This won't be the longest of trade deadline reviews seeing as this year's pre-Olympic deadline seemed way more active than the final post-Olympic deadline; even though a record 30 deals were made. Either way here are my three winners and losers of the 2010
AHL NHL trade deadline from yesterday, along with some thoughts on the Rangers.
Phoenix is clearly going to do their best to fill the Jobing.com arena this spring with the playoffs a very good possibility for the Coyotes. Wolski is their biggest prize, a 24 year-old wing and center who should fill in nicely and have success with Phoenix. Stempniak is a solid player as well, and the Coyotes did well to get him at a fair price (Matt Jones, 4th 2010, 7th 2010). Schnedier provides depth going into the Playoffs while Derek Morris may be the biggest dark-horse deal of the day. Morris returns to Phoenix where he enjoyed some success before coming to the Rangers, and seeing that he is comfortable playing in the desert a return to old form wouldn't surprise me. The Yotes give up a capable forward in Mueller and a solid prospect in Porter, who I'll be discussing a bit further down the page.
Notable departures: Brian Pothier, 2nd 2010, and a 2nd 2011
The deals the Capitals made have nothing to do with their offense, or for that matter involve any mouth-dropping players. But for two seasons now the Capitals have been fringe cup-contenders, and with these deals the Caps brought in some guys who have playoff experience along with a little grit when it comes to the Defensive corps. Corvo and Pothier are essentially equals except Corvo excels as an Offensive D-man while Pothier is more Defensive-minded. Walker already has a ring, Belanger will be a great role-player who will want a ring while Milan Jurcina returns to Washington to provide depth and gritty defense. All of these deals are low-risk high-reward for a Capitals hockey team looking to drink from the Stanley Cup come June.
Notable acquisitions: Stephane Yelle, Peter Mueller, and Kevin Porter
Notable departures: Wojtek Wolski
The Avalanche have surprised a lot of people this season with their play as their turn-around has been quick since finishing 5th in the Northwest in 2008-2009. These deals, however, fit the Avs perfectly. Stephane Yelle is a former cup-winner with Colorado and he will provide some great experience for a squad of kids. Peter Mueller is having a down year, but his potential is huge and I am a personal fan. I think he will bounce back and seeing that he is only 21 with a points-per-game average hovering around 0.5, this deal is low-risk/high reward in return for the future RFA Wolski. Porter, meanwhile, has 40 points in 52 AHL games this season and needed a change in scenery. Consistency and size are his issues, but I feel that the Avs are a good fit.
Notable acquisitions/departures: Not a one
I consider Goaltending apart of a Defense, and that's where the Flyers biggest question mark is. Ray Emery is out for the year, and Philly had the assets to make a move for a goaltender. They are trusting either Michael Leighton or Brian Boucher to become their number 1, which isn't the safest of bets. The Flyers sit 6th in the East and I expect them to still make the playoffs, but without a goaltender Philly might be limited to Playoff mediocrity.
Notable acquisitions: Andrew Alberts
Notable departures: Mathieu Schneider
The Canucks lead the weak Northwest with 78 points and thus sit in 3rd place of the Western conference. In my eyes, the Canucks could have made some deals like the Capitals to add some playoff experience and grit, but none of those were made. Alberts adds depth to a good Defense, but will not be much of a factor. Schneider did not have a place on the team, therefore making him not that notable at all. Vancouver has a great all-around team, but one or two quality low-risk deals could have made them a bigger contender.
Acquisition: Aaron Palushaj
Departure: Matt D'Agostini
The Canadiens make the loser list not because of this minor deal, but because they did not capitalize on their goaltender situation whatsoever. Jaroslavl Halak is playing above his abilities and could have been had for prospects and/or picks (Philly, where were ya on this one?). Meanwhile, Carey Price (my fantasy keeper, so I wanted Halak gone) also could have been shipped for quality parts, seeing as he is having a down year. The Habs sit 7th in the East and will battle for a playoff spot, so we will see if standing pat was the smart move.
On our New York Rangers:
Although the Rangers did make two minor deals, they essentially stood pat as Greg explained earlier at this 2010 trade deadline. Moving Wiikman makes room for Alex Auld or whoever gets sent northeast to Hartford, as Miika never really worked out as planned.
Overall, I respect Sather for not making a deal just for the fact of making a deal. Acquiring Olli Jokinen before the Olympics is looking like a better move with each point the Sex Panther puts up, all-while ridding the Higgins and Kotalik contracts. The thought of moving Redden, Rozival, or Drury was never going to happen in my mind, especially for anything of significance in return. Sather has made his bed long before this deadline, and now it's up to Tortorella and the players to play up to or above their potential. What we saw Tuesday against the Senators was encouraging even without Marion Gaborik, so let's hope this squad can figure out how to support Gabby a little instead of leaning on him so much. We're stuck with what we got fellow Blueshirt fans; so let's go get that 8th seed with style!