Somehow, the 2010 NHL trade deadline was labeled as boring. There were a record 31 deals that moved 55 players and 25 draft picks, according to NHL Network. Most of the deals involved players that made me, personally, say "huh?" And most of the deals seemingly made Stars fans say words they didn't want their mothers to hear.
To the astute and well read Stars fan, the inactivity of Joe Nieuwendyk was not surprising. Dallas' two wild cards heading into the Olympic break were Marty Turco and Steve Ott. The latter was extended earlier in the week, and the former was vouched for when Alex Auld was placed on waivers, subsequently claimed on re-entry waivers by the New York Rangers. Two bullets in the gun they could have used: One allowed to walk in July for no compensation, the other signed to what some feel is a crippling deal to a team that has a heavily reported internal cash budget of $45 million dollars this year, last year, and mostly like the next.
Still, knowing all of this as most of you did, there seemed to be a line drawn in the sand (ice?) yesterday afternoon. On one side was "Come on, Joe! Time is running out!" On the other: "Let's not make a move for the sake of making a move." Anxiousness is a part of every die-hards' trade deadline day (even my own, though I did not expect movement) and the real problem throughout the day shifted more and more from what the Stars weren't doing, to what the rest of the Pacific division WAS doing.
Said Joe Nieuwendyk to the Dallas Morning News: "We would have loved to get a few draft picks, and we were certainly listening to people, but there was nothing realistic that we could get done,'' he said. ``So now we're prepared to move forward with what we have. This is sort of how we went into it. We believed we made our deals already with getting Kari Lehtonen and signing Steve Ott, so we really didn't expect much today.''
Three teams improved. One didn't have to. One sat and watched.
A wrap up of the day that was in the Pacific division awaits after the jump...
The Phoenix Coyotes:
Flashback to August of this year: The Coyotes ownership struggle is all over (and practically the only) NHL news. They might get moved, they had a really tough finish to the season, they didn't have a good summer for their roster...they were a mess.
Then, the second of two very wonderful things happened for them: Dave Tippett, recently let go by your very own Dallas Stars, replaces Wayne Gretzky as the head coach. The first very wonderful that happened for them was on November 16th, 2007 when the Anaheim
stupid Ducks placed Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers. Their entire fortune stems mostly from that day. I'm not bitter, though.
So this destitute franchise, seemingly flailing around like a fish out of water, somehow gets it's act together, lowers it's GAA dramatically, and finds themselves in a position to be buyers (NHL sponsored) at the trade deadline, in pursuit of home ice advantage in at least the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Sports is funny like that.
The Coyotes were the big winners of the trade deadline. They get:
|2009 - Wojtek Wolski||62||17||30||47||15||21||2||0||4||0||156||10.9|
|2009 - Lee Stempniak||62||14||16||30||-10||18||5||1||1||0||164||8.5|
|2009 - Derek Morris||58||3||22||25||-2||26||2||0||0||0||95||3.2|
They gave up:
Which is to say, essentially one roster player and some picks that may or may not be worth anything. Peter Mueller was in need of a change of scenery anyway. Wojtek Wolsky, believe it or not, actually brings some needed playoff experience to the Coyotes (15 games or so) and some scoring punch they desperately need to keep their place in the WCF standings.
This is all interesting from a Stars perspective because it's an attempt to do what the Stars might need to do sooner rather than later: Make the playoffs and have some success in an attempt to retain and build the fan base. Hockey needs winning in these locals to survive. Winning is what made Dallas what it is. The Coyotes know they have to win to put butts in the seats.
The Los Angeles Kings:
The Kings, fresh off a whipping of the Dallas Stars in Texas, decided to shore up their third and fourth lines a little. They added depth players in former Star Jeff Halpern, and winger Fredrik Modin.
|2009 - Jeff Halpern||55||9||8||17||-14||27||2||0||1||0||65||13.8|
|2009 - Fredrik Modin||24||2||4||6||-6||12||0||0||2||0||35||5.7|
They give up:
Teddy Purcell, and a third round draft pick for Halpern. For Modin, only a conditional draft pick.
The Kings didn't make themselves markedly better, but they demonstrated last night why they didn't have to. Solid goaltending from Quick and a fast team with top end, very young talent will probably see them skate into the dance for the first time in a long time.
The problem the Stars face is this: They're (the Kings) only going to get better with time.
The Anaheim Ducks:
The Ducks got much better on paper, and could easily leapfrog Dallas in the playoff race. More importantly, they brought an old nemesis back to the division, and he's signed up for a few more years (at a pretty high cap number too).
That man is former L.A. King, Lubomir Vishnovsky: Star Killer Extraordinaire.
|2009 - Lubomir Visnovsky||57||10||22||32||-4||16||4||0||1||0||78||12.8|
|2009 - Aaron Ward||60||1||10||11||-17||54||0||0||0||0||32||3.1|
|2009 - Joey MacDonald||6||319||1||4||17||3.20||157||140||.892||0|
|2009 - Curtis McElhinney||10||502||3||4||27||3.23||235||208||.885||0|
And a sixth round pick.
They give up:
Whitney, who we feared when he was traded to Anaheim, never panned out for them. He's one of these guys that a "change of scenery" might do wonders for. Sad thing is, he's going to Edmonton. So unless Art buys a beer for the poor guy, I don't think he's going to like much he sees up there.
Anaheim has improved, and Vishnovsky will be there for some time. Six games on the Stars schedule next year (and the two years following) just got that much tougher.
The San Jose Sharks:
The Sharks are the top team in the conference. They might be the top team in the league. In the regular season.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to be the mantra here, and who could blame them?
The real question they have to be asking themselves is 'Which team just made the move that spells our doom?"