Trade Deadline: Last Season

Penguin Hossa

With trade deadline nearly upon us, it’s probably useful to revisit last season’s moves. First, let’s consider the team standings from late February of last season. I’ve taken the liberty of dividing the teams in each conference into three categories, based on accumulated points totals: Stanley Cup contenders, playoff contenders, also-rans. Any team more than five points ahead of eighth is considered a Cup contender, while any team more than five points below eighth is considered an also-ran.

Western Conference

1. Detroit – 62GP – 89 PTS
2. Dallas – 63GP – 79 PTS
3. Minnesota – 59GP – 72 PTS
4. Anaheim – 63GP – 73 PTS

5. San Jose – 59GP – 70 PTS
6. Nashville – 61GP – 69 PTS
7. Phoenix – 64GP – 66 PTS
8. Calgary – 59GP – 66 PTS
9. Vancouver – 59GP – 66 PTS
10. Colorado – 64GP – 65 PTS
11. Columbus – 61GP – 63 PTS
12. St. Louis – 58GP – 63 PTS

13. Chicago – 58GP – 60 PTS
14. Edmonton – 60GP – 59 PTS
15. Los Angeles – 62GP – 53 PTS

Eastern Conference

1. Ottawa – 59GP – 73 PTS
2. New Jersey – 60 GP – 73 PTS
3. Montreal – 60 GP – 73 PTS
4. Pittsburgh – 59 GP – 71 PTS

5. NY Rangers – 61GP – 67 PTS
6. Philadelphia – 59GP – 65 PTS
7. Boston – 58GP – 64 PTS
8. Carolina – 62GP – 64 PTS
9. Buffalo – 59GP – 64 PTS
10. Atlanta – 61GP – 62 PTS
11. NY Islanders – 59GP – 62 PTS
12. Washington – 60GP – 62 PTS
13. Florida – 61GP – 60 PTS

14. Tampa Bay – 59 GP – 56 PTS
15. Toronto – 57GP – 54 PTS

Based on these standings, it would seem that there were only five teams that were locks, or near-locks to sell, while eight teams would certainly be buying. The other seventeen teams could go either way, but based on the fact that more than half the teams in the league make the playoffs, and that nearly all teams on the bubble seem to buy rather than sell (playoff revenue being all-important to most clubs on the verge of break-even), the notion that the number of sellers would far outweigh the number of buyers seems like a usable working hypothesis. Let’s consider first what the Cup Contenders (again, based solely on points in the standings) did.

Cup Contenders

Last Season: Detroit, Dallas, Ottawa, New Jersey, Montreal, Anaheim, Minnesota, Pittsburgh
This Season: San Jose, Detroit, Boston, Washington, New Jersey, Calgary, Chicago

Detroit

– Traded a 2nd and 4th round pick to LA for Brad Stuart

Dallas

– Traded Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, Mike Smith and a 4th round pick to TB for Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist

Ottawa

– Traded a 6th round pick to CHI for Martin Lapointe
– Traded Patrick Eaves and Joe Corvo to CAR for Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore

New Jersey

– Traded Cam Janssen to STL for Bryce Salvador

Montreal

– Traded Cristobal Huet to WSH for a 2nd round pick

Anaheim

– Traded a 3rd round pick to NYI for Marc-Andre Bergeron
– Traded Brandon Bochenski to NSH for future considerations
– Traded Brandon Segal and a conditional draft pick to TB for Jay Leach
– Traded a 7th round pick to LA for Jean-Sebastien Aubin

Minnesota

– Traded a 6th round pick to NYI for Chris Simon

Pittsburgh

– Traded Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a 1st round pick to ATL for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis
– Traded a 2nd and 5th round pick to TOR for Hal Gill

Analysis: Surprisingly enough, most of these top teams did not make big acquisitions. Minnesota, Anaheim and New Jersey made low-cost acquisitions, and even Detroit didn’t make a big splash to acquire Brad Stuart. Of the teams that did make big moves, Pittsburgh and Dallas both had lengthy runs, but paid dearly for the players they acquired, while Ottawa made big moves but were knocked out in the first round.

