Volume 94, Issue 92
Thursday, March 15, 2001
Moving day in the NHL - St. Louis may not be so blue for long
After a lot of huffing and puffing about the National Hockey League trading deadline, Eric Lindros is not a Leaf, Mike Peca is still locking horns with Buffalo management, and Montreal has its fans scratching their heads again.
Let's play evaluate the deals:
Dating back to the frenzied week before the deadline, Anaheim and San Jose both helped their causes in a mutually beneficial deal. By acquiring Teemu Selanne, the Sharks now have a pure sniper with speed to burn. Anaheim had to do something as the Selanne and Kariya show just wasn't working. Steve Shields has an upside and Jeff Friesen brings a little more grit to the table.
Phoenix made the most noise leading up to and during the big day of deals. You have to wonder about the decision to stick with Sean Burke rather than shelling out the cash to get Nikolai Khabibulin back in the net. Paul Mara and Mike Johnson had better hit their stride. The Coyotes did redeem themselves by netting Ladislav Nagy and Michal Handzus from St. Louis for Keith Tkachuk. Handzus will be an especially strong player in years to come.
Speaking of St. Louis, they can now play with the big kids. You have to give up something to get something and they did just that. Tkachuk brings guts and goals that will be huge in the play-offs. Remember what Brendan Shanahan did for Detroit?
Montreal continued to turnover age and leadership for youth. Flipping Trevor Linden and Dana Zubrus for the speedy duo of Richard Zednik and Jan Bulis is a trade that is probably worth the risk for the Canadiens.
Linden was arguably the Habs' most dependable forward, but he really isn't a player that realistically fits into their rebuilding plan. Washington will benefit from Linden's diversity. He can play centre or wing, he has size and has been deep in the play-offs before. If Zednik and Bulis can turn their skill into scoring, this deal could make sense for Montreal in the future.
The Maple Leafs made a minor deal getting a former third overall pick in Aki Berg from Los Angeles, for Adam Mair, and a second round pick. Mair was a gritty winger and despite his limited scoring ability, he can certainly be an asset. Berg has all the tools, but whether he makes use of them in Toronto is yet to be seen.
Ottawa improved themselves on deadline day by adding forward Mike Sillinger and defenceman Curtis Leschyshyn. While neither one can make a big impact on their own, they will no doubt aid in adding some much needed toughness to a predominately soft Senator line-up.
The balance of the hockey world wasn't altered too greatly on Tuesday, but whoever hoists the Stanley Cup in June will no doubt be glad about a decision they made to hit or stick on hockey's most hectic day.
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