The dust has settled on a rather eventul trade deadline (more for what didn’t happen than what did). The Canucks made a great move bringing Derek Roy over from Dallas yesterday, but they didn’t follow that up with anything today. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, as Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman were working the phones all morning.
Drance offered a great post-deadline take on the Luongo situation (which continues on, much to the chagrin of every single person involved), so I’ll take stock of the rest of the team, as well as the rest of the Western Conference.
The Roy trade was a fantastic move, as I alluded to above. Roy is a savvy two-way center who has done some great work on a not-so-great Dallas team this season. He’s versatile enough that he could free up both Ryan Kesler (when healthy) and Henrik Sedin from defensive responsibilities, or he could be productive in an offensive role with Kesler (when healthy) handling the toughs.
According to Laurence Gilman, the club plans to emply Roy as the third line center with Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen as his wingers. A really fast, gritty, tenacious line.
Roy has been very solid in the role that Dallas created for him. He is starting 45% of his shifts in the offensive zone, while Benn is at 54%. Roy’s defensive acumen (he won’t ever win a Selke, but he knows his way around his own zone) has enabled Glen Gulutzan the luxury of keeping Benn off the ice for defensive zone faceoffs. Little things like this matter a lot in the long run. Roy’s defensively ability has also allowed the Stars to shelter Eakin a little bit. And that is never a bad thing for a young player learning the ropes in the best league on the planet.
Roy is also quite adept at drawing penalties. He earned a bit of a diver reputaton in Buffalo, but from Dallas games this year (I have seen most of them as I cover the team for DefendingBigD), he has cleaned up that part of his game.
Roy was a very good top six center for Buffalo during his tenure there, as well.
|Derek Roy||Off Zone Start %|
His role wasn’t sheltered from a defensive perspective (Lindy Ruff didn’t really use any sort of zone start strategy), and he was effective in whatever role was asked of him. That versatility will come in handy with the Canucks. Assuming David Booth is out for a while, I’d imagine we will see lines like this once everybody is healthy:
It gives the Canucks three lines capable of scoring. And the team can give relatively cushy zone starts to the top two lines.
I’m a bit surprised that the Canucks didn’t bring in another forward, though. As Gillis said in his presser, the asking price for many players was very high. But is this really the forward group that the Canucks are going to go "all in" with? That fourth line is a bit weak on the wings, and this is assuming that Kassian can get back some of his offensive touch. The depth is pretty questionable, which we have discovered over the past few weeks (although to be fair the team has been missing an entire second line with Raymond, Kesler, and Booth all out).
The Rest of the West
Picking up Matthew Lombardi was a fine move for the Ducks, who have been struggling as of late. They have top end talent, grit, and a decent blueline.
The Flames had a quiet deadline relative to the days leading up to it. They moved Blake Comeau (a player they originally acquired off of waivers) for a 5th round draft pick. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t move any of their other veterans, but Jay Feaster said that the club has the mandate of making the postseason in 2013-14. Um…. yeah.
The Blackhawks didn’t acquire a second line center (Roy would have made a lot of sense there). Dave Bolland has struggled in an offensive role this season. Michal Handzus is a decent PK option, but he is painfully slow and will get eaten up by faster opposing players. The Hawks made a minor league move, picking up two-way winger Max Sauve from Boston. Quiet day for a very good team that didn’t really need to do much.
I love what Columbus did. They picked up an elite goal scorer in the middle of a slump (low value). In exchange, they traded an injured depth winger (Derek Dorestt, who is tough as nails), an overpaid second/third line forward (Derrick Brassard), and a solid young defenseman (John Moore). Gaborik gives the team a go-to sniper that they had previously lacked. And as mentioned, he isn’t playing particularly badly this year, but he isn’t getting any sort of bounces whatsoever.
Oh, and they traded away Steve Mason, who has been inarguably the worst "regular" NHL goaltender in the league over the past few years (although he was sort of decent in 2013 before the Sergei Bobrovsky train took over).
Ryan O’Byrne was moved to Toronto for a 4th. Solid trade – O’Byrne is a decent depth defenseman, and Colorado has about 50 of those on their roster right now.