In the case of Pittsburgh and Dallas, it could certainly be argued that they received value on their trades, although both teams have suffered for it this season. Pittsburgh was unable to hang on to Hossa, and could certainly use some of the young players they dealt, while Dallas was forced to ride Marty Turco at the start of the year for lack of another option; something that put them into a deep hole they’ve only recently emerged from.

While in most cases, a team like Ottawa would have been well-advised to buy, Bryan Murray should have recognized how many of his team’s points came from an early season run, and how badly they faltered down the stretch. Trying to re-energize the team with mercenaries did not pay off.

Montreal decided to stand pat for the most part, but Bob Gainey refused to allow Cristobal Huet to depart for nothing and sent him to Washington for a draft pick. As much as I’m a fan of keeping an eye on the big picture and maximizing assets, this move was a major surprise and turned out to be a mistake. Montreal looked like a contender early on, but Carey Price faltered in net and Montreal had no option to fall back on. Had Gainey retained Huet, the 2008 playoffs might have turned out a little differently.

This season, with the top-three teams well clear of everybody else, I think that teams need to think long and hard before buying. Any of New Jersey, Calgary or Chicago could go on cup runs, but I’d suggest that they would do well not to mortgage the future on a marquis addition, choosing instead to add role players to improve their depth and shore up areas of weakness. Washington won’t need to play one of the big three until the Conference Finals; I’d argue that they might do well to buy this season. I’d be surprised to see big additions to Detroit or San Jose given how close to the cap they sit, but Boston might surprise and could do themselves a service by picking up a big name.

Playoff Contenders

Last Season: San Jose, Nashville, NY Rangers, Phoenix, Calgary, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Colorado, Boston, Carolina, Buffalo, Columbus, St. Louis, Atlanta, NY Islanders, Washington, Florida
This Season: Philadelphia, Montreal, NY Rangers, Vancouver, Florida, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Minnesota, Dallas, Edmonton, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Los Angeles, St. Louis

San Jose

– Traded Rob Davison to NYI for a 7th round pick
– Traded Steve Bernier and a 1st round pick to BUF for Brian Campbell and a 7th round pick
– Traded future considerations to CAR for Justin Forrest
– Traded a 6th round pick to CBJ for Jody Shelley

Nashville

– Traded a 7th round pick to TB for Jan Hlavac
– Traded future considerations to ANA for Brandon Bochenski

NY Rangers

– Traded Marcel Hossa, Al Montoya and a conditional draft pick to PHX for David LeNeveu, Fredrik Sjostrom and Josh Gratton
– Traded a 4th round pick to STL for Christian Backman

Phoenix

– Traded David LeNeveu, Fredrik Sjostrom and Josh Gratton to NYR for Marcel Hossa, Al Montoya and a conditional draft pick

Calgary

– Traded a 3rd round pick to PHI for Jim Vandermeer

Vancouver

– Traded Matt Cooke to WSH for Matt Pettinger

Philadelphia

– Traded Alexandre Pickard and a conditional pick to TB for Vaclav Prospal
– Traded Jim Vandermeer to CGY for a 3rd round pick
– Traded a 3rd round pick to LA for Jaroslav Modry

Colorado

– Traded a 1st round pick to CBJ for Adam Foote
– Traded Karlis Skrastins to FLA for Ruslan Salei

Carolina

– Traded Andrew Ladd to CHI for Tuomo Ruutu
– Traded Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore to OTT for Patrick Eaves and Joe Corvo
– Traded Justin Forrest to SJ for future considerations

Columbus

– Traded Adam Foote to COL for a 1st round pick
– Traded Sergei Fedorov to WSH for Tedd Ruth
– Traded Curtis Glencross to EDM for Dick Tarnstrom
– Traded Jody Shelley to SJ for a 6th round pick

St. Louis

– Traded Bryce Salvador to NJ for Cam Janssen

Atlanta

– Traded Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a 1st round draft pick

NY Islanders

– Traded Chris Simon to MIN for a 6th round draft pick
– Traded Marc-Andre Bergeron to ANA for a 3rd round pick
– Traded a 7th round pick to SJ for Rob Davison

