Forget about college
basketball, the NHL trading deadline has come and gone, and now the real March
Madness can begin, along with the April Madness, and the May Madness, and
the…well you get my point!
As usual there were
rumors and then there were actual deals. The biggest trades actually went down
weeks before the deadline, with a few last ditch attempts to either make or
break a team’s roster with seconds to go. Here then, I give the lowdown on what,
if anything, the deals made will mean to their respective teams. The circus has
left town, now it’s time to get down to business and play hockey!
The trades, as they
Jan 30 – Anaheim acquires
D Sandis Ozolinsh and LW/D Lance Ward from Florida for C Matt Cullen and D Pavel
Trnka and a 4th round draft pick in 2003.
The lowdown: Anaheim has
helped bolster their defense for the stretch drive with veteran Ozolinsh, and
find themselves in a position to actually quack their way into the postseason.
Ozolinsh has Stanley Cup playoff experience which should help pay dividends.
Florida clearly will be looking to rebuild, with or without Mike Keenan. Matt
Cullen can score, but is still a young developing player. Watch Florida at the
draft to see if they gain any benefit from this trade. Watch out for the Ducks
in the first round.
The winner: Anaheim will
be able to ruffle more than a few feathers with this one.
Feb 5 – Philadelphia
makes two small deals. First, they acquire D Chris McAllister from Colorado for
a 2003 6th round pick, and then they get LW Todd Warriner from Vancouver for
future considerations. They later would dangle Warriner out there as further
trade bait closer to the deadline, but would anybody bite? Keep reading to find
The lowdown: Philly does
this every year, a little tweaking here and there to add to their depth. Quite
frankly, these are both players their respective teams didn’t want and didn’t
feel were worth paying for. McAllister can be inserted on D if a veteran goes
down to injury. If the Flyers go far in the playoffs, don’t count on either one
of these players to be dominating the playoff scoring race, however, one or both
could turn into overtime heroes.
The winner: A tie, but
only if Philly gets out of the two players what they hoped to get when they
dealt for them, otherwise, give future considerations the winner’s circle for
both Vancouver and Colorado.
Feb 7 – Philadelphia
deals again, this time sending RW Pavel Brendl and D Bruno St Jacques to
Carolina for LW Sami Kapanen and D Ryan Bast.
The lowdown: Immediate
dividends were paid to Philly as they quickly found out what a prolific scorer
Kapanen is. Carolina clearly looking to rebuild as it appears their Stanley Cup
final appearance was a fluke after all. In Brendl they get a fast skater who can
put the puck in the net.
The winner: Philadelphia
for the stretch run and playoffs, Carolina for the future. Call this one a draw.
Feb 9 & 10 - Pittsburgh
starts to clean house, as they get D Shawn Heins for a draft pick from San Jose
on the 9th, and sends Andrew Ference to Calgary on the 10th.
The lowdown: As you’ll
read in the next section, Pittsburgh is in financial trouble and has to free up
some salary dollars just to break even. Ference’s physical presence could be
just what the doctor ordered in Calgary, but not this year.
The winner: Calgary, for
gaining some grit. This should help them next year as they’re too far out of the
race right now to be able to do anything.
Feb 10 – Pittsburgh makes
a blockbuster deal as they send RW Alexei Kovalev, C Dan LaCouture, D Janne
Laukannen and D Mike Wilson to the New York Rangers in exchange for RW Mikael
Samuelsson, RW Rico Fata, D Joel Bouchard, D Richard Lintner, and four million
The lowdown: We’ve only
been hearing about this trade since training camp, and finally the Pens have
done it. We actually thought this would go down before or during the All-Star
break. Well better late than never. Kovalev rejoins the team he won the Stanley
Cup with in 1994, and the Rangers get a good solid defenseman in Laukannen, when
he’s healthy. LaCouture could be inserted on the third or fourth line. The Pens
get younger talent in return for cheaper and get some money to be able to make
The winner: The Rangers,
even if they don’t make the playoffs. From a financial standpoint, Pittsburgh
eases the debt load a little bit. Don’t let Mario retire just yet, maybe the
Rangers can lure him to Broadway before they have to fold the Dome.
