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Wild and Wacky NHL Draft Trades

Draft time has come in the NHL. Yesterday saw many deals, many surprises, and many, for lack of a better term, moments during the draft. For example, Edmonton’s phone would not stop ringing yesterday due to the news of Chris Pronger. Pronger apparently wants a trade, and again this is just rumored, because his wife thinks it’s too cold in Edmonton, and wants to move to a warmer climate. First, we will start off with the breakdown of the trades that went down on draft day. There were plenty of them, and some big names moved. Some of them are because of the new NHL economic policies, some of them to help out teams down the road.

To Calgary: LW Alex Tanguay
To Colorado: D Jordan Leopold, 2006 Second Round Pick (Codey Burki), conditional 2007 or 2008 draft pick

Calgary needed more offense, and Tanguay was a great pickup. For the last two years, Tanguay has been one of the top producers for the Avalanche. Over the two year span, he’s averaged 1.12 points per season. He was an anchor on the `JAM’ line for the Avalanche, and was usually the playmaker for Sakic and Hedjuk. However, economics have forced teams like Colorado to choose. Svatos did make this choice quite easy. There is also the issues that Tanguay has, like his streakiness and injuries.

On Colorado’s side, they pick up a talented young defenseman in Leopold. He just did not fit into the Calgary system. Only 25, Leopold has a world of talent. He is a great offensive defenseman. His only flaw is that he does not adequately use his size to handle the bigger players in the NHL. He is six feet 193 pounds, a visit or two to the weight room this off season should cure Leopold’s flaw. In Colorado, he will get to work with one of the best in Rob Blake, and another promising young defenseman in John-Michael Liles.

However, the Colorado history with Calgary has not gone the way of the Avalanche. In 1999, the Avs acquired Theo Fleury, a then top goal scorer looking for a change, and Chris Dingman for Robyn Regehr, Rene Corbet and Wade Belak. Since then, Fleury is out of the league due to a drug problem, Dingman is a career minor-leaguer. Corbet retired from the NHL, Belak is down in the minors and Regehr has become a top defenseman. Then, in 2002, the Avalanche traded top center Chris Drury, and two way center Stephane Yelle to the Flames for young defenseman Derek Morris, Jeff Shantz and Dean MacAmmond. Morris was traded not even a year later. MacAmmond was involved in one of the screwiest situations when the Avs tried to trade Dean back to the Flames during the trade dead line. Shantz is still a journeyman in the NHL. Drury is now heading the Buffalo Sabers, while Yelle is still a Flame. Both Drury and Yelle have played in their respective conference finals since the trade, while the Avs have failed to make it past the second round.

On the surface, the Flames look like they walked away winners with the deal, however, if the Flames cannot sign Tanguay long term, he will become an unrestricted free agent next season. He is rumored to be seeking a long term deal for over five million per season. One has to wonder how this will affect Calgary’s cap when guys like Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Matthew Lombardi become free agents even if they can sign Tanguay. Meanwhile, Leopold is a promising young defenseman, and with him learning from guys like Blake, along with the draft picks that the Avalanche picked up, you see this trade in a different light. Defensemen who can move the puck up ice are in high demand in this NHL. I like this deal from both sides, they both address a need.

To Florida: G Craig Anderson
To Chicago: Sixth Round Pick in 2008


A day after trading Luongo to Vancouver, the Panthers are now going to look to find a solid number one goalie. Although improving, Anderson is nothing more than a career backup. He has great fundamentals, but in all honesty, he does not have enough talent to become a starter in the NHL. Expect Anderson to stay in Rochester, unless Auld or McLennan are injured.

All and all, I would say that Chicago will come out ahead in this trade. Florida really overpaid for a career minor leaguer here.

To Dallas: C Patrick Stefan, D Jaroslav Modry
To Atlanta: C Niko Kapanen, 2006 7th Round Draft Pick


Dallas picks up two underachievers with Stefan and Modry. Stefan was supposed to be the first of the big three. He was supposed to center two the biggest talents the NHL has to offer in Danny Heatley and Illya Kovlachuck. Instead, Stefan became nothing more than a third line center in Atlanta. The main problem of the former number one pick is that he never learned how to use his body in the NHL game. He has powerful skating strides, but is afraid to shoot the puck. In Dallas, he will be a number two center behind Modano. As for Modry, he still does not use his big frame to push NHL players around, he is too offensive minded. Maybe Dallas should look to move him to a forward possession, or just have him on the power play. He is a good power play quarter back, and has the potential to run a top line power play.

