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Morning Skate: Bobby Lu Stays Home

Dan Pennucci

Dan Pennucci

Dan Pennucci has covered hockey for Rotowire since 2002 and is the author of Blue Line Buzz since 2011 as well as being the co-author of Morning Skate. He also is a contributor to Talking Red, a New Jersey Devils blog and podcast. He is an English teacher and formerly wrote for The Coast Star in Manasquan, New Jersey where he and his sports section won several New Jersey Press Association awards. Dan Pennucci is a supporter of the New Jersey Devils, Washington Nationals and Chelsea FC. He's attended sporting events in six countries.

Janet Eagleson

Janet Eagleson

Janet Eagleson is a four-time winner of the Hockey Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

From: Dan Pennucci (@dpennucci)
To: Janet Eagleson
Sent: Tuesday, April 2
Subject: Moving Day

The madness has started early, leaving those at Sportsnet and TSN to basically conjecture all day and discuss the Leafs' interest in Mikkaa Kiprusoff and talk about that guy from Vancouver, Bobby something or other.

So, Dallas, just a few points out of the playoffs have been the league's most active team in terms of selling off high-priced assets. Having already shipped captain Brenden Morrow to Pittsburgh, the Stars sent Jaromir Jagr to Boston and Derek Roy to Vancouver on Tuesday. 

Have to hand it to Boston for getting an impact winger after losing out on Jarome Iginla in the most public of fashions. I'm surprised the Stars didn't demand some of the package the Flames were offered such as Alex Khoklachev, but the Bruins got their top-6 forward and a steady one at that.

What kind of impact do you see Jagr making in the season's final three-plus weeks? Where does he fit in with that corps of forwards?

Roy gives Vancouver the center they've been coveting since trading away Cody Hodgson last year (speaking of Hodgson, where has Zack Kassian been that start...off to the AHL apparently after dealing with some unfortunate back issues). Roy has some decent numbers this season with 22 points and the news that Ryan Kesler is coming back has to alleviate some of the woes. I like Roy giving the team a playmaker in their top six and he can serve as a good complement to a player like Kesler with his versatility.

Same question regarding Jagr, is Roy going to make enough of an impact in the final few weeks to help owners banking on some secondary scoring?

Big names are starting to fly off the shelves as Jay Bouwmeester is now a Blue, who also picked up Jordan Leopold from Buffalo. The Blues have quite a solid top 6 factoring in the already massive presence of Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. Can you see J Bouw having a significant impact for the Blues? Did the Flames get enough in return?

Sounds like Buffalo is looking to move players as well and it won't surprise me if Ryan Miller is sent packing. 

Not being in Canada, we don't have the hype surrounding trade deadline that exists north of the border...so, how overblown is the deadline coverage? (Checking out the revamped Jays right now....hard not to love those uniforms).

-DAN-

From: Janet Eagleson
To: Dan Pennucci
Sent: Tuesday, April 2
Subject: Trade Coverage Bonanza

Is trade coverage overblown in Canada? Even Wikipedia gets the definition of rhetorical question right and I'm pretty sure they'd consider that question as a citation for that page.

Trade deadline day is remarkable fun for hockey lovers. All of the sports networks are multi-channel now and, to use a basketball metaphor, it's full-court press time starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. TV, radio, web streaming, web streaming of radio shows, blah, blah, blah. Now that's not to say they haven't already been at it. We have multiple live hockey shows a day on any given day -- lunch time, supper time and late night. Then there are the hot stove set-ups between periods on every broadcast on every channel. And that's all before the NHL Network even gets in on the mix. Or Leafs TV. And there are French language equivalents, too [RDS]. So trade deadline, draft and free agent days (and the weeks leading up to it) are wicked for hockey lovers. Now I just hope there's something to talk about.

Jaromir Jagr is a fantasy bust in Boston -- he's now their third-line right winger. How do you move Nathan Horton or Tyler Seguin down the depth chart? Move Seguin to the middle, I guess, but does he start ahead of David Krejci or Patrice Bergeron? I don't think so. I'm not surprised by what the Stars got back -- how much longer does Jagr play? Jarome Iginla has more left in the tank and should have been worth a bit more.

Derek Roy is a nice add for Vancouver, but I struggle with his size and how that plays in the Western Conference. He's not a Lady Byng type, but the game played out there is big and strong, and the ice is somehow smaller there than it is in the East. I think he'd be more valuable to fantasy owners if he'd been shipped back east, but he could compete for a Cup in Vancouver. There's nothing wrong with that.

