Saturday, February 9, 2008

Trade Deadline Part 1: The Impact of Major Deals Since 2004

Gearing up for the trade deadline the question was asked: what happens to teams that go and make waves by trading picks/prospects to land that rental player?

Part 1 of this series looks at exactly that; trades made at or very near the trade deadline. What we were looking to discover, namely was:

  • How did it work out for the seller, did they parlay a guy who would likely walk as a UFA into a contributing NHL player or two?
  • Did the buyer get enough production/playoff wins to justify sacrificing a part of their future for the veteran they picked up?

--Philadelphia sends Peter Forsberg to Nashville for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, a 1st round pick and a 3rd

The result: Nashville bounced in 5 games (Forsberg playoff stats: 2 goals, 2 assists). Upshall has settled into a contributing role for Philly and the 20 year old Parent is one of the best defensive prospects around. Forsberg, of course, has been unable to play at all this season due to foot problems but is rumored to be trying to comeback (the most mentioned destinations: Philly, Colorado and Nashville).

To make matters worse for Nashville, they ended up re-acquiring their 1st round pick they gave up in this deal in exchange for Kimmo Timmonen and Scott Hartnell. So basically that total deal netted out to being 22 games of Forsberg for Nashville in exchange for 3 roster players (Upshall, Timmonen, Hartnell), a terrific prospect (Parent) and a 3rd round pick. Ouch.

--Phoenix deals Ladislav Nagy to Dallas for Mathias Tjarnqvist and a 1st (Nick Ross)

The result: Dallas bows out in the playoffs in 7 games (Nagy: 1g, 1a). Tjarnqvist has played all year on Phoenix's blueline and they also drafted Nick Ross, a defenseman currently in the WHL. Nagy scoots on to LA.

Hard to tell a clear winner, Nagy didn't make an impact at all really for Dallas (he has since scooted on to LA this season) but it didn't cost them an arm and a leg. Tjarnqvist seems to be a nice player, but he's not a gamebreaker. Ross seems to be as good a prospect as any late first round pick, but obviously the jury's not even close to bringing in a verdict as to whether or not he's going to have a NHL career.

--St. Louis loans Keith Tkachuk to Atlanta for Glen Metropolit, a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd

The result: Thrashers get swept in round 1, Tkachuk tallies 1g and 2a. Metropolit moves onto Boston and Atlanta trades Tkachuk back to St. Louis for the first they gave up. So this deal was softened since they basically gave up a 2nd and 3rd round pick for a chance at the playoffs with Tkachuk; not as high a price as many think Atlanta gave up. But still, it clearly didn't pay dividends for them last spring.

--Montreal trades Craig Rivet and a 5th round pick to San Jose for Josh Georges and a 1st (Max Pacioretty)

The result: The Sharks are upset in the second round. Rivet played well (11 games, 2g, 3a) and was re-signed by SJ ($14 million for 4 years). Montreal goes on to take a chance that hometown boy Angelo Esposito will still be around at pick 22; the pick they got from the Sharks. Much to the dismay of their fans, he wasn't and Les Habs drafted their second American (!) player of the first round, Max Pacioretty.

This trade was pretty even, especially in the long run if Pacioretty; a highly regarded prospect, pans out into a NHL contributer.

--Bill Guerin to San Jose for Ville Nieminen, Jay Barriball and a 1st (Ian Cole) to St. Louis

The result: As we mentioned, the Sharks got bounced in the second round of the playoffs. After being a pretty good contributer in the regular season [8 goals, 1 assist in 16 games], Guerin battled through injury and was not effective or a force in the playoffs [0g, 2a in 9gp]. Guerin moved on in the summer to the Islanders.

For the Blues they added yet another impressive defensive prospect in Ian Cole at the draft and Barriball is now in his sophomore campaign at one of the NCAA's strongest programs (U. Minnesota)

--Dainius Zubrus and Timo Helbling to Buffalo for Jiri Novotny and a 1st (pick traded; Caps eventually get Phil Desimone and more picks)

Zubrus, a victim of Buffalo's forward depth last season went from riding shotgun with Ovechkin to playing on a 3rd line. Buffalo got bounced in the East Conference finals, but Zubrus didn't really have much of an impact [15 gp, 0g, 8a].

Novotny was given a chance, and pretty much bombed, as being Washington's 2nd line center. They let him walk and he was signed by Columbus where's he appeared in 49 games to date.

--Ryan Smyth for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O'Marra and a 1st (Alex Plante)

The deal that broke a million hearts in Western Canada....Well for the Isles "Captain Canada" was exactly as advertised, he scratched and clawed and produced [18 games 5g, 10a]. The energy and boost Smyth gave NYI was one of the top reasons they made the playoffs, where they were quickly and uncermoniously bounced by Buffalo in 5 games.

After considering his options on the open market, Smyth decided to sign with Colorado rather than return to either one of his "old" teams.

Edmonton got a lot of great prospects out of this trade; Nilsson's been in their NHL lineup almost all season and is starting to be a bit more of a point producer. After starting out the season in the ECHL, the 20 year old O'Marra is now in the AHL and Alex Plante is already a 6'3 and 220 pound defenseman at the age of 18. But one gets the feeling what Edmonton lost (the heart and soul of the franchise) really has taken the wind out of the whole organization's sail.


