Tuesday, February 27, 2007

NHL Trading Deadline 2007

And now for something completely different....

[Author's Note: I have enlisted the help of a certain professional who can help me grade the teams that made blockbuster deals at the trading deadline. Roger Smith is a formidable negotiator in a city with no memory of the past while living in a mansion with a butler and a monotone-speaking female android.]

Roger's Take: One of my goals as a third-party negotiator is to make sure all parties are satisfied, but it looks like a lot of fans (particularly in Anaheim and Alberta) are in a state of shock. I am going to grade each team's acquisitions before the deadline. It's show time!!!

Anaheim: Brad May knows GM Burke from their days with other teams. This was an easy round for Burke who didn't have to do much for a Ducks squad that has been hot all year. Grade C

Atlanta: This shake-up was bound to happen to provide a better support group around Hossa and company. It also shows that the Thrashers will go into the playoffs trying to regain their hold on the Southeastern Division. I like the Tkachuk and Zhitnik trades because it adds veteran depth to the later lines. Grade B+

Boston: They had a little whimper of a deal go through when Glen Murray was left dangling. Boston didn't have all that much to begin with, so they just did what they could. The good to come out of this is that they didn't hurt themselves and will wait for the off season.Grade C-

Buffalo: The Sabres must have a very short memory. Did they forget what happened in the Cup Finals? Ty Conklin will be on his 4th team in 2 seasons. The journeyman goalie won't be an upgrade when they had Martin Biron and his starting goalie level talent. Zubrus was in constant trade rumor talk and it is nice to finally see him go to a contender. Grade D+

Calgary: They only needed one player and American-born David Hale was that man. A 6'2" 220lbs. shores up a defense in desperate need of depth. Hale was getting lost in NJ and Calgary will see him break out while reaping the benefits. Grade A

Chicago: They didn't need to build for the immediate need, just grab up whatever they could to make the people of the Windy City believe they knew what they were doing. Nikita Axeleev and a few draft picks. Can't predict what this team will do with them later this spring. Grade C-

Colorado: Another team that didn't really need to do anything come deadline. They gave away a draft pick they could have used for themselves. Stupid. Grade F-

Carolina: They acquire Anson Carter before anybody else could. Risky move. But as of today, he has had very little return. Good Ol JR is sitting there with egg on his face. Grade F-

Dallas: Stars needed help with depth and a stopgap with all of the walking wounded currently occupying the IR. They didn't get that. Clever for Dallas to get Nordstrom reunited with Boucher to form some sort of comfort level on defense. Grade B-

Detroit: Red Wings fans caused the biggest stir of the trading deadline and acquired Todd Bertuzzi. Say, doesn't the Wings play Colorado often? Calder hasn't found a home yet, but he may do so with the Wings. Grade B-

Edmonton: Cap room. The Oilers got cap room to work with next year and the burden to play the bad guys as they watch another Canadian icon fly south and work for a team in the States. O'Mara is the part to a great return and the draft pick will later decide on weather or not this was a good deal. Grade D+

Florida: Addition by subtraction. Also, they get a fine young defenseman who carries the tradition style of Bobby Orr with him. Noah Welsh will be a good one. Grade B+

Los Angeles: Modry is a veteran that will hopefully remember that LA was the place he had done the most good. The #1 draft pick from Dallas is great. Build up the prospects while Jack Johnson gets ready. Grade B+

Minnesota: Dominic Moore is a great 2nd line center and will match up well in the Wild offense. A team with few true third liner checking centerman, Moore will adjust the line match-ups and straighten things out for the wingers when Wes Waltz was centering the first line. Grade A

NY Islanders: It is fun dealing other people's money, isn't it Garth Snow? I hope you are going to have all that money again once the cap comes up next year. Does your GM career ride on the dire need to make the playoffs or else? Getting what was thought of as "the impossible get" Ryan Smyth will set up the lifeless first line on the Island. And now Miro Satan has a playmate with Richard Zednik. Grade A-

NY Rangers: A lateral move just so Jagr doesn't have to look at A-Ward ever again. Mara is a warm body that will get the puck moving offensively. Grade C

Ottawa: They made only one move and it wasn't all that good of one. They already acquired Comrie so where Saprykin fits in on this lineup is an unknown. Grade: Incomplete

Phoenix: The FOG team had to get tougher on defense and younger. Carcillio and Bell make great acquisitions to at least get a foothold on a transparent blue-chipper field. Grade: B

Philadelphia: They got themselves a go-to goaltender for next year and committed grand larceny acquiring young Brayden Coburn from the Thrashers. Next they get Marty Biron from Buffalo and what a steal there! Even if Biron doesn't sign with the Flyers, they are in better shape than what they were in now. Grade A+

Pittsburgh: They got an aging winger who was never the same without his buddy and a one-trick pony from the desert. Shero is seduced by the idea that making the playoffs in his first year from one of the worst teams statistically last year is a miracle undertaking. The Penguins needed playoff experience so, Gary Roberts went to Pittsburgh just to piss off JFJ and the Leafs (or so the urban legend goes). Laraque will cause a lot of havoc on the ice and with the lineup come Thursday. Grade B-

San Jose: Excellent. They get their rent-a-player to jolt some life into the already heavy-loaded Sharks Powerplay squad. Billy Guerin will not let the Sharks get shut out in consecutive games anymore. It is a do-or-die situation before the Sharks cut their losses and rebuild differently once again. Grade A+

St. Louis: Boyes is already a journeyman player in his young career and it is only getting worse. How long will the Blues keep him once Johnson shows up at the door next season. Boyes might want to start looking for places to live in Peoria, IL. The first rounder draft pick is the salvageable position here. Grade D+

Tampa Bay: In Hockey Bay, safe is death. But so is a team that forgot what won them the Cup several years ago. Karl Stewart can play that third line checking center and Jason Ward the wing for what went missing since then. Grade B

Toronto: Grabbing up Yanic Perreault so that nobody else could was a smart move. They are on the outside the line, but flirting with a possible playoff seat. They have to outlast three teams to get there. Perreault's skills with the faceoff is known league wide as a lucrative commodity. Grade B-

Vancouver: I thought the Canucks got rid of Sopel for a reason? Like the Kings and Stars, the Canucks want Sopel to realize some of his glory years and find comfort with familiar faces. Grade C

Washington: Jiri Novotony is not a steal, but more like a rescue or liberation. He looks to be the next part of a puzzle that will join Semin and Nick Backstrom into the future of Capitals hockey. Grade A-

[Author's note: Roger Smith is property of Bandai Entertainment circa 1999. He has been "borrowed" without permission.]
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