The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/01/11 at 04:07 PM ET
The Windsor Star’s Bob Duff makes a very astute point regarding the teams whose trade deadline moves tend to pay off come playoff time—it’s usually the teams that make subtle tweaks to their roster, instead of wholesale changes, who benefit the most from their moves:
While everyone is focused on the more notable trades made prior to Monday’s National Hockey League trade deadline – such as centre Jason Arnott and defenceman Dennis Wideman landing in Washington and forward Dustin Penner going to Los Angeles – often, it’s the seemingly minor moves that prove to paid large dividends come playoff time. A team such as the Vancouver Canucks, who tweaked a strong lineup by adding forwards Chris Higgins and Max Lapierre, could be an example of that when spring arrives and the post-season battles get underway.
The Detroit Red Wings, looking for a third straight Stanley Cup in 1999, went all in at the deadline that season, adding defencemen Chris Chelios and Ulf Samuelsson, goalie Bill Ranford and left-winger Wendel Clark, but fizzled and were eliminated in the the second round of playoff action. Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, captain of the Wings back then, preferred to recall a much lesser deal that brought great rewards to Detroit.
“You go back to the Larry Murphy trade (in 1997 from Toronto), a kind of quiet deal that ended up probably being the one that put us over the top,” Yzerman said. Murphy was part of Detroit’s Cup winners in both 1997 and 1998. “Murph played for us for four or five years after that trade.”
Yzerman’s Lightning, despite owning top spot in the Southeast Division, opting not to participate on deadline day. “We’re still trying to rebuild,” Yzerman said. “You make a deal at the deadline, you’re going to have to give up something, whether it’s a pick or a prospect. We felt like, ‘Let’s make our moves in the summer, particularly on defence, just to give us depth to play for us through the season. Let’s do it now and save our draft picks and whatever prospects we have.”
FYI: I’ve already told Paul that I won’t be available for a good chunk of Thursday as I need to rise at 5 AM and take a friend to a legal appointment that may take most of the day, so don’t be surprised if Paul posts the Wings-Sharks game-day updates for me. This commitment came up on Monday so I apologize for the late notice.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.