While I Was Away

I took the weekend to go out to the middle of nowhere (no cell service, barely functional roads, hours from civilization) thinking ‘it’s the middle of July – nothing’s going to happen while I’m gone.’ As it turned out, quite a bit happened in the NHL while I was drinking beer and jumping into ice-cold creeks.

Yakupov Signed!

This was always a no-brainer – the first overall pick gets the rookie maximum and a pat on the back – but it was still an obvious relief for Oilers fans once the deal was signed. Baron Wanye von Gretz IV was so excited that he proclaimed a photoshop contest here at the Nation. This is good news, because these things are always awesome.

Rick Nash, New York Ranger

Scott Howson, long mocked for… well, everything, but most recently for refusing to trade Rick Nash until someone was willing to hand over three quarters of their team finally buckled and took the New York Rangers offer of Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first round pick.

New York is getting the best player and ultimately probably wins this deal, but Howson did pretty well in landing two guys who will help the team immediately; aside from failing to land a conditional first round pick if the Rangers win the Cup this looks a lot like the Pronger deal but with a little more immediate help and 100% less Joffrey Lupul. It’s certainly miles better than Doug Weight for Jochen Hecht, Marty Reasoner, and Jan Horacek.

Now, as Jason Gregor accurately points out, Howson has a lot of pieces and likely isn’t done making deals; if he can move one of his defenders for some good forward help and his goaltenders don’t spectacularly self-destruct (they’ve done that a lot lately) than Columbus might even be surprisingly good next season. If on the other hand Sergei Bobrovsky plays like he did last season and Steve Mason plays like Steve Mason… it’ll be another long year and television will have another ex-Blue Jackets G.M.

Shea Weber

It’s too bad for Philadelphia that Nashville doesn’t play in their division, because the offer sheet to Shea Weber brutalized the Predators. It was a ballsy move that probably would have worked out if Nashville had managed to hang on to Ryan Suter, but with the Predators stuck between a rock and a hard place they opted to pay a heavy financial price rather than lose their franchise defenseman.

Philadelphia deserves top marks for trying, but unless they feel like doing the same thing with P.K. Subban they’re in a tough spot because there really aren’t that many good defensemen available.

Weber loses because he’s now stuck in Nashville (and the team has no reason to give him a no-trade clause), Philadelphia loses because they still have a gaping hole on defense and the Predators lose because they’re paying a ton of money up front. The winners? Weber’s agent takes home a nice cut and of course Paul Holmgren continues to pad his resume as the league’s most interesting G.M. (it was already pretty impressive – the Carter/Richards trades, the over-35 Pronger contract, the Bryzgalov signing, etc.).

Kent Left Town

Yes, Wanye’s designated Nation overlord Kent Wilson left for his honeymoon, leaving Jason Gregor, Thomas Drance and yours truly to do things that he normally does. History shows that three people overseeing things is totally stable – for instance, back in Rome the First Triumvirate… okay, two of the three guys died, bad example, but the Second Triumvirate… okay, one death, one exile and a whole bunch of civil war.

Hmmm. Well, if I do less writing over the next few weeks it’s definitely because not much is happening and would have nothing to do scheming, plotting, or nefarious planning.