John Wiens is a special contributor for HabsWorld
As the season progresses, trade rumours heat up.
Speculation continues to accelerate posting boards. When will Bob Gainey make a move? We are all wondering. We have a glut of forwards, and the farm system is aching for a chance to start improving our club. When does not seem to get much debate among the boards, but rather who, why, and is it good for the Habs. Those questions are simple academics. The question of When is far more interesting.
Not so long ago Mr. Pednault demanded a trade. He is still waiting. How does it feel to come back to earth Yvon? Oh, how happy I am that times have changed. A few weeks later the rest of the national media have finally caught on. I note, with interest, that no one seems to be calling for the head of Donald Audette. Saku Koivu is apparently on the way out. Pure fiction.
“Molson Man” came up for air again a few weeks ago. He stated that there was a trade in the works, and ever since then the boards have been shooting for the scoop. Everyone is speculating about acquiring a big first or second line center. My own opinion however, has not changed. In fact, it has only become stronger. Yes, I feel that Molson Man might be wrong.
An abbreviated lesson in Dallas Stars history, focusing on transactions between 1996 and 2002, follows. I’m sure that we all admire the roster that Dallas has assembled. They have been a perennial contender since the 97-98 season, save what appears to be a bump in the road in the last few years. That happens to every team. I’m sure we all remember last weeks lecture on how two Russians and a goalie in San Jose beat the Red Wings in the first round?
The first year that Mr. Gainey was GM of Dallas, there were no trades made during the season. In his seven years as GM in Dallas, moves are quite rare. He only traded non-core players during all the time in question, players whose names are easily forgotten save by Liam McGuire. In his last season, he was his most active, making – gasp – three trades. Mr. Gainey has a history of being consistent during the season. This is a way to get the most out of your players, something that hasn’t happened here in years. Note that we are in the playoff hunt, and if Dackell could hit an occasionally open net, we would be even better. What does it take to get Sundstrom in those positions? He has a good shot. Still, the team is performing.
So, the way that the Dallas team was built was from within, with signing/trading players during the off-season a vital component. In Bob Gaineys opinion, activity during the off-season has a good payoff, but activity during the season doesn’t. Those of you who feel that the team dressing room is equipped with revolving doors can breathe a sigh of relief.
So, I’m sticking to my guns. Historically, we know how Bob Gainey works. In a word: cautiously.
I don’t believe that we have much on this roster Gainey can trade. He will be lucky to unload one of Dackell, Audette, Perrault, or Rivet during the season. Yes, lucky. So, for the last time this season, I address this trade issue with a resounding NO! Bob Gainey will not make the blockbuster that many think he will. In fact, he likely won’t do anything. Koivu, Theodore, Zednik, Bulis, Ribeiro, Ryder, etc, will still be here at the end of the season. The right question to be asking is, will they be here next season. We have lots of talent on the farm. Why would we not use that advantage instead?
Jason Arnott: I can’t imagine we would be interested. Arnott had one good playoff, and he is nearly 30 years old. He has a very limited offensive game in the Eastern Conference. He might be rugged, but no GM seems prepared to let Dallas to slip the noose they have made for themselves with all of their expensive talent.
Micheal Peca: Thank you 110 percent, for a good honest belly laugh. Especially when I heard that it was Saku Koivu that they were offering for him. Koivu is to some media here what Radek Bonk is to Bruce Garrioch.
If this was the deal, Saku would be in Long Island right now.
Milbury will not get rid of much salary trading for Saku, which seems to be the major motivation behind his recent waiving of Jason Wiemer. Peca is a difficult character, has no offensive potential, and is on the down-side of his career. Gainey-type player? He is barely outperforming an old Doug Gilmour right now. But, Milbury would do better with Koivu than he did with Peca as his number two, even though he saves no salary. So why didn’t this deal go through? Because Bob Gainey is not a fool. Koivu trails Peca in points by one although he has played 20 games to Pecas 30.
Peca is a marginal second line player. Explain to me why we would trade our only first line player for Joe Juneau’s replacement?
Best wishes to you all, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and use a taxi on New Years Eve, if you don’t want to use Red Nose.