Washington

– Traded Matt Pettinger to VAN for Matt Cooke
– Traded Tedd Ruth to CBJ for Sergei Fedorov
– Traded a 2nd round pick to MTL for Cristobal Huet

Florida

– Traded Ruslan Salei to COL for Karlis Skrastins
– Traded a 5th round pick to TOR for Wade Belak

Analysis: Of the seventeen teams in this range, 4 were out-and-out buyers, 5 were out-and-out sellers, and 8 teams either stood pat or made moves of minimal impact. Of the four buyers, one was knocked out in the first round (Washington), two in the second (San Jose, Colorado) and the last in the Conference Finals (Philadelphia).

Of the eight teams that did little, four (PHO, VAN, CAR, STL) missed the playoffs, three (NSH, CGY, BOS)were knocked out in the first round, and one (NYR) made the second round. None of the sellers made the playoffs. On the other hand, it’s dangerous to read too much into this, as the selling teams were near the bottom of this range, and the buying teams near the top for the most part; in other words the success of these teams has more to do with their original strength than their moves at the trade deadline.

It is worth noting that most of these teams did a combination of buying and selling – presumably filling holes from positions of strength. It’s likely that most of the teams in this range this year will do the same. In my article yesterday, I suggested that the Oilers acquire a third line centre and move away some veterans on long-term contracts. Based on last season, it seems probable that the Oilers will do something along these lines. Likely, the teams at the top end of this group will become buyers, while the teams at the bottom end drop off and become sellers.

Also-Rans

Last Season: Chicago, Edmonton, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Los Angeles
This Season: Phoenix, Colorado, Toronto, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, NY Islanders

Chicago

– Traded Martin Lapointe to OTT for a 6th round draft pick
– Traded Andrew Ladd to CAR for Tuomo Ruutu

Edmonton

– Traded Dick Tarnstorm to CBJ for Curtis Glencross

Tampa Bay

– Traded Jan Hlavac to NSH for a 7th round draft pick
– Traded Jay Leach to ANA for Brandon Segal and a conditional draft pick
– Traded Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to DAL for Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern and a 1st round draft pick
– Traded Vaclav Prospal to PHI for Alexandre Picard and a conditional draft pick

Toronto

– Traded Hal Gill to PIT for a 2nd and 5th round draft pick
– Traded Wade Belak to FLA for a 5th round draft pick

Los Angeles

– Traded Brad Stuart to DET for a 2nd and 4th round draft pick
– Traded Jean-Sebastien Aubin to ANA for a 7th round draft pick
– Traded Jaroslav Modry to PHI for a 3rd round draft pick

Analysis: This is probably the most interesting bit to last season’s trade deadline. Chicago and Edmonton, two young teams coming off rebuilding seasons, made few moves, with Chicago sending out one pending UFA for a draft pick and making a player for player swap, while Edmonton sent off one pending UFA for another pending UFA. Even Toronto and LA only sent away role players, making the Lightning the only seller having a full-out fire-sale.

That likely suggests that the sellers this season won’t be parting with nearly as many marquis pieces as fans (and people like Eklund) would like – they may settle for sending off lower-profile free agents and taking lower draft picks in return.

Conclusion

It seems likely to me that trade deadline this year will be disappointing for the majority of fans out there; last season very few elite players moved, and most of those to a handful of top teams. The stronger teams in the middle range tend to turn into buyers, while the weaker teams drop further out of the playoffs and turn into sellers.

I’ve always been a little dubious as to the value of deadline acquisitions, but last season the teams that picked up pieces at the deadline seemed to do quite well for themselves, and there’s no denying that some of the names on this list were big factors down the stretch and in the playoffs.

  • Hippy


    Deep Oil
    You keep criticizing Katz as being silent. Why would he need to be vocal in the media about matters that pertain to the Oilers? That is not his function.

  • Hippy

    SquidRx wrote:

    @ Deep Oil:
    Did you realize that in it’s infancy Rexall Drugs was whole or in part responsible for the worldwide distribution of DDT and Agent Orange? Rumor also has it that there was some fringe involvement with the whole Socrates and hemlock incident. That one has been more difficult to prove though. Now Rexall is involved in sports, coincidence?

