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Trade Deadline Day: AKA Antacid Anyone?

February 28, 2012

Its Deadline Day! Alternatively known as a hockey fan’s second Christmas or Black [enter day here].  The day every fan hopes their team’s GM makes the trade(s) that: a) Rewrites their immediate future and Wins them the Cup, b) Rewrites the future and makes it all about the upcoming draft and Winning the Cup in the next few years or c) stands pat and Wins them the Cup.

This year’s deadline day was built up by the media as usual – ‘Watch/Follow us here!’ on Twitter, internet stream or TV ticker.  There were a few ‘name’ players whose names were being bandied about, Nash from Columbus, Ott from Dallas, but nobody seemed to want to get started.  Some pre-deadline deals were made, but aside from the Carter trade to L.A., nothing exciting was happening.

It was almost noon before Montreal hit the board, sending Andre Kostitsyn to Nashville to join his younger brother Sergei for a 2nd rd 2013 and conditional 5th in 2013.  Nashville hopes it has bolstered its scoring to go along with solid goaltending and defence.  A flurry of minor trades were completed before the first ‘big’ trade was announced – with the San Jose Sharks sending F Jamie McGinn and prospects F Mike Connolly and F Michael Sgarbossa to the Colorado Avalanche for F Daniel Winnik, F T.J. Galiardi and a 7th rd 2013.  Following some more minor trades the two larges trades of the day had Buffalo sending Paul Gaustad and a 4th rd 2013 to the Nashville Predators for their 1st rd 2013 and finally Vancouver shipped Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer to Buffalo for Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani.

Vancouver fans are not happy to see Hodgson leave, but if he had to go, better  to the Eastern Conference than to a division rival.  After last year’s SCF, it was obvious to most that the Canucks needed some grit to go along with their tremendous amounts of skill.  Kassian should fill that bill well. A tough kid with some scoring touch, he should give opponents a reason to think before trying that Sedin punching bag routine again. Hard to move a kid like Hodgson after they’d finally gotten to see what he could do when healthy, but you have to give something to get something.

But for all the lead-up to this day, nobody made much of a splash. Many teams did nothing, because, as one GM stated – the asking prices were too high.  Montreal, Calgary and Toronto did not blow up their respective teams.  The Habs made one minor trade (Kostitsyn), Calgary did nothing and Toronto moved Keith Aulie to Tampa Bay for Carter Ashton and Dale Mitchell to Anaheim for Mark Fraser. Buffalo made the most of what they could get, and Hodgson should add some flash, but nothing exactly earth-shattering.

For Maple Leaf fans, this wasn’t what some wanted to see, but its hard to tell what would have placated the impatient Leaf Nation at this point. After suffering through too many losing seasons and being teased with the playoffs this year, there isn’t a lot that would improve this team without blowing it up at the same time.  I am personally happy that minor moves were made if it meant we didn’t make throwaway trades just for the sake of making some sort of media splash. The Mitchell for Fraser appears to be an AHL player one-for-one swap, while Ashton appears to be a solid prospect in the Burke mold and Aulie needed a chance to play.

I fall into none of my three categories – my GM did not make any vast promises about Winning the Cup, nor did the moves he made make any claims for him. The closest he came was “b) Rewrites the future and makes it all about the upcoming draft and Winning the Cup in the next few years.” I really hope we get there. Cue the laughter.

To Brian Burke – thanks for NOT trading Mikhail Grabovski, sincerely, this Leafs fan.

Full list of trades and analysis at NHL.com.

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