Tuesday, February 27, 2007
2007 NHL trade deadline: News and analysis
So, here we are for another NHL trade deadline. We hope you're as pumped as we are to bring you all of the day's action.
Starting now through Tuesday's 3 p.m. ET deadline, ESPN.com NHL writer Scott Burnside and NHL editor Joy Russo will bring you the news and analysis right here. So, keep clicking, refreshing and scrolling for all of the day's drama and intrigue!
Joy Russo (10 a.m. ET): So, OK, Scott, to start things off, I have to share some of Jeremy Roenick's comments from Monday, when he told reporters he'd "love" to be dealt to a Stanley Cup contender because of how he has been "driven into the basement." I'm confused. Was there some kind of conspiracy that drove him to injury and sub-par outings the past few seasons?
Scott Burnside (10:01 a.m. ET): Poor JR. No truth to the rumor he was a stand-in for Mel Gibson in his flick "Conspiracy Theory." As for the potential for JR to be on the move today, there are a couple of players Wayne Gretzky would like to banish from the desert, JR and grumpy enforcer Georges Laraque. But I think it'll be late in the going before a GM decides he's got an extra seventh-round draft pick he's not using and make the call on Mr. Roenick.
Scott Burnside (10:16 a.m. ET): Here are a few players we should keep an eye on today ...
Bill Guerin: Poor Bill's been sitting outside the Blues' locker room with a thumb out for days now. Anaheim? Detroit? Toronto? With Keith Tkachuk in Atlanta, Guerin is the top bauble on the deadline market right now.
Owen Nolan: Yes, he's old (he just turned 35) and crusty and has only 14 goals in 60 games for Phoenix, but he's got the kind of snarl some teams are looking for and he can be had for a fraction of the cost compared to Tkachuk, Guerin and Roberts.
Martin Gelinas: Remember what they called Gelinas in the 2004 playoffs ("The Eliminator")? Because all he did was score huge goals for the Calgary Flames. He's a guy that would fit seamlessly into a lot of dressing rooms.
More coming ...
Joy Russo (10:20 a.m. ET): It will also be interesting to see what happens with Ryan Smyth. I can't image he'll be dealt, but will Oilers GM Kevin Lowe be able to sign the forward to a new deal today?
OFFICIAL: Agent says winger Gary Roberts has waived his
no-trade clause so the Florida Panthers can deal him to the
Pittsburgh Penguins. In return, the Panthers will get defenseman Noah Welch.
Burnside's analysis on Roberts: A team loaded with youth, speed and skill has now added a veteran winger who has been in the trenches in the playoffs. Roberts was a one-man band in 2002, leading the Maple Leafs to the Eastern Conference finals in a virtuoso performance. He won a Cup in Calgary in 1989 and is one of the most maniacal fitness devotees in the league.
All of which will be a bonus to coach Michel Therrien as he tries to keep his team on the straight and narrow heading into the postseason. Roberts' durability is an issue now. He's missed 13 games this season to injury and played in only 58 games last season. But the Penguins don't need him to play 80 games, just 20 or 25 and they'll be plenty happy.
As for Welch, he's a big (6-foot-4, 212 pounds) and split time between the big club and the team's AHL affiliate this season. For a Panthers team stuck in a perpetual rebuilding phase, Welch is another potentially important piece of the team's renaissance.
Scott Burnside (10:38 a.m. ET): OK, where were we?
Jozef Stumpel: Quietly putting together a nice season in Florida (43 points in 57 games) and is one of the few centers still available.
Petr Sykora: With the Oilers all but dead in the playoff waters, Sykora is expendable, and although he went through an awful dry patch, he can still help bolster a team's power play.
Joy Russo (10:42 a.m. ET): Is the NHL trade deadline a national holiday in Canada? It's very strange to watch the Canadian broadcasts here at ESPN. The Sports Network of Canada has 10 studio folks on hand. It's like NFL Countdown, but with the right sport. :)
Joy Russo (10:47 a.m. ET): Rumors are out that Sabres goalie Martin Biron has been traded. Scotty, to the phones!
