Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Deadline Day

Those of you who aren't hockey fans can tune out now. For the two of you who are, you know today was the trading deadline in the NHL. While there were probably just two blockbuster-type deals league-wide (PIT getting Marian Hossa and DAL getting Brad Richards), there was plenty of action overall. Here's the AT evaluation of deals involving our favorite division at Archival Trash, the mighty Southeast.

Get: C/LW Tuomo Ruutu
Lose: LW Andrew Ladd
The Skinny: Hard to say. Ladd is younger, slightly cheaper, and a bit bigger. Both players, former first-round picks, have been injury-prone and are considered minor disappointments. Right now, the edge goes to Carolina, given Ruutu's experience (even though with the Hawks he had no playoff experience) and proven grit. Should Ladd put it together however, down the road it should favor the Hawks.

Get: G Cristobal Huet, C Sergei Fedorov, F Joe Motzko, LW Matt Cooke
Lose: 2nd round pick, D Ted Ruth (prospect), C Alexandre Giroux, LW Matt Pettinger
The Skinny: The Caps add forward depth with Motzko, get a kind-sorta gritty winger in Cooke, hope to resurrect Fedorov for a few weeks, and land an heir apparent to Olie the goalie. I think these are all good deals for the Caps, especially if the 90 year-old Fedorov clicks with Ovechkin.

Get: C Erik Christensen, RW Colby Armstrong, C Angelo Esposito (prospect), C Alexandre Giroux, PIT 1st round pick
Lose: RW Marian Hossa, LW Pascal Dupuis, F Joe Motzko
The Skinny: Hossa was going to walk anyway, Dupuis is marginal, and Motzko is a fringe player. Christensen and Armstrong won't score like Hossa, but they're character guys and will play hard every night. Esposito has been maligned constantly since playing his way out of being picked #1 overall last year (he wound up going 20th), but is still a quality prospect. Getting an extra first rounder is just icing on the cake, especially after getting rooked out of multiple picks in the Keith Tkachuk deal last year. Probably the best deals in the division.

Get: LW Chad Kilger, D Karlis Skrastins, goon Wade Belak, TOR 5th round pick
Lose: 3rd round pick, D Ruslan Salei, COL 3rd round pick
The Skinny: Bzzt! I'm sorry, you lose again, Panthers fans. Skrastins is decent, but Kilger will drive you nuts, and Belak is a younger version of Pete Worrell (ie, bad). At least they didn't try to reacquire Todd Bertuzzi.

Get: G Mike Smith, C Jeff Halpern, F Jussi Jokinen, NAS 7th round pick
Lose: C Brad Richards, G Johan Holmqvist, LW Jan Hlavac
The Skinny: Can you say "Salary Dump?" I guess the Lightning are building for next year, but I question whether Smith can be the big #1 they're hoping for, Halpern is a nice two-way forward, but is nearly 32, and Jokinen is (for now) just a shootout specialist. But, at least they're under the cap now, which could pay off this summer if they can land a free agent or two.

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