Team-by-Team Grades

Hope you guys had fun as much as I did. I was hoping for more and it was up and down on Tuesday where some trades happened in a row and then we went through stretches of boredom.

Still, thanks to Trademan and Lint07. We’re a great team. I was very pleased with the way we changed the layout of the front page. I know it may have not looked as nice, but it gave us, and you, more flow to navigate the links and refresh the page. We were packed and when we’re packed with high traffic, we cannot work the Web site. While it’s frustrating, it is great news for us as well! So, thanks Trademan for allowing me to get the news up on the go, and Lint07 did an excellent job as well. Poor guy was so sick……SO SICK……that he had to stay home from work. Such a brave Habs fan, is he not? Heart and soul guy….smart, yet….not even GM Gainey would trade an 8th rounder for him!

Thanks for your support, the HTR members and the Guests. You make our work fun to do! Check out my grades on the teams for Monday-Tuesday deals.Calgary: B.; David Hale, young…solid d-man for just a 3rd.

Colorado: D; Did nothing to improve the organization in any way shape. Nothing for the future, nothing for the now.

Edmonton:C; The Ryan Smyth deal was just such a shocker, yet the return value was excellent on paper. Will both prospects turn out good? We shall hope. Why does EDM get a C? If they dealt M-A Bergeron, and Ryan Smyth….then why did they even bother to keep Petr Sykora and other players who won’t help the team in rebuilding years? I think they should have kept Smyth despite improving their future.

Minnesota:C+; Adding Dominic Moore gives Lemaire a hard working young center that fits the system perfectly.

Vancouver: B+; Excellent gets in Brian Smolinski and bringing back Brent Sopel. More depth that fits the look of the Canucks this year, and little has been traded away.

Boston: B; They gained a stay at home physical d-man in Aaron Ward, who works hard, and despite trading away Paul Mara, offensive, Dennis Wideman is a great get for the Bruins. Brad Boyes only had two goals in 26 games. Just two.

Buffalo:C- ; Martin Biron for next to nothing and Ty Conklin replaces him? I mean, where is the logic in that? With all the injuries this team had, Biron should have landed another body. Zubrus is overrated and his numbers should be credited to Alex Ovechkin. A first rounder for Zubrus? Good luck re-signing a 2nd-tier player.

Montreal: F; What was this? Trading Rivet for Josh Georges and a 1st and then do nothing? Get a character player for crying out loud! Montreal played the cards yet left the table. What kind of move is that? When you trade a well-liked player, that upset your players as well, for a 1st rounder, and you are still trying to make the playoffs, you just CANNNNNNNOT stay put the next day.

Ottawa: C+; They needed playoff experience, someone to rely on in the playoffs and Roberts was the target. So from Roberts to Saprykin is quite a line of difference. Yet, the grade C+ is not that bad. I still think Saprykin has potential and could flourish well in Ottawa.

Toronto: C; Very average and Yannic Perreault is a great get, but it does not give them that much needed winger. Stayed too quiet and is just rolling a dice with what he’s got with this team as far as making the playoffs.

Anaheim: Inc; Didn’t do anything! Bad thing? Detroit, Vancouver, and San Jose got better. Good thing? Burke may not win it this year with this year’s Ducks, but keeping the young core and nucleus, which will only gain goodness in the post-season, makes the Ducks a more dangerous team next season.

Dallas: B; Very mellow as a low scoring team, but in typical Dallas Stars fashion, they strengthened the defense with a solid player in Matty Norstrom, veteran, experience…. and stabilized the blueline. The bad part is that the Stars should have gotten an insurance back-up goalie.

Los Angeles: B+; Yeah, may be an exaggerated grade, but Nortstrom had no future and it was time to let go. Modry is back in LA, where he did well, and a 1st in 2008 (should be a better class than 2007), a 2nd and a 3rd in 2007. Not bad at all. Jason Ward to the Bolts was meaningless. Imagine if they kept Avery? A 2nd rounder at the very LEAST would go to LA.

Phoenix: D; Traded Oleg Saprykin, which does exactly what to the team? A nice 2nd rounder, but the Coyotes were most likely expecting more interest in their players. Yannic Perreault dealt for a good return from the Maple Leafs and Georges Laraque…well…not much there. Owen Nolan refused to be traded as his wife is pregnant. I thikn the Coyotes believe they can put a better team next season. Haven’t they been doing this for the past few years though? (segment corrected).

