Deadline eve saw three more big names change teams, further diluting a trade pool that already had seen plenty of players find new homes over the past two weeks.
Anyone ever hear of deadline day? You know, when you’re supposed to make your trades?
Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray, Jarome Iginla and Jordan Leopold moved last week. Robyn Regehr, Jay Bouwmeester and Michal Handzus switched teams Monday. And then Tuesday brought more action as Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy and Ryane Clowe switched addresses among the bigger names on the market while depth blue-liners such as Davis Drewiske and Marc-Andre Bergeron also moved.
Last season, only two trades were completed in the 48 hours before deadline day. This year? Make it 10!
So what’s left there, guys?
Well, there’s the whole goalie thing in Toronto.
I’m told the Maple Leafs had more dialogue with the Calgary Flames on Tuesday about Miikka Kiprusoff, but at the same time, the Leafs and Vancouver Canucks also conversed Tuesday regarding good ol’ Roberto Luongo, a source told ESPN.com.
For the Canucks, the dynamics have changed. They don’t need a center anymore after getting Roy from Dallas. So the Canucks can live with a winger, for example, in a Toronto deal if the Leafs wanted to make a move on Luongo.
No question the Canucks are well aware of Toronto’s interest in Kiprusoff and understand they need to make it clear over the next day just what they’d be willing to do, once and for all, on the Luongo front with Toronto.
So more than likely, that will be the big story Wednesday before the 3 p.m. ET deadline if the Leafs decide the fit is right on either Kipper or Bobby Lu. Or neither.
There certainly has already been much to digest:
• Jagr to Boston. The Bruins actually phoned Dallas about 3-4 weeks ago to check on Jagr’s availability and at the time didn’t think he was going anywhere. At the time, the Stars were actually thinking they would sign Jagr. But over the past week, things changed. The Stars kept losing games and after much internal debate and deliberation including right up to Monday night, the front office decided it was time to unload. They would move Jagr and Roy, their pending UFAs, after already having done so with Morrow.
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk met with Jagr on Tuesday morning and while he didn’t have to, because the veteran winger doesn’t have a no-trade clause, out of respect for the future Hall of Famer, he felt him out on a possible deal to Boston after telling him they had decided not to re-sign him. The answer from Jagr was yes.
No doubt, the Stars will get criticized for pulling the plug when they can still make the playoffs, but I credit them. It’s the third year in a row that the team is straddling the playoff demarcation line, and the two previous years they tried to give the team the best possible chance to make the playoffs but didn't get returns on assets. They missed the playoffs both times, and got nothing in return for anyone.
Now they’ve picked up some solid young assets in the trades for Morrow, Jagr and Roy and the team will be better off for it in a few years.
• For the Bruins? They finally get the impact, rental winger they were looking for in Jagr. And frankly, this might actually be a better fit than Iginla, the player they thought they traded for last week. Jagr has more offensive creativity and will have a bigger impact on Boston’s power play than Iginla would have in my humble opinion.
• Clowe ends up with the Rangers and going East all along I believe was important to the Newfoundland native. The Sharks presented him with trade options to either New York or Vancouver -- the Canucks pushed real hard in their efforts to get Clowe -- but ultimately a move East mattered most. I think Clowe felt the Rangers presented a better fit. And it would not surprise me if he ended up re-signing there in the offseason.
Credit here to Clowe’s agent Kent Hughes and Sharks GM Doug Wilson in the way in which they handled this. Wilson gave Hughes the green light to talk to teams over the past week to feel out options. They worked together hand in hand because of Clowe’s no-trade clause, and it proves that sometimes you can make it a smooth operation if everyone involved is on the same page.
• The Canucks struck out on Clowe but got the part that really mattered to them: a center. Roy can play in either the No. 2 or 3 hole when Ryan Kesler returns. Henrik Sedin, Kesler and Roy down the middle is not too shabby at all. And Kesler has played wing at times in the past, and that’s another possibility. I still think the Canucks will try to pick up another winger between now and Wednesday’s deadline, but they’re already a better team for sure with Roy on board.
• In an small move, the Montreal Canadiens added Drewiske, the depth defenseman they had been looking for. A Western Conference team executive called Drewiske “a top character guy, a good penalty-killer, decent hockey sense and a big body.”
Sometimes the lesser deals are the ones you end up talking about a few months or years later. I’m not saying Drewiske will ever be a star; he won’t. But I think he can a be a solid third-pairing player for Montreal, and the Habs only paid a fifth-round pick for him.