I've been critical of Jay Bouwmeester in the past, but that's largely because somebody named Darryl Sutter signed him to that insane contract. I would have signed the same deal if someone offered the same to me -- who wouldn't have done it? That contract warped our expectations. J-Bo is a beautiful skater and puck-mover, but he's not an offensive guy. My biggest concern? The dude hasn't played a playoff game in the NHL. The Blues have a precarious hold on a postseason spot. I hope he's not a curse. But man, that's a sweet D in St. Loo. The forwards should be giddy with the number of pucks they'll get right on their tape.

Now to your question -- did the Flames get enough? Jay Feaster has stated he's focused on building the farm system up and that the greatest gap in their system lies is a lack of depth in the older prospect (22-26ish) group. So he got what he wanted. Is it enough? We won't know for years, but my gut says no bloody way. Mark Cundari is a tough, physical defender and Reto Berra is a goalie who they believe is top-two outside the NHL (I don't know anyone else who would agree with that). Berra (currently playing for Biel in the Swiss League) wants to play in North America and has lots of flash, but his consistency needs work, and unless he tidies his game, I can't see him being much more than a fringe NHL back-up. Cundari is fine, but not the puck mover the Flames need.

Ryan Miller? He might move, but he might not. Ditto Miikka Kiprusoff, Roberto Luongo and Marian Gaborik. I'd like to see the Sharks dynamite that entire mess. I don't know why the Rangers promised Ryan Clowe they'd give him an extension. Wait -- I take that back. It's the Rangers. I'd like to see the Blackhawks add a tough winger -- they play an open, offensive game and the playoffs are all about grinding it out. Their skill guys might get more room to maneuver in the playoffs if they get a big boy up front.

So, where will Jason Pominville land if he moves? What about Mark Streit and Ryan Whitney? Or Ales Hemsky? Will Brad Boyes move and have a greater impact on his new club than any of the other guys? And what the heck do the Caps do with newly-mature Mike Ribeiro? He's arguably having his best season ever.

And perhaps most importantly -- do your beloved Devils even make the postseason?

Eagle out.

From: Dan Pennucci
To: Janet Eagleson
Sent: Wednesday, April 3
Subject: Feeling Minnesota

Hold on one second Janet, I have something solid and reliable that I'm looking to move and I'm on the phone with Minnesota, honestly can't see getting too too much here.....yes, that will work.....wait, there's more?!?! Sure, I'll take that too....You sure? ... okay.

Jay Feaster must feel vindicated or at least that the spotlight will be away from him for a bit....Jason Pominville is a good player...but a first, a second, a soon-to-be NHL twinetender (Matt Hackett) and Johan Larsson (whom, admittedly, I don't know much about, but seems like a serviceable winger based on his AHL stats this season). So the Sabres have picked up a first round picks the last two years when you factor in the Paul Gaustad to Nashville trade last season. Was this overreaction by the Wild in the hopes of getting an impact scorer at the deadline after seeing other teams get theirs?

The Wild paid more for Pominville than Pittsburgh did for Iginla and more than Boston did for Jagr, yes, Jagr who will be 81 years old soon. Am I missing something here?

Sure, the Gaborik to Columbus deal is going to get the publicity, but there's some inherent humor in this...the Rangers were struggling without solid depth players, so perhaps sending one of their underperforming stars to Columbus for their depth players can cure it. Brassard still can be effective (an assist Wednesday) and Moore has some upside on the blue line. I was talking with fellow RotoWire writer (and Rangers' fan) Jan Levine, he likes the addition of Derek Dorsett to get some grit there, but admitted to having mixed reactions about losing Gaborik. Fun suggestion for Nationwide Arena in Columbus...open up a concession stand called Torts Dog House.

We talked about Stevie Y last week and Tampa Bay. I have to say that I like the Ben Bishop acquisition considering Tampa's spotty goaltending. Is the situation down there going to improve with John Cooper? I'm eager to see what Bishop can do, but I'm not surprised that Ottawa moved him rather than Robin Lehner. Cory Conacher going back to the Sens gives them a crafty playmaker to put in their top six and I like his chances fantasy-wise to do something, not much, but put him in the mix with Jakob Silfverberg and soon-to-be 20-year old Mika Zibanejad (seriously, he's still 19). Conacher seemed to bounce around a bit too much on the Bolts, now the water bug is off to the nation's capital. 

