February 28, 2007

The exact opposite of the NBA Deadline

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

After the NBA’s trade deadline had expired last week, I had jokingly wrote about huge names relocating in blockbuster deals; this joke cannot be made for the NHL’s deadline because it actually did happen. Here’s a few that caught my eye:

Edmonton’s Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders for Ryan O’Marra, Robert Nilsson and a first-round pick. Edmonton did what they had to do; they traded away a really good player to rebuild. This is a task which is something that some teams in the league still have to learn to do. Word has it that there was no way they could resign Smyth to an extension so they dealt him and got a decent return. I applaud you for looking towards the future.

The Panther’s Todd Bertuzzi to Detroit for Shawn Matthias and two conditional draft picks. Bertuzzi has been injured for the majority of this season and was on a team that wasn’t going anywhere in south Florida. When he comes back, he will play a power forward

The Blues’ Bill Guerin to the Sharks for Ville Neimenen, a prospect and a first round pick. Do you think that a line of big boys like Thornton, Guerin and Cheechoo are going to be stopped in the playoffs? It’s going to be quite the task, especially if they want to roll Marleau out on the powerplay with them. This is a solid, over-the-top move.

The Capitol’s Dainus Zubrus and Timo Helbling to the Sabres for Jiri Novotny and a first-round pick. The Sabres have been fighting off injuries a lot this season and are still winning. Why not pick up some insurance for the playoffs with a fine player like Zubrus?

The Sabres deal Martin Biron and a fifth-round pick then end up with Ty Conklin and a second-round pick. This is how a great GM works. You have a goalie (Biron) who is making $2 M this year for sitting on the bench, backing up the fantastic Ryan Miller. He’s going to leave this summer as a free agent so why not deal him now and then pick up Conklin for a lesser cost? Sure, Conklin isn’t as good as Biron but he is one of the better backups in the league. Not to mention that Buffalo also upgraded their draft pick by 3 whole rounds.

The Penguins beef up by acquiring Gary Roberts and Georges Laraque. Look at that! The Penguins finally got a legitimate tough guy to defend Crosby and Malkin. Gary Roberts is a gritty player that will stand up for the young guys too and can be a good mentor.

The Ducks beef up by getting Brad May. Even though they’ve been fighting injuries, the Ducks didn’t make strong enough plays to land any of the big names this deadline; they will probably regret this come playoff time.

Another thing of note in the NHL

Defensive iron-man Karlis Skrastins’ consecutive games played streak ended on Sunday when he couldn’t play against the Anaheim Ducks due to a knee injury. Quite frankly, up until the story broke that he had tied the streak the only thing I thought note-worthy of Skrastins is that I used to have him on my team in, roughly, NHL 2002. He’ll always be remembered for far more than that feat in my mind now.

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