Feb 17 – Nashville gets F
Jon Sim from Dallas for D Bubba Berenzweig and a conditional 2004 draft pick.
The lowdown: Dallas
needed to make room on their roster for Claude Lemieux, who was acquired earlier
in the year strictly for the playoff run. Nashville needs all the help they can
get as they are making the stretch run very interesting. Could this be a first
The winner: Call it even.
Feb 24 – New Jersey gets
C Pascal Rheaume from Atlanta for a conditional 2004 draft pick.
The lowdown: Atlanta is
already in the rebuilding phase, and New Jersey needs some help for the
playoffs. For some reason, the players don’t like and can’t buy into Pat Burns’
The winner: New Jersey
but only if Rheaume continues to be a sneaky little sniper. Whether or not he
likes it, he should fit well into Burns’ style of play.
Feb 25 – Ottawa gets F
Vaclav Varada and a 5th round draft pick in 2003 from Buffalo in exchange for C
The lowdown: One of the
Senators’ biggest criticisms is they aren’t tough enough, aren’t gritty enough
and don’t have anybody to mix it up along the boards. Well with Varada, this all
changes, albeit temporarily. He helped fire up the team in a 3-2 overtime win
against Dallas, but then was virtually non-existent against Tampa Bay and left
the game vs Toronto with a leg injury and is listed as day-to-day. The Sens got
him for the playoffs, and with him and a healthy Senators lineup, this team will
be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo gets young
talent as they get the Senators’ first round pick from 2002 in Klepis, who has
yet to see NHL action. It goes to show you the amount of depth the Senators have
when they can deal future assets and not mess with their existing chemistry.
There are very few teams who can do that, and we can applaud the Senators for
their scouting and careful draft picking.
The winner: Ottawa. Bring
on the playoffs and whatever you do don’t blink!
Mar 1 – Philadelphia gets
D Dmitri Yushkevich from Los Angeles for a 2003 4th round draft pick and a 2004
4th round draft pick.
The lowdown: Since it
appears likely the Flyers will meet the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round,
I think this trade was made more to enable Philly to intimidate their probable
opponent. If you’ll recall, the Leafs sent Yushkevich packing in the off season,
and he apparently wants an opportunity to show Toronto they were wrong to give
up on him. Los Angeles will get some future talent depending on who they pick up
with the draft picks.
The winner: Philadelphia
gets even stronger on defense. Look out Toronto.
Mar 3 – Nashville gets RW
Oleg Petrov from Montreal for a 2003 4th round draft pick.
The lowdown: Nobody knows
for sure what happened with Petrov in Montreal, and neither side is talking.
What we do know is Petrov for some reason or another was no longer welcome in
Habs-ville, and their loss is the Predators’ gain. I figure since Montreal will
be extremely lucky to even qualify for the postseason, better clean house now
and at least get a draft pick out of it rather than lose him to free agency.
The winner: Nashville if
they make the playoffs, Montreal if they don’t.
Mar 4 – Ottawa gets F
Joey Tetarenko from Florida for G Simon Lajeunesse.
The lowdown: First
Florida gets Jani Hurme out of Ottawa earlier in the season and now they get
another young goaltender in Simon Lajeunesse. I mentioned before the Senators
have more depth than most teams in the NHL, especially in the goaltending
position. With Lalime and Prusek holding the fort on the big club, the Senators
have at least five good goaltenders in their minor league system, and can afford
to give one up. With Tetarenko, the Sens get another tough customer. Marian
Hossa knows him very well, he captained the 1998 Memorial Cup Champion Portland
Winterhawks, which Hossa was a part of. Maybe the Brad May rumors will go away
now, but word out there is the Sens are looking to make one more deal before the
Mar 5 – Toronto sends C
Alyn McCauley, D Brad Boyes and a 1st round draft pick to San Jose for RW Owen
The lowdown: First the
Buds make fools of themselves in Ottawa, then they go and trade for an injury
riddled rent-a-forward who didn’t look too good last time I saw him play. Nolan
took a hit against Calgary and need to be helped off the ice with back spasms,
and the Leafs think this guy can help them win in the playoffs? Granted, he had
two goals in his Leaf debut. Look for Alyn McCauley to have a breakout year next
season with the Sharks, now that he doesn’t have to play for the Goon Patrol.
