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Backchecking: Recapping Summer 2008 Transactions

Scott Cullen
11/21/2008 5:35:37 PM
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As the quarter point of the season approaches, it's a reasonable time to take a look back at the moves of the summer to get an indication which transactions helped and which ones hurt their respective teams.

We're not going to look at the guys that re-signed with their current teams, maintaining the status quo.  Rather, the focus will be on the transactions that saw players change teams.

None of the teams involved made these transactions for a 20-game return, so the current results hardly determine who made the right decisions, but we're enough into the season to see where some teams might be regretting their deals, while others have to be enjoying their wise decisions.

(Note: The TSN.ca Player Rating is a weighted formula that takes the following statistics into account: goals per game, assists per game, plus-minus, power play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals, shots on goal, blocked shots, hits, giveaways, takeaways, faceoff won-loss and penalty differential (drawn - taken).  Goaltenders are measured using goals against average, save percentage, won-loss and shutouts.)

Red Wings sign LW Marian Hossa to a one-year, $7.45-million contract (10-13-23, plus-8 in 18 GP)
Leaving the Cup finalists to join the defending Cup champions, Hossa hasn't disappointed at all, playing on the league's best line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom.
TSN.ca Rating: 91.26

Blackhawks sign D Brian Campbell to an eight-year, $57.12-million contract (4-10-14, plus-7 in 18 GP)
It's hard to get good value when paying for the top free agent at his position, but Campbell has given the Blackhawks their money's worth, improving the power play from 24th last season to 8th this year.
TSN.ca Rating: 82.26

Senators sign Alex Auld to a two-year, $2-million contract (5-5-3, 2.12 GAA, .925 SVPCT in 13 GP)
Expected to be a solid backup for Martin Gerber, Auld has taken the starting job and performed well, even if the team in front of him hasn't.
TSN.ca Rating: 81.30

Canucks sign C/LW Pavol Demitra to a two-year, $8-million contract (5-5-10, minus-1 in 10 GP)
To no one's surprise, Demitra has already been injured, but he's been productive when healthy and has moved alongside the Sedin twins on the number one line.
TSN.ca Rating: 79.67

Sharks sign D Rob Blake to a one-year, $5-million contract (2-11-13, minus-1 in 20 GP)
38-year-old still handles a prominent role, patrolling the blueline in all situations for the league's best team.
TSN.ca Rating: 78.79

Thrashers sign D Ron Hainsey to a five-year, $22.5-million contract (3-9-12, even in 18 GP)
What may have been considered a questionable signing by some is proving to be one of the savviest moves of the off-season, as Hainsey has been the anchor on the Atlanta blueline.
TSN.ca Rating: 78.64

Maple Leafs sign LW Niklas Hagman to a four-year, $12-million contract (6-7-13, plus-3 in 19 GP)
Seemed like a lot of money coming off his first 20-goal season, but Hagman has been part of the Leafs' best line thus far, playing with the kind of hustle that has typified the new-look Leafs.
TSN.ca Rating: 76.72

Penguins sign RW Miroslav Satan to a one-year, $3.5-million contract (9-7-16, minus-1 in 19 GP)
As expected, the veteran sniper has thrived alongside Sidney Crosby (and a revolving door of wingers on the other side), leading the Penguins in goals.
TSN.ca Rating: 76.09

Islanders sign D Mark Streit to a five-year, $20.5-million contract (4-8-12, minus-2 in 18 GP)
The Islanders paid a lot for Streit to come in an improve their power play and it has improved, from 29th to 27th.  While the money and term may seem a little high, Streit's production -- combined with the decline in Montreal's power play fortunes -- indicates this was a good signing for New York.
TSN.ca Rating: 74.87

NY Islanders sign C Doug Weight to a one-year, $1.75-million (plus $2.55-million in bonuses) contract (4-12-16, even in 18 GP)
A big bounceback season for the 37-year-old, who leads the Islanders in scoring, though it's hard to figure why the rebuilding Isles are giving him so much ice time. 
TSN.ca Rating: 74.85

