Thursday, March 5, 2009

Trade Deadline Retrospective

Just a few thoughts about Trade Deadline Day before moving on to the business at hand -- the stretch run to the playoffs.

Howson Gets An A -- Some are questioning the Leclaire/Vermette deal, but here is why it was the perfect deal at the perfect time:

  • Whether or not he is "THE" center we have craved, Vermette is a skilled scorer, faceoff artist and special teams player. Right at the top of the forwards available yesterday.
  • He comes with an existing contract, so is not a "rental". Moreover, the terms of the contract are reasonable for what we are getting
  • Leclaire has never played more than 12 consecutive games in a season. His maximum games played is 56, last year. Before that, his top number was 45, in juniors in 2001-2002.
  • Leclaire relies on his lower body for his effectiveness as he lacks size, and has adopted a "leggsy" style. How ankle surgery will impact that going forward is a significant risk.
  • Leclaire's contract escalates over the next two years. Holding on to him increases the risk exponentially. If we get to next year and the ankle is not better, or gets reinjured, he has zero trade value, and we take a huge cap hit.
  • This move addresses a know problem area, without losing any existing roster contributors. The net effect for the immediate term is a reduction in cap hit, though one can see a significant raise in Mr. Mason's future.
  • This is not the end of the roster moves. We still have the draft coming up, as well as free agency. Expect some key moves during those windows.
  • The 2nd round draft choice is a non-issue. We have plenty of draft choices, and a surplus of young talent in the system. It was a resonable price to pay for getting a top 6 forward, with another year on his contract, and having Ottawa assume the risk on Leclaire's injury.

In summary, Howson met the goal in a fiscally responsible manner, while reducing organizational risk, sticking to his vision for the club and keeping options open down the line. Really can't argue with that.

What were they thinking? Minnesota does nothing, Anaheim dumps, Edmonton does little, L.A. and St. Louis almost nothing. Are they in a playoff race? Huh? Dallas claims an aging and crippled Brendan Morrison off of waivers -- not a solution for the Brad Richards gap--but does nothing else. The Rangers do their best impersonation of the NY Knicks and add bodies without rhyme or reason. Who will be left at year's end, and at what price? Phoenix will need the whole off season to sort through the bodies they accumulated, but not sure there is a rhyme or reason to it, other than the predictable salary dump.

Interesting stuff, but the races are decided on the ice. Preds preview to follow shortly. Go Jackets!!

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