It was a quiet trade deadline for the NHL today. In recent years, fans have seen Lee Stempniak, Olli Jokinen, Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa moved in the waning minutes of the deadline. Most activity this season happened in the weeks prior to the deadline so the deals were scarce to say the least. However, it is time to take a look at what really happened today.
Number of Transactions: 16
Number of Players Dealt: 35
Number of Draft Picks Dealt: 12
Number of Teams Dealing: 22
Number of Teams Not Participating: 8
Most Transactions: Florida Panthers.
Coming in: Niclas Bergfors (ATL), Patrick Rissmiller (ATL), Jake Hauswirth (WAS), (WAS),
Sergei Samsonov (CAR), Evan Oberg (VAN), two 2011 3rd round picks (WAS, VAN)
Going out: Radek Dvorak (ATL), Dennis Wideman (WAS), Bryan Allen (CAR), Christopher Higgins
(VAN), 2011 5th round pick (ATL)
Who won: Edmonton Oilers
The Kings paid a ransom for a barely above-average left-winger. Granted, the Kings need help up front, but Penner is likely not the answer in the long-term. His 6’4” frame will be a factor in a few extra goals for the Kings down the stretch, but trading away a lot of the future should not have been what Kings GM Dean Lombardi wanted to do. Penner has just 21 goals, 18 assists and 39 points -which was third on the Oilers at the time of the trade- but that hardly merits two high-draft picks and a promising 20-year old defenseman. While this trade has a lot of potential to keep the Kings in a playoff spot (currently in fifth place, four points ahead of ninth place Chicago), it has as much potential to be a part of the Kings’ undoing as well. If the Kings cannot hold on to a playoff spot, they will get a relatively high first round pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. But that pick now belongs to the Oilers.
Best Trade for Both Teams: New Jersey Devils trade Jason Arnott to the Washington Capitals for David Steckel and a 2011 2nd round pick.
Why: Both teams got what they wanted. Washington was an obvious buyer at the deadline, and they got a solid veteran in Jason Arnott. While he has just five goals and seven assists since December 1, he adds a veteran-presence to the Capitals locker room. He still can play in the nitty-gritty, and could even be used on the top line if an injury occurs during the Capitals’ playoff run or during post-season play. Steckel, 28, has just five goals and six assists this season, but he fills a more defensive need for the Devils. He back-checks with the best of them and can kill penalties just as well. What he lacks in speed he makes up with grit and determination. The Devils, who are an amazing 17-2-2 in their last 21 games, have recently been involved in the playoff-discussion due to their outstanding play as of late. This team was neither a buyer nor a seller, so this deal makes perfect sense for them.
Biggest Winner: Florida Panthers
Why: This team has been in a rebuilding phase since Bill Clinton started his second term as President. But with Dale Tallon now at the helm, it seems that things are finally starting to come together. Losing players like Wideman and Higgins have to be bothersome for some Panthers fans, but the bright side is that this team is starting to shape-up. Niclas Bergfors did not have a strong campaign with the Thrashers, but he comes to Florida at the ripe age of 23 with 33 career-goals in barely two-full NHL seasons. He could round out the top line with Stephen Weiss and David Booth, or he could drop to the third line and add some scoring touch to add to the depth. Samsonov, 32, has bounced around the league for the last five years, but he has proven that he is worthy to play in the NHL and will see a lot of ice-time on the Panthers’ second scoring unit. The addition of more draft picks in the coming draft will also be a key-component in Tallon’s rebuild.
Biggest Loser: San Jose Sharks
Why: This team is currently on a 15-2-1 tear, so Sharks GM Doug Wilson felt that it was not necessary for his team to make any moves. The chemistry is going strong for San Jose at the moment, but how can Wilson guarantee that this will last? Just a few weeks ago, the Sharks were clinging on to their playoff-lives with the eight-seed and even spent a few days sitting on the outside of the playoff picture. The goaltending seems to finally be playing at a high-level, but other aspects of the game are not. The Sharks, who had the scariest top line in the game with Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley last season, are simply not scoring goals now. Currently, the Sharks are 14th in the league in goals-for-per-game. The recent additions of Ben Eager and Kyle Wellwood have really not been factors in goal-production. Teams around the Sharks have improved their playoff chances for the time being (Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix), while the Sharks seem happy with their current situation. A blockbuster trade was not needed, but maybe a little fine-tuning to the third or fourth lines could have meant a big difference for the Sharks.
What did the Blues do?
Since this is a Blues site, it is time to take a look at the moves that Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong made in the last 24 hours.
Boyes Traded: St. Louis Blues trade Brad Boyes to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2011 2nd round pick.
The Skinny: Boyes, who has 41 points which ranked third on the Blues at the time of the trade, will be saying goodbye to St. Louis after a few marvelous seasons. Scoring 43 goals in 2007-08, Boyes was a key element in the Blues’ hopes of success… at the time. Since then, Boyes’ numbers have drastically dropped and he has been primarily an assist-man for the last two seasons. A 2nd round pick is a decent return for the Ontario-native, but this trade almost feels like a salary-dump. While he was brought in to score goals and has not met those expectations in recent seasons, he still can rack up points and seems to have a strong relationship with his teammates. Was this move made to free-up salary to make a move this summer, or was it done because the Blues expect to lose a lot of season-ticket money due to their pay-the-last-half-when-the-team-makes-the-playoffs promotion? Blues fans are hoping it is the first reason.
Winchester Traded: St. Louis Blues trade Brad Winchester to the Anaheim Ducks for a 2011 3rd round pick.
The Skinny: Winchester, 29, has been a Blues third line winger since arriving in 2008, but has been used in almost every scenario. Blues GM Doug Armstrong felt it necessary to re-sign Winchester last summer to a one-year contract, and it seems by trading him that his try-out to stay did not pan out the way that Armstrong had hoped. Nonetheless, the Ducks acquire a player who can grind on the third line and can even pop in a few goals here and there. The Blues win this deal though, getting a 3rd round pick for a player who they were just going to let walk in the summer.