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The Northwest After the Deadline

Before the trade deadline I looked at how each of the teams in the Northwest division. Now that the deadline has come and gone, let's take a look at what they did. I will again by looking both at how the moves impact their rosters this season and at how their rosters look going forward using the following little cap space guideline:

Top 3 Forwards - 27.5%
Middle 6 Forwards - 20.0%
Top 4 Defenders - 27.5%
Goaltending - 10.0%
Bottom 8 Players - 15.0%

Vancouver Canucks


Acquired D Andrew Alberts from the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2010 3rd round pick.
Acquired F Yan Stastny from the St. Louis Blues for F Pierre-Cedric Labrie.
Acquired D Sean Zimmerman and a 2010 6th round pick from the Phoenix Coyotes for D Mathieu Schneider.

Salary Structure for 2010-11:

Top 3 Forwards - Sedin, Sedin, Burrows - 14.2M - 25.4%
Middle 6 Forwards - Samuelsson, Bernier, ???, ???, ???, ??? - 4.5M - 8.0%
Top 4 Defenders - Bieksa, Salo, Edler, Ehrhoff - 13.6M - 24.3%
Goaltending - Luongo, ??? - 5.333 - 9.5%
Bottom 8 Players - Hordichuk, Rypien, Alberts, ???, ???, ???, ???, ??? - 2.375 - 4.2%


Mike Gillis did very little at the trade deadline this year which is about what I expected. The biggest acquisition is that of Andrew Alberts for a 3rd round pick in this year's draft. As you can see from the chart above his contract runs into next season and fits very nicely into the Canucks pay structure. His cap hit of 1.05M is very reasonable for a 5th or 6th defender which is where he fits in on this Canucks team, which is the same role he had in Carolina. But at least he's an effective sixth defender. He's been taking on easy competition and hasn't been fed OZ faceoffs so far this year, so he needs to be protected but not in a crippling way. He's also posted both a positive Corsi and a positive goal differential to go along with a team-leading 178 hits. He also played a small role on the Hurricanes' PK, though his results weren't particularly good. He's a big palooka that's hard to play against with a "bonus year" (hi Ethan Moreau!) on his contract. A solid if unexciting pickup for the Canucks and a guy that they can trust to do pretty well as a #5 or lower on the depth chart.

The Canucks also managed to move Mathieu Schnieder, which I found surprising because the man cleared waivers about a month ago. At that point, I guess the Coyotes (who had a monster day) were more worried about money. Sean Zimmerman is certainly nothing special and his entry-level deal expires after this year so they don't need to worry about spending one of their 50 contract spots on him going forward. Schneider had obviously fallen out of favour in Vancouver and they save some money and get a pick by moving him, so I guess why not. The forward swap sees P-C Labrie leave the organization after three pretty poor season with Manitoba in exchange for a tweener who will probably be of more help to the Moose than Labrie but of equal value to the Canucks.

Colorado Avalanche


Acquired F Peter Mueller and F Kevin Porter from the Phoenix Coyotes for F Wojtek Wolski
Acquired F Stephane Yelle and F Harrison Reed from the Carolina Hurricanes for F Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll and a 2010 6th round pick.

Salary Structure for 2010-11:

Top 3 Forwards - Stastny, Duchene, Hejduk - 12.8M - 22.9%
Middle 6 Forwards - O'Reilly, Galiardi, Jones, ???, ???, ??? - 2.6125M - 4.7%
Top 4 Defenders - Hannan, Liles, ???, ??? - 8.7M - 15.5%
Goaltending - Anderson, ??? - 1.8125M - 3.3%
Bottom 8 Players - McLeod, Cumiskey, Wilson, Preissing, ???, ???, ???, ??? - 4.685M - 8.4%


Of the players moved in these transactions only Reed and Lalonde-McNicoll have contracts that go beyond this season. Reed is a player that had two very promising seasons in the OHL at 18 and 19 but has had a very disappointing pro career. McNicoll, meanwhile, is a small scorer out of the QMJHL who has had trouble putting up points in his first year of pro hockey. Neither seems likely to be an NHL player at this time. The Hurricanes also got a 6th round pick and the Avalanche also got Stephane Yelle who's been losing the battle both in terms of Corsi and in terms of goal-scoring while taking on easy competition in Carolina. He can still take faceoffs at about 50% which is great for the Avs and I suppose he can PK, though his numbers are awful. He's pretty much done as an NHL player but the Avs really didn't give up much either. It's a pretty nothing deal unless someone's pro scouts have done a great job.