Brad Boyes is an exciting young player who will prove to Toronto they were wrong
to give up on him. After all, he only has 23 goals and 28 assists in 65 games in
the minors with St. John’s. In comparison, Nolan has 24 goals 20 assists in 62
games. Oh well, Toronto can afford the escalated salary, or can they? Then
there’s the draft pick. San Jose has as good a chance as anybody to wind up with
the first overall pick. Clearly this is not the type of scoring the Leafs are
looking for, but who really knows the kind of logic going on in Pat Quinn’s
head? To add insult to injury, most Leaf fans are behind the deal 100%, thinking
for some reason this will bring a Stanley Cup to Toronto, although Nolan’s
production has shown promise. Did I miss something here?
The winner: San Jose, as
Toronto has proved once again they aren’t ever going to win the Stanley Cup
again in this lifetime, not if they keep employing trade deadline rental
players. If San Jose wins the draft lottery, they’ll be laughing all the way to
the bank over this one. What Toronto really needed was a solid defenseman or
two. Where’s Dmitri Yushkevich? Oh yeah, I forgot, he’s playing musical teams,
the latest stop being Philadelphia.
Mar 8 – Phoenix acquires
D Brad Ference from Florida for LW Darcy Hordichuk and a 2003 second round draft
The lowdown: I guess
Florida wasn’t very impressed with Ference’s tussle with Mario Lemieux, as
they’ve shipped him off to the desert for a mediocre forward who may have better
years ahead of him. Both teams essentially are cleaning house as neither have
any hope of making the playoffs this year. The key in this deal is the draft
The winner: Florida, but
only if they use the draft pick wisely. Otherwise call it even.
Mar 8 – Colorado gets D
Bryan Marchment from San Jose for 3rd and 5th round draft picks in 2003.
The lowdown: Well I guess
the Avalanche weren’t satisfied with the Claude Lemieux-Kris Draper incident
from a few years back! I guess they felt they have to do whatever it takes to
keep the everlasting rivalry alive between themselves and Detroit. After hearing
of this deal I got a sickening thought and felt sick to my stomach. Picture
Marchment in a seven game series vs the Wings, he decides to go knee on knee
with either Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan or even, dare I say it,
Draper. Immediately the blood boils and I see visions of Chris Chelios going
after Marchment and pounding him into the ice, attempting to make his face a
permanent part of it (no zamboni will be able to get the red out). A brawl
erupts on the ice, with even Curtis “Cujo” “Mad Dog” Joseph duking it out with
Patrick “I can’t hear you due to the fact I have four Stanley Cups ringing in my
ears” Roy. Think it can’t or won’t happen? Consider Marchment’s history. Some
say he’s a great defenseman who won’t take any crap from anybody. Others (myself
included) consider him to be a dirty, cheap shot artist who may play hard and
competitive, but more often than not at the cost of another team’s player. I’m
still waiting for the day when Marchment angers the wrong player and gets
banished from the league a la Marty McSorley. It will happen, just a matter of
when. For the sake of the game, I just hope it’s not at the expense of
somebody’s career. Bad, bad move, Colorado; this is a definite step backward,
not forward. No Stanley Cup for you!
