Archive for the ‘2014 Trade Deadline’ Category

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Depending on who you follow on Twitter, the response you get to certain deals is going to be different. In my case, it involved seeing a whole lotta tweets involving “Canucks” and “rebuilding.” And, in fairness to those people, they are to some extent. They’re not making a push for the Cup, they’re making deals with core assets before they decline and maximizing their return, so…yeah, re-tooling, rebuilding, whatever. They Canucks know they aren’t Cup hopefuls.

But I’m a little surprised to see that the initial fan reaction seems to imply that they’ve blown it up, that they’re starting over, or that they got fleeced.

The Roberto Luongo contract is capital “L” Large, and stretches to 2022. It was never going to be easy to move, and with Luongo providing not-that-much-more than your average goalie in 2014 (more, but again, not that much more) teams weren’t going to give up huge assets for him, as big a name as he may be.

To get back a goalie who was long a top prospect in the Panthers system in Jacob Markstrom, and to have Eddie Lack who’s been great, the Canucks aren’t suddenly a train wreck in net. They’re fine-to-good going forward. They managed to move the deal, and they managed to bring in a 6’4” 26 year old center in Shawn Matthias who was easily on pace for 20-plus goals during the 2013 lockout-shortened season. They had to retain some of Lu’s salary, but that was always going to be a part of moving him.

They also haven’t traded Ryan Kesler yet, but if they get back what they’re rumored to be asking – a 20-25 year old NHL center, a top prospect and a first – you can hardly say they’re purely thinking like the Buffalo Sabres with a “Boy, six years from now…” mentality.

So, while the Canucks moving their best goalie in franchise history is undeniably a big moment for the team, I don’t think it’s cause for fans to burn their jerseys. They moved a nearly immovable deal and got some return.

It’s a bummer to watch a great goalie leave, but the franchise isn’t in tatters just yet.

g Dallas Stars

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Not every team is built to win the Stanley Cup. That’s obvious, but what I’m saying is, not every team is built trying to win the Stanley Cup. A good number of teams are self-aware about what they are, and would be more than happy just cracking the playoffs, or winning a round or two, depending on their history/roster/pre-season expectations and all that. And, of course, some teams are serious about the big prize.

Now that we’ve got the World’s Most Obvious Paragraph out of the way, what we’re doing today is looking at the teams who are legitimately just a move, just a tweak away from getting to their next level. The teams who could actually benefit this season from being active at the deadline.

So, with the preamble licked, let’s get to it. Here are five teams that can take their next step with one addition.

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TEAM

New York Rangers

g new york rangers

CURRENT STATUS

3rd in Metro, 7th in the East, 69 points in 62 games. Two points from being out of a playoff spot entirely.

WHAT THEY’D CONSIDER A SUCCESS

Making it to the Eastern Conference Semifinal (as in, winning a playoff round), Conference Final would be huge.

NEED

A top-six forward, preferably top-three.

GO ON…

Let’s say the Rangers managed to acquire that one player. Let’s say…gasp…they end up being the team who lands Ryan Kesler. How much more of a threat are they in the East?

Honestly, I’m surprised they’ve struggled as much as they have this season. We know Henrik Lundqvist is a better goalie than he’s shown so far this year, and nobody would be surprised to see him play out of his mind come playoffs. So…Lundqvist gets better, they add a little bit more scoring punch (and if it comes in the form of Kesler, a two-way top minutes player), and suddenly they look around and notice that outside of Boston and (maybe) Pittsburgh, they might be the next-best team in the East. Hmm.

Couldn’t you see them climb the East ladder, get a doable first round draw and be a tough out from there?

Read the rest of this entry »

Ryan Kesler

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The trade deadline is generally a terrible time to acquire players given the circumstances – teams know “buyers” are desperate for that piece to put them over the top, so they pit them against one another, and wham-o, suddenly you’re giving up two second-round picks for a guy you might hesitate to grab off waivers in November. Those bidding wars, they’ll get ya.

There’s also this phenomenon:

It’s an easy time of year to talk yourself into something you don’t really need, like shopping with a gift card. “Oh, Mike Cammalleri is available? I remember when he scored 82 points in 2009-10! Great release! Let’s pull the trigger on this.”

Then you get home, take your Mike Cammalleri out of the bag, and notice you’ve actually acquired a one-way player tallying under 0.5 points-per-game making six million (prorated) who’s gonna walk come summer. That’s some flea market stuff right there, so caveat emptor in March, my friends.

That said, there are certain players that I believe you make the exception for around now, one of which is Canucks’  centreman/winger Ryan Kesler. Here’s a few reasons why it’s worth giving up a lot for top talent:

The difference between elite and good IS the difference

It is simply not that hard to acquire capable players to play on an NHL roster. You can mine free agency, the American hockey league, Europe, or your opponent’s rosters at any point during the season and find guys who can play 12-13 capable minutes a night. Congratulations. You now have an NHL team.

The problem now is, you now have a bad NHL team. You need players who aren’t just okay, you need elite skill to best the copious amounts of averageness out there. Before the Sabres started their total rebuild their roster really wasn’t that much of a disaster, it was just built of a bunch of Drew Staffords. Good, fine, whatever at the NHL level…not winning you a Cup. Read the rest of this entry »