Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sportsology: Evaluating NHL trades

By Rick Morris

As part of our content exchange with our peeps at Sportsology, here's a breakdown of some of the NHL trades coming in advance of this week's March 4 trade deadline.

2009 Hockeyology Trading Floor
By Russ Cohen

My colleague Jon Waldman and I will critique trades being made as teams prepare for the stretch run.

To Pittsburgh: Chris Kunitz, Eric Tangradi, To Anaheim: Ryan Whitney.

Jon’s Analysis: Whitney is a strong D-man who is still growing in the league. While he may never develop into an Olympic-level rearguard, he goes into a system now where he will be the torchbearer for Anaheim’s blueliners for years to come. This could also signal the end of Chris Pronger’s time in California. Kunitz, meanwhile, is a 38-point forward so far this year and if teamed with Crosby and/or Malkin, he could hit 50 points. He’s got some Cup experience which is invaluable. He will be counted on to be a leader. Tangradi, a second-round pick in ’07, is developing well in the CHL and likely will be in the AHL next year.

Russ's Analysis: Whitney has obvious offensive talent, a great shot from the point, especially on the power play, and also toughness. He is still improving on his defensive game and he has a bright future. Pittsburgh can slide Kris Letang in Whitney's second power-play spot and Alex Goligoski is further insurance. Kunitz has moved around quite a bit, but he might be the most talented player Crosby has had on his line as a permanent fixture. Malkin gets Sykora and Crosby has had a host of linemates, and now Kunitz will help Pittsburgh make a real run at the playoffs. Eric Tangradi, 6-4, 221, is a few years away from the NHL, but he could be a terrific first or second-line winger when he makes it.

The Montreal Canadiens have traded forward Steve Begin to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Doug Janik.

Jon’s Analysis: Seems like a salary cap move to me, which means that Lecavalier should be on his way to Montreal. Janik has potential, but not enough. Dallas got the better end of the deal in the immediate sense, but this was a trade to benefit Montreal down the road.

Russ's Analysis: Begin will be reunited with Mike Ribeiro and Janik is a useful sixth d-man, so it makes sense for both teams. Dallas is starting to turn into a contender and Montreal is getting ready for the next move.

To Montreal – Glen Metropolit (from Philadelphia, waiver)

Jon’s Analysis – Ah the perils of a returning superstar. With Danny Briere coming back into the fold, Philly had to risk losing Metropolit in this waiver move. That it’s the Habs picking up the veteran forward is a bit of a curiosity, but it may just be a stopgap solution for the weekend-plus activity before the assumed acquisition of Lecavalier on Wednesday. Metropolit is a sturdy third-line player, but won’t do much more than be a filler.

Russ's Analysis - Metropolit might play his first game as a Hab against the Flyers - - that's good theatre. He has played very well in the last month and he could add a spark as a 4th-liner and penalty killer for Montreal.

To Vancouver – Ossi Vaananen (from Philadelphia, waiver)

Jon’s Analysis – Another victim of the Briere Bounce, Vaananen now moves to a squad that has had trouble keeping their rearguards healthy over the last few years. Let the speculation that Matthias Ohlund is on his way out of BC officially begin. While Ossi won’t fill the veteran’s skates necessarily, he is a decent stopgap solution should the ‘Nucks choose to move the oft-injured 1st-line d-man.

Russ's Analysis - Brilliant pickup by the Canucks. Vaananen has been decent this year and he will add valuable veteran minutes to a roster that needed some defensive help.

No comments: