The trade deadline has come and gone and with it will come analysis of the moves made. People will declare winners and losers but that isn’t how I look at these things.
When judging trades it is important to understand why each team made the moves that they did. You need to look at it from an asset management perspective. Some teams might “lose” the trades they make but if they were in a position of strength to gamble with their assets is that really a “loss”?
No trade is a sure thing and trading from a position of strength is the most important factor when trying to make good trades. Minimizing the risk to your team when making a deal is an incredibly important dynamic in the NHL salary cap landscape.
This deadline we saw examples on both sides of the equation.
Lets take a look at some of the deals made at this year’s trade deadline:
Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan, 2015 1st round pick and a conditional 2014 2nd round pick.
The conditional 2nd round pick becomes a 2014 1st round pick if the New York Rangers reach the Conference Finals this year.
If Ryan Callahan re-signs with the Lightning the Rangers will acquire the Lightning's 2nd round pick while Tampa Bay will gain New York's 7th round pick in 2015.
This trade featured a rare circumstance where teams traded captain for captain. Ryan Callahan may have misjudged his market value with the New York Rangers and Marty St. Louis pouted his way out of the Sunshine State.
Both teams have different motivation in this deal, Tampa’s looks to have more of a long term scope while the Rangers are definitely looking at this move with short term in mind.
The Rangers and Lightning each did what they had to do, their captains weren’t going to be playing with their respective teams much longer (for different reasons). Yzerman and Sather had to get something for their assets and did.
Marty St. Louis is the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner and is currently in the top 10 for scoring this year. He certainly gives the Rangers more offense and should make their team better.
Ryan Callahan is no Marty St. Louis but he should slot into a right wing position with Tampa and be a productive member for the Lightning as they try to be one of the dark horse teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers and Lightning made the best of a bad situation and I believe both teams should benefit from this deal. Marty St. Louis’ departure certainly hurts but the fact that the Lightning have Jonathan Drouin waiting in the wings helps soften that blow.
The Rangers will have to get another 2 or 3 years out of St. Louis for this deal to make sense for them. It is very possible that happens.
I think both teams did OK here.
Marian Gaborik to the Los Angeles Kings for Matt Frattin, 2014 2nd round pick, and a 2014 conditional 3rd round pick.
The 2nd round pick is a former Maple Leaf pick and the conditional 3rd round pick used to belong to the Edmonton Oilers. The Blue Jackets will obtain that 3rd round pick if Los Angeles wins a playoff series this year or Gaborik re-signs in LA.
The Kings motives are obvious, they have struggled to score goals and they went out and picked up a pretty darn good rental player who does just that.
The Blue Jackets decided that Gaborik was not in their long term plans and elected to move on from him instead of keeping him for the potential stretch run. Gaborik’s Columbus career was shorter than Jeff Carter’s (39 GP), Gaborik only played in 34 games.
Columbus actually played well without Gaborik probably making the decision process that much easier. Before Gaborik went down with his injury on December 21st the Blue Jackets were in 7th place in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 14-17-4. By the time Gaborik made his return on February 27th the Blue Jackets had jumped to 4th place and improved their record to 29-24-5. The Blue Jackets are tied with the Red Wings for the final wild card spot in the conference as of this moment.
The Kings are a Stanley Cup contender who needed a jump in the goal scoring department; they gave up assets they will more than likely not miss. The Blue Jackets get something in return for a player who wasn’t having a huge impact on their on ice success and they were going to lose for nothing anyways.
The Vancouver Canucks trade goaltender Roberto Luongo and forward Steven Anthony to the Florida Panthers for Goalie Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias.
Mike Gillis put on a clinic of how not to manage assets with how he handled his goaltending situation the past year. Roberto Luongo was supposed to be the long term goalie for the Canucks after signing a 12 year 64M deal, that was the plan.
Cory Schneider came along and opened up some eyes with his impressive play and in a turn of events became the Canucks go to goalie. That is OK, it happens sometimes. However, if that kind of switch is going to be made the general manager needs to be assertive and move the other goalie out of town in a prompt fashion. Gillis did anything but that.
Instead the Canucks GM got greedy with what he wanted in return and his hand was forced into trading Schneider at the 2013 draft for the 9th overall pick (Bo Horvat).