Joy Russo (10:50 a.m. ET): Biron was reportedly not on the ice for today's morning skate in Toronto. Biron, along with Ilya Bryzgalov and Alex Auld, was one of the goalies rumored to be in the deadline mix.
Joy Russo (10:55 a.m. ET): Biron hasn't seen much action in Buffalo, playing behind Ryan Miller. But hey, he did drop the gloves and take on Ray Emery in that Sens-Sabres melee last week. Does that raise someone's trade stock?
Joy Russo (11:08 a.m. ET): Reports now saying Biron is going to the Flyers. It will be interesting to hear what the Sabres get in return.
Joy Russo (11:15 a.m. ET): Looks like it's Biron to Philly and Ty Conklin to Buffalo.
Scott Burnside (11:15 a.m. ET): The Sabres have to get something more than Conklin.
Joy Russo (11:17 a.m. ET): Martin Biron is on TSN right now, confirming the deal. Are you surprised the Flyers are doing this?
Scott Burnside (11:19 a.m. ET): If they've got Biron, I guess the Flyers figure he's the No. 1 guy and it likely means Robert Esche will go to L.A. at some point.
Scott Burnside (11:28 a.m. ET): With Biron en route to Philadelphia and backup Ty Conklin coming to Buffalo from Columbus (the Jackets are in Denver and sources said they are trying to make arrangements to get Conklin back east as quickly as possible), watch for the Sabres to try and turn around and bring in a roster player to help with their injury woes up front.
OFFICIAL: A source close to the Blue Jackets has confirmed to ESPN.com thet Ty Conklin has been traded to the Buffalo Sabres. Martin Biron earlier said was dealt to the Flyers.
Joy Russo (11:39 a.m. ET): There are also reports out of Canada now that Phoenix's Georges Laraque has waived his no-trade trade clause to help facilitate a deal that would send him to the Penguins.
Joy Russo (11:48 a.m. ET): Bill Guerin was reportedly not on the ice for the Blues' morning skate today. Hmm.
Joy Russo (11:55 a.m. ET): Rumors are he has been dealt. Scott is back on the phones!
Joy Russo (12:15 p.n. ET): Looks like Bill Guerin is joining Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo in San Jose. He was just on TSN of Canada talking about the deal.
Scott Burnside (12:25 p.m. ET): The San Jose Sharks, losers of five of their last seven games and a team that hasn't looked much like a Stanley Cup contender in the past month or so, has grabbed the biggest remaining name in the trade deadline marketplace in Guerin. Terms of the deal aren't yet known but Guerin, along with defenseman Craig Rivet, appear to have plugged some of the leaks in their Stanley Cup ship. Now, the race will be on to land second-tier power forwards like Todd Bertuzzi and Owen Nolan and Ryan Smyth, if the Edmonton Oilers don't think they can re-sign him.
Joy Russo (12:35 p.m. ET): With Laraque heading to Pittsburgh, you think this Thursday's Rangers-Penguins game is going to be a little chippy? Ryan Hollweg vs. Laraque? That would be fun to see. Maybe not fun for Hollweg.
Scott Burnside (12:42 p.m. ET): The presence of Laraque in the lineup may deter opponents from taking liberties with Crosby. Or at least that's the theory, and is another indication the youthful Penguins won't be content with just getting to the postseason ahead of schedule.
Joy Russo (12:44 p.m. ET): Do you think the Penguins are now East favorites, or at least contenders for the top spot, along with the Sabres and the Devils? They're 12 points behind a hurting Buffalo squad and nine behind New Jersey.
Scott Burnside (12:46 p.m. ET): Yes, in fact, unless the Sabres get better up front, I think they'll drop down the ladder. Experience is always going to be an issue for the Pens, but with Mark Recchi, Gary Roberts and Sergei Gonchar playing better, plus Laraque, the Pens much better today than yesterday.
Joy Russo (12:51 p.m. ET): So, TSN is playing a montage of Mark Messier clips, including that famous clip of Messier jumping up and down after the Rangers clinched the Cup in 1994. Sam Rosen: "And this one will last a lifetime." I guess Rangers fans will have to take that literally. New York's been awfully quiet over the past week.
