Deadline Day: Highly Unorganized Thoughts

Robert Cleave
February 28 2011 06:47PM

                   

 

Kent's reviewed the Flames' two acquisitions here and here, and given the relatively minor nature of those moves, I'm not sure they rate any further scrutiny. With that in mind, here are a few brief thoughts about some of the other deals that happened earlier today.

 

Dustin Penner to L.A. for a handful of hope:

 

Colton Teubert is considered by most reasonable observers to be Los Angeles' 3rd or 4th best prospect on D, and hasn't exactly cut through the AHL to this point. The former Regina Pat is an iffy skater, which should have set off alarm bells for any team that was looking to add him to their organization, and is a ways away from ever being a NHL player. His quality of play would render him anonymous if he wasn't a former first rounder. L.A. did add a 2011 first rounder into the mix, which will likely be a pick in the 20s, and a 2012 conditional pick that will fluctuate between a 2nd and 3rd rounder based on L.A.'s playoff success. 

Dustin Penner caught a lot of hell for how he carried himself on the ice, but he was an effective top 6 player for the Oilers, and still had another year+ on his contract. When I watched Steve Tambellini's presser this afternoon, I was struck, as I often am, by the willingness of NHL GMs to embrace what's known as the Politician's Syllogism:

We must do something

This is something

Therefore, we must do this

I think Tambo might have taken that approach today. I'll admit that trading Penner could be defended, even if I wouldn't have considered it entirely prudent right now. His wife is an actress based in L.A., and there's a pretty good chance he was gone from Edmonton after next year. That noted, if this was the best deal on the table, Tambellini had the draft and next year's deadline to offer Penner up to the masses again. Iffy move, in my opinion. The Oilers will need a few grown-ups to help the kids along. Sending one of their better ones off is likely a poor choice.

 

The Canucks fill a couple of holes:

I don't make any secret of the fact that I consider Chris Higgins a pretty useful gent to have around. He can play good players to a standstill at EV, kill penalties with aplomb, and his current contract expires at season's end, which is an asset these days for teams not wanting to commit for fear of limiting their salary cap options down the trail. If Higgins' thumb was fully operational, he likely would have garnered a higher price, although a middling prospect and a 3rd rounder a few years from now is more than Calgary paid for their forward addition this afternoon.

Feaster, under questioning today, admitted that he was considering adding Higgins, but had questions about his injury status. Vancouver has an advantage in that regard, since they're a lock for the post-season, so if he shows up healthy in mid-April, that's soon enough for their purposes. 

Max Lapierre is a bit of an arsehole, to be kind. He'll fit right in with a few of the other charmers on that roster, but he can play at least a little, so he and Higgins will fill the one obvious weakness on the Canuck roster, bottom six depth. I could see Higgins and Malhotra being very effective in a shutdown role, freeing Kesler and the Sedins for even more offensive opportunities. If all of Vancouver's D get healthy, they don't have much that another team can exploit.

 

                   

 

Washington adds, but to what end?

Dennis Wideman sure has fallen. He was the key return in the trade that sent Nathan Horton to Boston, and less than a year later he's off for a 3rd rounder and an ECHLer. For a player that was considered to be part of the solution in Miami, his year must have been seen as a total disappointment, and his numbers were nothing special, even noting his lousy PDO.

Jason Arnott, despite trying to limit the market by poo-pooing any move to a fringe playoff team last night, ended up in a good spot. Washington is playing Marcus Johansson as its second pivot most nights, which is no place for a 19 year old heading into the post-season. Loophole Lou did OK on the transaction, all things considered, getting a 2nd rounder and two years of an OK 3rd/4th line center in Steckel for 20 games (plus playoffs) of Arnott.

I think that the Caps might be over-estimating what Arnott brings at this point, however. He really hasn't played much against top-sixers this year, and his results agains 3rd liners has just been this side of acceptable. The one place the two might help is on the PP, so the Caps are likely better with these two guys in the line-up, but I wouldn't really say that they've closed much ground on Philly or the Penguins if 87 plays again this year.

 

Rick Dudley has a plan. I'm sure of it. I just can't prove it.

Dale Tallon, for whatever I might think about his acumen, clearly had a plan entering today's festivities, and the plan was to burn that mother to the ground. Rick Dudley, however, made a very odd move today when he traded a decent young player that was a RFA to be in Niklas Bergfors, receiving Radek Dvorak in return. Dvo brings some things to a team that aren't obvious by the boxcars, but the Thrashers are still a work in progress, so flushing a young asset for a 30+ UFA in waiting seems like it's out of place.

The other moves that Dudley made earlier in the month, like running off Sopel, the Boston trade and today's unloading of Modin were in keeping with a team that really wasn't building to the post-season, at least this time around. They were more apropos for a man trying to stockpile younger NHLers in exchange for his vets, which got me wondering how adding Dvorak fits. I know that Bergfors wasn't a favourite of the coaches or Dudley himself, but obtaining a player that will likely walk this summer in exchange doesn't match the other transactions at all.

Oh, and the Stuart contract is nuts. There's a very good chance that he'll end up as this year's Matt Walker, and by that I mean that he's signed a contract beyond his performance that will a) get him traded before it ends, and/or b) get him placed on waivers during its duration. 

With all the big deals before the deadline, maybe it shouldn't be any surprise that today turned out to be a bit of a dud. The winners today in terms of buyers are pretty clear, though, and those teams are L.A. and Vancouver. Bad news if your club resides in the West, I'd say. 

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Robert Cleave is a perpetually grumpy Winnipegger.
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#1 44stampede
February 28 2011, 07:24PM
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Can't argue with any of this. Van is looking real good. LA got a decent and useful top 6 forward for pennies.

As soon as I saw that Bergfors trade I was shaking my head. Dvorak?

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#2 scottwood
February 28 2011, 07:42PM
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Higgins is another good underrated pickup for Gillis and Vancouver. Torres, Malhotra, Hansen and Higgins are 4 good defensive players and they can be separated between their 3rd and 4th lines and give Kesler and the Sedins easier minutes. It seems like each acquisition they make has a clear plan behind it and they manage the salary cap well. Given their underlying numbers with the score tied, I think they are the favorite to win the Cup.

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#3 Kent Wilson
February 28 2011, 08:00PM
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@scottwood

I agree. Vancouver also has great special teams and redundancy in net. There really isn't a clear weakness on their club.

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#4 44stampede
February 28 2011, 09:17PM
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44stampede wrote:

Can't argue with any of this. Van is looking real good. LA got a decent and useful top 6 forward for pennies.

As soon as I saw that Bergfors trade I was shaking my head. Dvorak?

My bad. Read too quick on the return from LA to Edmonton. They got a decent return for Penner. I don't think enough unless Teubert becomes something.

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#6 backburner
March 01 2011, 08:27AM
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I wonder if the Flames couldn't have landed Richards for Babchuk, Glencross and a first?

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#7 Kent Wilson
March 01 2011, 08:43AM
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backburner wrote:

I wonder if the Flames couldn't have landed Richards for Babchuk, Glencross and a first?

It's impossible to know. That seems like a potentially steep price for a player who could turn out to be a rental as well.

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#9 wattree
March 01 2011, 03:21PM
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Boy are the Canucks trying hard to corner the market on douchebags with french accents. Gandhi would probably snap on those two.

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