The winner: San Jose, for
not only getting rid of a cancer on their team, but for getting something back
in return in the way of future players, hopefully one of them a good rugged
Mar 9 – Toronto gets D
Glen Wesley from Carolina for a 2004 4th round draft pick
The lowdown: Carolina is
obviously in a rebuilding stage. They’ve gone from nearly champs last season to
chumps this season. Wesley waived his no-trade clause for the chance to play for
a contender. In fact, apparently the clause was only waived in the event a trade
to Toronto could be worked out. Edmonton and Tampa Bay were interested as well,
but Wesley was not. Now I have just one request for Glen. Don’t break a
perfectly good hockey stick across the crossbar of the net when the Leafs are
eliminated in the first or second round and one of either Tampa Bay or Edmonton
or both advance. Although it’s a good move for Toronto, maybe one more move for
another solid defenseman is what they really need. Granted, Wesley has
experience in getting to the finals. Quite frankly, the Leafs will only go as
far as their goalie Belfour can go, period. If the regular season is any
indication, “The Eagle” still has some work to do and had better settle down
once April rolls around, not to mention the entire team has to do something they
haven’t been able to do all year, be disciplined and stay out of penalty
The winner: Toronto, but
it’s still not going to get them into the finals. One of these days Pat Quinn
will realize you can’t buy the Stanley Cup, you have to win it first. However,
you can’t blame them for trying, and it should be interesting to watch.
Mar 9 – Nashville gets G
Wade Flaherty from Florida for D Pascal Trepanier
The lowdown: I have a
question. When you’re right in the middle of the race for a playoff spot, why
make a trade, especially when it involves one of your best defensemen? Trepanier
has been solid all season long on the blue line for the Predators. Sure, he’s
not Andy Delmore, but he’s been there for the team. And I thought Nashville had
faith enough in their goaltender Tomas Vokoun? I don’t understand this trade at
all. I know Florida is rebuilding, but Nashville at the time I’m typing this is
only five points out of 8th in the West! This is certainly not time to be
tinkering with chemistry. OK, granted, the Predators will get a solid backup
goaltender, but when a team is as close as they are to getting to the dance, you
ride with the goaltender who has got you this far and hope for the best. I guess
the folks in music city haven’t learned this yet.
The winner: Call it even,
Florida is too far out of it, and Nashville better pull up their socks and stop
making silly trades like this and go with the team they have. They may surprise
themselves and the league if they do.
Mar 9 – Philadelphia gets
C Claude Lapointe from the New York Islanders for a draft pick. The Islanders
then get Randy Robitaille from Pittsburgh, also for a draft pick.
The lowdown: At first
this deal was shaping up as a three way deal between Philly, the Islanders and
Pittsburgh, with the third part of the puzzle being Todd Warriner going from
Philly to the Pens. It didn’t happen, and Warriner remains a Flyer, for now. The
Flyers add to their scoring depth with Lapointe, as the Islanders don’t lose a
player to free agency. Pittsburgh continues to liquidate their assets. Why is
Mario still hanging around?
The winner: Philadelphia
makes a point; they’re going for home ice in the first round.
Mar 10 – Ottawa gets
tough RW Rob Ray from Buffalo for future considerations; later in the day they
add C Bob Wren from Nashville, also for future considerations.
The lowdown: Huge deal
for the Sens. With Ray, Ottawa can psyche out the opposition and send in Chris
Neil for some added goal production. Neil can score, just doesn’t get the
opportunity to do so as his role has been primarily enforcer. Since a few
players have had to be called up from Binghamton due to injuries, Wren can add
some depth. The Senators are sending the message they are for real, and we still
have a day to go before the deadline.
The winner: Ottawa. They
give up nothing (yet) and gain more of the grit they’ve been criticized for
lacking, while presumably gaining some respect from the rest of the league. If
they keep this up they may have to consider changing their name to the WWE. Mark
April 5th on your calendars, that’s when the Sens meet the Leafs in their final
meeting of the regular season, and rumor has it the NHL is planning to try out a
three referee system in this one.
