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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NHL Trade Deadline Madness

After yesterday's mad scramble of wheeling and dealing, I am motioning that NHL trade deadline day become a national holiday. How am I supposed to go to work after seeing my Penguins make the biggest trade of the day and land Marian Hossa?

Anyway here's a look at some of the more notable deals from yesterday's trade deadline.

Rangers Receive: G David LeNeveu, F Fredrik Sjostrom, F Josh Gratton, Conditional draft pick For: G Al Montoya, F Marcel Hossa

This trade had be scratching my head and then wiping away tears from laughing so hard. The Rangers have been so high and mighty on Al Montoya since they drafted him and now they trade him for David LeNeveu?

Montoya is going to be a stud in the league within 3 years. Scratch that. Montoya would have been a stud in the league within 3 years had he not been traded to Phoenix.

This deal showed up just minutes after the Rangers acquired Christian Backman from the Blues. I was talking to Gopher as the deadline approached and he has this to say about getting Backman.

Gopher: "I like the deal, our defense sucks."

Me: "True, (laughing) but why would you trade Montoya?"

Gopher: (The true profanity whipping around the room is not allowed to be published here, so we're gonna go with "I'm not a happy Gopher")

Stars Receive: F Brad Richards, G Johan Holmqvist For: C Jeff Halpern, F Jussi Jokinen, G Mike Smith, 2009 fourth-round pick

I really thought that this was going to be the only big deal of the day before the Hossa trade. I like this trade from both sides. Brad Richards has shown he's still capable of being a solid player and should fit in just fine in Dallas.

Johan Holmqvist was obviously not the answer in Tampa, which has no goaltending at all until now. I was surprised to see Mike Smith be dealt away due to the fact that before this season there were rumors flying that the Stars were looking to trade Marty Turco and give Smith his due time in goal. If I'm a fantasy owner with some weak goaltending and felt like taking a flier right now before the league playoffs, I'd grab Smith in a second.

Jussi Jokinen wouldn't be a bad pick-up either depending on what line he ends up on. If he replaces newly departed Vinny Prospal, Jokinen could be a big sleeper pick, especially for power play time.

Capitals Receive G Cristobal Huet For Second-round pick

Here's what went through my head as soon as this was announced.

"Are you %#$&ing kidding me?!!"

The Caps made out like bandits in this trade. As an organization, they just told their 12 fans that they plan on making a push for the playoffs and being good for years to come.

This makes no sense from the Canadiens side of things. 20-year-old Carey Price is not ready to be the #1 goalie in Montreal. I've had this guy on 4 separate occasions this season in my fantasy league. He's inconsistent, but you know why? CAUSE HE'S 20!

I think Bob Gainey screwed the pooch on deadline day in such a way that isn't fathomable. With all the rumors flying around that Hossa was going to the Habs or Senators, I think Gainey bought into the hype and forgot to make a solid offer to get Hossa and include Johan "Moose" Hedberg.

Somthing had to have fallen apart for Gainey yesterday. Why else would you trade Huet who has been great all season and not get another goalie to come back? Habs fans don't seem too happy over this and I don't blame you.

Sharks Receive: D Brian Campbell, 2008 seventh-round pick For: F Steve Bernier, 2008 first-round pick

This should pretty much keep Sabres fans away from the arena until next season. It's a good trade in that at least the Sabres got something for a high priced player they couldn't sign. Think back to last summer when as soon as the UFA market opened, Chris Drury and Daniel Briere went running like they stole something.

Bernier should fit in well in Buffalo, but anyone who has Ryan Miller (Gopher) has go to be a little nervous about how his numbers will be for the rest of the season without his top d-man in front of him.

Campbell gives the sharks another weapon on the powerplay and at even strength. He can move the puck well and could be the trigger man on the man advantage. San Jose should be able to sign him this off-season and keep him in California for years to come.

Now on to the biggest splash of the day, the one you've all been waiting for:

Penguins Receive: F Marian Hossa, F Pascal Dupuis For: F Erik Christensen, F Colby Armstrong, C Angelo Esposito, 2008 first-round pick

Not even I saw this deal coming. At no point leading up to the deadline did I hear anything about the Pens being a player in the Hossa sweepstakes and then BOOM! we land him.

This was a tough pill to swallow at first from a fans perspective because I like Colby and Erik a bunch. Colby was a solid gritty player who gets under opponent's skin and Erik has one of the quickest releases in the league. The reason nobody knows that much about Christensen is because he played on the same team as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury etc.

Christensen will fit in well and will have a familiar face to help him along in Mark Recchi.

Now onto how this helps the Pens.

As if I need to say this. Here's how it helps. IT'S MARIAN HOSSA! Hope that makes it clear. But seriously, with how well the newly formed line of Malkin, Ryan Malone and Peter Sykora have been without Crosby, I don't see how you can break them up when he does come back.

Malkin is a natural center and has flourished since Sid went down and has now taken over the scoring lead in the NHL. While Crosby is clearly the best player in the world, you need to give him another scoring threat to play with.

I was thinking they'd go get Vinny Prospal and wouldn't have to give up a whole lot to get him, but this is just nuts.

Now that they have Hossa, when Crosby gets back you put them together. Crosby may be back by as early as next week. Gary Roberts may miss the rest of the season, but time will tell.

The Pens have enough young talent right now where losing Colby and Erik isn't as damaging as one might think. They've had half of their AHL team up this season are currently 1 point behind the Devils for the top spot in the Easter Conference. The problem is lack of playoff experience, but still the kids have proven they can play and win.

What remains to be seen is how and if the Pens can sign Hossa long-term and retain Malkin and Staal without killing their cap. I don't think this was a nervous move by Ray Shero at all. If we can't sign him, I could see a sign and trade move coming so we have something to show for this steep price other than just Dupuis. If we can't sign him, the Pens will make a big splash in the free agent market this summer, but for the time being sit back and enjoy the times when Hossa, Sid and Malkin will be on the ice together.

Not to mention if you have Hossa in your league (Gopher) despite seeing your whole team traded and screwed, you ran a lap around your living room when you saw this deal.

The Pens also acquired Hal Gill from the Maple Leafs and I absolutely hate this deal. Yes, Gill is a big boy and will block a lot of shots. However, he is slower than molasses running uphill and for a team built on speed this makes no sense to me.

He's a big body and the Pens need a big body on the blue line, but I really don't like this deal at all.

Anyway, I think the Stars, Penguins and Capitals were the big winners on deadline day while the Canadiens take the trophy for worst team of the day. Time will tell how these deals pan out, but in any event yesterday was a very exciting day to be a hockey fan.

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