Monday, February 28, 2011

NHL 2011 Trading Deadline: Part 1

Since the media has caught up to the hype and stratagems of the NHL general managers, the new media (i.e. Twitter and websites) have kept the grist of the rumor mill grinding. But as a whole, it's become a national media event at the trade deadline that becomes a festival of wall-to-wall punditry and various talking heads. There's even a Facebook campaign to make it a National holiday. Since I am unable to be in front of my computer all day as it happens, I will talk about the lead up to this point. Be sure to check back either later today or tomorrow with the rest of Monday's trades.

The lead-up to the NHL trading deadline has been a story of both patience and panic. It's a wonder if sometimes the GMs actually take a look at the fan-produced trade offers and derive some ideas from them. But the GMs most active during February are either the team struggling in a bad spot or

Two teams that have really arranged things lately are the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs. Even with the results of trading to each other, the Leafs have gone 8-6 during February hoping that their push for the last playoff spot is not just a tease. Anaheim is quietly adjusting things to where ex-GM Brian Burke left it where they won the Stanley Cup. Bolstering up the defense with familiar faces and veteran goaltending, the Ducks are within striking distance of the playoffs.

I also like what the Pittsburgh Penguins had to do before the trading deadline. They needed help on the wings and got veteran sniper Alex Kovalev on the real cheap from Ottawa and James Neal from Dallas who looks like he can thread a needle. My source says that Shero isn't closing up shop for now, but it will be not as stressful come 4pm EST.

Boston Bruins impressed everybody by landing the biggest player rumored to be traded. Tomas Kabrle, a drama headache while he was in Toronto, got out of this deal a better chance of experiencing a deep playoff run and surely showcasing himself for a new contract. Boston also received Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley in separate deals which shores up the middle for Savard's absence.

Then there are the teams who seem to be just re-arranging the deck chairs, St. Louis, Florida, Colorado, and Ottawa have all made trades with the understanding that whatever they do, it will be for next season.

It's a pleasant surprise to see ex-Otter Brad Boyes go to the Sabres. It will make up for the loss of their captain from waivers.

Lastly, the one interesting trade thus far is veteran Brian McCabe going to the New York Rangers to help out a young defensive corps. I don't know how much of a return the Rangers are going to get out of him come playoff time, but it will certainly showcase him for a contract signing in the summer.
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