Red Wings sign G Ty Conklin to a one-year, $750,000 contract (5-1, 2.47 GAA, .914 SVPCT in 6 GP)
Resurrected his career in Pittsburgh last season and may be in for a more prominent role if he keeps playing better than Chris Osgood.
TSN.ca Rating: 74.63

Wild sign RW Antti Miettinen to a three-year, $7-million contract (6-7-13, minus-2 in 17 GP)
Had terrific early-season chemistry with Mikko Koivu, but the offence is already starting to dry up as he's mired in a 10-game goalless drought.
TSN.ca Rating: 74.20

Blue Jackets sign LW Kristian Huselius to a four-year, $19-million contract (7-6-13, minus-4 in 18 GP)
Skilled winger is probably doing what was expected, scoring enough, but with a questionable plus-minus while playing alongside Rick Nash.
TSN.ca Rating: 73.56

Panthers sign LW Cory Stillman to a three-year, $10.6-million contract (5-4-9, plus-3 in 13 GP)
Consistent veteran scorer could use more help in Florida, where the goals aren't coming easily. 
TSN.ca Rating: 73.04

Rangers sign LW Markus Naslund to a two-year, $8-million contract (6-9-15, minus-2 in 22 GP)
Though he's the Rangers' second-leading scorer, Naslund's production is pretty much on par with last year's 55-point season in Vancouver.
TSN.ca Rating: 72.95

Lightning sign LW Vaclav Prospal to a four-year, $14-million contract (3-8-11, plus-6 in 18 GP)
Returning to Tampa Bay after a strong stretch run with the Flyers last year, Prospal isn't scoring much, but has a team-best plus-minus.  He'll need to do more.
TSN.ca Rating: 72.60

Blackhawks sign D Aaron Johnson to a one-year, $525,000 contract (3-3-6, plus-12 in 16 GP)
One of the best bargains of the entire off-season, Johnson has been productive in limited ice time.
TSN.ca Rating: 71.69

Rangers sign D Wade Redden to a six-year, $39-million contract (2-7-9, even in 22 GP)
Has played okay with the Blueshirts, but he's not even the Rangers' best defenceman, let alone one of the league's elite as his paycheque suggests.
TSN.ca Rating: 71.62

Devils sign LW Brian Rolston to a four-year, $20.25-million contract (1-1-2, plus-1 in 4 GP)
An incomplete grade, to be sure, as the Devils have yet to reap the rewards expected from the perennial 30-goal scorer, whose "minor" ankle injury has kept him out a month and counting.
TSN.ca Rating: 71.62

Flames sign LW Todd Bertuzzi to a one-year, $1.95-million contract (7-7-14, minus-6 in 20 GP)
Troubled winger started the season strong, with five goals in five games, but he's been sliding since.  Even so, he does provide a needed complementary offensive presence.
TSN.ca Rating: 71.25

Bruins sign RW Michael Ryder to a three-year, $12-million contract (3-7-10, plus-5 in 19 GP)
Looking to get back to his 25-to-30-goal form, Ryder hasn't been able to finish any better in Boston than he did in Montreal last year.  To his credit, Ryder is a plus player, but that's goal-scorer's money that he's being paid.
TSN.ca Rating: 70.96

Blue Jackets sign D Mike Commodore to a five-year, $18.8-million contract (0-9-9, even in 19 GP)
Had a tough finish to last season in Ottawa, but has picked it up in Columbus this year, playing more than 22 minutes per game and contributing at both ends.
TSN.ca Rating: 70.71

Atlanta Thrashers sign RW Jason Williams to a one-year, $2.2-million contract (6-4-10, minus-4 in 18 GP)
Not surprisingly, production has dipped from what he did in Chicago last year, but he's had some decent stretches while playing on the No. 1 line.  Could also be a useful trade chip before the deadline.
TSN.ca Rating: 70.29