Instead of this being a vote of confidence for Luongo the Canucks turned once again to his back up, this time Eddie Lack. Lack starting over Luongo in the Heritage Classic was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Luongo had had enough.
Basically to recap: The Canucks traded for their franchise goalie (Luongo), invested into him for the long term, decided his backup was the better goalie (Schneider), failed to trade their franchise goalie, panicked and traded away future starter, played a backup over their franchise goalie again, and then traded away franchise goalie for pennies on the dollar.
The Canucks moved two #1 goalies out of town because they couldn’t figure things out. They are now left with Bo Horvat, Jacob Markstrom, and Shawn Mattias. Not exactly a huge haul given the quality of players they shipped out.
With the Luongo/Schneider saga officially in the rear view mirror you would think that the drama would be over for Vancouver but it is not. Ryan Kesler wants out and the Canucks elected to hang on to him instead of trading him. Fun times in Vancouver.
Mike Gillis, not big on asset management.
The Buffalo Sabres
Tim Murray understands asset management. He was hell bent on using any expiring contracts and flipping them for much needed draft picks for his massive rebuild.
The huge deal was obviously sending Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a 2015 1st round pick and a conditional 2014 3rd round pick. The conditional 3rd round pick could turn into a 1st round pick if Miller re-signs are Blues make the Conference Finals.
The Sabres also received two 2nd round picks from the Wild as well as forward Torrey Mitchell from the Wild in exchange for Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick.
Earlier in the day Murray dealt defense prospect Brayden McNabb, Jonathan Parker and two 2nd round picks to the LA Kings in exchange for Hunter Fasching, Nicholas Deslaurier, and a 3rd round pick. The two 2nd round picks going to LA are the ones that they traded away to Buffalo originally for defensemen Robyn Regehr.
Tim Murray did a nice job of getting a lot of assets back for players he would have most likely have lost via free agency. The Sabres are going to have no less than four 1st round picks in the next two years, exactly what they need.
Doug Armstrong deserves full marks for his decision to go for it. Armstrong gave up assets that will not hurt the current product but give his team as great of a chance as any to win the Stanley Cup. His team was in a position to stop building for the future and in a great spot to go for it now. Good job by the Blues.
Islanders trade Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens for a 2nd round pick and prospect Sebastian Collberg
Garth Snow is not good at his job. He does not understand asset management and should be fired for the Thomas Vanek trade he made with the Sabres and Canadiens.
Snow traded for star left winger Thomas Vanek in an effort to boost his team’s playoff chances earlier this year. The problem was that he already had a really good left winger in Matt Moulson and he included Moulson in the trade to Buffalo. The Islanders also shipped a 1st and a 2nd round pick to the Sabres to rent Vanek for 4 months.
Snow compounded the problem by moving Vanek at the deadline for cheap. The net loss for Garth Snow was a 1st round pick, a 2nd round pick, Thomas Vanek, and Matt Moulson (who got a larger return via trade for the Sabres than Vanek got the Islanders) for a 2nd round pick and Sebastien Collberg. Laughable. The Islanders are currently 26th overall in the NHL and will have to choose whether or not to give Buffalo their 1st round pick this year, or next year. Given the Islanders luck they will give up their 2015 pick to Buffalo, land in the lottery and win the Connor McDavid sweepstakes.
Edmonton Oilers trade Ales Hemsky to Ottawa Senators for a 3rd round pick and a 5th round pick
Oilers have struggled for a little while now and a lot of that has to do with how their upper management has managed their assets. Instead of drafting a defenseman at the top of the draft in 2012 they decided they needed another top end forward and grabbed Nail Yakupov. Yakupov has yet to be a game breaker and the Oilers have yet to figure out that whole possession thing.
Also confusing is why the Oilers held on to Hemsky for so long. After drafting Yakupov the Oilers should have been aggressively shopping a player like Hemsky to the highest bidder in order to potentially shore up some other problem areas. Instead the Oilers hung onto Hemsky until the last minute and lost a ton of value when trading him.
A 3rd round pick and a 5th round pick is meaningless. The Senators scored big time with this deal. The Oilers were left with selling low on what used to be very good commodity.
Some of these trades will work out better for some teams than others but the ones that will be in pretty good shape no matter what have the GM’s that manage the assets appropriately.
Thanks for reading!