The big deal is the one that sends Wojtek Wolski to Phoenix. After watching over 30 Avalanche games this year I am very confident that the Coyotes are getting the best player in this deal. In addition to being a wonderful player to watch Wolski is also among the Avs leaders in a number of pretty important statistical categories. For instance, he leads the team in 5v5 goal differential at +20. He's second in Corsi/60 at -4.24/60. He's among the top five Avalanche players in all three qualtiy of competition metrics. He's tied for second in points. All of this despite 51 more draws in the defensive zone than the offensive zone (the fourth toughest ratio among Avs forwards). He's one of the Avs very best forwards and he just turned 24. Considering the Avalanche are in the middle of rebuilding it makes pretty much no sense at all for them to move Wolski unless the return is phenomenal.

There has been some talk that Peter Mueller is a better player than he's shown so far this season. The argument is that he's being destroyed by the percentages (PDO of 97.3) despite doing well in terms of possession (Corsi of +8.06/60). There's some truth to that. However, among forwards (min. 40 GP) he's also received the seventh best OZ to DZ ratio in the entire league (213 OZ to 117 DZ). His Corsi and Relative Corsi? They're not close to that high and he's not exactly facing the vaunt either. As I mentioned above Gabe Desjardins has three measures for quality of competition and Mueller ranked dead last in two of them (among Coyotes forwards) before he was traded. So far this year he's been a -5 during 5-on-5 play. While it's true that the percentages are hurting him and that he's still very young to be making a judgment on (he's 21 years old) it looks to me like the Phoenix Coyotes did their very best to pump this guy so that they could find a sucker. And they did.

Which brings us to Kevin Porter. He played 34 games for the Gretzky Coyotes (a.k.a. the bad version) and scored 10 points. After 4 games with the Tippett Coyotes (a.k.a the good version) he was sent to the AHL. He's on the small side (under six feet) and he's young but not that young (he turns 24 in about a week). He ripped the cover off the ball at Michigan in his early twenties and so far has 35 points in 42 AHL games to go along with a tidy +7. He could be a pretty good player but I when Don Maloney heard that all he needed to add to Peter Mueller in order to get Wolski was Kevin Porter, I doubt he had to think twice.

Now, all three of these guys are RFA's but the early returns suggest to me that Colorado is a much worse team today than they were a couple days ago and unless Wolski wanted them to really open up the vault, they're a worse team five years from now too. Epic. Fail. Great move by the Coyotes.

Calgary Flames


Acquired D Andy Delmore from the Detroit Red Wings for F Riley Armstrong.
Acquired G Vesa Toskala from the Anaheim Ducks for G Curtis McElhinney.
Acquired a fourth round pick in 2010 from the Nashville Predators for F Dustin Boyd.
Acquired D Steve Staios from the Edmonton Oilers for D Aaron Johnson and a 3rd round pick in 2010 or 2011 (Calgary's option).

Salary Structure for 2010-11:

Top 3 Forwards - Iginla, Langkow, Bourque - 14.833M - 26.5%
Middle 6 Forwards - Stajan, Hagman, Kotalik, Dawes, Moss, Glencross - 12.85M - 22.9%
Top 4 Defenders - Bouwmeester, Regehr, Sarich, Giordano - 15.19M - 27.1%
Goaltending - Kiprusoff, ??? - 5.833M - 10.4%
Bottom 8 Players - Backlund, Pardy, Staios, ???, ???, ???, ???, ??? - 4.6708M - 8.3%



Deeper Analysis:

Three of these four deals are very bad and the one that isn't is the least consequential. Riley Armstrong and Andy Delmore are likely not going to be NHL players (but remember when Delmore scored 34 goals in two years with the Predators!) and the trade is basically of no consequence.

Giving up Boyd for a fourth round pick seems awful since he's an RFA and you should be able to get at least a third round pick so long as you're willing to qualify him at $715,000. I guess the Flames didn't want to. That trade is just awful for the Flames but the Preds have a great haul so far from the 2010 draft! They've already got Grebeshkov in the 2nd and Boyd in the 4th down in pen and considering both guys could be long-term holds for the Preds, they just made out like bandits.

Steve Staios can still play some hockey. Steve Staios makes the Flames a deeper team on defence. Steve Staios is a heart-and-soul player. But Steve Staios is not worth 2.7M dollars in cap space. When you've already spent the bulk of your money for next season and you're looking for bargains, you don't add Steve Staios. It just makes no sense. And it's not even their worst move.