San Jose: B+; Billy Guerin with Joe Thornton? If that works out, then Guerin has a good chance of re-signing with the Sharks as well. Less attention on Cheechoo. A first rounder was obvious (from NJ though), Nieminen nothing special to the team. Great acquisition. Smoked the other GMs who were being too cheap.

New Jersey: D; They needed to clear cap space so they traded a good young defenseman in David Hale to the Calgary Flames. Mmmmm..hmmm…..

New York Islanders: A; I love gutsy move and Garth Snow just wants to smack around the other GMs that poke fun at his rookie season. Ryan Smyth, wow. I had a strong feeling Smyth was going to get traded, and I connected the Oilers to the Rangers as they have a relationship. I was surprised when I read that Smyth re-signed, and yet when I saw him become an Islander…wowzers. Yeah the Isle’s traded a lot, but who gives a damn. This guy is heart and soul and he will make such a drastic change for the Isle’s. Jason Blake thought he was the real leader of the team playing with a heart and soul style of hockey and thought he was the Isle’s first priority. Snow replied to Blake’s untimely request of a contract renewal by telling Blake “I have a better option, have a nice summer”. Smyth is Captain material…he deserves to get a long-term contract on Long Island. Snow also killed any hopes for the New York Rangers to make the playoffs as they will play them six times in the next couple of months. I just loved this trade and Snow showed guts. Isle’s draft picks have been mediocre in recent years, and Snow wants to get this team back in action. Smyth is a great starting point. I think the Isle’s will win the first round and play hard in the second round with Smyth. Rick DiPietro in net and this team is over-achieving, they have so much confidence. As a Rangers fan, I have sinned, but the Isle’s get my support for this trade.

New York Rangers: C+ ; I was wondering if Paul Mara was worth a get for the Rangers once Brad Stuart was dealt to the Flames. Here is a good 2-way d-man who scored 15 goals as a Coyote and ended up on a mediocre and unstable Bruins team. He has size, offensively gifted. Aaron Ward was just not going to last with the way he was playing. Forget the Jagr argument he had. Ward was just not fitting in. Nice try and I liked his efforts, but he looked like a rookie on most nights. Pascal Dupuis for a top Thrasher prospect, former 15th overall pick. Not expected to become a 1st line player, but a good 2nd line guy? Yeah, Rangers need that! So, two good moves yet a C+? They sold, yet they bought, and therefore they have no clue what to do. Larry Brooks did though. He would have traded Jagr….

Philadelphia: A-; Very weird Biron trade as they could lose him to free agency. Yet, a 2nd rounder for a starting goalie is not so bad either. Lasse Kukkonen will be a solid depth d-man. Calder out of the way is a big plus. Flyers look good for the future and can still look good next season. Not bad….

Pittsburgh: C+; Noah Welch was expandable, although they have to cross their fingers that Gary Roberts does not get injured. A young d-man who can become top-4 on a team for a 41-year old injury prone rental? Hmmm…. not that convincing, yet Roberts can offer so much. Laraque was a useless trade in my opinion. Why do teams want this guy? He is useless.

Chicago: C; I didn’t quite understand the Lasse Kukkonen trade for Jason Williams. Williams is gifted and may pan out in Chicago, but he may not and that’s the risk. They had the young defensive depth, but it just seemed so……unnecessary. Brian Smolinski had to be traded and draft picks can be good, yet….no one will remember this trade until those picks become NHL’ers in four years or so; IF they ever do. I like the addition of Nikita Alexeev. Big body, potential, and could be a nice project. Still, I think the Hawks could have gotten better talent in return overall.

Columbus: F; Please, fire GM MacLean. Doesn’t ownership see where the money has been going in recent years? How about down the toilet of an Australian cheapo gas station in the middle of nowhere? Why did i say Australian? I think it’s cool that toilet water cycles the opposite way. Seriously speaking though, this guy has been a disaster to this hockey club. He didn’t come up with anything on TD-Day….has useless players, overpaid too. Fire the guy, period.