Dallas had a quiet deadline day after a very busy week leading up to it (much like Calgary). The jury is still very much out on Joe Nieuwendyk (wading through the comments over at DefendingBigD has been… erm.. interesting). The team got value for Brenden Morrow, but they received underwhelming returns for both Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy. As a close observer of the team, I’m glad they kept Stephane Robidas. He brings a ton to that team, both on and off of the ice.
Dallas made a sneaky-good move picking up sound two-way defenseman Cameron Gaunce (Brendan’s older brother) from Colorado for winger Tomas Vincour. Gaunce has top-four upside (needs to work on foot speed), while Vincour appears destined for a depth role.
Zero moves from the Wings.
Steve Tambellini continues to throw away draft picks, this time sending a 4th to Florida for Jerred Smithson. Smithson can win faceoffs, but he won’t do much else. He reminds me a bit of Ryan Johnson – a perceived "gritty" player who is over his head against 99% of NHL players. The Oilers have now used picks to acquire Mark Fistric, Mike Brown, and Jerred Smithson.
Oh and they didn’t move Ryan Whitney, for some reason. I don’t really get that. I am probably being overly negative with my Edmonton analysis here, but it was a confusing day for a team with some assets they could have cashed in on.
Davis Drewiskie was sent to Montreal for a pick. Willie Mitchell’s career may be over. The team picked up Robyn Regehr from Buffalo. Regehr is a step or two below Mitchell, but he’ll be effective if the refs do their annual whistle swallowing competition in April, May, and June.
The Minnesota trade for Jason Pominville is an interesting one. In a vacuum, they gave up a lot of value. Johan Larsson is a fantastic prospect, and Matt Hackett has legitimate NHL upside. And the Wild also traded a 1st (2013) and a 2nd (2014) to Buffalo. However, Minnesota is trading from a real position of strength – they have one of the best and deepest prospect pools in the league. Pominville is a solid two-way winger who can score goals and contribute on the power play. What does this say about Minnesota’s confidence in Dany Heatley?
The Predators made a very interesting late-deadline move, shipping Martin Erat and prospect Michael Latta to Washington for highly-touted young Swedish forward Filip Forsberg. Erat is a fine player, but Forsberg has enormous upside. A great "looking ahead" move from David Poile.
The Coyotes went the selling route, but they didn’t go full seller. Raffi Torres was sent to San Jose for a 3rd (would have loved him here, frankly). Steve Sullivan went to New Jersey for a draft pick.
The Torres move was a good one, especially after the Sharks saw how effective he can be in the playoffs. Torres played a huge part in Vancouver’s WCF victory back in 2011, knocking Joe Thornton out of the series with a big hit. Doug Wilson quietly had a fantastic deadline, moving a bunch of spare parts for solid draft picks. He also picked up Scott Hannan, who may be the worst passer in hockey, but a conditional 7th round pick isn’t much of anything to give up in return.
The Blues moved Wade Redden for a pick, freeing up a roster spot on the back end. The Jay Bouwmeester move was a good one, but not without its risks. The team isn’t exactly in solid standing for a playoff spot right now, and Bouwmeester is owed a lot of money for one more year. The Blues have a very mobile back end, but it is going to come down to goaltending for them (as it usually does) anyway. Is Jake Allen their guy?
No team in the West improved significantly. Minnesota and Columbus got better instantly, but by how much? Gaborik is a game-breaker. Pominville isn’t, and he hasn’t been a very effective player without Vanek on his line. The Canucks could have used another forward (depending on Booth’s recovery), and probably a defenseman, too.
I imagine Keith Ballard is on his way out this summer. The thought of Cam Barker taking the ice in a postseason contest has to send a shiver down the spine of even the most optimistic Canucks fan, too.
Roy improves this team significantly. It will be interesting to see how the lines are deployed. A small part of me would like to see Roy at center with Kesler on his wing, but I’m not sure the team would keep Jordan Schroeder around, too. How about this lineup? Is it big enough to win a series against the Blues or Kings?
I guess a lot depends on who the Canucks play in round one (assuming they make the postseason). Skill or size? And, as mentioned above, Booth is probably out until the second or third round at the earliest. At least they’ll have good goaltending, right?
Oh, and if the Canucks somehow find a way to win the Cup this year, you can bet Roy will throw a decent party at his summer cabin: