A different look on trade rumours- Jan. 29 Edition
Sorry for the delay… I had to catch up on some University work, but no worry: the wait did wonders for the article. This week: the Brian Savage trade, the Buffalo Sabres’ latest rumours and the Tom Poti rumours.The first topic is Savage, dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes with a 3rd-round draft pick by the Montreal Canadiens for Sergei Berezin. On the surface, it looks as though Phoenix won the deal, but, in truth, most of Savage’s 30 points came in October, so the deal is pretty balanced. I personally don’t like the inclusion of the 3rd-round pick: it seems too much to give up for a slumping Berezin, but Phoenix wants something that will produce in all months, not just the least important, October, and the pick could do that. Already both have made an impact for their new teams: Savage assisted in Phoenix’s 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, while Berezin scored in Montreal’s 3-1 upset of the San Jose Sharks. The deal has the potential to work out for both teams, as Berezin gets re-united with his best friend Yanic Perreault and Savage gets to escape the attacking Montreal media and the freezing cold for the relative obscurity of the warmth of Phoenix, so there will be less pressure. Still, both have to shape up: expectations are high and now that they’re in different places, it’s time for them to deliver.
Speaking of busts, I come now to the NHL’s biggest bust, the Buffalo Sabres. On top of the world one minute and on the bottom the next, the Sabres just can’t get anything going, so it’s no surprise that a few trade rumours have swirled. The first involves another sputterer, the Calgary Flames, where Marc Savard and Bob Boughner come to the Sabres for Richard Smehlik, Chris Gratton and future considerations. Something tells me I’ve seen this rumour before: either my eyes are playing a trick on me or, because of the repeat, the trade is bound to happen. Since both Savard and Gratton are slumping centres, the keys here are Smehlik and Boughner, and that prospect doesn’t look too good. Boughner is a thug with a bit of defensive skills, but Smehlik is competent both ways and would be a big loss to the Sabres’ defence. Not even Savard’s age is a saving grace, as he’s now at the age (24) where potential must now translate into results, a concept that Gratton has yet to learn himself. Still, a change of scenery could inject life into both, but I don’t like the prospects. The second rumour involves the New Jersey Devils acquiring Miroslav Satan (no joke) from Buffalo. Now, aside from the fact “Satan is a Devil” will be joked until the cows come home if this trade does happen, who will the Devils be willing to trade for Satan? Commenters on HTR suggest he is only going to move for a top gun like Petr Sykora, Bobby Holik or Patrik Elias, and, if that’s the case, it’s not going to happen. However, Satan is really streaky and Buffalo would be better off without him, and his streakiness drops his trade value below that of a superstar, so, ostensibly, Elias and Sykora are too much for Buffalo. However, the Devils’ top guns are slumping and could use a change of scenery, especially Sykora. The Sabres would thus dump a streaky superstar for a usually consistent Sykora, so the deal would work. Still, Satan’s worth as a Sabre is too much and the guilty pleasure Sabre fans get to enjoy with him (since he was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers for Barrie Moore and Craig Millar in a rare steal against Glen Sather) makes him too valuable to move. The Sabres do need a move, but it shouldn’t be Satan, Savard or Boughner: it has to be for a play-maker. Buffalo’s goaltending isn’t as good as it used to be, so they need to find players to help the offence out. Even though I’d rather see him fired, I still think Darcy Regier can save himself with one good deal, which he’s done before (e.g. the Rhett Warrener for Mike Wilson trade), so it’s now time for him to get a play-maker. I’m not going to suggest anyone (as it escapes me who the Sabres can offer), since Regier is knowledgeable and does know what he’s doing, so he can fix this mess. Right?
Another team with a mess is the Edmonton Oilers, who had dropped three straight prior to an uplifting 4-1 domination of Toronto yesterday. The hottest rumour centres around Poti, an offensive defenceman who has fallen on hard times a bit. Still, both the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers have expressed interest in him, but the offers are probably not what Oiler fans would like to think. Poti isn’t good enough to be had for a second-liner, which the Oilers desperately need, and is little better than a No. 4 defenceman, which can only net a third-liner. The Penguins are reportedly offering Milan Kraft, a prospect with huge upside, and his 10 points in 41 games is nearly the equal to Poti’s 15 points in 39 games and could be a huge boost to the Edmonton offence, but, despite being a regular, he’s not a second-line player, though he might develop that way. One commenter suggested the Rangers get involved with Jamie Lundmark, but I think the rising prospect is too valuable to the Rangers to give up. No matter who the Oilers trade, they should get a prospect, if only to save face with an investment that’s gone wrong.
That’s this week’s edition of “A different look on trade rumours”. Feel free to comment on these or any other trade rumours.
Trade Rumour update: Since I can’t get my trade rumour E-Mail to work, I’ll give my regular E-Mail address for anyone wishing to send me rumours, especially for the teams that don’t get reported on as much as the higher profile teams, as they don’t get much coverage for me here in Toronto. Just send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Trade Rumours”. Thanks.