Another year, another underwhelming trade deadline. The lack of trades can be blamed on a lot of things, parity, the salary cap, cautious teams, or a league run by copy cats. It seems like the best time to make a big swap in the summer when the cap is less of a concern, but is that really the case?
In this post, we’ll look at the best players traded either during the offseason or midseason. We can break it down into five categories, based on position, and give a score to each team from there.
It’s important to note that this is only players traded, so free agents like Brad Richards are obviously not part of the equation, and neither are players whose rights were traded before July 1 like Ilya Bryzgalov and James Wiznewski, since they were more or less free agents to begin with.
Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche: The Avs massively overpaid here, and they haven’t gotten exactly what they wanted with their new goalie, but he was the only one to get properly traded this summer and has a tremendous upside
Ben Bishop, Ottawa Senators: The (former) Giant of Illinois was traded the other day to Ottawa. While he doesn’t have a ton of experience, he could very well see some regular minutes down the stretch with Anderson hurt.
VERDICT: Neither keeper has proven very much in the big leagues yet, but we’ve got to give the nod to Team Offseason (henceforth referred to as TO for awesome reasons) based on what Varly has done. When all is said and done, this may end up switching back the other way.
TOP PAIR DEFENSE
Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers: When the Panthers took this albatross of a contract away from the Blackhawks many snickered and thought that Chicago was a clear winner. However months later Campbell played in the All-Star game and sits second in defensemen scoring.
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks: The Sharks pulled off a shocker in getting Burns at the draft. He seemed to struggle at first but has really picked things up of late.
Jack Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets: The smooth-skating, Tebowing D-man recently found a new address. He does have some good offensive upside, but his -12 on the defense-first Kings raises a few eyebrows
Kyle Quincey, Detroit Red Wings: A long time underrated defenseman may finally get his time to shin in Motown. I love this pickup for the Red Wings and it really should help them in the playoffs.
VERDICT: Hard to overlook Campbell’s All-Star appearance here, sure he has a ridiculous contract, but that doesn’t matter in this little game.
Second Pair Defense
Robin Reghr, Buffalo Sabres: It’s hard not to be a fan of Robin Reghr. He may be a little slow, but he is a very solid defender. That being said, he hasn’t seemed to fit in in Buffalo, sitting currently at an embarrassing -15. Then again, has anything not been embarrassing in Buffalo this year?
John-Michael Lilles, Toronto Maple Leafs: The acquisition of Lilles just before the draft was clearly an attempt to fill the void that Tomas Kaberle left when he went to Boston and got terrible. While he has missed time due to injury, his 22 points —including 10 on the powerplay— in 46 games played is certainly respectable.
Pavel Kubina, Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers needed someone to fill the void left by Pronger’s injury and this was most certainly a good option. He’s a giant 6’4″ and has a Cup ring to his name.
Hal Gill, Nashville Predators: Even taller than Kubina, with a more recent ring. He will make the Preds defense even scarier in the playoffs and add more punishment.
VERDICT: The Twin Towers of TM are clearly a better option to the Twin Disappointments.
First Line Forwards
Centre – Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings: Maybe it was the concussion, maybe it’s the defensive systems in LA, maybe it’s the Pacific air, maybe it’s the bars on the beach, but Richards doesn’t seem like the player he was in Philadelphia that flirted with 80 points while earning Selke considerations. Still though, he’s probably the best option down the middle for TO.
Winger – Kris Versteeg, Florida Panthers: Hands up if you saw this coming. LIARS! After being a bad fit last year in both Toronto and Philadelphia, it seems that Mrs. Versteeg’s baby boy has found a home. While he has cooled down immensely from his torrid start, he is still on pace for a respectable 65 points, which is 12 more than his previous career high.
Winger – Dany Heatley, Minnesota Wild: As a Sens fan it pains me to put him here, really it does. Heatley is not having the usual dynamo year on a new team that he has had previously, but has still been very quietly having a decent year in Minnesota. While he is far from the 50 goal, 100 point superstar he once was, he is leading his team in goals and points.
Centre – Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings: Easily the biggest name traded during the season. Things worked out terribly for him in Columbus, despite the occasional flash of brilliance. He’s new on the West Coast, but things are sure to get better going forward.
Winger – Michael Cammalleri, Calgary Flames: We can all agree that this was the strangest trade so far this season. First he badmouths the Canadiens, then in a Royesque move he is traded. But instead of going to a strong contending team in a new market, he ends up back with the team that he walked away from three years prior. He really hasn’t been that great this year and truly seems like a shadow of his 80 point glory days.
Winger – Steve Downie, Colorado Avalanche: The Lightning didn’t appear to be shopping Downie, but next thing you know he’s on a flight to Denver. Like everyone in Tampa he was struggling offensively this year but seems to be playing great in Colorado scoring a spectacular seven points in his first four games.
VERDICT: These lines match-up pretty well, we have two surprising fits on new teams, two formerly dangerous scorers in big slumps, and the inhabitants of Not-So-Dry Island. I’ll give this nod to Offseason based on Kris Versteeg’s start to the season if nothing else. Had there been a Rick Nash trade, this would have swung the other way.
Second Line Forwards
Centre – Jeff Carter, Columbus Blue Jackets: In a temporal anomaly Jeff Carter is able to be in two places at once. This will be the Blue Jackets version of Carter not the Kings one, so expect this one to be much poutier.
Winger – Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers: A man who is tangentially linked to his linemate, and directly linked to the teams other centre. Simmods has really added a great deal of spark and depth to the Flyers. His current nine powerplay goals have him tied with Daniel Sedin and one ahead of Steven Stamkos.
Winger – Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers: This has been quite an up-and-down year for Mr. Smyth. First all the drama over his trade from LA, then his superhot start, then his inevitable regression, followed by the trade rumours. Yet somehow Ryan didn’t even cry once. That’s good enough for a spot on this team.
Martin Havlat out due to his injuries, he most certainly would have made the team otherwise
Centre – Kyle Turris, Ottawa Senators: After years of not fitting in in the desert, Turris was shipped to Ottawa in December. He started out very hot but has since cooled down. Still though, he has been good enough to ride shotgun to Alfie, which makes him slightly edge out Paul Gaustad for this spot.
Winger - Antoine Vermette, Phoenix Coyotes: The first one to abandon the sinking ship in Central Ohio. He’s always been a consistent two-way player and should fit in very well with the workman’s attitude they have going on in Phoenix.
Winger – Andrei Kostitsyn, Nashville Predators: Easily the biggest wildcard here, Andrei’s dynamic play has him on this list. Expect big things with he and Sergei going forward.
VERDICT: This is a pretty big cakewalk for TO, who would get a clean sweep in this category. To finish off a pretty one sided victory for their team.
This very unofficial exercise has helped us show a few things.
- Don’t expect to trade for a goalie, you better draft them or take a chance and give out a huMANGous big contract to a free agent
- Forwards are much easier to come by in the offseason, especially secondary scoring
- Depth defense is sold during the regular season
- Jeff Carter can be in two places at once, just like Daniel Sedin.