Were you as surprised as I was to see Washington deal Filip Forsberg to the Preds? Either they're planning on keeping Mike Ribeiro around long term in The District or they know something about Evgeni Kusnetszov that we don't.

Understated deals: Fill in your take after mine...Your take in 140 characters...fantasy and real

Robyn Regehr to LA for a pick: No fantasy value, but Regehr shores up a blue line in LA.

Steve Sullivan to New Jersey for Conditional 7th-rounder: I like it. Cost nothing and guy can skate and make plays when needed.

Marc-Andre Bergeron to Carolina: Looks even better considering Joni Pitkanen is done, but I can't see MAB doing much.

Jussi Jokinen to Pit...:

Ryan Clowe to NYR: 

Can't catch our breath just yet, still much more to dissect and digest.

-DAN-

From: Janet Eagleson
To: Dan Pennucci
Sent: Wednesday, April 3

Jay Fester -- oh, sorry Feaster -- is in a whole heap of trouble in Calgary. Team co-owner Murray Edwards told his GM late this afternoon that his team MUST make the playoffs next season. On the back of whom exactly? Miikka Kiprusoff is about to retire, Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester are gone, and those prospects will likely never play in the NHL. Kari Ramo now becomes the heir apparent between the pipes and Feaster is going to have to overpay to get free agents and decent trades. Meddling owners NEVER work. Feaster's out of a job in a year. Mark my words.

Yes, Minny paid a heavy price for Jason Pominville. But Pominville neutralizes the Dany Heatley problem on the right side. Do I need to say any more? No price is too much for that.

Matt Hackett is a superb goalie and his acquisition clearly speaks to Ryan Miller's future in Buffalo. They're changing culture and the best move they could make is to get that whiny baby dressing-room cancer as far away as possible. Oops, that was my inside voice again. Johan Larsson is a strong and intelligent two-way forward whose offensive upside might be limited to 65 points, but he'll be a solid second-line citizen for more than a decade. He'll be better overall than "is the puck in my zone?" Cody Hodgson. And the picks. But Minny's system is one of the deepest out there, and they didn't have to move Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle, Mathew Dumba, Darcy Kuemper ... should I go on?

I'm torn on the Stevie Y move. Cory Conacher was a sell high and I really like Ben Bishop, but he was a sell high, too. And wouldn't a team with so much offensive firepower have been better off with a more experienced netminder? Experiment in point -- Anders Lindback. Are they in a rebuild (which should culminate in excellence in about seven years time) or are they closing in on the playoffs? Feels a little like Groundhog Day in Tampa Bay.

I quite like the Columbus move. And I think it would be a delicious irony if the Jackets get into postseason with the Rangers' superstar sniper and their depth/grit players (from last year's Rick Nash trade) and the Rangers fail to make the postseason with the Jackets' former superstar sniper and a little bit of their grit. The Rangers' moves look good Wednesday night, but will it last?

The Filip Forsberg move was a stunner. He could have been a top-three pick in the draft and he just happened to drop with that early run on blueliners. Martin Erat is sturdy and reliable, and the kind of guy the Caps actually need. I own Forsberg in a keeper league and I don't like his value in the Nashville system. It's not that he's not capable of playing both sides of the puck. But he'll spend so much time focusing on his own zone that the creativity will be slow to manifest itself. Dang.

Jussi Jokinen to Pit: PK, PP, shootouts, face-offs, center, wing, possession style game? Too bad they didn't grab him off waivers instead of wasting a pick.

Ryan Clowe to NYR: Everyone in the NHL wants big power forwards who can chip in goals and lead. Yet the team that knows him best wanted him out. That says something. Still, he'll be out to prove them wrong.

What did you think of Roberto Luongo's honesty? And what happens to the Bruins' Cup odds now that Patrice Bergeron has another concussion?

Eagle out.

From: Dan Pennucci
To: Janet Eagleson
Sent: Thursday, April 4
Subject: Bobby Lou and Forsberg Too

I feel for Boston and the lack of Patrice Bergeron down the middle, with all sincerity, it's upsetting seeing a talent like him suffer another concussion. Guy is one of the elite two-way centers in the league, not quite Jonathan Toews, but he's in the vicinity. I suppose Boston will be faced with the utter horror of moving Brad Marchand or Tyler Seguin back to the middle and putting Jagr on the top 2 lines. I'm watching Jagr and the Bruins take on the Devils and Jagr is up to his old tricks of expertly shielding the puck, holding off defenders and creating space for his teammates, as well as having the only goal so far (late in second period), a goal that bounced off his leg as he drove the net on Bryce Salvador. Guy still has it and seems to be enjoying playing alongside Marchand. (Answer to your earlier question: Devils miss out on playoffs, finishing 9th or 10th)

I'm eager to see what Marian Gaborik will do in Columbus, and apparently told the media that it will be nice to go somewhere he's wanted. He's penciled in with Ryan Johansen on the top line for the Cannons, a player I'm eager to see fulfill some of his potential.

