It started out as but a trickle of activity where many were predicting a flood. Goalies were thought to be the commodity that would be the most visible but in the end the roof caved in on the netminder market and not a whole lot happened there. However, when all was said and done, deadline day provided a steady influx of medium sized artillery shots that were highlighted by a Big Bertha at the very end. Here then, is the first half of a two part series, detailing the Eastern Conference, examining how each team did once the GM’s lit their cigars, sat down behind their desks, had the coffee and donuts delivered, and started talking turkey. Each team is given a mark 1 through 10 with 10 being excellent. In case of a tie, the teams are listed in alphabetical order.
What They Got: Yuri Butsayev , Kirill Safronov, Ruslan Zainullin, Joe DiPenta, Francis Lessard, 2002 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th Round Picks
What They Lost: Ray Ferraro, Jiri Slegr, Bob Corkum, Darcy Hordichuk, Jarrod Skalde, David Harlock, 2002 4th, 5th, Round Picks, 2003 3rd, 7th Round Picks
Synopsis: Kudos to Thrasher GM Don Waddell, he wins the coveted Golden Cigar Award for the Eastern Conference. He wheeled and dealed and wheeled some more all with a definite plan in mind. At the end of deadline he found himself minus three roster players he was going to lose anyway, one call up and two career minor leaguers. For that he received a possible third liner (Butsayev) two top end prospects (Safronov, Zainullin), and two blueliners who still need some work but could surprise in time (DiPenta, Lessard). The picks are more or less a wash, but you’ve really got to like who he’s transformed age into youth here. He should write a How-To book.
What They Got: Benoit Hogue, Maxime Ouellet, 2002 1st, 2nd, 3rd Round Picks
What They Lost: Adam Oates
Synopsis: It looks like Caps GM George McPhee is going to take the Chinese Army approach to the 2002 Entry Draft and overwhelm everyone else with sheer numbers after yesterday’s deal with Philadelphia. The package he received for Adam Oates makes this easily the most one-sided trade of this year’s deadline and McPhee should be commended for getting the most bang for the buck. Maxime Ouellet at the very least he can be used as trade bait down the road.
What They Got: Marty McInnis, Sean Brown, Jeff Norton
What They Lost: Benoit Hogue, Bobby Allen, 2002 3rd, 6th Round Pick
Synopsis: The Bruins didn’t do a lot at the deadline but then again they didn’t need to, especially if they are indeed serious about re-signing Bill Guerin and Byron Dafoe this summer. They added a couple bodies to the blueline, one from belligerent column A (Brown) and one from pass happy column B (Norton). That said, the guy to watch out for is Marty McInnis, a chowderhead returning home. A nice balancing act by Mike O’Connell.
What They Got: Bill Lindsay, Stephane Fiset
What They Lost: Conditional Draft Pick
Synopsis: Andre Savard didn’t want to mess with a good thing by moving some of his prospects in Quebec City and didn’t. Smart move. The Habs have really built themselves up since he’s taken over and standing pat now will pay dividends later. However, not to be forgotten was the waiver wire pick up of Bill Lindsay. It cost Savard nothing but cash and it just made Montreal that much tougher to play against. Another smart move. As for Fiset, that one’s a bit of a wildcard because no one knows what the pick is but he’s not a bad guy for Theodore to have in the lockerroom before games. Three for three.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
What They Got: Joe Nieuwendyk, Jamie Langenbrunner, Stephane Richer.
What They Lost: Jason Arnott, Randy McKay, 2002 1st Round Pick, 2003 Conditional Pick.
Synopsis: The equivalent of last minute Christmas shoppers, Devils GM Lou Lamereillo didn’t do anything up until the very end but when he did finally pull the trigger it was a doozy. The trade that brought Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner into the fold will not only ensure New Jersey a playoff spot but will make them a very dangerous opponent once there. The only downside here was the cost. Only two years ago Arnott was a dominant presence in the middle and first rounders are always hard to part with.
What They Got: Igor Ulanov, Filip Novak, 2002 1st, 2nd, 6th Round Picks 2003 4th, 5th Round Pick
What They Lost: Pavel Bure, Darren Van Impe, Jeff Norton, Bill Lindsay, 2002 2nd Round Pick
Synopsis: By moving Pavel Bure, Jeff Norton, and Darren Van Impe there is little doubt as to which direction Mike Keenan and his GM sidekick Chuck Fletcher are taking this club. There will be some that say that the Panthers got fleeced by Rangers GM Glen Sather, but make no mistake, this was a case of addition by subtraction. There was absolutely no way Keenan could put his program in place with the Russian Rocket in the dressing room. Armed with a bunch of picks in the upcoming draft, expect Iron Mike to target players with grit to complement the skill guys already in the system.
NEW YORK RANGERS
What They Got: Pavel Bure, Tom Poti, Martin Rucinsky, Roman Lyashenko, Rem Murray, Richard Lintner, 2002 2nd Round Pick
What They Lost: Mike York, Igor Ulanov, Manny Malhotra, Peter Smrek, Filip Novak,
Barrett Heisten, 2002 1st, 2nd, 4th Round Picks, 2003 4th Round Pick
Synopsis: If nothing else Rags GM Glen Sather gets an ‘A’ for effort. He definitely didn’t shy away from pulling the trigger on the big deal when it came time to do so. However, despite the obvious influx of talent, you have to wonder if the Blueshirts performance as a team will actually total the sum of their parts. The dressingroom was already a combustible mess with Eric Lindros, Theo Fluery, Petr Nedved and Vlad Malakhov in it. And now Slats wants to add Bure to the mix? Yikes!
