky.  Evidently, “going in a new direction” with the blueline was a pretty important goal. They add Tom Gilbert from the Oilers, who can play more of a two way game than anyone they have. Edmonton meanwhile, gets a bit stronger defensively, and also allows for a bigger role for Jeff Petry, who is fast becoming the least talked about, solid blueliner in the West.

- Things go from bad to possibly worse for the Columbus Blue Jackets, as Scott Howson elected not to deal away Rick Nash, and subsequently exposed his trade request to the NHL, his teammates, and the fans. If Nash wants to pick his landing place, he had best find some inner motivation for the final 20 games.  Meanwhile, good on Howson for not panicking. The rumored final offer from the Rangers of Dubinsky, Erixon, Thomas, Miller, and a first was more than decent, but didn’t quite have that “it” factor. When 29 teams are without a Stanley Cup this July, Howson will get the deal he wants.

-You have to root for the Nashville Predators this playoff season. They locked up Pekka Rinne, got Shea Weber under contract for another year, and elected to hang onto Ryan Suter for a run. Mike Fisher and Sergei Kostitsyn have worked out nicely, and adding Hal Gill, Paul Gaustad, and brother Andrei sets a huge tone for the months ahead.  David Poile has put his club in a great position, and now it’s on the players.  Going one season without top-flight draft picks is a good gamble to take at this point in the franchise.

No Surprise to see the Kings and Blues quiet. St. Louis is pretty hamstrung when to anything major at the moment with financial issues, and quite frankly, they’re playing such a perfect system right now, why mess with it?  The Kings meanwhile, have plenty of eggs in the Jeff Carter basket, and will need to figure things out, and fast, if they hope to crack the top-eight.

@fan960walker

1 comment:

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