Trade deadline grades

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Feb 282012
 

Boston
Expectation: low-key buyers
Acquired: D Greg Zanon, F Brian Rolston, D Mike Mottau
The real prize here is Zanon, one of the league’s best shot blockers. If you thought scoring on Chara and Thomas was hard enough, having Zanon means no point shots are getting through either. Peter Chiarelli does it again simply by tinkering. The Bruins have a good shot at defending the title, an even better one if Horton can come back from his concussion. Grade: B

Buffalo
Expectation: sellers
Sold: C Paul Gaustad, D Marc-Andre Gragnani, W Zack Kassian, 4th round pick
Acquired: C Cody Hodgson, NSH 1st  rd pick
Stayed: C Derek Roy
I’m not sure how long the discussion to acquire was, but I don’t think Darcy Regier woke up today thinking he could land a high upside player like Hodgson. But for a team that was looking to shake up its roster, the Sabres didn’t do a heck of a lot. The first rounder is nice, but it’ll be a pick outside the top 15. They lack size and defencemen, but chose to give up Kassian and Gragnani. It’s still a decent haul, at the end of the day, but you wonder if Regier could’ve sold off something else. Grade: B+

Columbus
Expectation: major sellers
Sold: C Samuel Pahlsson
Acquired: D Taylor Ellington, two 4th round picks in 2013
Stayed: W Rick Nash, C Derick Brassard, G Steve Mason
I don’t blame Howson for not dealing Nash – the market will be better in the summer. But Howson’s also created a very awkward situation for himself, rendering Nash a sitting duck. But in a funny way, keeping Nash, who reportedly requested a trade, gives Nash all the more power to control where he goes. He can pump up his value by scoring goals, making it even harder for Howson to get equal return, or drift for the rest of the season, and watch his stock taper off a little, just enough to lower Howson’s price and get more teams into the mix. Either way, like Buffalo you wonder if Columbus could’ve sold more pieces, but you know the big move’s coming at the draft anyway. Grade: incomplete

Edmonton
Expectation: selling authentic pieces of the Bulin Wall
Ended up: selling D Tom Gilbert for D Nick Schultz
I like the move purely because the Oilers got rid of Tom Gilbert and got a cheaper, far steadier, and overall pretty solid upgrade. However, it’s a lateral move at best. We all know what roles Gilbert and Schultz serve – they’re merely placeholders until the Oilers can draft and develop defencemen. And someone please explain to me why Khabibulin hasn’t been sold yet? Grade: C

Minnesota
Expectation: quiet, if not, sellers
Ended up: getting D Steven Kampfer and Gilbert for D Greg Zanon and Schultz in separate deals.
I don’t know what Chuck Fletcher was thinking here. Gilbert is an obvious downgrade, and Zanon was one of the league’s best shot blockers. Even with Nik Backstrom in net, you need someone to play defence, no? The Wild are now going with Clayton Stoner, Marco Scandella, Justin Falk, Nate Prosser, and Jared Spurgeon. I’m not sure if the Wild are re-building, tinkering, or contending, but this team’s certainly trending down. Grade: D-

Nashville
Expectation: major buyers
Acquired: C Paul Gaustad, W Andrei Kostitsyn, Buffalo’s 4th round pick
The Preds gave up a bunch of picks in the process, but that doesn’t matter. Once it was known that Nash was too rich for their taste, Poile went to Plan B and who knew the best forward getting traded today was going to be Andrei Kostitsyn? The haul’s pretty good, especially picking up Gaustad, but Kostitsyn has to be a monster offensively if the Preds want to win. One thing’s for sure though: no one wants to play Nashville in the first round. Way too scary. Grade: B+ (A, had they gotten Rick Nash)

Tampa Bay
Expectation: sellers
Sold: D Matt Gilroy, F Carter Ashton, 7th round pick
Acquired: D Brian Lee, D Keith Aulie, D Mike Commodore
I couldn’t really figure out if the Lightning really were buyers because they gave up young players. Aulie’s the big snag, but it cost Yzerman Ashton, and it’s not like the one-line Lightning have forwards to spare. Lee is younger, and I imagine that’s the motivation, since both him and Gilroy are offense-first, right-hand shooters. Grade: C

Toronto
Expectation: Brian Burke’s loose tie says something will be done
Ended up: swapping Aulie for Ashton; then sticking by C Mikhail Grabovski, D Luke Schenn, W Nikolai Kulemin, and W Clarke MacArthur and turning down first round picks
I like the fact that Burke stood by his players instead of hauling in four 1st rounders, which was highly plausible. I think sometimes it sends a stronger, and much more positive, message if a GM sticks by his players. The Leafs, after all, are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Grade: B

Vancouver
Expectation: major buyers
Acquired: C Sami Pahlsson, W Zack Kassian, W Andrew Gordon, D Marc-Andre Gragnani
Sold: C Cody Hodgson, D Taylor Ellington, D Alexander Sulzer, D Sebastian Erixon, two 4th round picks
Unlike most, I’m not sure the Canucks came out as winners. When you look at all the pieces sold and bought, the Canucks’ haul suddenly doesn’t look so great. I already wrote about why I thought swapping Hodgson for Kassian was a bad trade for Vancouver. When Ballard was placed on LTIR, the expectation was that Vancouver was going to do something substantial. They had good trade chips and ample cap space, but they elected to tinker rather than go for that one impact player that could push them over the hump. Pahlsson is another centreman in the Malhotra mold, in that they don’t do much else than win faceoffs, and even then Pahlsson’s only winning 51 per cent of his draws. Kassian isn’t ready yet for a regular role. Given the opportunity to make a bold move, the Canucks went the safe route. Grade: C+

Washington
Expectation: D Roman Hamrlik was going to be moved for sure
… and yet nothing happened in D.C. The Caps elected to stand pat, which doesn’t send any sort of message at all. With Backstrom on the LTIR, the Caps really have a huge void in the middle, and given their shaky play under Dale Hunter, there’s just no way this team is a contender. Hamrlik and Mike Knuble, healthy scratches of late and unhappy about it, were thought to be available, but ended up staying put. I think the Caps need Hamrlik, but this team is in need of another makeover soon. Grade: D

  2 Responses to “Trade deadline grades”

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