What They Got: Ville Nieminen, Jamie Pushor, Rick Berry, Kent Manderville, Bert Robertsson, 2003 Conditional Pick.
What They Lost: Darius Kasparaitis, Stephane Richer, Billy Tibbetts, Mark Moore, 2003 4th Round Pick.
Synopsis: The big catch was Ville Nieminen who, despite the sophomore slump, has the wherewithal to be a pretty darn good forward in this league. They’ve also more than made up for Kasparitus’ grit on the blueline by importing Pushor and rookie Rick Berry. They may not be as high profile as their predecessor, but they’ll get the job done. Manderville and Robertsson were strictly pick-ups based on their experience which the organization is going to need in coming years.
What They Got: Adam Oates, Billy Tibbetts, David Harlock, Jarrod Skalde, 2003 3rd, 7th Round Picks
What They Lost: Maxime Ouellet, Kent Manderville, Francis Lessard, Joe DiPenta, 2002 1st, 2nd, 3rd Round Picks.
Synopsis: Most of the early deals consisted of my scraps for your scraps with the Flyers’ organization looking to bolster the AHL Phantoms for a Calder Cup run by importing veterans like Skalde and Harlock. That said, the deal this deadline will be remembered for is the one that brought Adam Oates to Philly. Oates was the Cadillac of pivots but surely Clarke could have had Joe Nieuwendyk, a Stanley Cup winner, for less
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
What They Got: Shane Willis, Chris Dingman, Andre Roy, 2002 6th Round Pick
What They Lost: Kevin Weekes, Juha Ylonen
Synopsis: They didn’t give up anything they couldn’t afford to lose in Weekes and Ylonen but there are a lot of question marks in what they got in return. Dingman has always had skating problems, and no one knows for sure if Willis is over his concussion problems. About the surest thing there is Andre Roy who has been slowly, but steadily developing a game to go with his grit since entering the league a few years back. If Willis does turn out to be healthy, then things look better indeed.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
What They Got: Tom Barrasso, Marc Moro
What They Lost: D.J. Smith, Marty Wilford, 2003 4th Round Pick
Synopsis: With Curtis Joseph and Dimitry Yushkevich out it was imperative that the Leafs get help from somewhere for the back end. Corey Schwab came out of nowhere and that probably helped drive down the price for Barrasso. However, despite having two capable goalies in the fold and a trump card in Joseph, other than a minor deal for Marc Moro, nothing else was forthcoming for the blueline or anywhere else for that matter. It started out well, but a lack of finish brings down the final mark.
What They Got: Kevin Weekes, Ted Drury, 2003 4th Round Pick.
What They Lost: Tom Barrasso, Shane Willis, Chris Dingman, Mike Rucinski
Synopsis: The best laid plans of mice and men. When Carolina GM Jim Rutherford dealt for Kevin Weekes it looked like a masterstroke. Both the Habs’ Jeff Hackett and the BJ’s Marc Denis had been felled by injuries, thus taking the former and Ron Tugnutt off the block. With Weekes also gone, that left Barrasso as king of the hill among goalies. Unfortunately, no one but the Toronto Maple Leafs bit, and as such they could drive the price down. As for giving up on Shane Willis so soon, one can only speculate as to how serious his concussion problems might actually be.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
What They Got: Darren Van Impe, Dave Roche.
What They Lost: Ben Guite, Bjorn Melin, 2003 5th Round Pick.
Synopsis: They went into the day looking for looking for a fourth wheel on a three-wheeled truck that was their defense and could only come up with Darren Van Impe while their crosstown rivals traded for the man they wanted, Tom Poti. They also needed a burner to go with Alexei Yashin and couldn’t do anything there either. Again, the Rangers trumped them by taking the sniper de jour from under their noses in Pavel Bure and for a price they could have paid no doubt. All in all, a very disappointing effort.
What They Got: Bob Corkum
What They Lost: 2002 5th Round Pick
Synopsis: Let’s see, the one thing Buffalo needs more than anything is a playmaking pivot. They have all year long. They have snipers galore in Miro Satan, J.P. Dumont, and Maxim Afinogenov, but only one bonafide center who can pass in Tim Connolly. And they dealt for Bob Corkum why? Which brings up the next question. With the amount of defensemen on the move yesterday and the premium that was being put on centers why are Jason Woolley and Chris Gratton still Buffalo Sabres? If this team misses the playoffs, heads should roll.
What They Got: Juha Ylonen, Benoit Brunet
What They Lost: Andre Roy, 2002 6th Round Pick, Cond. 2003 Draft Pick
Synopsis: Bottom Line: They needed a big time pivot in the worst way and had the juice to go out and get one and didn’t. Adam Oates, Joe Nieuwendyk, or Marc Savard would have done wonders for the first line and even Chris Gratton would have looked better than Juha Ylonen centering the third line. Worse, the club got rid of one of the few sources of grit it had when it dealt Andre Roy to the Bolts. Excuse me, Mr. Johnson? That thing in flames over there, yeah, that thing there, that’s Rome.
Coming: Once The Smoke Clears (Part II)