Wild sign LW Andrew Brunette to a three-yar, $7-million contract (6-5-11, minus-2 in 17 GP)
Often underrated veteran continues to produce, though it's a little more challenging in Minnesota.
TSN.ca Rating: 69.58

Wild sign RW Owen Nolan to a two-year, $5.5-million contract (1-5-6, minus-1 in 9 GP)
Hard to figure how the 36-year-old warranted a multi-year deal at that price, but he's been a solid second-line winger when he's been able to stay healthy.
TSN.ca Rating: 69.42

Maple Leafs sign D Jeff Finger to a four-year, $14-million contract (0-4-4, plus-4 in 12 GP)
One of the most roundly criticized contracts of the free agent signing period, but there's nothing wrong with what Finger has provided while logging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game.
TSN.ca Rating: 68.75

Penguins sign LW Ruslan Fedotenko to a one-year, $2.25-million contract (4-4-8, plus-1 in 18 GP)
May not be equipped to handle a primetime role, but is playing better after a rough start to the season.
TSN.ca Rating: 68.57

Rangers sign LW Aaron Voros to a three-year, $3-million contract (7-5-12, minus-2 in 22 GP)
Gritty winger who was shockingly productive early in the year.  Even if he's never going to be a real point-per-game scorer, Voros is a nice complement to linemates Nikolai Zherdev and Brandon Dubinsky, and a veritable bargain at that price.
TSN.ca Rating: 68.48

Flyers sign D Ossi Vaananen to a one-year, $1-million contract (0-5-5, plus-1 in 12 GP)
Strong physical defensive defenceman has made a smooth return to the NHL after a year in Sweden.
TSN.ca Rating: 68.33

Ducks sign D Steve Montador to a one-year, $800,000 contract (1-4-5, plus-7 in 20 GP)
Hasn't played a lot of minutes, but has been sound defensively and plays with the requisite amount of toughness for a depth defenceman.
TSN.ca Rating: 67.93

Lightning sign RW Mark Recchi to a one-year, $1.25-million (plus $250,000 in bonuses) contract (3-9-12, minus-5 in 18 GP)
The 40-year-old can still contribute offensively, though he's continuing the minus trend that has been standard since the lockout.
TSN.ca Rating: 67.83

Stars sign LW Sean Avery to a four-year, $15.5-million contract (2-7-9, plus-4 in 18 GP)
There's nothing wrong with Avery's production, though he's already reportedly rankled some in the Stars dressing room, who would probably tolerate the antics more if the Stars were actually winning.
TSN.ca Rating: 67.59

Penguins sign LW Matt Cooke to a two-year, $2.4-million contract (2-6-8, plus-2 in 15 GP)
Agitating winger has been getting better lately, providing some points even though he doesn't see a whole lot of ice time.
TSN.ca Rating: 66.27

Coyotes sign D Kurt Sauer to a four-year, $7-million contract (0-3-3, plus-7 in 17 GP)
A big, strong, stay-at-home defenceman, Sauer has been even better than he was in Colorado last season, making his contract look like a veritable steal.
TSN.ca Rating: 65.58

Flames sign RW Curtis Glencross to a three-year, $3.6-million contract (2-6-8, even in 20 GP)
High energy winger hasn't scored like he did in Edmonton last year, but has been quite effective in a limited role.
TSN.ca Rating: 65.06

Avalanche sign LW Darcy Tucker to a two-year, $4.5-million contract (4-3-7, minus-4 in 18 GP)
33-year-old still in decline following buyout from Toronto, though he's started to put the puck in the net more recently.
TSN.ca Rating: 64.93

Thrashers sign C Marty Reasoner to a one-year, $1-million contract (4-2-6, plus-2 in 18 GP)
Hard-working checker didn't come cheap, but has been a fine addition to the third line and penalty killing units. 
TSN.ca Rating: 64.36