Scott Burnside (12:52 p.m. ET): The Rangers are in Hell's Kitchen ... as if they'd trade Jagr!
Scott Burnside (12:55 p.m. ET): I just opened the doors to the back deck. It's 70 degrees here.
Joy Russo (12:56 p.m. ET): For those of you who don't know, Scott is based in Atlanta and he's a !@$#!&! I say that with love since it's snowing here in beautiful Bristol. :)
Joy Russo (12:57 p.m. ET): Although, I shouldn't complain. We've had a summer here compared to those poor folks in Oswego in upstate New York. People of Oswego, if I could, I'd buy you all a round of wings and beers from Duff's!
Joy Russo (1 p.m. ET): Uh-oh. Mike Keenan is on TV, waxing poetic about the Rangers' glory years and the great deals they made in 1994. It's 2007!
Scott Burnside (1:03 p.m. ET): Has anyone asked him lately about the state of ruination the Panthers were left in his wake? Anyone asked him lately about the Todd Bertuzzi deal and how lousy Roberto Luongo is doing in Vancouver?
Joy Russo (1:05 p.m. ET): Sorry. That picture has nothing to do with what we've been talking about, but I just love it. Had to. Endulge me!
Scott Burnside (1:08 p.m. ET): OK, two hours left. Now is a good time to start your Todd Bertuzzi pool.
Joy Russo (1:08 p.m. ET): I have $10 that says he's playing golf in April. Your bet?
Scott Burnside (1:10 p.m. ET): No way! I say Bertuzzi is wowing fans and the media with his sublime play and warm personality, at least through the first round. Let's see. Buffalo still needs help up front. Toronto has done nothing as of yet. Ottawa is silent, although they aleady brought in Mike Comrie. The Rangers? Hmmm. He'd be a pretty good fit in Gotham.
Joy Russo (1:11 p.m. ET): Sweet mother of Cherry! Are you insane?!
Scott Burnside (1:11 p.m. ET): What about Carolina? Not really Peter Laviolette's style, but the Canes are still looking to get better up front. Hmmm. Vancouver? Just kidding!
Joy Russo (1:12 p.m. ET): I bet Roberto's laughing.
Scott Burnside (1:17 p.m. ET): I know the day's just about over, but here are players I think can safely put away their suitcases -- Ryan Smyth, Rob Blake, Sheldon Souray, and even Jason Blake (hard to imagine him in anything but an Islanders jersey). Oh, and Jaromir Jagr, too.
Joy Russo (1:18 p.m. ET): Who do you think will be next then?
Scott Burnside (1:18 p.m. ET): Hmmm. I've got to say Owen Nolan.
Joy Russo (1:19 p.m. ET): Because?
Scott Burnside (1:20 p.m. ET): I figure he's got to be more attractive than Bertuzzi given he hasn't been flat on his back for the past four months.
Joy Russo (1:20 p.m. ET): Good point. So, the Panthers just let him go after this season, no?
Scott Burnside (1:21 p.m. ET): Well, let's just say rehabilitating Todd Bertuzzi, either physically or morally, is not high on Jacques Martin's list of things to do.
Joy Russo (1:22 p.m. ET): Mike Keenan not happy.
Scott Burnside (1:24 p.m. ET): We only speak what we believe, in general, to be the truth.
Joy Russo (1:23 p.m. ET): DEEP FRIED PICKLES ARE YOUR TRUTH! Search your feelings, you know it to be true!
Scott Burnside (1:27 p.m. ET): Is there a greater truth known to man than a properly fried dill pickle? Sadly, our chance of sampling those delicacies in Edmonton is slim to none given the Oil's play of late.
Joy Russo (1:30 p.m. ET): Blatant promotion: Barry Melrose, the King of All Mullets, will be chatting today at 4 p.m. ET. Send him a question.
Scott Burnside (1:35 p.m. ET): Here's a prediction. The Penguins' acquisition of Laraque will get as much ink in Canada as the Roberts deal. Further, Laraque will play no more than six minutes a night and have almost zero impact on the Penguins' ability to win a playoff round. Did we mention that if you can't play for Wayne Gretzky, you can't play for anybody? That would be Laraque.
