Monday, February 21, 2011

Analyzing the NHL movement in the last week.

There has been a lot of movement in the NHL in the last ten days. It seems that Brian Burke got the ball rolling with his trade with Anaheim, (no I am not talking about Aaron Voros for a conditional draft pick) and it has not stopped since. Let's look at the some of the teams involved in the trades and if they are better or worse off.

Toronto: The different trades that the Leafs have made are all in some shape intertwined. Brian Burke has done an excellent job, of stockpiling draft picks (two 1st, a 2nd probably, and a 3rd) plus two recent 1st round picks, (never mind Lupul) while essentially only sacrificing Kaberle from their lineup. What I mean by that is, do you notice a difference between Lupul and Aulie, instead of Versteeg and Beauchemin? In the system the Leafs play, which places a premium on big bodies, that can skate there is no downgrade. Kaberle will be hard to replace but as Burke said in the press conference he was not coming back anyways, his contract demands were to high. All in all, the past week has created more optimism in Toronto, than in a long long time.

Ottawa: While their battle of Ontario counterparts were busy maximizing trade returns the Senators did a significantly poorer job of that. With getting rid of a fan favorite in Fisher, their starting goaltender Elliot, and Ruutu and Kelly, the Senators got a 1st, 2nd, 6th round picks as well as a UFA goaltender that probably does not figure into the long term plans of the team. One must think that more value should have been available, as the Senators did not do much in terms of rebuilding, through these trades.

Boston: I think they may be the most improved team after all is said and done. They got Kaberle, a PP speicalist, that will vault them into the top 10 in that category, as well as two solid third line players in Peverley and Kelly. Peverley especially adds a nice punch to this team, with his goal scoring ability. Also, they did not lose much from their roster in these transactions and it places them in a nice position to make a deep playoff run. Watch Chiarelli press conference discussing Peverley and Kaberle, this is one very smart man.

Colorado: This team has undergone massive changes in the last week. They acquired Erik Johnson and Brian Elliot, while losing Shattenkirk, Stewart and a disgruntled poorly playing Anderson. Elliot was a good pickup, he is a young goalie that had a good year last year, and with Anderson feuding all year with Sacco, he definitely was not coming back. The other trade is very high risk, giving up two players that look like they are on their way to stardom while getting in return a defenceman, that although he is a star needs to take it to the next level. If Johnson can up his game, and become the next Pronger that the Blues envisioned him to be as the first overall pick, this deal will ultimately have paid off. Gonna have to judge this one down the road.

St. Louis: Trading Johnson makes a little bit more sense for the Blues. They have a future star in Pietrangelo and with Shattenkirk they still have power on the backend. They also were able to add Stewart, to an offence that has suffered a lot from injuries this season and looked like it could need a boost. The only thing that is surprising is that, they were willing to trade away Eric Brewer to Tampa, for a middling prospect and a third rounder, it looks like they may have problems in their own zone for the rest of this season.

Tampa Bay: This team just looks better and better, and Yzerman deserves a whole lot of credit for that. They have addressed their goaltending issues, added Brewer to a defence corps that is looking a whole lot better now and are absolutely stacked at forward. This team may emerge as the leaders of an Eastern Conference that is becoming significantly more top heavy.

Atlanta: I just do not understand what this team saw in Wheeler to trade Peverley, and Boris Valabik, who seems like an heir to Chara. Wheeler has not progressed in four season in the NHL, and seems to have peaked. Maybe they are hoping that a change in scenery can take him to the next level.

Dallas: Why do they make this trade?? Neal is a 23 year old forward that may crack thrity goals this year after getting 27 last year. This type of player at that age does not grow on trees. Also, they are giving up their second best defenceman, to get Goligoski in return. It seems this trade has a lot to do with finances as the Stars save 3.5 million dollars next season with this trade. Ownership (with all their financial issues) probably made them cut this salary if they wanted to resign Brad Richards next season, otherwise this does not make much sense.

Pittsburgh: Phew, a forward that can score that is actually healthy! This may have been the best trade done all week! Lets' do a little test, name six healthy forwards for the Penguins, and don't count Cooke, because by the time you read this he may be suspended again........ I figured you could not do it. They add a serious winger that can play with Crosby come playoff time, and will be a huge force. (Sorry Dupuis, you just do not cut it). With Letang emerging as a top defenceman, and the signing of Michalek and Martin in the offseason, Goligoski became expendable.

Anaheim: Adding Beauchemin was probably a nice boost for their defence, and he is comfortable in the system and should work out as a good fit for them in their surprising quest to make the playoffs. Also, if they get to the playoffs, Ruutu will be an indispensable player that adds a level of feistiness that few players can match.

Philadelphia: This team is so stacked, that Versteeg will get lost in the mix. They are really gunning for the Cup, after being so awfully close last year. Not a bad idea to add a guy that was a key piece in beating you the year before.

Hope you enjoyed!

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