Thursday, February 28, 2008

The local deadline review

Now that the deadline has come and passed with special thanks to buddy Lenny for further updating a busy Tuesday while I was busy rocking out at the Garden to Clapton and Winwood, it's time to review how our metro area teams did.

So without much fanfare, let's get started:

Rangers- they addressed a couple of needs by acquiring depth forward Fredrik Sjostrom from Phoenix and netting defenseman Christian Backman from John Davidson's Blues for just a fourth round pick.

While there has been deserved harsh criticism for dealing away 2004 first round selection Al Montoya in the Sjostrom/Josh Gratton deal, just chalk it to up to what this organization does best with most first rounders (Marc Staal the exception). Ruining them. Nice job yet again destroying another top prospect. Montoya was an AHL All-Star twice and had nothing else to prove remaining at Hartford and should've been the team's backup with due respect to Stephen Valiquette. They needed to find out what the former Michigan Wolverine star could do and get his value up instead of watching it plummet like the infamous Stock Market crash in 1987.

The kid needed a change of scenery. Problem for him is he's blocked by Ilya Bryzgalov. So he'll again have to wait his turn. Best of luck making a career. Maybe he should work on becoming a cook or salsa dancer cause there's probably not much of a future out in The Desert.

Backman should be a suitable replacement for the injured Paul Mara and Sjostrom is the kind of player who can improve the fourth line making them a semi-threat once in a while.

Grade: B-

Devils- most of their fans came away predictably disappointed by the small deal Kool Aid provider Lou Lamoriello made in acquiring depth blueliner Bryce Salvador for former enforcer/team mascot Cam Janssen. When are Devil fans ever satisfied? Haven't they learned anything over the years about how Lou works?

That he could even get a semi-decent return for a nobody is proof that he serves the spiked Kool Aid around the league well. Who knows? Salvador isn't what I'd call bad. He can play physical and is an upgrade over Vitaly Vish-crapsky. Anyone's better than that waste. Even Karel Rachunek looks like a Norris candidate compared to Mr. Hooking Minor.

Maybe this wasn't the deal Dev fans wanted but it could only help what's still a questionable defense at best which Martin Brodeur is bailing out on a nightly basis with arguably the best goaltending of his stellar career.

I don't see how the offense needed that much. Unlike nimrod Mark Everson who really must hate his job, I don't see how their O is really that bad. Parise, Zajac, Elias, Langenbrunner and Gionta are all good and four are proven playoff performers. And Madden and Pandolfo have been great all year and are capable of stepping up as is top D Paul Martin. Maybe they could've used one more offensive D-man but no way was Buffalo trading Brian Campbell to an Eastern rival.

Grade: C+

Islanders- as predicted here, Garth Snow was more prudent in his second deadline after last year's Ryan Smyth bomb which ultimately hurt the Fishsticks more than helped. He traded for San Jose defender Rob Davidson and did alright getting a third round pick from Anaheim in return for Jekyll & Hyde offense only Marc-Andre Bergeron.

Snow also wisely moved unpopular enforcer Chris Simon to the Wild for a sixth rounder. He was roundly booed by the Islander fans when he returned from his latest suspension. So, he definitely had to go. To get anything at this point for a guy who's clearly lost a few braincells is a plus. The Isles reportedly are still high on prospect Jeff Tambellini. Hopefully for their sake, they'll be proven right. Besides, it's much better to get him up.

I didn't really get why they re-signed Mike Comrie for $4 million. He's one of those guys who should be much better for what they're paying. Even if he paces them in points, it just made no sense. My co-host Gary Harding must've been thrilled. Wouldn't they have been better off getting something for him? Snow wanted to keep most of his roster intact and see if they can somehow miraculously make the playoffs a second consecutive year.

Davidson is just insurance with the D bruised and battered.

Grade: C

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