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Buyers, Sellers BEWARE

by Archives March 10, 2009

In every professional sport in North America, the most exciting day of the year is the trade deadline.
The National Hockey League’s Deadline was March 4.
Throughout the day, there were officially 22 trades, involving 45 players and 21 draft picks.
When it comes to the deadline, there are teams categorized as buyers and sellers. Buyers want experience, and sellers want to fold their team and end their woes by getting rid of expensive players, and try to acquire draft picks or youth.
Year in and year out, there are always several of the high-profile players on the block. Sometimes they get moved, and sometimes they don’t.
This year the elite class on the block included Phoenix Coyotes centre Olli Jokinen, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nikolai Antropov, Florida Panthers blueliner Jay Bouwmeester and Anaheim Ducks rearguard Chris Pronger.
Of them, two got shipped to new team donning new jerseys, that being Antropov who shipped south of the border to the Big Apple, and Jokinen who has done the reverse, going north to Calgary.
Our very own Montreal Canadiens were rumored to be in the mix and hunt for several players. By the 3 p.m. deadline, the Canadiens had made no moves. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. However, in this case, it was disappointing, because we needed players to bolster our lineup. Our moves before the deadline was acquiring 39-year-old Mathieu Schneider – and sending Steve Begin over to Dallas. Another decision made by general manager Bob Gainey was opting not to ship off struggling forward, Alex Kovalev, who despite last season’s output of 35 goals and 84 points, has only 16 goals and 47 points this season.
This year’s big winner at the deadline was for the Western Conference, Phoenix Coyotes who, despite getting rid of Jokinen and defence Derek Morris, acquired a lot of youth in Nigel Dawes, Petr Prucha, Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust, Scottie Upshall, Dimitri Kalinin and two draft picks.
In the Eastern Conference, the big winner was the Pittsburgh Penguins. After making a pre-deadline shipping defenceman Ryan Whitney over to Anaheim in exchange for Chris Kunitz who’s scored three goals and six points in five games since the move, they acquired well-traveled veteran Bill Guerin who’s notched four points in his first two games with Pittsburgh. Both happen to play on the same line, and the one in between them is Sidney Crosby, which always helps.
An honorable mention goes out to the New York Rangers, who bolstered their blue line with Derek Morris and upped their size by adding forward Nikolai Antropov.
The whole process of the deadline can have ups and downs.
One example of late was last year when forward Marian Hossa was traded from Atlanta for one young player, a prospect and a first-round draft pick to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh made the Stanley Cup Finals with the help of Hossa, but they didn’t win the Cup, and when July 1 arrived, Hossa skipped town and signed with Detroit. The Hossa trade may have had some short-term perks, but it hurt the team in the long run.
Though bad trades are made at the deadline every year, the temptation of that perfect trade always draws new teams in. In the end we will find out who the big winners when the Stanley Cup will be hoisted in early June. It will be that time when we look at the winning, most successful manager and say “You’re a genius!”

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