Thursday, March 09, 2006

Deadline Day In The NHL: Who Won & Who Lost

There was a flurry of activity today, with the NHL trade deadline falling earlier this afternoon.

For those interested in the full list of trades from yesterday and today, TSN has a comprehensive list. I'm going to give my quick take on who won and who lost over the past couple of days.

They acquired Mark Recchi from Pittsburgh without giving up anyone from the regular roster. This is a great pickup, as not only does Recchi replace Erik Cole in the lineup, but he brings a wealth of playoff experience to complement the Hurricanes' young corps.

Between this move and the 'Canes' previous in-season trade that added Doug Weight, Carolina is well positioned to make a run at the Stanley Cup. Their defense looks a little thin on paper, but is probalby as strong as that of the last 'Canes team to make the Cup finals in 2002. They may have come out of left field, but they are definitely a team to keep an eye on come spring. Adding Recchi gets them closer to the championship.

Los Angeles
They gave up a couple of decent prospects, but gained a sniper in Mark Parrish, and an underrated Defenseman in Brent Sopel. This added depth makes the Kings a dangerous team come playoff time.

For adding a promising young Goalie (Mika Noronen) and two veteran defenseman to add depth (Weinrich and Carney) and replace their injured regulars. These moves aren't blockbusters, but they strengthen the Canucks standing as a playoff team.

Sergei Samsonov is a steal, even as a rental for this season. Roloson will be worth it if they think that he makes them a championship-caliber team, otherwise they threw away a first round draft pick. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, though I almost put them as losers for cutting Mike Morrison loose.

New York Islanders
They win for recognizing that the current team they have is not good enough to contend, so dumping Parrish and Sopel for youngsters is a great move. Parrish was a longshot to resign on the Isle this off-season, and I think both Grebeshkov and Tambellini will be quality NHLers, so the Isles definitely won in the long run with this move.

The Caps aren't going anywhere this year, and Brendan Witt and Jeff Friesen are not part of the future of this club, so swapping them and adding an extra 1st and 2nd Round Pick in this year's draft is a win for the Capitals.

For locking up Olli Jokkinen for the next 4 years. $21 million might be a bit high, but he's a first line Center, and they don't exactly grow on trees.

New York Rangers
They needed an offensive defenseman, and Ozolinsh might fit the bill. I can't shake the feeling that his liabilities defensively outweigh the offensive gains he'll bring to the club. I don't understand why they dumped Ville Niemenin; he's been a key character player on this gritty Rangers club.

Toronto Maple Leafs
For not seeing the writing on the wall and rebuilding, like I advocated here.

My thoughts on the Theodore trade can be found here. They're losers because Theodore is on the shelf, hurting their playoff chances. They also failed to add anyone to replace Marek Svatos, who's now lost for the season.

For letting a sniper (Samsonov) go without getting a top prospect in return. In a couple of years time, all they will have to show for Thornton and Samsonov is Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm, and hopefully Yan Stasny. Mike O'Connell should start polishing up his resume.

They failed to add anyone to their club, which is quite possibly due to insufficient cap room.

Because Willie MItchell won't help the league's 25th best Power Play.

I'm really just putting them on the list to make myself feel better, but they did fail to boost their offense. This could bite them come playoff time.

Those are my impressions on the moves of the past couple of days. It wasn't a dramatic trade deadline, but I think a couple of teams have left themselves positioned well to make a run for the finals, and a few teams have helped along their rebuilding process.

The last comment I will make is to note how few of the top teams in the league made significant moves (only Carolina and Ottawa added anything more than role players). So even though there was the standard flurry of activity, the first trade deadline of the salary cap era was different in one respect.


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