Trading day is like Christmas morning for hockey pundits, fans, media, and…well, everyone connected to the sport except players and GMs, we suspect. The thrill of who will be dealt next for what will have folks trolling every media site and rumor mill they can click on for the latest move.
Does it matter in the end? Last time, we looked at deals in the week leading up to Deadline Day last year. Now, we look at a handful of the pile of deals made on Deadline Day itself – February 27, 2007…
The irony here is that these two teams would meet in the playoffs in the opening round, and this deal nudged the two clubs in entirely different directions, the Rangers looking at the future and
The Penguins wanted a character guy to help the kids on their first foray into the NHL playoffs. They got the genuine article in Roberts, who pretty much is the NHL poster guy for “the guy I’d want in the foxhole with me.” Old school, grizzled, chippy at times (ok, a lot)…he was what the doctor ordered for the rosy-cheeked Penguins.
You’d think a club like Anaheim – one that won as much through intimidation (at least what passes for it in the post-lockout NHL) as skill – would not be looking to add more of that particular specie of player at the deadline, especially when the story line goes that in the playoffs teams play a little closer to the vest. You’d have thought wrong. The Ducks were 37-17-10 at the time of the trade, 11-3-4 thereafter. May chipped in only an assist in 14 games, but he wasn’t added to be a Gretzky knock-off. What he did bring to the table was displayed in living color in the waning moments of Game 4 of the opening round series against
On paper, this looks a lot like the previous deal described. That’s where the similarity ends. Laraque – a feared pugilist – played in 17 regular season games for the Penguins and registered two assists and two fights. In the first round five-game playoff loss to
New York Rangers acquire Paul Mara from
The Rangers got younger and bigger in this deal. They also got some solid play from Mara, who was 2-3-5, +6, in 19 games after arriving in
It seems as if every year, the Red Wings – despite lighting up teams in the regular season – are in need of getting bigger, grittier, and nastier for the playoffs. Bertuzzi would quality as bigger, grittier, and nastier. But for the Wings, such a player has to contribute, too. Bertuzzi had 46-goal season on his resume, so there was the possibility of getting production in a surlier package. The trouble was, Bertuzzi was injured goods when the trade was made – a herniated disk would ultimately cost him 66 games of the 2006-2007 season. When he returned, he notched a pair of goals and assists in eight games – not especially productive, but not unexpected given all the time lost. Things didn’t improve much in the playoffs, though, as he was 3-4-7, -2 in 16 games. He was signed by
This was the biggest deal at the deadline, at least in terms of volume. The defenseman Norstrom was the key to the deal for the Stars in the short term. He was to provide some additional stay-at-home protection. However,
New York Islanders acquire Ryan Smyth from
Smyth – a sixth-overall draft pick by the Oilers who played all of his 838 NHL regular season and playoff games with Edmonton – was brought in by the Islanders to add some scoring punch with a style consistent with its gritty, in-your-face style. But, while Smyth did give the Islanders a spark (5-10-15, even, in 18 games to finish the regular season), this ended up a big deal with a big price for a team that had too many other holes. Smyth chipped in a goal and three assists in the opening round of the playoffs, but the Islanders weren’t a match for
This year, there are arguably more-talented players available at the trading deadline – Marian Hossa, Brad Richards, Dan Boyle, Mats Sundin, and even Jaromir Jagr have been mentioned with some frequency as potential trade candidates. They’d fetch considerable returns, should any of them be moved. But will they help their new teams? At best, the results were mixed from last year. Good teams that rented players were still good, but it isn’t clear that the players acquired made them that much better. And the prices were steep.
If you look at the two teams that made it to the Stanley Cup finals last year –
Sure, these were teams that were largely set, but there is the temptation to find that last piece. There were other teams motivated to pursue rentals by other factors –
There is occasionally the odd deal that really results in a tectonic shift for one or both of the teams. But it seems that more often than not, the deal that looks really good on paper doesn’t really have much – or at least the intended – effect on the ice.