Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trade Deadline: T-minus 30... 29...

We all know the trades made, right? We all know the pieces involved, right? Okay so lets break it down.

This is what I do best.

Phaneuf's Enough
Phaneuf was disgruntled in Calgary, and by all reports, had had it out with Brent and maybe even some of his teammates, (considering his disposition, highly likely). Some say, the Sutter's still wanted some time to massage "young" Dion into a moldable Top 4 defender, other's say he needed a fresh start, and the optimists say he's plateaued. When the great bandana-wearer, Kelly Hrudey, is calling you out on HNIC before the game even starts, you know your play has gone from suck to blow.

For Burke, he's always happy to add his new favorite word, truculence, Dion offers that on the ice, and off the ice, for better or for worse. His shot, while powerful, has not hit the net yet this season, without the help of a teammate's deflection, or a defender's shinpad, err, helmet, (try the 'High and Wide' Drinking Game!)

For Darryl, he removes an underachieving, self-entitled, locker room cancer from the roster, while picking up some interchangable parts, at worst.

As for those interchangable parts, Ian White is probably the hidden gem in this lode of shit. He's a young guy, with a lot to prove, and if he plays well enough, which I think he will, he'll earn himself another contract in Calgary. Stajan outweighs what Freddy Shoes brought to the table, Hagman adds to that, but not much. The unknown variable is what promising prospect Aulie turns out to be, knowing Burke and his patience, they probably won't find out in Toronto until its too late. Jamal Mayers is a throwaway piece.

Who wins?

Call Phaneuf the biggest player in this deal all you want, he sure hasn't shown that he is for the past two seasons, his stock has dropped, dramatically. But he's Burke's kind of guy, and his play will thrive in the kind of mediocrity that Toronto fans are already used to. Stajan and Hagman are no Ponikarovsky, which is the type of player Flames fans wanted to feel better about themselves down the stretch. Are they any more confidant now? Sjostrom is the type of guy the Leafs already have a ton of, even after trading four of them away. White will have to prove that he is worth the "value" that Darryl traded Phaneuf for, that will determine your winner. Bottom line, Flames, slightly.

They're going to scale down my equipment again?

Who's the Teacher? Who's the Student?
Giguere wasn't happy riding the pine, even while collecting $6mil per, but he sure earned it, (the pine that is). He had made comments earlier in the year about being pissed off about it, then had to backpedal after management probably voiced their displeasure behind closed doors. Bob Murray and Randy Carlyle gave J.S. the chance to earn his spot back with unimpressive results. Even when Hiller faltered, Giguere could not retake the #1 position, and was instead stuffing towels inside his chest protector for the majority of the year. Two things happened to Giguere off the ice that fucked him up a bit. The first was his son's medical problem with his eyes right after birth. However that took place just before the Stanley Cup playoff run, where Bryzgalof opened the first four games with three wins, and then Giguere took over mop up duty in the fourth, only to never look back on his way to lifting the Cup. That becomes a non-issue then, (his son is fine by the way). The second was the passing of his father during last season, since then he's been a shell of himself, compounded by the departure of Francois Allaire in the offseason to rejoin Burke in Toronto.

Burke gets a proven goaltender that he believes in, who doesn't have a heart condition, (functionally, that is). He ships out Toskala, who I believe will never be offered another contract to play in the NHL again, and Blake who was never his type of guy to begin with. He earns two million in salary, but dumps players he didn't want.

Murray gets his second underachieving goaltender from Toronto in as many seasons (Pogge), and Jason Blake, who for all intensive purposes fills the same kind of speedy void that Andy MacDonald left when Scotty Niedermayer decided to play hockey again. But he missed the boat on acquiring what the Ducks really needed, and that's defense. Where's Exelby who reportedly asked for a trade out of town? Or could it have been for Kaberle straight up? Probably not.

Who wins?

The Ducks were not going to re-sign Giguere, his days in Anaheim were over months ago, which was definitively proven with Hiller's contract extention. Burke did not want Blake, and Toskala virtually holds no value other than to send a position player back the other way. As far as assets go, Burke wins. On paper, Giguere is the best player in this move, and Murray should have been able to get just a bit more in the swap. However, I believe that Giguere will be eaten alive by the fishbowl of Toronto media, and his play will be no better, or no worse than it has been the last two seasons, similarly to Phaneuf. In addition, I believe that Blake will put up better numbers (no where to go but up) with significantly better linemates, and that Toskala will be given the cliched 'fresh start' and a fair chance to prove that it was playing behind the Leafs, as to why he has looked like absolute shit. Bottom line, at first glance it looks as if Burke has won, but time will prove that he didn't.

I hear the Bronx Zoo has a nice Ape enclosure.
Jokinen Trotting North America
First it was the Southeast (Florida), then the Southwest (Phoenix), then the Northwest (Calgary), and now back to the Northeast with Rangers, the crosstown rivals of his original draft team (Isles).
At everyone's first glance, this looks like Daz got fleeced, and the inverse of that is that he's not done, and he's setting up for something bigger (Kovalchuk). I'm not so sure. Darryl pulled off the major coup last deadline by acquiring Bouwmeester, I'd bet against him going two for two and getting Ilya, even for just this year's run. My feeling is that he'll for sure go after him, but lose out to a team that, at the very least, won't have to scramble to make the post (Los Angeles), or has a real chance of taking home silver (Chicago). Now obviously, the pieces have to be right for Waddell to pull the trigger (and Kovy has nothing to do with the decision), but I think teams in those positions will be more willing to offer up enough assets to grab him. Maybe not, maybe Daz'll throw the kitchen sink at Don to get Ilya, who knows, that's just my unpaid, uninformed gut feeling.
But lets look at the pieces, I'm not sure why anyone wants any of these guys. Jokinen has looked lost since he left Florida, and even then he looked a little lost but it was easier to hide on a team like that. He didn't really work with Iginla which is the first priority for all Flames fans. Prust is a pugilist fourth-liner, which always fits in New York. Kotalik is your run of the mill, on again off again, sometimes I feel like playing European winger. Who knows, maybe it was Tortorella's style, and MacTavish's, and Ruff's. Higgins was part of Sather's deal to get Gomez out of New York, bringing the hometown boy back to his roots. It took about a month for him to score his first goal for the Rangers, with six in total since.
Jokinen's the biggest piece of this trade, but his ineffectiveness on a competing team is baffling, and every GM who brings him to their team thinks he's going to be magical. That hasn't been the case, whatsoever. I have no doubt that the Sutters' were done with Olli, but you would think they would have been able to grab a little more in the process. Then again, when you look at the Rangers lineup, there's not much there to begin with, in terms of movable assets. In all honesty, the same goes for the Leafs.
Bottom line, Darryl made trades with teams that didn't have much to offerin terms of talent. The only way to recoup these deals is to parlay it into something bigger, which is why everyone's giving him the benefit of the doubt. Considering Sather's moves in the past, this ranks behind landing Gaborik, and shipping off Gomez. Rangers fans think they've got something for nothing, I think they might be right, which is the first and last time I'll say that.

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