Mar 10 – Dallas gives up
prospect Mike Ryan and a future prospect in a 2nd round draft pick in 2003 to
Buffalo in return for C Stu Barnes; also get D Lyle Odelein from Chicago for
The lowdown: “Stuntman”
Stu is in the house. Barnes has been a proven playoff performer, and this year
he’ll get to play for a change. Those won’t be boos you’ll hear, that will be
the sound of the fans yelling “Stu!” in unison. By the same token, Barnes will
be able to fill in for Bill Guerin should he not be able to return from injury
in time for the playoffs. With Odelein they add yet more experience to their
blue line. Buffalo gets some future talent, that’s if they can stay afloat
The winner: Dallas, but
somehow I don’t think they’re done.
Mar 10 – New Jersey gets
RW Grant Marshall from Columbus for a conditional 2004 draft pick; in a separate
deal get D Richard Smehlik from Atlanta for a 4th round draft pick in 2003.
The lowdown: Grant
Marshall plays rent-a-player again as New Jersey tries their luck with this
proven playoff forward. Ask the Edmonton Oilers how many timely goals he’s
scored when it counts. As for Smehlik the Devils possibly set themselves up for
more deals on deadline day, as they didn’t really need a defenseman.
The winner: New Jersey.
More deals in the works here?
Mar 10 – Philadelphia
gets F Tony Amonte from Phoenix for F Guillame Lefebvre and a pair of draft
The lowdown: Amonte reunites with Roenick
for what Bobby Clarke hopes will be a lethal one-two punch. If they can ever get
John LeClair back in their lineup, they could take off their Flyers jerseys and
put on their Team U.S.A. jerseys! Can Tony & Jeremy rekindle the magic from
their Chicago Blackhawk days and can they get along with Ken Hitchcock? Time
will tell. Personally I think Philly needs a better goalie if they have any hope
at all. The dogs of course are and have been rebuilding since the All-Star
break. Look for them to continue chasing their tails.
The winner: Philadelphia
sends a message to Toronto in response to the Owen Nolan deal, two can play this
Mar 10 – Phoenix gets F
Chris Gratton from Buffalo for F Daniel Briere.
The lowdown: Buffalo
continues to unload hefty contracts and acquire a younger cheaper player who can
put the puck in the net.
The winner: Call it even,
as neither team will be making it to the postseason.
D-DAY - Mar 11
A record 24 deadline
deals were made involving 46 players. There’s never been a busier trade
deadline. I’ll line up all the deals done on D-Day, and then I’ll give my two
cents. Don’t forget to breathe.
Detroit gets D Mathieu Scheider from Los Angeles for C Sean
Avery, D Maxim Kuznetzov and a pair of draft picks, a 1st rounder in 2003 and a
2nd rounder in 2004 – Detroit sells the farm for a has-been-second-rate D-man.
San Jose sends RW Matt
Bradley to Pittsburgh for C Wayne Primeau – Anybody left in Pittsburgh other
Nashville claims F Todd
Warriner off waivers from Philadelphia – Let’s play musical teams!
Atlanta acquires RW
Anthony Aquino from Dallas for a sixth round draft pick in 2003 – Who?
Tampa Bay claims D Janne
Laukannen off waivers from the New York Rangers – Former Senators D-man joins
his fourth team in four years.
Colorado gets F Bates
Battaglia from Carolina for F Radim Vrbata – If last year was a fluke, may as
St. Louis sends D Mike
Van Ryn to Florida to St. Louis for RW Valeri Bure and a conditional 5th round
draft pick in 2004 – The Cats will laugh all the way to the bank over this one.
Phoenix gets F Jan Hrdina
and D Francois Leroux from Pittsburgh for F Ramzi Abid, D Dan Focht and F
Guillame Lefebvre – Rumor has it Lefebvre’s luggage will arrive tomorrow.
Edmonton trades RW Anson
Carter and D Ales Pisa to the New York Rangers for F Radek Dvorak and D Cory
Cross – While Kevin Lowe is at it he may as well ship Marchant, Smyth and Comrie
to Siberia for a box of pucks!
Ottawa acquires C Bryan
Smolinski from Los Angeles for prospect D Tim Gleason – While everyone else was
treating the trading deadline like an auction, John Muckler was adding to rather
than subtracting from his team.