Lightning sign RW Radim Vrbata to a three-year, $9-million contract (1-3-4, minus-1 in 12 GP)
Pretty much a disaster early on -- not scoring and even a healthy scratch -- but could be starting to come out of his early-season funk.
TSN.ca Rating: 64.25

Rangers sign D Dmitri Kalinin to a one-year, $2.1-million contract (0-6-6, minus-9 in 22 GP)
Veteran blueliner is logging more than 18 minutes per game, but his team-worst plus-minus isn't a great return on investment.
TSN.ca Rating: 63.93

Senators sign RW Jarkko Ruutu to a three-year, $3.9-million contract (2-3-5, plus-2 in 17 GP)
Certainly adds an aggravating element, but at those prices that Senators may have been better served looking for a complementary scorer.
TSN.ca Rating: 63.10

Flyers sign C Glen Metropolit to a two-yeear, $2-million contract (1-6-7, even in 16 GP)
Checking centre doesn't get a ton of ice, but doesn't hurt the team when he's out there either.
TSN.ca Rating: 63.01

Oilers sign D Jason Strudwick to a one-year, $650,000 contract (0-3-3, minus-1 in 17 GP)
A steady partner for Steve Staios and serviceable penalty killer at an inexpensive price.
TSN.ca Rating: 62.85

Bruins sign C Stephane Yelle to a one-year, $750,000 contract (3-4-7, plus-1 in 19 GP)
A late summer signing, Yelle has been a solid fourth-line checker and penalty killer.  Just as importantly, he's stayed healthy. 
TSN.ca Rating: 62.83

Hurricanes sign D Josef Melichar to a one-year, $1-million contract (0-2-2, plus-1 in 10 GP)
Took a shot on the ex-Penguins blueliner, who spent last year in Europe, but he's only averaged seven minutes per game.
TSN.ca Rating: 62.78

Lightning sign Olaf Kolzig to a one-year $1.5-million (plus $1-million in bonuses) contract (1-3-1, 3.22 GAA, .909 SVPCT in 5 GP)
Playing okay as backup to Mike Smith, though the Lightnig have struggled in front of both.
TSN.ca Rating: 61.63

Lightning sign LW Ryan Malone to a seven-year, $31.5-million contract (3-0-3, minus-2 in 14 GP)
Power forward parlayed a career season into a monster deal and, like many of his teammates hasn't been able to get going offensively.  May prove to have value over the long haul, but it's not looking good right now.
TSN.ca Rating: 61.42

Blackhawks sign G Cristobal Huet to a four-year, $22.5-million contract (3-3-1, 2.95 GAA, .900 SVPCT in 7 GP)
Expected to take the number one job from Nikolai Khabibulin, Huet has struggled, while Khabibulin has played well, leaving the Blackhawks in the uncomfortable position of sinking $12-million into their goaltending this season.
TSN.ca Rating: 60.50

Coyotes sign D David Hale to a two-year, $1.4-million contract (0-1-1, minus-4 in 12 GP)
Depth defenceman has provided about what should have been expected, though a two-year deal for that is questionable.
TSN.ca Rating: 59.60

Coyotes sign RW Todd Fedoruk to a three-year, $3.175-million contract (1-2-3, plus-1 in 17 GP)
Provides muscle, though he has been getting more quality ice than his skills would suggest.
TSN.ca Rating: 58.43

Lightning sign LW Gary Roberts to a one-year, $1.25-million (plus $820,000 in bonuses) contract (2-1-3, minus-4 in 18 GP)
Not getting enough ice time to justify that contract for a 42-year-old winger.
TSN.ca Rating: 58.37

Ducks sign C Brendan Morrison to a one-year, $2.75-million contract (2-2-4, minus-6 in 20 GP)
Anaheim has been exceptionally patient while waiting for Morrison to bounce back from knee surgery, and he's finally started to contribute a little bit in the last couple of weeks, but he's a long way from earning that pay cheque.
TSN.ca Rating: 58.24

