Tomorrow, at 3 PM EST, all trades must be submitted to the NHL offices. After then, no more trades will be allowed for the rest of the season. That's a trade deadline and we have plenty of action already.
Rumor is that the Devils may be interested in a veteran defenseman; but given that Richard Matvichuk is sitting right there not medically cleared to play and the Devils are up against the salary cap limit as it is, I wouldn't hold my breath for any trades involving New Jersey. In the meantime, let me analyze some of these deals as it relates to the Devils.
Atlanta's acquirement of Alexei Zhitnik and Keith Tkachuk.
The Thrashers were challenging New Jersey for the second spot in the conference about a month or so ago and now they are falling through the conference. Giving up a defenseman with a good future (Braydon Coburn), a character center (Glen Metropolit), and three draft picks for some veteran help is a good way to stop that for Atlanta. Zhitnik will stabilize their blueline and hopefully improve their defensive play and Tkachuk may be an excellent replacement for Marc Savard at a center position. This is not good for the Devils. The Thrashers are intent - and rightly so - at making the playoffs and their team addressed two needs by not just getting veteran help but good veteran help. Tkachuk was once a perennial all-star and Zhitnik is a good defensive defenseman. If all goes to plan and Atlanta rights the ship, they should be able to make it into the playoffs and give whoever they are facing in the first round some trouble. If the Devils fall out of the Atlantic Division lead, a team that traditionally knows what to do against NJ may be the Devils' first round opponent. The Thrashers, I think, just got more talented and that will make any future encounters with the Thrashers that much more difficult.Montreal giving away Craig Rivet, but getting Josh Groges in return.
I'm glad a possible Devils first-round opponent pretty much gives away a veteran defensive defenseman for a young defenseman, a bunch of cap space, and a first round pick. First round picks and cap space don't play in the playoffs; and I don't know whether Gorges will crack the Montreal lineup right away. Clearly, this was a move for the future for Montreal in that I don't see how it helps them now. Now more than ever do I want the Devils to play Montreal in the first round.
Carolina acquiring Anson Carter. Hmm. Carter was nothing in New York and Washington; but he did OK in Vancouver and Boston. Carter has the talent to be a scorer, but his work ethic is inconsistent as he tends to be invisible on some nights and his backchecking ability is non-existent. However, if he is motivated, it gives the Hurricanes another weapon they may need to actually make the playoffs. For a fifth-round pick, I'd take that chance if I'm Carolina, so I understand why they did it. Will it make Carolina a tougher team for the Devils to face? I don't think so, but they are pretty tough as it is. If they make it into the playoffs, they won't be easy opponents - especially if Cam Ward becomes super-hot again.
Tampa Bay getting Shane O'Brien for Gerald Coleman and a 1st Round Pick. O'Brian, from what I understand, is not particularly spectacular. So I'm confused as to how he's worth a goaltending prospect and a first round pick. After doing a little looking, I realize he's a pretty young defenseman so he probably has some upside to being a top 4 d-man; he's been with Anaheim for most of the year, so he's obviously good enough to play regularly. If he develops, Tampa Bay clearly gets better; but I don't think that happens this season. Maybe next year or so? So I don't think this deal makes Tampa Bay that much better or worse, so it shouldn't be a big deal for the Devils.
There should be more moves today and tomorrow. Supposedly, Jason Blake of the Islanders is willing to waive his no-trade clause. The Islanders trading their top scorer in the middle of a playoff push would be tremendous. Also, Bryan Berard and ex-Devil Bill Guerin are the sources of some rumors. If they come East, especially Guerin, the Devils will have another power forward to worry about once again.
Lastly, this blog has at least 5,000 visitors. In fact, we're at 5,154 as of midnight last night. Thanks for reading In Lou We Trust and tell your friends.
Tomorrow, the Devils play Pittsburgh regardless of the trade hoopla, so I'll hit you with that preview then. Enjoy the day regardless.