--Minnesota trades Dwayne Roloson to Edmonton for a 1st round pick and a conditional 3rd

Roloson went 12-5 in the playoffs with a 2.33 GAA for Edmonton, leading them all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. But then Marc-Andre Bergeron drove Carolina's Andrew Ladd into Roloson in Game 1 of that series and that was all she wrote. Roloson resigned with Edmonton that summer.

Minnesota used this 1st round pick (and Patrick O'Sullivan) in a trade to acquire Pavol Demitra from LA.

--Pittsburgh trades Mark Recchi to Carolina for Krys Kolanos, Niklas Nordgren and a 2007 2nd round pick

A rare success, for both teams involved in a deadline deal! Carolina, of course, won the Stanley Cup, bolstered by veteran acquistions like Doug Weight and Recchi. The Recchin Ball played a supporting 2nd/3rd line role, and he was great in it. He had 7 goals and 9 assists in 25 games for Carolina in the playoffs and then re-signed with Pittsburgh a couple weeks later.

Pittsburgh had the opportunity to give some young guys a chance to sink or swim and the results were, um, definitive to say the least. Nordgren played 15 games with Pittsburgh and did not record a single point. He now plies his craft in Switzerland. Kolanos was brought in to buoy a strong Wilkes-Barre team; he was a solid point-per-game producer in the regular season but only had 2 goals and no assists in 11 playoff games and the organization decided they'd seen about enough of him.

The pick involved was traded in the summer of 2006 to San Jose for Nils Ekman and goalie prospect Patrick Ehelechner.

--Edmonton acquires Sergei Samsonov from Boston for Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny, and a 2006 2nd round pick (Milan Lucic)

With two years of hindsight your immediate reaction might be that Edmonton dearly overpaid. But consider before Samsonov walked as a UFA, he scored 31 points (in 43 career games) for the Oil and was a big reason they made it just one game away from the Stanley Cup.

Marty Reasoner, a UFA himself, jetted back to Edmonton that summer. Stastny didn't catch on in Boston (38 career NHL games, 6 points) and has bounced around the AHL since. The real prize of this deal is Milan Lucic; who's got incredible size, good hands down low, is willing to fight and mix it up. Did we mention he's still 19? Lucic is the prototypical young power forward that all 30 teams chase and covet.

--Nashville acquires Brendan Witt from Washington for Kris Beech and a 1st round pick (Semen Varlamov)

Again Nashville shows they're willing to sacrifice to get veteran talent, and again they last 5 games in the playoffs. Witt would go on to sign a contract that summer with the Islanders.

Before we all get a good laugh in about Kris Beech; consider he went to the AHL (where he belongs) and dominated for Hershey, scoring 28 points [14g, 14a] in 21 games. He helped lead the team all the way to the Calder Cup finals before a goalie on a hot streak (Montreal's Carey Price) knocked them out. Washington's other player from this deal, Semen Varlamov, is a fairly highly regarded goalie prospect but at this point he's probably most famous for getting smoked by Team Canada during last summer's "Super"series.


--New York Rangers trade Alexei Kovalev to Montreal for Jozef Balej and a 2nd round pick (Bruce Graham)

Ironically the Rangers had to sell off a high price super-star. Kovalev's endured a bumpy ride with the Montreal media and fan craze but he is generally regarded as one of the more skilled and productive players in the NHL. Balej didn't work out in the NHL and has bounced from Europe to this year in the AHL with Manitoba. Bruce Graham (listed as 6'6 and 235) has bounced between the ECHL and AHL this season and at the age of now 22 his NHL prospects seem to be fading.

--Washington deals Sergei Gonchar to Boston for Shaone Morrisonn, a 1st round pick in 2004 (Jeff Schultz) and a 2nd round pick in 2004 (Mikhail Yunkov)

Gonchar, as usual, played well with Boston with 9 points (including 4 goals) in 15 regular season games. Boston was bounced in the first round after a 7 game series, the Sarge had a goal and 4 assists in the playoffs. Gonchar, of course, would go on to sign that summer with Pittsburgh.

Morrisonn has developed into a solid top 4 defensive defenseman (and perfect partner for Mike Green) while Schultz has also grown into an NHL role as a young defenseman. The prospect Yunkov is still in Russia and seems unlikely to be in Washington's long-term plans. Still a great deal for Washington to develop two, young NHL players out of a guy who was about to leave that summer anyways.

--The New York Rangers trade Brian Leetch to Toronto for Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immonen, a 1st round pick in 2004 and a 2nd round pick in 2005 (Michael Sauer)

The Rangers trade away one of their great players for one last chance at a deep playoff run. Leetch played well in Toronto, scoring 15 points in 15 regular season games and added 8 assists in 13 playoff games. But Toronto got bounced in the second round and Leetch would go on to Boston to wear another strange jersey.

The prospects the Rangers got didn't amount to much for them 3 years later: Kondratiev is back in the RSL, playing only 29 games with NYR. Immonen only played 20 games with them and is back in his native Finland and Sauer is playing his first professional season in the AHL.

--Columbus traded Geoff Sanderson to Vancouver for a 3rd round pick in 2004 (Dan Lacosta)

Vancouver added Sanderson (a 30 goal scorer the year before) but it was to no avail, as they were disposed of in the playoffs in game 7 of the first round.

Lacosta, a goalie, has split time between the ECHL and AHL. He has pretty good numbers in his 8 AHL games (4-2-2, 2.28 GAA and a .920%) so perhaps he's a young goalie to keep an eye on.

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