Posted on: February 22, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:17 pm

NHL Trade Recap – 2/22/2011

NHL GMs have been busy leading up to the 2/28 trade deadline with numerous trade being made already. Let’s take a look at some of the deals that have already gone down as of yesterday:

Colorado acquires Brian Elliot from Ottawa in exchange for Craig Anderson – I immediately Tweeted (@Ed_Welsh) about this one as I felt it was just a swap out of two mediocre goaltenders. Anderson has had one good season in the NHL and may never repeat it. Although, that is one great season more than Elliot. I have no idea why the Avs make this deal as it is my opinion that only the Sens have a chance of winning this deal.

Boston acquires Tomas Kaberle from Toronto in exchange for prospect Joe Colborne, Boston’s 2011 first round pick and a conditional second round pick in 2012 – Toronto gets real good value for Kaberle here. Colborne is having a pretty good rookie AHL season so far this year and the first and second round picks are just what the prospect starved Leafs need to re-stock the system. Boston has the prospects to be able to pay the steep price, although if they can re-sign Kaberle beyond this season, the price doesn’t seem too out of balance.

San Jose acquires Ian White from Carolina for a 2012 second round pick – The Sharks needed someone blue line help and they get it in White. Carolina picks up a low end second rounder for a guy that was basically falling into the third pairing.

Tampa Bay acquires Eric Brewer from St. Louis for Brock Beukeboom and their 2011 third round pick – Good trade for both teams here. Brewer was falling down the depth chart in St. Louis thanks to their tremendous young depth on the blue line, so they pick up some future in return for a veteran providing diminishing returns. For Tampa, it’s a small price to pay as Brewer is exactly the type of veteran presence they need as they attempt to go deep into the playoffs this season.

Colorado acquires Eric Johnson, Jay McClement, and a conditional first round pick from St. Louis in exchange for Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk, and a conditional second round pick – The biggest deal thus far with a marquee name on both sides. However, I like this for the Blues much more than the Avs. Basically, the Blues are in a much better position to lose Johnson than the Avs are to lose Stewart. With Pietrangelo taking the reigns as the #1 defenseman in St. Louis, losing Johnson is a easier pill to swallow, especially when you have bruising Barrett Jackman still around and you are getting an offensive puck-mover back in Shattenkirk. Colorado loses a budding power forward, with no one ready to assume that role and gets back McClement, who is best suited for thrid line center, a position they already had filled in O’Reilly.

Pittsburgh acquires James Neal and Matt Niskanen from Dallas in exchange for Alex Goligoski – I am on the Stars bashing bandwagon on this one. I don’t care how much payroll this trims. Neal has scored 20+ goals the last two seasons and is on pace to push 30 this season. At his age, it should take moving mountains to get him off the team. But instead, the Stars “throw-in” Niskanen and all they get in return is Goligoski. Goligoski is a nice puck-moving defenseman, but he has been wildly inconsistent and you are now hoping that he will gain that consistency by being higher on your depth chart than he was on Pittsburgh’s. This one is a slam dunk for the Pens, as if Niskanen responds well to a change of scenery, this will go down as an all out thievery.

Follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Welsh

Posted on: November 1, 2010 9:18 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 3:28 pm

NHL thoughts and opinions 11/1

  • Quote of he day comes from Pat Verbeek, regarding his availability to play golf: “Now that I’m retired, I have more chances to do what I love.” Could someone tell Pat that he is not retired and holds the post of Director of Pro Scouting for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I guess he isn’t working very hard.
  • I want to know who does the statistical analysis for NHL.com. Today they posted two articles regarding rookies. One was about how Taylor Hall is off to a disappointing start, but current Stars like Joe Thornton, Steve Stamkos, and Vincent Lecavalier started off slowly as well. Then, there was another article about rookies that have started the season hot. I found it interesting that Hall’s 2 goals and 3 assists qualified as starting poorly, but Tyler Seguin’s 3 goals and 2 assists, while playing on a much better team, had him on the hot list. 
  • I am in shock at how poorly Mike Comrie has played for the Penguins. When they signed him, I truly thought he would have a comeback year being able to play with young superstars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Instead, he has found himself playing on the fourth line. Mike, if you can’t produce playing with those guys, it might be time to hang it up.
  • USA Today’s Kevin Allen tweeted an interesting stat today. The Devils have a -19 goal differential so far this season. They have not had a negative differential for an entire season since the 1988-89 campaign. Some people (EJ Hradek) continually point to a young and inexperienced blueline as the cause. However, the stats just don’t back it up. The Devils are giving up around 27 shots per game, not a terrible number. The stat that has me concerned is Martin Brodeur’s .902 save percentage number. Other than the 1991-92 season, when he only played 4 games, Martin Brodeur has never had that low of a save percentage. 
Follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Welsh
Posted on: October 14, 2010 10:21 am
Edited on: October 14, 2010 10:29 am