    Sorry Agent Orange was produced in Fort Saskatchewan under the DOW brand and distributed to major CHEMICAL corporations such as Univar here in Edmonton and around the world to the US Army…. the mess left in FS in terms of environmental damage is beyond comprehension.

    Having one store in Capilano mall with father barry and becoming the cash flow reverse synergy via McKesson is more interesting as MBO and LBO are stated to be all Darryl's doing when it is known that DK could not even merge companies as a lawyer – seems like Barry is the power player with the eastern corporations of generics
    and pharms – such as Rexall Brands much like LIFE brands in Shoppers – using the Home Depot inventory model – Rexall is profitable – but who is entitled to the net funds – DK is just a front man and paid handsomely to keep it very private.

  • Hippy

    @ Deep Oil:

    I can't believe I bother to reply to you, and yet I fear somhow that someone will be fooled into thinking you know something, so I must . . .

    The ownership dispute in Atlanta boils down to an ownership group buying out one guy and quibbling over how much his shares are worth. Not nothing, but not anything that will bring the organization to it's knees, either. The Thrashers know where their checks are coming from; the Atlanta Spirit group isn't going anywhere, just one owner.

  • Hippy

    dw wrote:

    Deep Oil
    You keep criticizing Katz as being silent. Why would he need to be vocal in the media about matters that pertain to the Oilers? That is not his function.

    What is the function of an owner???

    Leader, Guide, Visionary, Systems Management and Communication – the keys have been given to LaForge with Lowe holding fort as even Nicholls who is now employed by Rexall Sports to recoup his losses over the years has been mute – must be the corporate mantra from above Katz
    who lent him the other $100 million in addition to CIT group.

    Example of a billionaire that answers to himself and
    not a pharmaceutical board in NJ – East River that has ties to questionable business practises….

    Gene Melnyk is the opposite of Daryl Katz.

    All Katz can do is spend to the cap – this is not unique.

    He has personally failed in his mission to meet with UFA's and turn the tide to his persuasion.

    What leadership has Katz installed within the season ticket base or fan base (television print revenue) – he
    is more Howard Hughes than hockey owner….. he trotted out his father due to his vacation in Europe this fall to avoid having the limelight on himself….

    Have you noticed that RX2 is loudly silent these days.
    Where are the parties that have to come to the table
    Where is Katz $100mm that he promised – in trust – NO

    What is the personal seat license charge ?
    Is this a one time fee or renewable every 10 years….

    Cheers,
    Deep

  • Hippy

    Ender the Dragon wrote:

    @ Deep Oil:
    I can’t believe I bother to reply to you, and yet I fear somhow that someone will be fooled into thinking you know something, so I must . . .
    The ownership dispute in Atlanta boils down to an ownership group buying out one guy and quibbling over how much his shares are worth. Not nothing, but not anything that will bring the organization to it’s knees, either. The Thrashers know where their checks are coming from; the Atlanta Spirit group isn’t going anywhere, just one owner.

    Then why does respected hockey blogger Mirtle give them last rights – seems to me that people in Atlanta don't like hockey – plain and simple as as long as the owners are fighting legally – the disease leaks out corporately and amongst the staff / management – Don Wadell has kept his job based on the inaction of the ownership group – in the SPIRIT of Hogan's Heroes – I KNOW NOTHING – and
    that is the motto of Wadell….

  • Hippy

    @ Deep Oil:
    I don't understand what you want from Darryl Katz. How can he do all these things you suggest when he is so busy sneaking through the Mir space station sabotaging it, heading a coup d'etat in lictenbabwayenburg, plotting to overthrow the Swiss banking industry, and chasing your dog around the backyard trying to kick it? He is only human…..or is he?????

  • Hippy

    Wanye Gretz wrote:

    I love it when Deep Oil shows up.
    @ Deep Oil
    Your writing is improving. I mean this. Good job.

    You were always his "special" one.
    You will feel the pull of the dark side.
    Next you will be… "Darth Oil"

    * Actually, I think that one might be taken – Sorry *