Eric Tangradi carries the puck in a game against the Peterborough Petes. He's the 46th ranked prospect in Future Watch. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Trade deadline day is often a time when contending teams deal off picks and prospects in order to secure veteran talent for a playoff push or Cup run.
While that was the case to a certain extent Wednesday with 21 draft picks changing hands, there were very few top-end prospects on the move.
In fact, not one youngster in THN’s Future Watch ’09 top 75 – our annual NHL prospect magazine - was dealt on deadline day.
The closest were defenseman Matt Lashoff, Boston’s fourth-ranked prospect, right winger Martins Karsums, Boston’s ninth-ranked prospect (both of whom were dealt to Tampa for Mark Recchi and a ’10 second-rounder), goalie Timo Pielmeier, San Jose’s sixth-ranked prospect (who was swapped to Anaheim as part of the deal for Travis Moen and Kent Huskins), and Eric O’Dell, Anaheim’s ninth-ranked prospect (dealt to Atlanta for Eric Christensen).
One player in THN’s top 75 – No. 46 Eric Tangradi, formerly Anaheim’s second rated prospect – was traded a week ago today along with Chris Kunitz to Pittsburgh for Ryan Whitney.
By comparison, two players in the Future Watch ‘08’s top 75 were dealt last deadline when No. 51 Al Montoya moved from the Rangers to Phoenix and the Penguins sent No. 53 Angelo Esposito to Atlanta.
The reason so few blue-chippers found new future addresses this season is two-fold, and the salary cap plays a role in both.
First, the majority of contending teams are up against the ceiling and didn’t have the space to fit in a star player that would have necessitated a top prospect going the other way.
Second, even if they could have found space under the mandated $56.7 million budget, GMs are reticent to part with young talents because they will play a vital role filling lineup holes inexpensively.
Yet another reason why the teams that succeed year after year are the ones who do well on draft day, not deadline day.
A full 80 percent of the NHL’s member clubs were active on Wednesday, leaving only six teams that took a pass on the madness.
The GMs in Washington, Nashville, Montreal, Vancouver, Dallas and Detroit surely worked the phones looking to improve their teams, but obviously didn’t find anything to their liking. And that’s just fine.
There’s nothing wrong with dancing with the girl you brought.
I love the anticipation and drama of deadline day as much as anybody, but I’m sure many GMs, present and past, will tell you some of the best moves they made were the trades they didn’t make.
A BIG BOUW BOUW
One deal that should have been consummated Wednesday was Florida GM Jacques Martin finding a new home for Jay Bouwmeester, an impending UFA who has made it clear he won’t re-sign with the Panthers.
I’ve heard the arguments that Florida must make the playoffs this season, but I don’t buy it. The Cats are nowhere near being a serious Cup contender and bowing out quickly in the first round isn’t worth wasting an asset that could have netted a mighty bounty. Never mind the fact Florida’s chances of making the dance wouldn’t have been irrevocably damaged by dealing the 25-year-old.
Atlanta GM Don Waddell is still taking flak for forsaking the future to achieve a 2007 four-game sweep. The Panthers deserve similar derision.
Wondering which TV station had the best coverage? Who broke the most deals? TVGuide.ca’s Brian Richardson had a four-TV setup and humorously critiqued the four major Canadian networks.
Here are the video highlights. Click HERE to read his article on TVGuide.ca.
Edward Fraser is the editor of thehockeynews.com. His blog normally appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.