Detroit: B+; They could have gotten an A and I’ll tell you why. No key roster player was given away. That’s always best when you are a great team entering the playoffs. Why did they not get the A? Because Kyle Calder is a crap shoot and he may just be a waste of time. Todd Bertuzzi (thumbs up to Trademan for making the right call on Bert to DET) may not be back in two, three weeks. When he does, he is questionable. How many games will he play? I forgot who, but it may have been on the Team 990 or the Fan 590 where the host of the radio show said how Bertuzzi would play at his best since it is his contract year. Sure, I concur. But, Bertuzzi’s game is physical and that’s when he plays best. He will be prone to injury. If Calder does nothing and Bertuzzi cannot stay healthy enough to play significantly….then the Red Wings did not get anything on deadline to make themselves better. The plus is that they really didn’t lose anyone special. Williams was done anyway. Shawn Matthias is a very good prospect, but a few years away.

Nashville: Inc.; Forsberg was the only trade and nothing else happened. Does not mean it’s a bad thing though.

St. Louis: B+; They earned some much in youth assets with youngsters and picks…yet why did they not trade Martin Rucinsky? Brad Boyes was worth a shot. Still, I am not making a big deal about this guy. He had just two goals in 26 games recently. To me, that’s a bust. The Blues can get back on track next season; HUGE plus if they do as on top of that, their future finally got better aftre years of diminishing their farm system.

Atlanta: D; Sorry, I know Tkachuk was a great player to get, Zhitnik helps, and so on, but GM Don Waddell just DESTROYED the future of this franchise. He traded way too much future just to make the playoffs and evidently go deep. But, the playoffs are no sure thing either. I mean, he traded a top prospect of the organization in Alex Bourret for Pascal Dupuis and a 3rd rounder? Insanity. Will Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk re-sign once they become UFA’s? Good chance they won’t, and if so….by then this hockey club will have NO future. No good young players to make up for such lost talent. All that happened because he hit the panic mode, feared he would lose his job and just to make the playoffs. If they do, they will be dangerous, but a 1st round exit earns him right to be fired as well. He killed this franchise, and he knows it.

Carolina: C; Not that bad of a grade. They traded only a 5th for Anson Carter and that was it, as I so said when it happened. The Hurricanes won the Cup, they traded away assets in 2006 and giving away Jack Johnson was not so brilliant either. If anything he should have been traded to get a key player now; maybe even Forsberg. So…GM Rutherford didn’t have much flexibility and kept it simple in hopes that his team makes the playoffs.

Florida: B-; I’m being nice as Jacques Martin is a rookie GM and he inherited the players he traded. I think he should have sold completely. I don’t know why Martin Gelinas and Eddie Belfour were not traded. So, the only theory I have is that no Cup contender made a decent offer for Martin Gelinas, or made no offers. Gelinas said he would have waived his no-trade caluse if he was headed to a Cup contender, so maybe none did and only teams on the bubble where he declined to waive it. Goalie market was too poor and Belfour was not as sought after as people thought. It’s possible that he may stay in Florida at this point for next season too. Yet, concentrating on the trades…. Martin was not interested in draft picks. Martin wanted NHL ready players and Noah Welch for Gary Roberts made sense. He has potential and could become a solid top four d-man on the team. Joel Kwitkowski, a decent utility player, was traded for a 4th rounder to make room for Welch. Todd Bertuzzi was suspected by many to NOT be traded. So…it’s a plus that Martin got anything in return for him and Shawn Matthias is a very good prospect.

Tampa Bay: Inc.; They traded Nikita Alexeev for Karl Stewart, but no issues were addressed by the Bolts.

Washington: C; I know, they did the right thing to let Danius Zubrus walk away with his pathetic contract request, but this team did nothing to improve really. They lost two of their top six forwards and now it’s really just Ovechkin and Semin alone. The Caps better act quickly in the off-season and give Ovechkin a well deserved 1st liner. If not, Ovechkin has every right to demand a trade. Nonetheless, Novtony is a pretty good player and a 1st rounder can always be valuable.

Thanks all for reading and thank you again for sticking around Cannot wait for the Entry Draft and better yet, the off-season. I love the trade deadline and maybe for a lot of people it is more exciting than free agency. I would have agreed to that a couple of years ago. But now with younger UFA’s and more free agents? I think July will be an interesting month.

Micki Peroni