Forsberg is something that Washington will regret, but yes, his value does take a hit when he heads to Nashville and Trotz World. One of my reservations with the trade is I have to think there are 28 other teams in the league saying "that's what it took to get Forsberg?!?!" Have to commend David Poile on this one after sending a first-rounder to Buffalo for Paul Gaustad and then signing Gaustad to a long-term deal last season.

You've mentioned your distaste for Dany Heatley before...please elaborate a bit. Is it the mule-like speed? Inconsistency? I have to say I really like Minny's top line with Pominville-Koivu-Parise. 

With your comment about Tampa Bay, I'm imagining Stevie Yzerman waking up to Sonny and Cher every morning and then running into Ned Ryerson walking around Channelside. Bishop's looking good tonight in Tampa Bay, but, yes, it's not like they landed a player with a ton more experience than Lindback. Was Lindback's faltering and subsequent swearing off by fantasy owners the product of Guy Boucher or just some spotty play? 

The Luongo press conference was not something you'd expect to see. According to reports and the insanity on Twitter, he was just told he'd be addressing the media, especially after multiple reports have said that Vancouver was calling Toronto like a clingy ex-girlfriend. That kind of candor was refreshing and sobering to hear to a point. Luongo knows the situation he's in and he's acknowledged it, but you have to give him credit for taking the high road (as far as I can tell) for most of the season. He's had the right with the tools at his disposal (Twitter, the Vancouver media etc...) to raise high hell about his situation, but he hasn't. He has to be traded this summer, not a question.

-What understated deal do you like the best?
-What player not moving was a surprise?
-Best fantasy impact on a new team will be...

Ciao
-DAN-
 
From: Janet Eagleson
To: Dan Pennucci
Sent: Friday, April 5
Subject: Heater
 
Dany Heatley (spit). There was a day when he was in Ottawa when he was among the league's best. Two 50-goal seasons and 362 points over four seasons and 317 games. But the peak was short and sharp, and the game has left him behind. The hands are intact, but the feet might as well be cement blocks. There is no room for one-dimensional players any more. The Wild simply need to limit their weaknesses.

Yes, Filip Forsberg was a steep price, but Martin Erat does have first-line skills. He just doesn't show them with any consistency. Maybe he can deliver them in Washington. Oh wait -- what was I thinking? Consistency in Washington? Slap my hand.

I think Marian Gaborik will flourish in Columbus and ultimately expose John Tortorella for what he is -- an inflexible, stubborn coach who refuses to adjust his style to fit his team. And that's just poor management -- in business and in sport. Cripes, even Ken Hitchcock has shown he can adapt his style to fit a different game and different players in St. Louis. Torts is one of the least adaptive guys in hockey. He'll be out of a job before long and guess where he'll land -- right in the lap of a media job. Now there's irony, @NYP_Brooksie.

I'm still a little torn by the Luongo presser. He's been a solid citizen, for sure, but a tiger doesn't change its stripes. It's awfully easy for a guy set for life financially to say he'd tear up his contract if he could and just play for the love of the game. I'm not sure anyone will take that contract. I still think the only option left is a compliance buy-out.

Now to your questions.

Most understated deal? The Pens snagging Jussi Jokinen for a seventh-round pick ranks near the top. He can play wing and center, is a great faceoff man (and shootout specialist), can score a little bit and mind his own zone, too. There's not a lot of liability in his game. Some say boring. I say safe and that's just what you need as you tighten things up for the playoffs.

Player not moving? Keith Yandle. His value seems to be in a slow decline and I think the 'Yotes have recognized it. I thought they'd maximize their assets. They didn't. He'll probably be better in a different environment. Say ... Detroit?

Best fantasy impact? I have to say Gaborik. He looks happier (at least for now) and a return to his usual pace is way better than what anyone else can produce.

Next time, Playoff prognostications.

Eagle out.

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