Mar 19, 2002
The most coveted item at the National Hockey League's trade deadline wasn't a scorer, goalie, or even a solid defenseman. The most traded type of player in the days leading to the deadline, and in deadline itself were enforcers.
Starting with the deal that sent Andre Roy and a 6th round pick to Tampa Bay for Juha Ylonen, a total of 6 Enforcers (with at least 5 NHL fights this season) have found new homes (Roy, Jamie Pushor, Billy Tibbets, Rick Berry, Bill Lindsay, Darcy Hordichuk).
The Senators dealt Roy because with the play of Chris Neil, a rookie this season, he became expendable. Ylonen should help the Senators with their depth down the middle, while Roy should get a lot more playing time than Chris Dingman down in Tampa Bay, perhaps on a line with Gordie Dwyer.
Jamie Pushor went to Pittsburgh, who sent a 4th round pick in 2003 to Columbus. Pushor will be looked to give Pittsburgh an extra kick in the physical department, with Billy Tibbets being traded for Kent Manderville in a deal with Philadelphia.
It is very doubtful that Tibbets could see more playing time on a team that already boasts a very strong group of players. My guess is that Tibbets would involved in a package deal in the offseason, perhaps for a goalie that the Flyer orginization (or so the media says) is looking for (despite Bobby Clarke's words to the contrary).
Rick Berry was involved in the first major deal on Tuesday. Darius Kasparitis went from Pittsburgh to Colorado, while Berry and Ville Nieminen went to Pittsburgh. The play of Scott Parker, as both an enforcer and a fourth-line checker, left little room for Berry to get any regular ice time. Kasparitis will bolster a blueline that lost Ray Bourque to retirement, but hasn't really slowed. Of course, the stellar play of Patrick Roy has a lot to do with the calibre of the Avs' defense.
In a deal of minor impact, the Montreal Canadiens picked up veteran Bill Lindsay from waivers from the Florida Panthers. The Habs are obviously looking to find the veteran presence and try to keep ahead of the high-payroll New York Rangers, who acquired as much as 31$ million over the next three years in Pavel Bure.
The Phoenix Coyotes, the hottest team in the league right now, added a strong supporting player in Darcy Hordichuk, and a 5th round draft pick in 2002 from Atlanta for a couple of prospects.
In other deals not involving enforcers, the Montreal Canadiens stocked up on goaltending by sending a conditional draft pick to Los Angeles for Stephane Fiset, who has been playing in the minors this year, behind Felix Potvin and Jamie Storr on the depth chart. Fiset's job will be to back up Jose Theodore, while up-and-comer Mathieu Garon will be sent back down for more experience. With Jeff Hackett injured, look for the Habs to make a deal over the summer involving at least one of those goalies, all of whom can play in the NHL, Garon included.
In other good news for the Canadiens, Donald Audette, who suffered a serious injury when tendons in his forearm were severed, has been practicing hard, and should be ready to play in two weeks time. If the Habs advance late into the first round, it is also possible that Saku Koivu, recovering from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma could be available.
But I digress...back to the deals. In other waiver claims, the L.A. Kings picked up a great role player in Ted Donato from St. Louis. The Kings have been making a lot of noise recently and want to continue doing more of the same in the playoffs. The Washington Capitols, who will soon be getting used to life without Adam Oates, claimed Benoit Hogue from the Bruins. Hogue, Washington hopes will be a stop-gap player. With the Oates deal, it's obvious that the Caps have given up this year, and are looking to merely play out the string, hoping they can lead themselves to a respectable record, if nothing else.
In Buffalo, Bob Corkum found himself a Sabre, who are looking to next year as well, and hope a grizzled veteran like Corkum can pass off a few things to what is a relatively young team. The Islanders, looking to get more heart for the playoffs, made a deal with Florida for Darren Van Impe, sending back a 5th round pick in 2003.
Chicago, looking to make their first playoff appearance of any meaning since Ed Belfour was traded, picked up defenseman Lyle Odelein from Columbus. Jaroslav Spacek, and a second round pick in this summers' draft were sent the other way. Odelein was rumoured to be going to as many as five different teams, and oddly enough, Chicago wasn't supposed to be one of those places.
The last minor deal of the day saw Jamie Allison and Blake Sloan swap places, Sloan going to Calgary, while Allison went to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In such a press for space, I had to only discuss the minor deals. Tomorrow, I'll go in-depth of all the big trades and talk a bit about their consequences for the teams not involved.
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