Lightning signed RW Adam Hall to a three-year, $1.8-million contract (1-1-2, minus-1 in 18 GP)
Provides an honest effort at a reasonable price, but is little more than a penalty killer.
TSN.ca Rating: 58.20

Flyers sign RW Arron Asham to a two-year, $1.25-million contract (1-0-1, minus-1 in 17 GP)
Middleweight tough guy winger has seen minimal ice time, though he gets to skate with the skilled guys more often than one might expect, yet he's produced little.
TSN.ca Rating: 55.49

Devils sign C Bobby Holik to a one-year, $2.5-million contract (0-0-0, even in 5 GP)
I quite like Holik as a player, but probably wouldn't recognize an NHL in which he was actually underpaid.
TSN.ca Rating: 54.97

Canadiens sign RW Georges Laraque to a three-year, $4.5-million contract (0-0-0, minus-4 in 10 GP)
Provides needed toughness, but his contributions with his gloves on have been minimal and that contract is far more than what the typical enforcer is paid.
TSN.ca Rating: 52.45

Sabres sign G Patrick Lalime to a two-year, $2-million contract (1-2-1, 3.37 GAA, .878 SVPCT in 5 GP)
Brought in to provide more relief for starter Ryan Miller, Lalime has been lit up in his last two starts, so it remains to be seen if he's the solution.
TSN.ca Rating: 44.97

Maple Leafs sign G Curtis Joseph to a one-year, $700,000 contract (0-2-1, 3.23 GAA, .873 SVPCT in 5 GP)
A popular veteran presence, but is pretty much a mediocre backup behind a disappointing starter.
TSN.ca Rating: 43.73

Avalanche sign G Andrew Raycroft to a one-year, $800,000 contract (2-1, 3.75 GAA, .839 SVPCT in 3 GP)
Won a couple of games early in the season, but has hasn't been seen since allowing four goals in two periods against Columbus October 30th.
TSN.ca Rating: 22.33

TRADES
Lightning acquire D Janne Niskala (1-2-3, even in 6 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 73.12) from the Flyers for a 2009 6th-round pick
Possible power play quarterback got a short audition before he was cut loose and he's since returned to Sweden.

Blue Jackets acquire C R.J. Umberger (7-3-10, minus-2 in 19 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 71.67) and a 4th-round pick for a 1st-round and 3rd-round pick
After a slow start, Umberger is starting to reward Columbus' faith in him as a scoring forward, but he may not be the first-liner they were hoping for.  Also picked up USHL junior D Drew Olson with the fourth-round pick.  The Flyers used the 19th overall pick on D Luca Sbisa (0-6-6, minus-4 in 17 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 66.30) and the 67th overall pick on D Marc-Andre Bourdon (6-14-20, plus-1 in 20 games with Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL).

Flames acquire Mike Cammalleri (5-11-16, minus-3 in 19 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 74.90) from the Kings for a 2008 1st-round and 2009 2nd-round pick
The Flames effectively replaced Tanguay with Cammalleri and have to be pleased with the production Cammalleri has provided when he's been healthy.  The Kings then turned around and used the 17th pick, acquired from Calgary, and the previously-acquired 28th pick to get the 13th overall pick, which they used to draft D Colten Teubert (8-11-19, plus-16, 59 PIM in 25 GP with Regina of the WHL).

Canadiens acquire Alex Tanguay (8-9-17, plus-6 in 18 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 78.80) and a 5th-round pick from the Flames for a 2008 1st-round and 2009 2nd-round pick
Montreal has to be happy with how smoothly Tanguay has made the transition to his home province, playing well alongside Saku Koivu.  Montreal also added Russian forward Maxim Trunev with the fifth-round pick.  The Flames selected C Greg Nemisz (6-15-24, plus-23 in 22 GP with Windsor of the OHL) with the 25th overall selection.

