Trade Deadline 2009.

mgrilis1

“Sometimes the best deal you make is the one you didn’t make!”

If I can get a dollar everytime I hear this for the next few days! So yes, the deadline frenzy is over, and just like his predecessor, Gillis didn’t do a whole lot during the deadline, well…in fact he did absolutely NOTHING, well at least in terms of trades.

But I think the consensus around Vancouver is that Gillis did a good job by sticking with the current core. With 11 wins in the last 13 games, the Canucks are arguably the hottest team in the league right now. Burrows & Sedins, as well as the RPM line proves wonder on the score sheet; meanwhile the addition of Ossi Vaananen will surely provide depth to an already solid defensive corp. Luongo is still 90%, but should pick up his game once playoff starts.

Having said that, most agree that the third-line seems to fail in providing a good shut-down role, and this is where Canucks fans hope Gillis will be able to fine-tune before the deadline. Yet, this year most teams are very conservative in their actions, and the asking price for players seem to be high. Gillis mentioned in an interview that he enquired Jacques Martin about the asking price for Jay Bouwmeester, but the conversation was a very short one, contrary to TSN’s report about the Canucks being in the front-running for the highly-sought defenseman.

Since we are talking about TSN, I have to say I totally disagree with their evaluation of the Canucks failing their fans in their inability to strike a deal. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a lot of options to start with for Gillis, since he’s looking for a third-line shutdown forward. Players like Moen, Moore, Antropov or even Guerin will cost you at least a 2nd round pick, or maybe another roster player. But are they really that much of an improvement over Pyatt, Bernier, Raymond or Wellwood? If not, why trade away your future for uncertain rental players.

Pratt and Taylor of Team1040 made a good point this afternoon about Nonis trading away our 2nd rounders in previous trade deadlines for returns like Noronen, Carney, Sopel and Smolinski. Those players didn’t contribute a lot and most of them left right after the season ended as UFA, so these picks we gave away were for nothing.

For example, let’s take a look at the 2006 trade deadline:

Nonis traded away our 2006 2nd round pick to the Sabres for Finnish goaltender Mika Noronen. In his first game with the Canucks, he allowed 5 goals for a 5-0 loss to the Predators. Five months later, he decided to leave NHL for the Russian Super Hockey League and never returned. There goes our 2nd rounder.

This 2nd rounder turned out to be a 46th overall pick for the 2006 draft. (This is the year Vancouver drafted Michael Grabner 14th overall.) If we have kept that pick, we would’ve been able to pick up players likes Milan Lucic (50th) or Steve Mason (69th). Of course, hindsight is 20/20, one can argue that we can go on and on about superstar players the Canucks missed to draft, and we all know that Entry Drafts are more like educated guessing game.

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But if you think about it, at the 46th pick, Lucic is the best player available coming out of our own back yard, the Vancouver Giants. Lucic was born and raised in Vancouver, played his junior years in the BCHL with the Burnaby Express. In 2005-06, he helped the Gaints to a WHL title making him a fan favorite. It’s highly likely that Nonis would’ve drafted him instead of Goaltender Jhonas Enroth, the eventual 46th overall pick that year.

TRADE DEADLINE

Onto the acutal trades made today. I find it funny that so many commentators praised the Flames for their success in this trade deadline, claiming them the “Winner” of 2009. But what have they won today?? Are they really that much better now with Olli Jokinen?? Maybe it’s the lack of blockbuster deal this year which made the Jokinen trade such a big deal. I mean, I hear people complaing about his character problems, lack of leadership, soft playing style and overpaid salary all year-long. Suddenly he became the prized possession of the entire hockey league??!! Am I now to believe his arrival to Calgary will significantly improve the chance of the Flames winning he CUP?? Come on Pierre McGuire??!!! Are you serious or just bored??