Kapanen is a great checking forward, however his small size and lack of willingness to score goals prevents him from moving off the checking line. He will be a good fore checker in the NHL, but he just isn’t big enough to score.

This, on the surface, is a "garbage in, garbage out" deal; however, all of the current players involved are still very young. There is time for all involved to mature and live up to their expectations.

To Los Angels: Patrick O’Sullivan, 2006 1st Round Pick (Trevor Lewis)
To Minnesota: Pavol Demetria


O’Sullivan is the AHL Rookie of the year. He’s a very explosive scorer, but lacks the defensive skills to really become a top flight player in the NHL right now. Also, he needs to hit the gym this off season if he wants to stay in L.A. this year. Another season in Manchester should help him out in the long run.

The biggest reason for Demetria’s pick up by Minnesota was the entice Marion Gaborik to come back next year. However, this is an organization that has made their name on low balling players and taking the cheap way out of players and deals. However, Demetria’s health is a major concern. He has suffered more than one concussion in his career, which hasn’t been that long. Also, he allows the more physical players in the league to throw him off his game. This is something he really needs to work on. Demetria can play both ways, and has a knack for finishing plays.

Los Angeles should end up winning this deal in the long run. O’Sullivan is a real talent, while Demetria is an injury problem. This move also hurts the Wild as far as resigning Gaborik. He is probably not going to stay with the Wild, and this was a wasted move.

To Toronto: G Andrew Raycroft
To Boston:  G Tuukka Rask


If there was a player who should be on the back of a milk carton, it’s Andy Raycroft. He has gone from being one of the top goalies in the NHL to a solid backup. Although he doesn’t get rattled in net, he has a tendency to flop around in goal. Therefore, he is very prone to the soft goal. In this NHL, you can’t expect to flop around and have a great career in goal. Raycroft is learning this lesson the hard way. Things can turn around for him though, as he was a victim of Boston’s soft defense, and Toronto’s defense is a little stronger.

As for Rask, he is a promising prospect with a butterfly style. He has flexible coverage, and is quick on his feet. However, he has some issues with his stamina. This will be fixed over time with just some game experience.

All and all, Raycroft’s career can be saved, and Rask seems promising. This deal is even.

These trade deals are going to become more and more common around the NHL as the new economics are realized by all teams. Welcome to the new NHL, or you can always be like Bobby Clarke and forget about your draft pick.

By matt Jordan

Matt is an in-studio producer for three radio stations in a six station cluster. He has produced and co-hosted three sports talk shows, with one of them becoming number one in the market. He also is a play by play announcer for the Florence Redwolves, who play in the Coastal Plain League, the nation's hottest College Summer League. He is in his fourth season. He also was the PA Announcer for the Florence Phantoms indoor football team.

In his spare time Matt enjoys reading, writing, playing RTS video games, debating on religion, and good music. He is currently writing a play, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2009. Matt also writes for Medusa's Kiss magazine.

3 replies on “Wild and Wacky NHL Draft Trades”

whoops…lol I guess thats what I get for trying to write and watch a movie. (lol)

OLN and NBC needs to hire Matt Jordan It’s time for OLN and NBC to take a chance on this fine young gentleman in Matt Jordan. OLN and NBC has been brutal covering hockey all season long this year. Part of the problem is that both networks don’t do their homework on other teams or players. They don’t seem interested. They got announcers who are just clueless. You need to hire guys who know about the game and that’s where Matt comes in. Matt Jordan can promote the sport and he can educate others. I feel educated when I read his stuff or chat hockey about him. I am a causal hockey fan at best, but I do appreciate the passion that Matt brings to me. I thank him for that. I hope there is a writer like him to cover the sport. We need it

Great article as usual. Great breakdown using pros and cons on the trade for every team.

As a Wild fan, I am not happy about this trade. I understand why Doug acquired Pavol, but there are two red flags. One is Pavol’s injury as you cited. Once you have concussions, you are gurantee to get another one. That has to scare you. Second, there is no gurantee Marian is coming back after next season. If some team like Detroit overpay him, he is gone. I think Doug should have traded Marian and get productive players right away. It sounds like Marian is not coming back so why not trade him. I am not really digging this trade. Give the Wild credit for trying to field a good team though. They need to spend on free agents.

It’s sad to see Patrik Stefan’s career come to an end really. He has done nothing in the NHL and he was projected to be a superstar.

Wasn’t Raycroft a star just few weeks ago?

Brilliant article!

A+

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