Thursday, March 5, 2009

Local deadline wrap-up

It was a busy yet uneventful trade deadline, if that makes sense. A lot of action, but few big names actually moved. The ones that did were expected, but there were many that went nowhere. Here's my analysis on what the local teams involved in this blog (Pittsburgh and Minnesota) did on Wednesday. For analysis on other deals, another site would a better option (OK, here's quick analysis: I like what Calgary, Phoenix and Buffalo did; I think daddy needs to take away the toy from the Tampa Bay owners; the Ottawa-Columbus trade should work out nicely for both parties; Montreal and Washington should've gone after goalies, even if just capable backups.)

First, the Penguins, who acquired three players total on the day.

Deal No. 1: Traded defenseman Danny Richmond to St. Louis for defenseman Andy Wozniewski. Very minor deal, both minor leaguers. Richmond leans more toward the offensive side of the game and is behind Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski on the depth chart, making him expendable. Wozniewski is more of a stay-at-home defenseman that the Pens might need if Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi aren't re-signed following the season.

Move No. 2: Acquired Craig Adams off waivers from Chicago. Adams will fill one of the third/fourth-line roles of mucker and grinder. Slightly more significant than Move No. 1.

The "big" one: Deal #3, acquiring Islanders RW Bill Guerin for a conditional draft pick, which goes like this: a fifth-rounder, OR a fourth-rounder IF the Penguins make the playoffs, OR a third-rounder IF the Penguins win one playoff round AND Guerin appears in half the playoff games.

Reportedly, the Pens were interested in Guerin earlier but he wouldn't waive his no-trade clause. The recent four-game winning streak has Pittsburgh back in contention and apparently changed Guerin's mind.

Guerin brings several things to Pittsburgh's lineup: First, he can still score (16 goals, 20 assists this season) and, as a right-handed shot, should provide a threat sorely lacking on the power play. Second, he won't be afraid to get his nose dirty. Third, ideally he'll be a calming presence in the locker room and maybe can teach the kids some maturity, which is also sorely lacking.

Considering what was given up, I think this is a pretty good trade. It's a low-risk move (Guerin's contract is up after this season) with potentially high reward depending just how well Guerin performs down the stretch. Worst case, all the Penguins give up is a third-round pick.

Overall, I grade the Penguins' day a B-minus. Guerin upgrades the roster - not significantly so, but it remains an upgrade. The young winger with a bright future is still lacking, but Ray Shero didn't do anything I would've considered stupid, which includes, but is not limited to, the following: Trading away a first-round pick for anything short of a Dany Heatley type; trading Jordan Staal for anyone over the age of 30; trading any halfway decent asset for a rental; acquiring a reclamation project such as Jonathan Cheechoo or someone like Ryan Smyth or Chris Neil.

This doesn't make the Penguins a Stanley Cup contender. But they are better than they were Tuesday.

Onto Minnesota's

This is awkward.

Well, the Wild didn't do anything. And that's not good. Two players who I feel should've been moved are Owen Nolan and Marian Gaborik. I would imagine some contender would see what a difference Minnesota is with Nolan in the lineup and label Nolan as valuable, thus be willing to give up something for him.

(Update: I thought Nolan signed a one-year contract with Minnesota. Actually it was two years. My thought process doesn't change. Nolan is already having trouble remaining in the lineup. How will that contract look after another year's wear and tear? Maybe other teams were scared off at being on the hook for Nolan for another season. Wild fans would probably yell at me for giving Doug Risebrough the benefit of the doubt, but maybe he tried and couldn't find a willing taker. I know I'd at least pause at having Nolan for another year.)

Gaborik absolutely had to be traded, for whatever return Risebrough could've gotten. There's no way Gaborik is re-signing with the Wild.

No one offered even a draft pick for Gaborik? Really, Risebrough had to have received offers and should've accepted what he deemed was best. If no one made an offer, which I find hard to believe, then I can understand the lack of action. If Risebrough didn't even try to shop Gaborik, as Michael Russo reported, then Risebrough is, well, a fool.

Whether there was a market for Risebrough's other pending UFAs, I don't know, but I can't fault him overly so for not trading anyone else, though I think he could've gotten something for Marc-Andre Bergeron.

Acquiring any players of value would've been tough for Risebrough, who doesn't really have many assets to play with. Maybe he should've sent out a flier to see what kind of bounty Niklas Backstrom would've brought. (Philadelphia for Van Riemsdyk, Antero Niittymaki, Joffrey Lupul just to throw something out there?)

I saw an interesting question posed earlier by a Wild fan: Which is worse, the only deadline deal being acquiring Chris Simon, or doing nothing at all?

Unfortunately for the Land o' Lakes natives, they have to face that question.


1 comment:

BReynolds said...

Bringing in Chris Simon really was doing nothing. He played what? 6 games?

Doing nothing is worse, as it shows DR has no ability to do his job. Stuck in the middle, it is either time to go up or down. Make the choice and make it happen. That is his job, and he didn't do it. Again.