Philadelphia gets C Peter
White from Chicago for future considerations – Philly needs to stock their farm
Minnesota acquires G
Johan Holmqvist from the New York Rangers for D Lawrence Nycholat – The Wild
stock up in net as they prepare for their first taste of the Stanley Cup
Boston gets LW Ian Moran
from Pittsburgh for a 4th round draft pick in 2003 – Have the Bruins found a
possible line mate for Martin Lapointe?
Chicago sends F Steve
Thomas to Anaheim for a 5th round pick in 2003 – Paul Kariya, Adam Oates and
Stumpy is a scary line combination.
The New York Islanders
get D Janne Niinimaa and a 2nd round draft pick in 2003 from Edmonton for F Brad
Isbister and F Raffi Torres – Why do you trade a defenseman when your team is
already weak in the position?
Toronto gets D Phil
Housley from Chicago for 4th and 9th round draft picks in 2003 – Proof there is
life after Geritol and Viagra.
Pittsburgh gets F Brian
Holzinger from Tampa Bay for D Marc Bergevin – The wingless birds are breaking
up faster than the ice underneath them.
San Jose sends D Dan
McGillis to Boston for a 2nd round draft pick in 2003 – Boston bulks up on D for
the stretch run.
Toronto gets C Doug
Gilmour from Montreal for a 6th round draft pick in 2003 – Killer’s last stand.
Anaheim sends G J.F.
Damphousse and D Mike Commodore to Calgary for F Rob Niedermayer – The Ducks are
starting to live up to their mighty name.
Calgary gets RW Shean
Donovan from Pittsburgh for C Mattias Johannson and D Micki Dupont – “They call
them mellow yellow…”
St. Louis gets G Chris
Osgood and a 2nd round draft pick in 2003 from the New York Islanders for C
Justin Papineau and a 3rd round pick in 2003 – The Blues were going nowhere fast
without a goalie and they know it.
Nashville gets D Alex
Riazantsev from Colorado for a 7th round pick in 2003 – Did you pick him in your
Chicago sends F Sergei
Berezin to Washington for a 4th round draft pick in 2003 – Just what the Caps
needed, another fancy forward.
Calgary gets LW Dean
McAmmond from Colorado for a 5th round draft pick in 2003 – Wait a minute!
Doesn’t this trade violate a clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and a
bylaw in the league’s constitution which is supposed to prevent a player traded
from one team to another within four weeks of the waiver draft from being dealt
back to the same team in the same season? Doh! Apparently there was so much
action on D-Day even the league didn’t catch up with this one until two days
after the fact. As such the deal will be considered null and void pending an
investigation and McAmmond will be banished from playing until next year. Oops,
And finally, Vancouver
acquires the services of F Brad May from Phoenix for a conditional 2nd or 3rd
round draft pick – Brian Burke says he is happy with his team the way it is but
still couldn’t pass this one up.
As usual were the rumors
providing all the hype for D-day which ended up dead long before the strike of
three. The list is endless. Players such as Darcy Tucker, Tommy Salo, Jarome
Iginla, Miroslav Satan, Magnus Arvedson, Scott Thornton, and more can breathe
easy as they will remain with their respective teams, at least until the summer.
Did anybody happen to
notice Chicago putting Theoren Fleury on waivers? With all the trading going on
how could you? Word out there is the Hawks will buy out Fleury’s contract in the
off season, and Fleury will really have one of two choices: retire, or sign with
another team for less money. Seems Fleury wants to finish his career in Calgary,
and apparently the Flames will welcome him back with open arms. We’ll be sure
and keep an eye on this story as it develops.
For now, though, it’s
time to forget about the deadline and focus on the stretch drive. Some real
treats are in store as the playoffs are just around the corner, and time will
tell which team did the smartest wheeling and dealing. By June we will know for
sure. Until then, there’s a lot of hockey to be played, so sit back and enjoy! I
know I will.