Monday, 27 February 2012

Trade Dud-Line

The NHL Trade Deadline Day finally arrived. There was lots of speculation in terms of who would go where and which team would finally land Rick Nash as the biggest swap of the day, but it really turned out to be a long day of very little action for the vast majority of the NHL. From all the tweets being broadcast on TSN and Rogers Sportsnet, it appeared that a good portion of Canada was taking the day off from school and work, and I really feel for those that did. They burned a day that really brought little to get excited about.

I like what Nashville did in bringing in Paul Gaustad. Another big body down the middle will help in the battles in front of the net in the playoffs, and Gaustad isn't afraid to head into traffic. The Andrei Kostitsyn deal was a little puzzling since he wasn't shooting the lights out in Montreal, but if reuniting Andrei and Sergei can light a fire under one or both players, the Predators might have something there. Adding Hal Gill before the trade deadline was a decent addition, and his big body can certainly help against teams like Detroit and Vancouver in front of his own net.

The Canucks wheeled and dealt to get bigger and more skilled. Sami Pahlsson is a good upgrade on the third line as a shutdown centerman. The man he replaces, Cody Hodgson, was swapped for Zack Kassian in Buffalo, but I do have some concern that Kassian might be in over his head still. He plays hard and throws the body, but he needs to show some serious finish if he wants to play for Alain Vigneault. It becomes a little more baffling when you consider that Hodgson was fourth in goals for the Canucks with 17 while Kassian only has seven points to date. Marc-Andre Gragnani will be a good puck-moving addition on the back end as he was one of few Sabres with a plus/minus in the positive. The addition of Andrew Gordon is curious as he will most likely see the playoffs from the press box.

The Bruins did some very nice things today. They went out and got shot blocker extraordinaire Greg Zanon from the Wild. Zanon isn't know for this offensive flair, but he's one of the best players in his own end, and he'll sacrifice his body at any chance he gets to prevent a goal. Adding Brian Rolston from the Islanders will put some additional scoring into the third or fourth lines, and having Mike Mottau available in the press box gives the Bruins another serviceable defenceman at their disposal.

Other than that, I really don't think there were a lot of significant moves by anyone else. There were some minor-league players moved around by the Leafs which pretty much told the world that the Leafs were comfortable with missing the playoffs yet again, but there are some - Brian Burke - who believe that this current crop of Leafs can weather the storm and make the playoffs. We'll see, I suppose.

Overall, a very unimpressive trade deadline for the vast majority of the NHL. I'm not saying that there needs to be blockbuster trades every year, but the teams that were doing a lot of talking about making changes seemingly did not. Calgary was absent from all deals. Detroit stood pat. Pittsburgh made no noise.

Better luck next year? Whatever players your team has now is how they'll finish the season. Does your team have the tools in place to march to a Stanley Cup parade?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Peter Santellan said...

When it comes to the Canucks, Hodgson wasn't about to get enough playing time to maximize his potential. Keep in mind that the Canucks have traded former first rounders in the past, to mixed results (see: Patrick White and Michael Grabner). As for Kassian, this could be good, but it could also be a Markus Naslund for Alek Stojanov situation all over again, only on the wrong side for Vancouver.

Ottawa truly didn't do much beyond insurance in goal and basically swapping defensemen. Their big trade, as you know, was getting Kyle Turris, who has actually been a good second line center. In time, Rundblad may be the better player, but I think he's likely finishing this season in the AHL.

Teebz said...

Agreed on Hodgson's playing time, but why not hold onto him until the summer when they could have gotten much more? Kassian is not the big body they truly needed.