It’s almost that time of year, the NHL Trade Deadline is almost upon us! Although with the amount of trades and the quality of players involved in them, one may think it already has come and gone. For those of you that are wondering, the actual deadline itself is Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST). Today, we will breakdown all of the trades made so far in the month of March. So, without further ado, let’s get to the first trade!
March 1, 2004
In Kozlov, the Devils acquire a proven goalscorer, something that this organization has sorely been lacking in the past few seasons. He will certainly help boost an anemic Devils PP, and add depth to the 2nd line. Florida has all but pulled out of the playoff race with this deal, moving away one of their top scorers for a young winger and a defenceman. That being said, Berglund is a decent young player, and Uchevatov is a quality defensive prospect. New Jersey wins this deal though.
March 2, 2004
Florida continues to add young players, although Jones is not what one would call a quality prospect. Minor league depth only. The fact that Chicago only receives future considerations for him backs this up. Florida wins the deal, but I’m sure that fans aren’t planning the parade route for this move.
4th Round Pick (2005), Future Considerations
This move was a bit surprising, as Dempsey does not make a lot of money, making it hard to believe this was a salary dump. Nonetheless, the Kings have acquired a young defenceman who puts up the offensive numbers, and gets it done at the defensive end as well. It seems strange that a 4th rounder and futures was all that Chicago could get for Dempsey, had they waited for another few days, they likely could have gotten more for him. Los Angeles wins in a heartbeat.
Jozef Balej, 2nd Round Pick (2004)
In likely the most surprising move of the week, the Canadiens came literally out of nowhere to snatch up one of the most sought after commodities made available on the trade market. Kovalev adds another dimension to an already solid Hab PP, as well as improving their top offensive unit 5 on 5. The Rangers get a nice return as well in Balej, a rapidly emerging prospect, and a second rounder. A good trade for both teams. The Habs win short-term, Rangers long-term.
March 3, 2004
Shaone Morrisonn, 1st Round Pick (2004), 2nd Round Pick (2004)
The Gonchar sweepstakes have finally come to an end, with an unlikely winner, the Boston Bruins. In Gonchar, the Bruins receive arguably the best offensive defenceman in the league, who will certainly bolster an average powerplay, and add some much needed depth to the blueline. In Morrisonn, Washington acquires a former first round pick, who oozes potential to become a solid NHL blueliner. Adding a pair of top-65 picks isn’t too bad either, considering the circumstances. Winner: Take a guess, their name starts with a ‘B’.
Petr Nedved, Jussi Markkanen
Dwight Helminen, Stephen Valiquette, 2nd Round Pick (2004)
In a surprising move, the Oilers, generally sellers near and at the deadline, went out and improved the team in the hopes of making the playoffs, despite being 4 games back at the time of the deal. Edmonton also re-acquires Jussi Markkanen, in an effort to strengthen their goaltending depth, weakened with the injury to Ty Conklin. The Rangers get lowballed here, they receive a pair of marginal prospects at best, and yet another 2nd round pick. Had they waited until the deadline, they easily could have gotten more for Nedved. The Oilers win this deal by a mile.
5th Round Pick (2004)
Minnesota’s firesale of depth players begins here. Marshall, a versatile player who primarily plays defence, but can also play the wing, adds some much needed veteran depth to a young team. His contributions will be limited though, which explains why the Wild received just a 5th round pick for him. The Sharks win this particular deal.
Brian Leetch, Conditional Draft Pick (likely 2005)
Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immonen, 1st Round Pick (2004), 2nd Round Pick (2005)
In an obvious reactionary move to the Gonchar deal (see above), the Maple Leafs have acquired likely the next best available offensive defenceman on the market. Leetch adds another dimension to an already potent powerplay, and improves the Leafs’ defensive depth immensely. The Rangers acquire a pair of quality prospects in Kondratiev and Immonen, and 1st and 2nd round picks aren’t too shabby either. The Leafs get what they wanted, but overpaid in the long run. Leafs win this season, after this one though, it’s the Rangers by a longshot.
March 4, 2004
2nd Round Pick (2006), Future Considerations
Washington continues their firesale, much to the enjoyment of the Bruins, who pick up their second quality player in 2 days, this time, adding a much needed centre to the team. Nylander has been hurt most of the season, but will fit in well on the team’s 2nd line and powerplay unit. As for the draft pick, only time will tell whether it’s in a strong or weak draft, as it’s so far away, no one’s even talking about it yet! Had the Caps waited until the deadline, they could have gotten more for Nylander. Another Boston victory, their second over the Caps in as many days, yet no games were played.
This is a deal that solved needs for both teams. St. Louis, looking to add to their depth at centre, did so by adding Sillinger, who is no stranger to being dealt away. Sillinger is a faceoff specialist, but cannot be counted on to do a lot at this point of his career. Phoenix, desperately needing a goalie since trading away Sean Burke to Philadelphia, and the announcement that current backup Zac Bierk is now done for the year, get a quality young netminder that gives the Coyotes a quality 1-2 tandem for potentially years to come. Phoenix wins this one.
4th Round Pick (2004)
Minnesota’s depth player firesale continues, this time the Canadiens are the team reaping the benefits. Dowd is a quality two-way player who can contribute to an oft-maligned penalty kill, and gives the team the right handed centre they have been looking for all year long. Minnesota gets a 4th round pick in exchange for an unrestricted free agent at year’s end, there’s no need to look further than that. Montreal wins this one, hands down.
March 5, 2004
Michael Rupp, 2nd Round Pick (2004)
New Jersey continues to tinker with their lineup, adding a solid two-way centre in Hrdina. Hrdina will give the team some more scoring punch from the second or third line, which will be extremely useful in the postseason. In Rupp, the Coyotes acquire a player who could potentially become a power forward in this league if coached correctly, and who already has big game experience – he had 3 points in last year’s game 7 of the Cup finals. A second rounder is a nice pickup as well. Despite this, New Jersey wins this deal.
3rd Round Pick (2004-previously acquired from Buffalo), 4th Round Pick (2004)
Sergei Zholtok, Brad Bombardir
Yet another selling of their depth players, the Wild continue to dump players who will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. The Predators fill a pair of voids with veteran players, who will assuredly help them in their trip to the postseason. As for the draft picks, Minnesota already has enough of them to try to do something on draft day, but nothing more can be said about them now. Nashville with another steal.
March 6, 2004
Chris Simon, 7th Round Pick (2004)
Jamie McLennan, Blair Betts, Greg Moore
The Rangers continue to move players for prospects, although they received a backup netminder in Jamie McLennan, who’ll close out the season as backup to Mike Dunham. Betts has the potential to be a quality 3rd liner, while Moore is a bit of an unknown. Calgary fills a need in acquiring a rough-and-tumble forward, something they’ve been lacking for a while now. Calgary overpays, but gets what they needed.
So there you have it, a breakdown of the first 14 trades made this month. Next week, there will be another article like this, analyzing the remainder of the moves made on, and before the trade deadline. So far, the big winners are the Devils, Habs and Bruins, but all that could change before 3:00 PM on Tuesday. Stay tuned folks, it’s going to be a fun couple of days.
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