February 26, 2012
Deadline deals no guarantee
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
Marian Hossa. Brad Richards. Brian Campbell. Ilya Kovalchuk. Dion Phaneuf.
The list of prominent players who have been moved within weeks of the NHL’s annual trade deadline in the post-lockout era certainly is an impressive one.
At the same time, history shows us that since the ugly labour dispute of 2004-2005 finally came to a close, those teams acquiring stars and superstars at this time of year generally do not go on to capture the Stanley Cup.
The winner of the Rick Nash sweepstakes likely won’t want to hear that.
The same probably could be said for the Los Angeles Kings, who surrendered defenceman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick to Columbus for the talented Jeff Carter, arguably the second-best forward on the market next to Nash.
Instead, the trend seems to be that the Stanley Cup is won by squads that bring in aging veterans with something still left in the tank (Doug Weight, Mark Recchi) and/or productive, under-the-radar type producers (Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, Brad Stuart). Or, in the case of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks and 2007 Anaheim Ducks, teams that did little, if any, wheeling and dealing.
An examination of each of the Stanley Cup winners since the lockout shows that you don’t need to make a big splash at the deadline to end up hoisting hockey’s Holy Grail.
2011 Cup Champs
1) Acquire D Tomas Kaberle from Leafs for 2011 first-round pick, conditional 2012 second-rounder, and F Joe Colborne.
2) Acquire F Rich Peverley, D Boris Valabik from Thrashers for F Blake Wheeler, D Mark Stuart.
3) Acquire F Chris Kelly from Sens for 2011 second-rounder.
The Skinny: Bruins don’t win Cup without contributions of Peverley, Kelly and, to lesser extent, Kaberle ... With Nathan Horton and Marc Savard concussed and out of commission for final four games of championship series against Vancouver, Peverley and Kelly came up huge ... Peverley, Kelly and Kaberle combined for 34 post-season points ... Kaberle was not as effective as earlier in his career, but GM Peter Chiarelli vows that “we would not have won the Cup without him” despite paying such a heavy price to the Leafs to acquire him.
2010 Cup Champs
The Skinny: For those fans who panic when their contending team is not active at the deadline, the 2010 Blackhawks showed that the best trades sometimes are the ones you don’t make. The Hawks pretty much followed that recipe by basically standing pat en route to their first Cup in almost five decades ... The only acquisitions of note — defencemen Nick Leddy, Nick Boynton and Kenny Johnsson — combined for just three playoff appearances, all by Boynton.
2009 Cup Champs
1) Acquire F Bill Guerin and 2009 conditional pick from New York Islanders for D Andy Wozniewski, D Danny Richmond.
2) Acquire F Chris Kunitz, F Eric Tangradi from Ducks for D Ryan Whitney.
The Skinny: With Guerin’s career nearing it’s end, GM Ray Shero addressed Sidney Crosby’s desire for higher quality wingers by bringing in Guerin and Kunitz ... The change in scenery was like coming to the Fountain of Youth for Guerin, who combined with Kunitz to register 29 points en route to helping the Pens win their third Cup in franchise history.
2008 Cup Champs
Detroit Red Wings
1) Acquired D Brad Stuart from Kings for 2008 second-rounder, 2009 fourth-rounder.
The Skinny: On the surface, Stuart’s additional doesn’t seem like it, on it’s own, did not push the Wings over the top to win the Cup. Fair enough ... But with Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall and Brian Rafalski already on the scene, the stay-at-home Stuart became a shut-down guy in the final against Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin ... Gave Detroit a very impressive top-four on the blue line.
2007 Cup Champs
1) Acquired F Brad May from Avs for G Michael Wall.
The Skinny: GM Brian Burke opted against making a lot of moves in the period leading up to the deadline ... Shrewd decision ... May only registered one point in 18 post-season games, but his 28 penalty minutes and sandpaper style of play drove opponents bonkers.
2006 Cup Champs
1) Acquired F Mark Recchi from Pens for F Nik Nordgren, F Krys Kolanos, 2007 second-round pick
2) Acquired F Doug Weight and F Erkki Rajamaki for F Jesse Boulerice, F Mike Zigomanis, F Magnus Kahnberg, first-round pick in 2006, Toronto’s fourth-round pick in 2006, Chicago’s fourth-round pick in 2007.
The Skinny: With the Canes thin up front beyond Eric Staal, Rob Brind’amour and Cory Stillman, GM Jim Rutherford did great job in bringing in vets Recchi and Weight ... The two aging rent-a-players combined for 32 points in the playoffs, helping the underdog Canes win the Cup.
