Right to stay away from Bert

BARRY MACDONALD -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

Ryan Smyth.

Todd Bertuzzi.

Peter Forsberg.

Bill Guerin.

Keith Tkachuk.

Those were the five marquee names that moved in the days leading up to the NHL trading deadline. Those are the five players that fans and pseudo-experts believe have the potential to swing the Stanley Cup odds. Those are the five that might just make or break a season.

The Canucks got Bryan Smolinski and Brent Sopel. Neither player was highly coveted throughout the league, and neither is bound for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Both could pay huge dividends for Vancouver.

Smolinki brings a veteran presence, which in hockey is one of those classic "intangibles." He also brings something Markus Naslund might welcome. A constant. The same centreman game after game after game. Don't underestimate chemistry and what it means to best players in the business.

That Naslund has played his best hockey since Christmas with roughly 53 different linemates is nothing short of a miracle.

Sopel is a known commodity here. He was a defensive partner with Mattias Ohlund, and they had developed the aforementioned chemistry, which they should be able to reestablish here sooner than later.

That allows the Canucks to move Sami Salo into a pairing with Lukas Krajicek, which in the short term might result in some sleepless nights for Sami. Long term, he will be a better compliment to Krajicek than Rory Fitzpatrick.

Nonis made these two acquisitions without mortgaging the future, something he made clear he was loathe to do. He went out and got exactly what he said he was going to get. What he didn't go out and get was a marquee name, or a player who might have been a bad mix in the dressing room. For whatever reason, chemistry seems to be a bigger issue in hockey than in any other sport.

Which brings us to Todd Bertuzzi, who ended up in Detroit.

Any suggestion that Nonis should have gone after Bertuzzi was the product of a drug-induced haze. Alain Vigneault has developed a group that plays hard for each other, that likes each other, and the last time I checked, oil and water aren't a great mix.

Bertuzzi's reputation as a room wrecker might have been a tad inflated, but he was not worth the risk on deadline day.

If it ain't broke, don't mess with it. Nonis didn't. He brought in a couple of complementary parts. A parade isn't likely, but it is possible. More possible than it was a week ago at this time.


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