NHL Trade Deadline preview: Save some for the actual deadline
The NHL general managers must have not gotten the memo. The trade deadline is tomorrow March 5th and yet all the trades seem to be happening today.
It has to be frustrating for the media as they have planned all day coverage on deadline day and the GMs did most of the heavy work today.
In recent years, the talk of the trade deadline has been relatively quiet and this year the GMs did not hold back, as they started the party a whole day early turning many preview posts into reaction pieces.
Here is what has happened so far:
Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers are a puzzling squad as they have so many issues from goaltending to defense. A team with a top pick essentially every year shouldn’t play as badly as they have but yet here they are. They traded Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wild for a fourth round pick and acquire Viktor Fasth from Anaheim. This isn’t a bad move as Fasth, when healthy, can put up great numbers but he is also turning 32 and the Oilers just signed Ben Scrivens to a deal as well. Management’s thinking must be one or both of those guys should pan out well going forward. Still yet to move, Ales Hemsky whom many believe has high trade value and the Oilers need top 4 defensemen. Be on the lookout for that tomorrow as a deal might still be done.
Minnesota Wild: They acquired Bryzgalov from the Oilers in a painless trade. GM Chuck Fletcher also announced that both Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding might not play the rest of the year with Backstrom being “shut down” for the season. This again isn’t a bad move as Bryzgalov can stop pucks but he does tend have a reputation for being a locker room cancer. Hopefully, he has learned his lessons from Philadelphia and just focuses on hockey.
St. Louis Blues: This trade happened last week but with the Blues acquiring Ryan Miller and Steve Ott, they are a team that isn’t to be trifled with in the Western Conference. Jaroslav Halak wasn’t doing it for the Blues and Miller is a calming presence and has been outstanding for a very, very bad Buffalo Team. Ott brings his leadership skill and is good in the faceoff circle along with size. If St. Louis wins the Stanley Cup it will be because they made a good team better, which is what is ideal at the deadline.
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres got a decent haul for Ryan Miller and Steve Ott and are looking to make more moves by flipping Halak or Chris Stewart and will spend most of their time trying to do that tomorrow. Hopefully, Buffalo can use these assets and rebuild their team better now with Tim Murray at the helm. They still have a long road ahead of them.
Vancouver Canucks: Mike Gillis doesn’t make a lot of sense nowadays. He traded Cory Schneider and said Roberto Luongo was his starter. Now he trades Roberto Luongo away to Florida in a deal that many feel could have been done years ago. Why put the player and fan base through the headache. Jacob Markstrom was sent back in the deal and has been shaky for the Florida Panthers after being christened as their number one goalie. So very puzzling moves by Gillis as he is still shopping Ryan Kesler around as well. Watch the Canucks either move Kesler or don’t but that’s all they have left at this deadline.
Florida Panthers: The Panthers got their goalie, for how long is anyone’s guess. They sent their goalie of the future to the Canucks, got Luongo for a cheap price, and settled their goaltending for the moment. They have instantly made themselves competitive by acquiring Luongo. He will steal those games whereas their current crop of goalies could not. Expect the Panthers to be done for tomorrow and not make another move.
Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks traded away Dustin Penne to the Washington Capitals for a fourth round pick and then traded Viktor Fasth away to the Oilers as well. In return, they got a pick that they flipped to the Dallas Stars for Stephane Robidas. They succeeded in clearing up roughly $1.6 million in salary that can be used to acquire Thomas Vanek, who coincidently enough, has $1.6 million left on his current deal. Anaheim might make a run for Vanek, who can help them score goals in the stretch run. Look to see them make a heavy push tomorrow and get something done.
New York Islanders: Garth Snow is trying to be the prom king at the ball as he is still fielding offers for Thomas Vanek’s service. He traded Andy MacDonald to the Philadelphia Flyers for a pair of draft picks and a minor league player. Considering how the stats show that MacDonald is no more than a third pairing defenseman at best, this isn’t a bad deal. The only issue is if Vanek isn’t traded at all and Garth Snow not only gave up picks and Matt Moulson for Vanek but Vanek isn’t going to stay in New York after so it looks like a big waste of time at this point.
There are still many teams and players that might be moved tomorrow. Pittsburgh and other teams are vying for the services of Ryan Kesler and the New York Rangers might move Callahan as they aren’t able to come to an agreement on a new deal as of yet.
Tomorrow might end up being either a very quiet day, which would make the media go bananas, or playing cards or a very hectic day, as many players and teams have not made their move yet.