Flyers acquire D Steve Eminger (1-6-7, plus-1 in 18 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 69.43) and a 3rd-round pick from the Capitals for a 1st-round pick
Eminger didn't do much in Philly, only starting to produce after a recent trade to Tampa Bay.  Philadelphia used the third-round pick on G Jacob Deserres (3-6, 4.63 GAA, .848 SVPCT with Seattle of the WHL). The Capitals used the 27th overall pick on D John Carlson (4-12-16, plus-15 in 15 GP with London of the OHL).

Coyotes acquire C Olli Jokinen (7-10-17, plus-4 in 17 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 81.28) from the Panthers for D Keith Ballard (2-8-10, plus-1 in 18 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 74.00), D Nick Boynton (2-4-6, plus-1 in 17 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 70.48) and a 2nd-round pick
Jokinen has been every bit the first-line centre the Coyotes thought they were getting while Ballard and Boynton have helped stabilize the Panthers defence.  Naturally, the Coyotes could still use improvement on the blueline and the Panthers are sorely missing the offence that Jokinen provided.  After some maneuvering, the Panthers used their second second-round pick to select D Colby Robak (6-8-14, plus-8 in 10 GP).

Blues acquire Chris Mason (0-5, 3.13 GAA, .893 SVPCT in 6 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 53.53) from the Predators for a 4th-round pick
The Blues had hoped Mason would be a strong complement to Manny Legace, but haven't received that kind of quality from him yet, while the Predators cleared the way for Dan Ellis.

Maple Leafs acquire Jamal Mayers (1-2-3, minus-9 in 19 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 55.69) from the Blues for a 3rd-round pick
Mayers hasn't done a whole lot in Toronto, though he does lead the team with 32 penalty minutes.  The Blues used the third-round pick on RW James Livingston (10-5-15, plus-4 in 21 GP with Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL).

Oilers acquire D Lubomir Visnovsky (4-8-12, plus-3 in 20 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 76.98) from the Kings for C Jarret Stoll (6-3-9, plus-5 in 18 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 69.97) and D Matt Greene (0-2-2, minus-2 in 18 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 61.70)
While Visnovsky hasn't been outstanding for the Oilers, he certainly adds a more offensive dimension from the back end.  Stoll is having a better season in L.A., while Greene provides some size and toughness with limited puck skills.

Flames acquire LW Rene Bourque (4-6-10, plus-3 in 20 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 69.45) from the Blackhawks for a 2nd-round pick
Bourque has been a solid complementary winger -- exactly the role he was expected to fulfill when Calgary made the deal.  Chicago traded the second-round pick.

Oilers acquire LW Erik Cole (3-4-7, minus-2 in 20 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 65.26) from the Hurricanes for D Joni Pitkanen (1-5-6, minus-4 in 11 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 74.11)
Neither team can be particularly thrilled about the returns they are receiving on this deal, as Cole hasn't scored nearly as much as expected, while Pitkanen got off to a good start, but has struggled since an early-season injury.

Wild acquire D Marek Zidlicky (2-5-7, minus-5 in 13 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 73.04) from the Predators for LW Ryan Jones (3-3-6, even in 15 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 65.26) and a 2009 2nd-round pick
Zidlicky has provided the expected offence from the blueline, though his plus-minus is tied for worst on the team, while Jones has been a pleasant surprise as a rookie.  He's not a big-time scorer, but he's an energy guy who willingly goes to the high-traffic areas.

Sabres acquire D Craig Rivet (0-5-5, minus-3 in 13 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 67.72) and a 2010 7th-round pick from the Sharks for 2009 and 2010 2nd-round picks
None of the draft picks have been used yet, so the Sabres are at least getting quality current value out of Rivet, though he's slumped lately.

