Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Flyers Quiet as Deadline Passes

The NHL trade deadline is always a crazy day filled with numerous swaps of big name talent, and today was no exception. There were 25 total trades, with 45 players changing teams. Some big names were moved, including Brian Campbell, Brad Richards and Marian Hossa.

The Flyers were not one of the teams that made a big splash. After acquiring Vinny Prospal last night, the Flyers were not a participant on deadline day. It wasn't for a lack of effort, however, as GM Paul Holmgren said the team looked for a top defenseman, but after Brian Campbell was moved to the Sharks, there weren't any left. The Flyers also were looking into dealing for another former player, Ruslan Fedotenko, but nothing got done there.

I would say it is a slight disappointment that the Flyers were unable to land another defenseman, especially given the health issues they are having now that Jaroslav Modry suffered an injury against Buffalo yesterday. It isn't a huge shock that the Flyers stood pat, because it made very little sense to make any move that would hurt the Flyers in the long run. This team is a few years away from playing its best hockey, so there was no reason to go for broke this year. Jeff Carter was the player that every team wanted, and with the way he stepped up in the Buffalo game, now was not the time to move him.

So who were the big winners of the day? With the exception of the Flyers, every other team within the Atlantic Division made a deal, with the Penguins making by far the biggest move. The Penguins got Marian Hossa, but had to give up a ton of young talent and a first round pick. The Penguins also acquired defenseman Hal Gill. The Devils made the first move of the day, which turned out to be their last, acquiring defenseman Bryce Salvador from the Blues. The Rangers made two minor deals, picking up Christian Backman in a deal with the Blues, and picking up three young guys, Fredrik Sjostrom, David Leneveu and Josh Gratton from the Coyotes. The Rangers gave up their former goalie of the future, the 6th overall pick in the 2004 draft, Al Montoya. The Islanders did a bit of selling, giving up Chris Simon and Marc-Andre Bergeron for draft picks. They also picked up Rob Davison from the Sharks.

The Penguins pickup of Hossa makes them the favorite in the Atlantic Division, and maybe even in the entire Eastern Conference. He is a tremendous talent, and putting him with Malkin and Crosby makes for a scary offensive punch in Pittsburgh. None of the rest of the moves the Atlantic Division teams made will have a major impact. Across the rest of the league, the Sharks and Stars made the other two impact moves, with the Sharks getting Brian Campbell and the Stars acquiring Brad Richards.

The Flyers sat back while a flurry of moves were made today. In the short term, the team may continue to struggle, but in the long term, not giving up their youth or draft picks will be a great benefit to Flyers teams for years to come.

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