James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Trades trickle in

Friday, February 17, 2012

After discussing potential trades in yesterday’s Daily Dose, the first series of somewhat-interesting trades started to trickle in. I’ll admit that I had the urge to use the phrase “floodgates opened,” but then I thought things through and realized that a) there weren’t that many made and b) it is highly unlikely that there will be many big direct impacts, though.


Still, the early trades might close some doors and open some windows, so let's discuss them. Don't be surprised if Monday's edition is heavy on trades, either.



Things began with a trade that some might think of as “settling.” The Philadelphia Flyers haven’t been very shy about their need for help on defense, but bigger names like Luke Schenn and (if you’re really getting bold) Ryan Suter were flying around.


Instead, the Flyers decided to go with a half-measure in the form of Dallas Stars blueliner Nicklas Grossman. Now, don’t get me wrong; I actually believe that Grossman could be a solid filler D-man for the Flyers. He’s tough, sturdy and responsible – but he’s far from a world-beater. (He’s also useless generally speaking on offense, although the high-powered Philly attack might get him a handful of assists out of sheer luck.)


Philly gave up two picks (one second-rounder, one third), which seems like quite a bit for a slightly above average. For whatever reason, it seems like second round picks are the go-to solution for trades, as that practice seemed to come up a lot last season. Perhaps it’s a matter of appeasing fans, then. If you give up a semi-useful roster player, it’s more palatable to get something that sounds good (second rounder) while the other side doesn’t want to give up anything too steep (a first rounder or a legitimate prospect).


Reflex reactions call for this deal to close the door on Philly’s search for a defenseman, but I’ve heard some murmurs that the window is open for a little more. After all, when have you known Philly to practice patience and be modest when it comes to sprucing up their team? They might as well change the franchise’s name to the Philadelphia Dabblers.



Dominic Moore also netted a second-round pick via trade – and much like Grossman – he’s also bound to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Also like Grossman, he’s a useful guy from a depth and defensive standpoint but isn’t likely to make his way onto many fantasy league rosters.


Amusingly enough, Moore’s former teammate the Tampa Bay Lightning beat his new team the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, but Moore didn’t have to make like that pitcher in Moneyball by playing against the team he expected to help win in the same day. (That would have been cool, though, right?)


Speaking of Bolts who might bolt and didn’t play on Feb. 16, let’s transition to trade rumor talk now …



Pavel Kubina is still on the Tampa Bay roster as of this writing, but his days seem numbered. Bolts GM Steve Yzerman even held him out of the game so he wouldn’t risk injury in a deal. He either still needs to notify the team of five teams he’d accept a deal to (limited no-trade clauses are weird) or did so recently enough that a swap hasn’t had enough time to materialize.


Kubina’s one of those defenseman who would have made the hockey equivalent of those stodgy old pre-Moneyball scouts drool. He’s really big, has a huge shot, seems to get along with teammates and has a Stanley Cup ring.


Of course, he’s also minimally productive and kind of a mess in his own end, which would make Hockey World Jonah Hill roll his eyes.



Mikhail Grabovski, however, is a guy who would make Hockey World Brad Pitt/Billy Beane (OK, last goofy Moneyball reference) want to pump the phones. Rumor has it that Brian Burke has an “offer on the table” for Grabovski which would involved a second-round pick and a prospect, which is funny because that’s what Toronto gave up to acquire him in 2008.


He’s a versatile center who would probably put up bonkers numbers if he played alongside Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul instead of guys like Nikolai Kulemin. Even without linemate good fortune, Grabs has a respectable 39 points this season, although he’s on a five-game pointless streak.


I understand that Grabovski might be difficult to re-sign, but hopefully Burke is just playing the media like a fiddle and won’t give him up – at least for Moore/Grossman-type money.



Mike Smith shut out the punch-less Los Angeles Kings, giving himself a lucrative two-game goose egg streak … Evander Kane was slumping before coming into Thursday, but he helped the Jets win with a three-point performance. Winnipeg will start an eight-game homestand against Boston tonight and will play 11 of their next 13 at home going forward. This is a good time to invest in Kane & Co. – perhaps someone like Ondrej Pavelec? – before dumping them when things get toxic starting on March 20 … Claude Giroux had a ridiculous five assists while both Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot scored two goals apiece as the Flyers tore the Sabres apart 7-2 … The Blackhawks scored four goals within the first 10 minutes of their game against the Rangers and won 4-2 to break their nine-game losing streak … T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo each had three points in a Blues beatdown of the Islanders ... Rick Nash rumors continue to swirl, but let's wait for something legitimate to happen. There's not a whole lot more to say if it doesn't, at least fantasy-wise.



No suspension for Brad Marchand after being guilty of another clipping hit … Jamie Benn’s leg was cut by a skate blade, but the Dallas Stars and even his brother seem to think he’s OK. He might even play on Sunday … Henrik Zetterberg might miss tonight's game with a lower-body injury … Danny Briere suffered an upper-body injury, but the good news is that it’s not a concussion. The bad news is that it’s a shoulder issue … Douglas Murray took a puck to the throat, but early word is that he was only taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons … Rich Peverley is struggling with a knee injury. (Click here for the full injury list.)

James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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