Sharks acquire D Dan Boyle (6-10-16, plus-5 in 19 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 86.89) and D Brad Lukowich (0-4-4, plus-5 in 19 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 66.56) from the Lightning for D Matt Carle (1-2-3, plus-2 in 17 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 65.76), D Ty Wishart (0-1-1, even in 15 GP with Norfolk of the AHL), a 2009 1st-round and 2010 4th-round pick
Boyle has bounced back all the way from a terrible 2007-2008 season and is a crucial component for the Sharks, while Lukowich is a steady presence as well.  Carle played a lot in Tampa Bay, but didn't produce much before getting dealt to Philadelphia.  Wishart was a first-round pick in 2006, but is off to a slow start as a pro, so the Lightning had better hope those picks pan out.

Maple Leafs acquire C Mikhail Grabovski (9-4-13, minus-3 in 13 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 71.84) from the Canadiens for D Greg Pateryn (0-1-1, minus-1 in 11 GP with Michigan of the CCHA) and a 2010 2nd-round pick
Grabovksi has some flash and dash to his game and knack around the net that has him leading the Leafs in goals.  He has to prove he can do it over the long haul, but the early indication are very good for Toronto.

Canucks acquire RW Steve Bernier (5-4-9, plus-3 in 20 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 68.19) from the Sabres for a 2009 3rd-round and 2010 2nd-round pick
Bernier was given an opportunity to play with the Sedins, but after not producing enough, he's been bumped down the depth chart.  Given their depth up front already, Buffalo gets a decent return with a pair of picks to use in the future.

Rangers acquire RW Nikolai Zherdev (7-9-16, plus-9 in 22 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 74.54) and C Dan Fritsche (0-3-3, minus-2 in 10 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 60.19) from the Blue Jackets for D Fedor Tyutin (1-7-8, minus-4 in 19 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 71.57) and D Christian Backman (1-3-4, even in 18 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 65.64)
Zherdev may be the Rangers' best player, leading the team in scoring and plus-minus, while Fritsche is under-utilized, spending a lot of time in the press box.  Tyutin plays a big role on the Blue Jackets defence -- leading Columbus with more than 23 minutes per game -- while Backman gets significant PP time, yet does little with it. 

Lightning acquire D Andrej Meszaros (0-5-5, minus-1 in 18 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 68.47) from the Senators for D Filip Kuba (1-14-15, plus-5 in 19 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 79.86), D Alexandre R. Picard (2-5-7, even in 19 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 70.25) and a 2009 1st-round pick
Meszaros wanted to get paid, and he did, but he's struggled in the mess that is Tampa Bay, while Kuba and Picard have both played well, despite all the troubles in Ottawa.  Getting a first-round pick on top of it all makes this a clearcut win for the Senators.

Panthers acquire D Bryan McCabe (3-4-7, plus-1 in 8 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 84.20) and a 2010 4th-round pick from the Maple Leafs for D Mike Van Ryn (3-5-8, plus-1 in 14 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 77.34)
Both blueliners have been surprisingly productive after troubled seasons in 2007-2008, but injuries have affected both already, but given that the Leafs shedded McCabe's large contract in the deal, Van Ryn's value in return has been excellent.

Canadiens acquire C Robert Lang (6-6-12, plus-5 in 18 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 72.43) for a 2010 2nd-round pick
Fed up with waiting on Mats Sundin, the Canadiens went out and acquired Robert Lang to give them lots of skill down the middle and Lang hasn't disappointed, producing what should be expected of him at this stage in his career, though word is that the Habs are sniffing around Sundin again, which might make Lang expendable. 

Thrashers acquire D Mathieu Schneider (1-4-5, minus-11 in 13 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 67.59) from the Ducks for D Ken Klee (0-1-1, plus-2 in 12 GP, TSN.ca Rating: 62.03), LW Brad Larsen (None) and RW Chad Painchaud (1-8-9, minus-3 in 14 GP with Bakersfield of the ECHL)
This salary dump was supposed to be a clear win for the Thrashers, but Schneider was largely ineffective before getting hurt.  The Ducks then traded Klee to Phoenix, so they have little to show for the deal, other than getting under the cap enough to sign Teemu Selanne near the end of training camp.

