Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NHL trade deadline winners and losers

By Rick Morris

Today's NHL trade deadline was covered in exquisite detail by ESPN.com writer Scott Burnside. Herewith, my brief thoughts on the biggest winners and losers in the short term -- teams that either moved toward a date with the Stanley Cup or took a step backward.


1. Pittsburgh. Marian Hossa gets added to this lineup? Are you kidding me? Hey, as a lifelong Clevelander I'm born and bred to loathe The Yinzers, but I'm impressed. Hal Gill won't hurt on the blue line, either.

2. Dallas. On the day that Tampa Bay threw in the white towel for this season and turned the page decisively on their 2004 Stanley Cup season by moving their Conn Smythe winner from that campaign, the Stars came away with a huge haul in Brad Richards. His horrible defensive numbers will pick up in Big D and Dallas fills the need for an additional scorer that I thought they still had coming into today.

3. San Jose. When Raider Fan By Another Name files into the Shark Tank this spring, he may be witnessing the team's best run yet. Brian Campbell fills the longtime hole the team has had on the blue line and it's entirely likely he'll provide the same boost to his new team that Joe Thornton provided last year -- albeit that lift only came in the regular season and Campbell was brought in for the games that follow that.

4. Colorado. First a team from Pittsburgh, now my most hated team in sports -- it hurts be objective some days and this is certainly one of those days. But with Forsberg and Foote coming back without damaging the existing roster in any way, this team just locked up a playoff spot IF -- and it's a big if -- Floppy Furesburg is even relatively healthy. Hey, with Darren McCarty coming back to Hockeytown, the first round could be a great nostalgia-fest!

5. Washington. First they get an impressive goalie like Huet on the cheap, then they get a low-risk flyer on Sergei The Enigma. It's very possible to overstate the impact of these moves, but they help and with no margin for error on the Eastern bubble, that's important in and of itself.


1. Detroit. Again, objectivity really hurts today. I've nicknamed Ken Holland "The Smartest Man in Sports," and he's had such a golden touch over the years (including the time since the salary cap was instituted, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, haters!) that it doesn't seem right to bash him today. But bash him I must. Brad Stuart helps on the blue line, but that's the area of greatest strength already. My Wings really needed another scoring wing and I fear it will come back to haunt us in the playoffs.

2. Montreal. How does trading Huet help in the short term? It doesn't, and they're out on a big limb in net right now.

3. New Jersey. You're either upgrading or moving backwards in this climate.

4. Columbus. So much for being a buyer at the trading deadline, although the team may benefit in the long term from their approach.

5. TIE Toronto and Buffalo. See Columbus.

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