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CALGARY FLAMES

I seriously don’t think the Flames are the winner, I mean they get Jokinen – unproven in playoff situations and unstable during regular season, and Jordan Leopold a marginal 4th defenseman, but they have to give up their 1st round pick, their 2nd round pick, speedy center Matthew Lombardi, prospect Brandon Prust, Ryan Wilson, Lawrence Nycolat (well, he’s a freebie, just picked up off waiver)!!! Leopold is a rental who will become an UFA this summer, but Lombardi still has another year to his contract. So please, someone explain to me, how trading away your future in a 1st and a 2nd rounder, a cheap speedy 20-goal scorer, a 2nd-rounder prospect player, 2 bottom-six defender for an over-paid fluctuating center and a rental d-man makes a winning trade??

If the Flames make it this year, maybe it’s still worth-while, but if they don’t, they will have a huge problem going forward with 10 UFAs and 4 RFAs entering this summer, and a depleted prospect pool. Good luck~ Sutter.

PHOENIX COYOTES

The Coyotes on the other hand made some great moves, they got Prucha, Dawes, Upshall, Lombardi, Prust, a 1st rounder, a 2nd rounder and a 4th rounder. With their young rosters, a lot of cap-space and all these picks, they will have very good bargaining power come free-agency season. I think Phoenix definitely made their club stronger today.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Other interesting notes are the Maple Leafs, what’s going on with Burke??? I understand the picks and the d-man (well, at least Rogers, I don’t know why he picked up Heward). What’s with the Goalies man?? Toskala is playing well of-late, but he decides to put him on IR, they still have CuJo and Pogge, but instead Burke go and picked up Martin Gerber off waiver, and then Olaf Kolzig from Tampa????!!! Is he trying to collect over-the-hill and under-perform goaltenders?? [Updated. My bad~ Apparently, the Leafs are helping the Lightning with their salary for UFA Kolzig and Heward. In return the Leafs get a 4th round pick. So the first “Cap Rental” deal I’ve seen so far.] It’s quite obvious that Burke is trying to eliminate any chance of the team winning any more of the remaining games. Since they’ve gotten points in the last seven games, with a 4-game winning streak during the stretch, the Leafs are quickly becoming the thing Burke hates the most – MEDIOCRITY. They need to lose, and lose quickly, if they want to chase the Islanders for that top pick in John Tavares. But wow, what an embarassment to the sport in Toronto, when you see the players trying so hard every night showing their sportsmanship, meanwhile their GM is trying every means to prevent the team from winning!!

CAROLINA HURRICANES

The last trade I want to talk about tonight is the multi-team deal (I will omit the picks, it’s already complicated as it is) which sent Patick O’Sullivan to Edmonton, Eric Cole back to Carolina and Justin Williams to Los Angeles. It’s a sensible deal for the Oilers and for the Kings, but it seems like Carolina is on the short-end of this deal. Not to undermine the value of Eric Cole and his tremedous career, but why would they give up O’Sullivan – an excellent young player who grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina? O’Sullivan (24 yrs-old) is relatively cheap, with a price tag of 2.4-million for the next two years. Patty has 14 goals, 23 assists in 62 games, with a +1 rating; pretty decent numbers! On the other hand, Erik Cole (30 yrs-old) makes 4-million a season, who is headed UFA status by the end of the season, only has 16 goals, 11 assists, with a -3 rating. One can only argue that Cole a left-winger played with Eric Staal during the last Stanley-Cup run, and has good chemistry with the Hurricanes’ captain, whereas O’Sullivan is a natural centerman.

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So I searched the internet for answer, and found that O’Sullivan is reluctant to play in their home town because of his father. According to this report, Patrick’s father John is a very violent character who abuses his wife and his son every since Patrick was an infant. In fact, throughout Patrick’s career, John has been known to threaten and intimidate him to the point of coming to his hockey games screaming and swearing at everyone. In fact, some suggests that the reason why O’Sullivan was dropped to a second-round pick during his entry draft is because of this potential off-ice distraction. Patrick eventually filed a Restraining Order against his father towards his family.

I just find it interesting because we often see hockey players as assets of a team, an object of value during days like the Trade Deadline. It’s easy to forget that they are people as well, and they have similar problems as all of us, and sometimes these personal issues, which are not shown on score sheets or statistics charts, affect heavily on their decisions as a player.

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