Joy Russo (1:35 p.m. ET): But isn't he going to "protect" poor defenseless Sid?
Scott Burnside (1:36 p.m. ET): Well, since he can barely keep up with a player like Crosby when Crosby's standing still, I would think "protect" is a relative term. If someone knocks Crosby around, presumably Laraque will be asked to chase that poor sucker down and pummel him into a Tim Horton cruller. But does that count as protection?
Joy Russo (1:36 p.m. ET): Did you say Tim Hortons?!
Scott Burnside (1:39 p.m. ET): Those look yummy.
Scott Burnside (1:40 p.m. ET): The word out of Toronto is the Leafs are pursuing forward Jamal Mayers of St. Louis. One imagines it shouldn't be that hard to pin down the third-line winger, although the question is why bother? The Leafs are a team chockablock with third-line players, many of which are masquerading as first- or second-line players.
Scott Burnside (1:41 p.m. ET): Remember the last time GM John Ferguson brought in a old Blue? Alexander Khavanov. No? Unfortunately, Leafs fans do. He fled to Davos after a miserable 2005-06 season. Expect Mayers to have a similar impact on the Blue and White if the Leafs do bring him aboard.
Joy Russo (1:48 p.m. ET): Ducks GM Brian Burke was just on TSN of Canada. He said the Ducks are still working on a few deals.
Scott Burnside (1:48 p.m. ET): I'm guessing this is the time of the day when GMs are trying to get that "last-minute shoppers' discount."
OFFICIAL: Teams are starting to confirm some reports. The Pens acquired a 2007 third-round pick from Minnesota in exchange for forward Dominic Moore. Also, more details on Guerin deal. Guerin to the Sharks for a conditional first-round draft choice in 2007 or 2008, forward Ville Nieminen and prospect Jay Barriball.
Scott Burnside (2 p.m. ET): One hour to go! Moore is another faceless role player who will fit in well with the rest of Wild coach Jacques Lemaire's hockey automatons.
Scott Burnside (2:01 p.m. ET): Darn. I had 1:58 p.m. in the Bertuzzi pool. Can I draw again?
OFFICIAL: The Avalanche acquired goaltender Michael Wall from the Anaheim Ducks for forward Brad May.
Joy Russo (2:15 p.m. ET): Rumors out of Canada that Todd Bertuzzi is heading to the Wings. Scotty, to the phones!
Joy Russo (2:43 p.m. ET): Reports are saying Big Bert is heading to Detroit. Other late-minute moves have the Coyotes sending winger Oleg Saprykin and picks to the Senators.
Scott Burnside (2:44 p.m. ET): The Senators added a little offensive depth by acquiring Saprykin, the 11th overall pick in the 1999 draft who has never become the consistent offensive presence some imagined. He had 14 goals for the Coyotes this season and looks to fill a third-line role for the Sens. If he's asked to do anything more than that, then disappointment awaits.
OFFICIAL: Rangers trade Aaron Ward to the Bruins for Paul Mara. The Sabres acquire center Dainius Zubrus and defenseman Timo Helbling from the Capitals for center Jiri Novotny and a pick.
Scott Burnside (2:52 p.m. ET): The other shoe finally dropped for the Sabres with the Zubrus/Timo Helbling deal. Zubrus is a skilled player who should fit in well with the up-tempo Sabres. Zubrus had been playing on the Caps' top line with Alexander Ovechkin and Chris Clark and had piled up 52 points in 60 games, including 33 in his last 37 contests. Buffalo has been crippled by injuries, including top players Maxim Afinogenov, Chris Drury and Tim Connolly, so adding some depth was crucial for GM Darcy Regier. The Caps could not re-sign Zubrus, who was said to be asking for a five-year deal.
Joy Russo (3 p.m. ET): The trade deadline is here. Put down the phones! Check out our post-deadline coverage, starting with Barry's 4 p.m. ET chat and Scott Burnside and E.J. Hradek's grades and analysis of every deal. Take care, puckheads!