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Chris Wassel Gives Us His Trade Deadline Thoughts

Chris Wassel, owner of The Hockey Program web site and podcast and a fantasy hockey expert, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to give us his thoughts on the upcoming NHL trade deadline:

PH: What are some of your general thoughts on the trades that have been made so far prior to the NHL trade deadline? Which deal do you think was the best? Why?
CW: Last year was expected. This year one had the feeling there would be some significant dealings. However, there have been 18 trades made since February 9th. That is a very high number and suggests that many pundits underestimated this market as many did think there would be less sellers and buyers.

The problem in today’s NHL is that there are only a few teams that are true sellers. Other teams are tinkering for various needs and some for a shot at the playoffs. With the rumors flying around the way they are, there is a sense that this is so far from over and that there may be one more big one left, maybe two.

One has to admire what Boston and Pittsburgh have done, win or lose here. They have gone about it different ways but Boston is going for it in acquiring Tomas Kaberle. Yes they did give up the likes of Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler but they went for it. GM Peter Chiarelli is not messing around. Also, Rich Peverley fits right into the Boston system and can do something Wheeler could not and that is score fairly consistently without being an albatross on the other end. Yes Wheeler has more talent but sometimes that does not translate. Just as Erik Johnson sometime.

One of the most merciful moves may have been Jamie Langenbrunner getting dealt to Dallas as well. The Devils have responded amazingly since. The Wojtek Wolski move has paid off for the Rangers but with the injury to Marc Staal and some uncertainties, they now have work to do in acquiring a defenseman. Ottawa has also made out pretty well in its “firesale” acquiring picks and Craig Anderson. That will be a move that should eventually pay off long term. Anderson is not a bad goalie like his numbers suggest this year. Colorado just hit the panic button.

PH: Who are some of the other teams you think will make a big move (s) at the deadline? Why?
CW: At this juncture, it is anyone’s guess where the big move(s) will come from. Brad Richards and Paul Statsny are in rumors but those scenarios are rather unlikely to occur. Considering that John-Michael Liles is a “big deal”, the word big is probably misused. 

The Rangers clearly need a defenseman even with Marc Staal in the lineup. It is so wide open this year unlike previous years. Teams also have so many needs but not many needs that would cause a say Marian Hossa like deal for example. Expect a lot of middle of the road like moves but it would not shock me to see Colorado or Ottawa sell off one of its bigger assets at this point.Toronto will keep trying to pry for Liles or Statsny as well. It is not likely but possible I suppose.

PH: Who are some of the teams you think will stand pat at the deadline? Why?
CW: Ultimately I think a team like Tampa will almost stand pat as Tomas Vokoun will not be moved within the division. Also a team like Anaheim is pretty much done in making its moves.They just have to hope Jonas Hiller gets healthy. The New York Islanders would be wise to stand pat as I think they have a nucleus going forward that could work down the road. Again it just has to stay healthy.

San Jose may also stand pat and Chicago may as well depending on what returns they can get. The problem with being up or near the cap is that every deal has to almost involve a salary for salary swap. Selling teams or tinkering teams often frown on that sort of thing. Philadelphia may move Nikolai Zherdev but that is about it because they are stacked, except for maybe goaltending.

PH: What do you think, if anything, your New Jersey Devils will do at the trade deadline?
CW: To borrow the oldest quote in the world from General Manager Lou Lamoriello, the Devils will likely be at status quo for the deadline. They may tweak the roster a bit but there will be nothing earth shattering. If it is not broke, do not fix it. At 16-1-2 in their last 19, it is best not to tinker.

The biggest acquisition may be the return of Zach Parise in late March if all goes well with his rehab. That is something to really keep an eye on. Also, how Martin Brodeur plays when inserted back into the lineup will be key. He was playing pretty well before he went down again.

PH: How will The Program have hockey fans covered on the big day?
CW: We will take the trade deadline with a different approach than most. The Program will be floating around on various live blogs all day digging behind enemy lines for the latest rumors and then at 3pm, there will be a special trade deadline show which will not only recap the trades but give some of our fantasy hockey fans feedback on what these new faces may do in new places.

PH: Is there anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
CW: The Program is currently working on looking into bringing on some guest bloggers for the playoffs to give a hockey and fantasy slant for our readers. Also, we are working on the next step of taking on a new venture with the fine site Fantasy Phenoms. If there is a trade, we will evaluate it. Also our new partnership with Power Scout Hockey will be an added bonus for our readers.

Thanks again, Pat, and for everyone out there, enjoy the Trade Deadline.

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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