Two “Cup Contenders”, Zero Home Victories

At the beginning of the season, there was a tremendous amount of talk regarding how good the Penguins and the Blackhawks would be. Many “experts” were picking these two teams to represent their respective conferences in next year’s Stanley Cup Finals. So far this season, neither has impressed. I realize it is early in the season, but there are reasons for concern about both teams.

Let’s start with the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Every time I read an article about them, I play the “How Many Times will the Word Core Appear in this Article” game. Yes, they have a tremendous group of high level players. Toews, Kane, and Hossa are three great forwards, Duncan Keith is the reigning Norris Trophy winner and young enough to add more of those to his collection, and Brent Seabrook is a terrific second fiddle to Keith. Dave Bolland is a very nice defensive minded forward, Patrick Sharp is a good all-around player and the team’s second pair defense is better than average with Hjalmarsson and Campbell (at $7.5 mil per season, he’s ridiculously overpriced, but that’s a different conversation).

It is the next group of players that has me concerned. It is no secret that Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, John Madden, and Antti Niemi all played key roles in the ‘Hawks Stanley Cup victory. To replace these players with the likes of Viktor Stahlberg, Fernando Pisani, Jake Dowell, Jack Skille, and Marty Turco, one would have to expect a decrease in overall performance. Byfuglien and Versteeg are top six caliber forwards, only Skille from this list has the potential to be that good this season. No one on that list can play defense, win face-offs, and provide the veteran leadership that left with Madden. And I have never seen Marty Turco play as well in the playoffs as Niemi did in the San Jose and Vancouver series. Now that Chicago has started the season 1-2-1 with uninspired play from Turco, and losing at home to the Predators (last season’s first round opponent) one cannot help questioning the legitimacy of their Cup contender status.

The Penguins are in a completely different situation and I have more faith that the early start is not necessarily indicative of overhyped expectations. However, there are some things about the first four games that are concerning.

First and foremost, this team misses Sergei Gonchar. Alex Goligoski has produced on the power play, but it just doesn’t feel as smooth and controlled as it has in the past with Gonchar in the lineup. The fact that there has been production is nice, and the season is young with time for everything to develop and settle down. But from what I have seen so far, there is reason to believe the Penguins’ power play may see a dip in effectiveness this season. The other big issue that has reared its ugly head in the early goings is the play of Marc-Andre Fluery. His performance against the Leafs was downright awful. There is no way a contending team should ever lose a game 4-3 when they only allow 14 shots on goal. The team did everything it could to win that game, but Fluery lost it for them. He now stands at 0-3 on the season with an .853 save percentage allowing 10 goals on only 68 shots faced. In no way do I think his numbers will be that low all season, but teams don’t win Cups with goaltenders that lose them games. His inconsistency has hurt them in the past in the playoffs and he needed a good start to the year to silence his critics. All he has done so far is turn up their volume.

Overall, the Penguins stand a much better chance at winning the Cup this season than the Blackhawks do. With Jordan Staal skating, Pittsburgh will see improved play from their forwards. If the power play can settle down and be effective the whole season, and Fluery can play in the playoffs the way he did two years ago, the Penguins could win it all. For the ‘Hawks, I just don’t see how you can lose that much talent and depth at forward and still win consistently. Other Western Conference teams have improved since last season and I don’t see Chicago having the depth to overcome the injuries and grind of the playoffs.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com