Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The dust settles on the trade deadline

The feeding frenzy that was the 2008 trade deadline has passed; 25 trades, 45 players, 23 draft picks. Although it was probably very busy in terms of telephone calls for GM Bryan Murray, he didn't actually do much of consequence. The one and only acquisition, as mentioned earlier on this blog, was that of right-winger Martin Lapointe.

The pick-up of Lapointe was obviously a move to add a veteran who, according to pundits, is not afraid to speak with teammates in a respectful manner to try and get the best out of them; in other words, a player-coach. He will see limited ice time, likely on the fourth or possibly third line.

There were a lot of players rumoured to be in the Senators' sights over the course of the days and hours leading up to the trade deadline. Goaltending was a position a lot of fans wanted to see addressed, but Murray must have decided that going with Ray Emery and Martin Gerber was as likely to succeed as picking up a rental like Olaf Kolzig or Nikolai Khabibulin.

On defence, the acquisition of Brian Campbell was probably not meant to be. Even if the Sens were willing to match the price of a key offensive prospect and a first-round pick, Buffalo was probably hesitant to trade their best defenceman to a divisional opponent. It was likely impossible to get Adam Foote, because he said he'd only go to Colorado, but a powerplay specialist like Marc-Andre Bergeron--who went to Anaheim for a third-rounder--would have been a boost to the struggling powerplay.

Offence was a gong show. It would have been nice to have picked up Tuomo Ruutu, but Lapointe was a solid gritty pickup. I'm not convinced that Sergei Fedorov would have done anything for the Sens. And with the price that Pittsburgh paid for Marian Hossa, the Sens were likely out of the running once the Penguins stepped in. Marcel Hossa might have been a nice addition to the Mike Fisher line, but he was likely only traded to Phoenix as a part of that blockbuster.

In the day, the Eastern Conference got much weaker. Stars including Brad Richards and Brian Campbell went west, with no one of that calibre returning to the east. The team that loaded up the most was probably Pittsburgh, but that team was never lacking in goal scoring. The bigger problems were defence and--although Ty Conklin has done well so far--goaltending, and adding Marian Hossa didn't help those problems. His ability to step up in the playoffs is also unproven, so the pickup might not even help them in the playoffs. And they lost a popular player in Colby Armstrong who got under opponents' skin as well as an up-and-coming centremen in Erik Christensen.

The biggest change may still be to come, however. As stated over on Black Aces, Murray hasn't given a vote of confidence to head coach John Paddock. Although it's impossible to know how he will do in the playoffs, he has given me very little reason to believe that his tactics are good enough to get this team through the playoffs. So maybe the change behind the bench will be the most effective at getting the Sens winning regularly again.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin