The dominoes are falling

It is now officially trade season in the NHL. Forget the 20 trades that happened prior to February, or the fact that ten of those trades involved players that were immediately inserted into their new team’s lineup. We are 18 days from the deadline and the fire sales can now officially begin.

As I mentioned there have been ten trades that involved players going to a new team and immediately being inserted into the lineup. What I mean is that there were ten meaningful trades before tonight. Dwayne Roloson to the Lightning for Ty Wishart crops up right away as does Jamie Langenbrunner’s move back to Dallas or the Avs, Caps and Habs all adding needed talent to their blue line.

I am making this point to show that trades don’t need to happen at the last moment, or two weeks before the last moment. Brian Burke said he likes to get out in front of the deadline, he did today (sorta). I just wonder if GM’s will wise up and start dealing in January in the future.

As for the moves, there were four made between noon and midnight. They went in this order:

  • Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim in exchange for Joffery Lupul, Jake Gardiner and a conditional pick (2013)
  • Michael Frolik and Alexander Salak to Chicago in exchange for Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman and David Pacan
  • Al Montoya to the Islanders in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick (2011)
  • Patrick Davis and Mike Swift to San Jose in exchange for Steve Zalewski and Jay Leach

There is your recap. The San Jose deal is nothing more than a minor-league exchange for depth players, no winner or loser on that one.

The Islanders continue to be the haven for former super prospects. First it was Rob Schremp who was followed to the Island by Michael Grabner (due to waivers) and now Montoya will get to skate in the show after failing to break through with two NHL clubs. This is an intriguing deal to me only because Montoya has never had a true chance to flourish after being picked sixth overall, partly due to his mental meltdown after a poor Frozen Four appearance here in Buffalo. He will get quality minutes with the Islanders as they are just about ready to pull sitcom actors out of the stands.

As for the Blackhawks – Panthers swap, I have to say I am a little perplexed. It seems that both sides may be grasping at straws on this one. I guess the Hawks are hoping that Frolik can find his form again while skating with better players and I would venture a guess that the Panthers are hoping Skille will pull the average player on a bad team routine and pot a bunch of goals – a la Dominic Moore in 2008-09. Hugh Jessiman would be good, I guess and the third player is nothing more than a cheap add-in. The interesting part of the deal is Salak. He is a good keeper who has been supplanted as next in line by Jakob Markstrom.

Lastly is the Leafs – Ducks trade. Geez, Brian Burke sure does make a lot of moves with his former employer. Not that it matters, the Ducks have been the busiest team this year, making six trades thus far. They receive another veteran blue liner, they have about 43 at this point, to go along with rising stars like Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa. Maybe Beauchemin can explain to them it is easier to win when you allow less than 40 shots per night. The Leafs snagged one of my pre-deadline favorites in Lupul. On the right line, once he fully heals from his back and blood ailments, this kid will be close to a 30-goal scorer again, I am fairly certain of it. Not to mention Jake Gardiner is a great steal as he is a very promising prospect.

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