THE SHOPPING LIST
As of Saturday afternoon, here is a look a some of the candidates who could be moved by the NHL’s trade deadline of 3 p.m. on Monday:
n Jonathan Bernier, 23 LA — Has one year remaining on deal that will pay him $1.25 million in 2012-13 ... Kings should move him if they want more scoring ... Believed to have been part of the Rick Nash trade discussions.
n Nikolai Khabibulin, 39 EDM — Groin problems have put him on the shelf for about a week ... Might be short-term solution for teams like Sens and Leaf.
n Evgeni Nabokov, 36, NYI — As of Saturday afternoon, Isles were still trying to re-sign him and have held talks with his agent, Donny Meehan.
n Jaroslav Spacek, 38, CAR — The pending UFA would provide excellent veteran blue line depth for contending team like Chicago.
n Roman Hamrlik, 37, WASH — Spacek’s former Montreal teammate pretty much punched his ticket out of town by criticizing coach Dale Hunter for benching him the other day.
n Luke Schenn, 22, TOR — Leafs don’t want to deal him, but might have to include him in a deal for a power forward like RIck Nash or James Van Riemsdyk.
n Rick Nash, 27, CLB — The biggest potential catch on the market, Nash will control his landing spot because he holds the hammer with his no-movement clause ... Sharks, Rangers, Leafs in the hunt ... Jackets looking for a four-piece package of prospects/picks/NHL-calibre player.
n Andrei Kostitsyn, 27, MON — Known as an underachiever, his 11 career playoff goals could be intriguing to a contender.
n Derek Roy, 28, BUF — With Sabres just five points out of a playoff spot as of Saturday, will the enigmatic Roy be pulled off the market?
n Paul Gaustad, 30, BUF — Once again, Sabres might turn from sellers to buyers if their recent surge has revived their post-season dreams.
n Steve Ott, 29, DAL — Canucks, Leafs among those who would love to land gritty (bleep) disturber like Ott ... But with Stars sitting in eighth in west, they might not want to deal him.
n James van Riemsdyk, 22, PHIL — Was being dangled by Philly when Flyers were hungry for blue liners ... Will the subsequent acquisitions of Niklas Grossman and Pavel Kubina take JVR off the market, much to the chagrin of teams like the Stars who are said to covet him?
n Ryan Malone, 32, TB — Has no-movement clause ... Carries cap hit of $4.5 million US through 2015.
n Teemu Selanne, 41, ANA — With Ducks just six points out of playoff spot in west, will they decide to hold onto their assets like Selanne, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Lubomir Visnovsky?
n Mikhail Grabovski, 28, TOR — If the pending UFA is not signed by Monday, will he be part of a bigger package to acquire a Nash-type player?
TRADES 'PART OF THE DEAL'
In Joe Thornton’s mind, the stress of potentially being traded is more than offset by the big bucks NHL teams stuff into the pockets of players.
“You have to take getting dealt in stride,” Thornton said. “As pro hockey players, we are very well-paid. Getting dealt is just part of the deal of being a pro. You just have to look at it that the team that is trading for you obviously wants you.”
Thornton is an expert on this topic, having been acquired by the San Jose Sharks from the Boston Bruins for forwards Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and defenceman Brad Stuart back on Nov. 30, 2005.
As captain of the Sharks, Thornton was asked if he needed to talk to young star Logan Couture, who heard his name in plenty of rumours involving Rick Nash.
“No need,” Thornton said. “All the guys know what’s going on.”
Couture, by the way, has been deemed untouchable by San Jose management, despite the fact the Sharks remain one of the favourites in the Nash sweepstakes.
ONCE UPON A TIME
There was a time when both players and fans did not find out about trades by watching them revealed by hockey experts on television panels or by monitoring Twitter.
Indeed, much has changed in that regard over the years.
Just consider how the world found out about one of the most significant swaps in NHL history: Doug Gilmour, defencemen Jamie Macoun and Ric Nattress, prospect Kent Manderville and goaltender Rick Wamsley to Toronto from Calgary in exchange for Gary Leeman, Alexander Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Michel Petit and Craig Berube.
Back on Jan. 2, 1992, yours truly and Hall of Fame journalist Frank Orr, a friend and mentor, were in the Maple Leafs dressing room at the Gardens after practice when then-coach Tom Watt emerged from his office.
“Pull out your pens,” Watt told us. “We’ve just made a trade.”
As I wrote down all the names Watt listed off, my eyes widened. This seemed like such a one-sided deal in Toronto’s favour. As someone just filling in on the beat, however, I felt it was not my place to say anything.
After scanning the list four or five times, however, Frank certainly did.
“Surely, Thomas, you must be missing a few names that are going to Calgary in this deal,” Orr quipped.
There were no names missing. Imagine that: Having a coach reveal the components of a trade to a couple of ink-stained wretches just moments after it happened?
In this era of emails and tweets, that would never happen. Nor would it stay under raps for that long.