Vesa Toskala is one of the worst goalie in the league and he makes four million dollars. It's indefensible to acquire him for his skills. His save percentage is better than only Devan Dubnyk if you restrict it to guys with ten games played. His EV save percentage is a putrid .898. Which is actually better than Curtis McElhinney's. So I guess I can see why the Flames wanted to replace Curtis (he sucks) but that's really something they could have (a) done a better job of at the deadline and (b) done in the summer since they already knew McElhinney was terrible. Seriously. They could have claimed Alex Auld on waivers, like, a week ago. But they went to Toskala. Yowzers.

Minnesota Wild


Acquired a second round pick in 2010 from the Washington Capitals for F Eric Belanger.

Salary Structure for 2010-11:

Top 3 Forwards - Koivu, Havlat, Bouchard = 12.58 or 22.9%
Middle 6 Forwards - Kobasew, Miettinen, Brunnette, Brodziak, Clutterbuck, ??? = 9.55 or 17.1%
Top 4 Defenders - Burns, Schultz, Zidlicky, Zanon = 12.06 or 23.2%
Goaltending - Backstrom, ??? = 6.00 or 10.9%
Bottom 8 Players - Barker, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ??? = 3.083 or 5.5%


They didn't do as much as I expected. I really thought that they were going to decide to fold up the tent and move some bodies, much like the Hurricanes. Instead, they chose to keep Owen Nolan and Shane Hnidy. I say chose because I find it hard to believe that the Flames wouldn't have given the Wild a 3rd round pick for Hnidy instead of Staios. The difference in performance is marginal but Hnidy is an UFA at the end of the year. I would've moved them. The return on Belanger was good, but I think the Wild should have done more to accumulate some draft picks (even low ones) that might turn into something helpful for the future, especially since their pending UFAs aren't really central to the team's success (Belanger was likely the most important of the three). Colour me unimpressed.

Edmonton Oilers


Acquried F Ryan Jones off waivers from the Nashville Predators.
Acquired D Ryan Whitney and a 6th round pick in 2010 from the Anaheim Ducks for D Lubomir Visnovsky.
Acquired D Aaron Johnson and a 3rd round pick in 2010 or 2011 (Calgary's option) from the Calgary Flames for D Steve Staios.

Salary Structure for 2010-11:

Top 3 Forwards - (Horcoff, Hemsky, Penner) - 13.85M or 24.7%
Middle 6 Forwards - (O'Sullivan, Nilsson, Moreau, ???, ???, ???) - 6.925 or 12.4%
Top 4 Defenders - (Souray, Gilbert, Whitney, ???) - 13.4M or 23.9%
Goaltending - (Khabibulin, ???) - 3.75M or 6.7%
Bottom 8 Players - (Smid, Stortini, Jones, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???) - 2.975M or 5.3%


I didn't get exactly what I wanted, but I did get a much better performance from Steve Tambellini than I expected. Unlike last year when Tambellini added salary (in the form of Patrick O'Sullivan), this year he subtracted as he should be. I've looked at the Staios move already, so I'll just say that I think Tambellini did a really good job on that one. He surpassed my expectations for sure.

His first move of the day was also a good one. Ryan Jones cost nothing but cap space and his contract looks to be not too bad. He basically had the Stortini role (minus the fighting) in Nashville, playing a physical game without getting many minutes. They're both getting of bad actually (Jones had the worst Corsi rating on his team) but Jones has a hugely positive penalty differential (although he actually takes a lot of penalties per unit of ice time, he draws a huge number) which is a skill that can help you win games. He's a right wing and I think could be acceptable in a fourth line role, fitting nicely with Ryan Stone on the left side so long as they have a quick center. If either Stone or Jones is hurt or playing poorly Stortini could easily come into the lineup and fill a similar role. Another nice pick-up for Tambellini.

The third trade is the most controversial. Tambellini cleared a lot of cap space and brought some nice balance to the lineup but did so by trading Lubomir Visnovsky, probably the Oilers' best non-injured player (because when Khabibulin's in the lineup he's so awesome). But Visnovsky is pretty old at (an old) 33 and Whitney is in the prime of his career at (a young) 27. Whitney also scores at a pretty respectable rate at EV. Not as well as Visnovsky but pretty good. He's always played big minutes at EV and the PP and he seems to be reasonably durable with four of his five seasons over 65 games and only one major injury (foot surgery). I don't like the deal because I really liked watching Lubomir Visnovsky and I do think that Visnovsky is the better player and will be over the next three years but I understand why it was done and it seems like there's a non-zero chance that Whitney covers that contract if he can improve his game a bit an even strength. I'll certainly be cheering for Whitney, but I know that I'll really miss Lubo.

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