Tuesday, February 26, 2008

N.H.L.: Let the Trades Begin!

Well, today is one of my favorite days on the sports calendar: the N.H.L. trade deadline. Things are quiet as of right now, but will most likely become pretty hot and heavy before we get to the 3 p.m. deadline.

So far though, Vinnie Prospal got dealt to Philly from Tampa and Dan Boyle signed a six-year, $40 million contract extension with the Lightning, thus former Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards is likely on the move.

I doubt the Rangers will do anything of significance. The Blueshirts are interested in plying Rob Schremp from the Edmonton Oilers. Hugh Jessiman could be going the other way in that deal. Peter Forsberg is back in the National Hockey League and with his old team, the Colorado Avalanche. The Swede signed with the Avs yesterday for the remainder of the season. Colorado also activated Joe Sakic from injured reserve.

There are so many teams that are in the hunt for a playoff spot this year that there are few sellers, but usually the way it works is when one deal gets completed, the dominoes start to fall. I’ve heard a couple of general managers say that they expect it to be a busy day. We’ll see.

I remember in 1994 when the Rangers – while sitting in first place - went out and nabbed Brian Noonan and Stephan Matteau from Chicago for Tony Amonte; traded Mike Gartner to Toronto for Glenn Anderson (never liked this move); and snatched Craig MacTavish from Edmonton for Todd Marchant (MacT was a great penalty killer and superb on draws). But that was when Neil Smith was the general manager. Don't get me started there...

Smith had a couple of clunkers - like in 1996 when he sent Ray Ferraro, Ian Laperriere, Mattias Norstrom, Nathan Lafayette and New York's fourth-round draft choice (Sean Blanchard) in the 1997 draft to L.A. for Marty McSorley, Jari Kurri and Shane Churla - but his gaffes were not nearly as numerous as current G.M., Glen Sather.

For example, in 2002 "the savior" traded Filip Novak, Igor Ulanov, first and second-round picks in 2002 and a fourth-round pick in 2003 to Florida for Pavel Bure and a second-round pick in 2002. Bure was a great hockey player, but at that point in his career was running on two bad wheels.

The Rangers would do themselves right by doing nothing today. Other than the Montreal debacle, the team’s chemistry has been at its best the last couple of weeks. They are not going to be able to fleece anyone because of the high demand right now. I’m very intrigued by the New Jersey Devils, however. Sitting in first place, I could see them looking for a “home run.” Hate to blow my own horn, but you'd have to go back to a previous post where I applauded the hiring of Brent Sutter as the new Devils' coach. He's not right for every team, but Sutter has been the right fit for this team. Now let's see if the Devs make a blockbuster that could put them over the top.

We shall see.


Rob Adams said...

Funny that you bring up Hugh Jessiman. While it was pretty cool to see him get drafted - consdiering the number of his prep school games that we called - I always wondered where he would wind up. I'd love to see him make it to the Garden, but not with somebody else.

Sean G. Kilkelly said...

Yeah, he had a slow-go the first couple of years in the minors. But from what I have read he is expected to contend for a spot in next summer's camp, whoever he is with. Just like you, I would love to see him make it!