You know how the trade deadline is. Hell, you know how sports coverage in general is, of which I’m a part: thing happens, instant reaction, definitive statements. “The Penguins were the big deadline winners,” “Tampa Bay should fire Yzerman after that deal,” “the Predators got great return in their trade,” yada yada yada. (“I mentionnned the bisque.”)
But as with all trades, it’s almost impossible to know who won and who lost for a decade-plus. We don’t know what the teams will end up doing with the draft picks, we don’t know which rookies will have storied careers, and we don’t know which veterans have more gas in the tank.
So without further ado – and that seemed like a whole bunch of ado – let’s look at the major deals from yesterday and assess the knowns and unknowns. From guarantees to guesses, here’s what unfolded yesterday.
Certainty level: 61/100
Reason: Jaromir Jagr is a known quantity
While we don’t know much about the futures of Lane MacDermid and
Major Cody Payne (though by most accounts they aren’t all that bright, which ups our confidence in the future), here’s one of the most certain things from the deadline moves: Jaromir Jagr is a good hockey player. He’s got 13 goals already this season, and while he’s not Jagr from 95-96 or 05-06, 26 points in 32 games on a fairly meh team as a 100 year old is pretty darn good.
He’s not depth scoring, he’s a top six guy that plays on your powerplay and given that the Bruins didn’t give up a roster player to get him, they are now better. You can never be sure with picks and prospects, but the Jagr situation is black, white, moving on.
Certainty level: 24/100
Reason: Two players with high ceilings and low floors
The only reason the certainty level on this is even that high is that both players now have 30-plus NHL games under their belts, but really…who knows. This is the perfect example of a need-filling swap, where the Senators recognized their excess at a position, and it just happened to be where the Lightning have a void. So you can understand how the deal gets made, but still: we have no idea what just happened here, and anyone claiming to is full of the poop.
Conacher is a rookie! But he’s older. He’s tiny! But he’s had some success this season. He had an awesome year last year! But it was in the AHL. His numbers are all shiny! But he’s played with good players.
Ben Bishop’s numbers are great! But he’s been a third-stringer for a reason. He’s huge! So is Anders Lindback. He could be a legit NHL starter! He could be terrible.
We have no idea. This could end up being one of the most lopsided swaps of all-time, a mutually beneficial deal, or not matter at all.
Certainty level: 56.5/100
Reason: too many moving parts
Marian Gaborik is a known quantity, for the most part. He didn’t get off to a very Gaborific start this season, tallying 19 points in 31 games to date, but last season he went for 41 and 35 for 76 points, and has twice crossed the 40 goal and 80 point plateau in his career. Even if he’s not quite That Guy anymore, dude isn’t like, ready to be put out to pasture or anything. He turned 31 in February and still skates like he’s in fast forward and shoots like he hates mesh. Columbus added a stud.
But otherwise…otherwise the Rangers grabbed a depth scorer in Brassard (more or less a known quantity), a knuckle-chucker in Dorsett (known) and a player who could be good or could not be (John Moore). Like, no idea yet. If he’s GOOD, they did GOOD, but if he’s BAD, they didn’t. So that kinda makes the deal tough to judge. How are those prospects going to pan out? What’s the pick going to be? Too much going on here to declare a winner or loser.
Certainty level: 22/100
Reason: No one really knows what the Sabres just traded for (which isn’t a knock)
I feel like an underrated storyline here is that the Wild just traded (that means “All The Things!” for the meme-averse) for Jason Pominville, who, while being good at hockey, is probably only worth Some Of The Things. But sure: you know what you’re getting in Pominville. He’s a 30 year old dude who’s probably going to grab you 60 points over the course of the season. And, he seems like a good addition beyond that – players aren’t named captains just for being pretty. So what did the Sabres get?
Matt Hackett, a well-regarded prospect who could be good but isn’t a guarantee. Johan Larsson, a well-regarded prospect but could be good but, y’know, there’s never a guarantee. And two draft picks, who could end up being amazing, or could end up never touching an NHL roster. Sooo, we know the Wild lost nothing off their roster and improved in the short term. Beyond that, nobody really has a sniff what just happened. Maybe those picks would’ve been stars in the hands of the Wild. But, the Sabres took them and are okay with the possibility of improvement down the road.
Certainty factor: 26/100
Reason: Draft picks = playing darts in the dark
Also, Ryane Clowe scoring zero times – okay, twice after last night – this season makes you a little nervous, though you know he’s better than that. His numbers dropped by 17 points last season after the previous career high, so you don’t like the way the bar graph is moving. STILL, he’s a big body who can contribute offensively, and the Rangers know that. I’m a fan of turning maybe into NHL talent, which is what the Rangers did. San Jose, for their part, get to spin the wheel three more times in hopes of landing on GRAND PRIZE, but there’s never any real certainty with that. You can also land on BANKRUPT.
Move: Jarome Iginla to the Penguins for …wait, really, that’s all? Okay, it says “Ben Hanowski, Kenny Agostino and a first,” though it fails to add “that first is going to be as close to a second as physically possible.”
Reason: Iggy Iggy Iggy, can’t you see…ah y’know what I’m not going through with this. Here: Iginla is a pretty reliable guy.
I’m pretty sure we know what to expect from Jarome Iginla in Pittsburgh. He won’t be a point-per-game guy, but he’ll put up some points, try super double hard, and play pretty well.
For Calgary’s part, well…when we look back at the deal that sent their captain away, are we going to say “But, at least they netted their new captain, Ben Hanowski?” We are not. Calgary’s best bet is hitting a pitch out of the park in the draft, which is easier said than done. But, given that the Pens only got Iggy for a short time, I suppose they weren’t going to give up too much. Only issue is, when it comes to certainty, we don’t know what they gave up at all.