TRADE RUMOURS
- The Columbus Dispatch, noting the desperate need for a Blue Jackets power play quarterback, runs off a list of possibilities, including Pittsburgh's Ryan Whitney, Kris Letang or Alex Goligoski, Toronto's Pavel Kubina (who has a limited no-trade clause), Vancouver's Kevin Bieska, Florida's Jay Bouwmeester, Los Angeles' Tom Preissing and Carolina's Joe Corvo.

- The New York Post says it's time for the Devils to deal LW/C Patrik Elias, possibly in the hopes of shoring up their goaltending, pegging Chicago as a possible desination.

- According to the Ottawa Sun, the Devils might take a shot at Lightning G Olaf Kolzig while Brodeur is out.

- Newsday notes that oft-scratched Rangers winger Petr Prucha is back in trade rumours.

- The Ottawa Sun sticks with the Canucks trying to move D Mattias Ohlund, who is in the final year of his contract and has a no-trade clause, citing Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia as interested parties.

- According to the Ottawa Sun, the only Lightning players not being offered in trade talks are Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Paul Ranger and Andrej Meszaros.

- The Ottawa Citizen has the Sens looking at a defenceman such as Ohlund, Bouwmeester or Nashville's Greg de Vries coming to Ottawa for Antoine Vermette or tough guy Chris Neil, a possibility that may have to wait until Neil returns from his current knee injury.  The paper also has the Senators dangling swingman Christoph Schubert.

HOT
Joey MacDonald, G, N.Y. Islanders (3-1, 1.36 GAA, .955 SVPCT in last 4 GP)
Tom Gilbert, D, Edmonton (1-3-4, plus-2 in last 4 GP)
Bryan McCabe, D, Florida (3-3-6, plus-3 in last 5 GP)
Pavol Demitra, LW, Vancouver (4-4-8, plus-2 in last 5 GP)
Jiri Hudler, C, Detroit (4-3-7, plus-2 in last 5 GP)
Kris Versteeg, RW, Chicago (5-4-9, plus-5 in last 6 GP)

NOT
Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo (1-3-1, 4.44 GAA, .848 SVPCT in last 6 GP)
Jaroslav Spacek, D, Buffalo (0-0-0, minus-5 in last 6 GP)
Tom Poti, D, Washington (0-0-0, minus-5 in last 5 GP)
Milan Hejduk, RW, Colorado (0-1-1, minus-5 in last 6 GP)
Keith Tkachuk, LW, St. Louis (1-2-3, minus-6 in last 8 GP)
Alexander Frolov, LW, Los Angeles (0-2-2, minus-1 in last 5 GP)

CHIRPING
"The goal that O'Sullivan scored, that's a goal-scorers goal. There aren't many guys on our team that are going to be able to finish on that play." - Kings coach Terry Murray, on the goal scored by Patrick O'Sullivan against the Capitals.  There was no discussion about why the goal-scorer has been spending so much time on the fourth line.

"It's never nice seeing your team in last place or out of the playoffs even." - Senators LW Dany Heatley.

"We better not return to a 78-cent Canadian dollar because we'll be in the same position we were before the work stoppage." - Canadiens president Pierre Boivin, who could just barely be heard over the alarm bells

"Our next (goal) is to get the big boy going." - Hurricanes LW Ray Whitney, on slumping teammate Eric Staal.

"I got a good start coming back from injury.  I've been scoring every game. That helps the legs feel lighter because I'm not 100 per cent yet skating wise." - Red Wings LW Johan Franzen.

"He's not competitive enough or fit enough to help us, so why put him back in? He's never been fit enough to help us." - Oilers coach Craig MacTavish on LW Dustin Penner.

Scott Cullen can be reached at scullen@tsn.ca




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