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Morning Skate: Reacting To Trades

Dan Pennucci

Dan is a former sportswriter and English teacher. He has been covering hockey for Rotowire since 2002. Supports the New Jersey Devils, Washington Nationals and Chelsea FC.

Janet Eagleson

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

From: Janet Eagleson
To: Dan Pennucci (@dpennucci)
Sent: Sunday, March 24
Subject: Stevie Y On The Block?


Stevie Y finally came to his senses and dumped Guy Boucher -- now that was a long time coming. The novelty wore off a long, long time ago. It was Dwayne Roloson who got the Bolts within a game of the Stanley Cup final two years ago, not Boucher. Yet it was Boucher who was branded a so-called genius for that run. And Stevie Y even got a nomination for GM of the Year for that little miracle. Boucher is getting all of the flack for the Bolts horrible play, but I ask you this -- is it his doing entirely or is there a hint of stink hanging over Steve Yzerman, too? After all, it was Stevie Y who hired Boucher and now Stevie Y is almost three full years into a rebuild ... with little to show for it. Brian Burke got just a shade over four years before the plug was pulled. How soon goes the shine come off Yzerman? Or has it already?

We recently talked about John Gibson, uber-prospect for the Ducks. I think that injury is well healed -- he laid down a 49-save shutout today (Sunday) to stake his Kitchener Rangers to a 2-0 series lead over the Guelph Storm. Well done.

I'm mourning the Brenden Morrow deal to Pittsburgh, but not because of Brenden. I own Joe Morrow in a dynasty league and I think he'd deliver a whole lot more on his offensive tools in Pittsburgh than in Dallas. But then again, the Stars need smooth-skating, puck-moving defenders and the guy knows how to shoot. Mind you, I've grown a little concerned about Morrow's defensive game and his struggles in his first year in the AHL. Will Morrow be more than Alex Goligoski? And what does Morrow have in the tank for the Pens? And what does the Morrow deal do to suggestions Jarome Iginla might be interested in heading to the Pens?

Yes, Iggy has apparently provided Flames' brass with a list of four teams to whom he'd approve a trade: the Pens, Kings, Blackhawks and Bruins. Honestly, I'd love to see him in a Hawks uni, but my money is on the Kings. He and Kings' coach Darryl Sutter formed a formidable duo during the 2003-04 Cup final and that familiarity could bring instant success. The Bruins could push hard and fast, though, after the Pens added Morrow today. Any chance the Bruins offer up Alexander Khokhlachev or Ryan Spooner, and Niklas Svedberg? The latter has been a remarkable surprise as a rookie in the AHL this year -- second in wins (30), seventh in save percentage (.922) and ninth in GAA (2.66). The Flames need goaltending depth and the Bruins have it. Thoughts? Where's the match and can Jay Feaster get a team to overpay? And by how much?

Eagle out

From: Dan Pennucci
To: Janet Eagleson
Sent: Sunday, March 24
Subject: Iggy Plays Guitar...But Where?

Yes, Tampa Bay has not done much the last few years, as it was expected this was the season that they would be a threat in the Eastern Conference after making some smaller moves at the deadline last February and overpaying for Matt Carle and Sami Salo in free agency. Last season it was that Dwayne Roloson was old, despite being the same man that engineered their run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2011. Anders Lindback was brought in to man the crease, finally escaping the towering shadow of Pekka Rinne, yet Lindback has not delivered. Stamkos and St. Louis are doing what they're supposed to, but this Tampa team is highly enigmatic. It can't all be Boucher's fault? Yes, Tampa Bay may have waited too long to move on from the Bond villain Bench Boss, but do you think that Yzerman will get more of a pass because he's Steve Yzerman? This is the man that crafted Canada's gold-medal winning squad for Vancouver 2010, picking from the elite, best of the best that the NHL had to offer, not to mention whether to play Roberto Luongo or Martin Brodeur. Some of the moves Yzerman has made have not panned out, yet, but you have to figure he'll have more of a leash in Tampa Bay than Burke had in Toronto. If they just make the playoffs in Tampa Bay that has to be considered a victory, especially after last season. Wonder how Stamkos will like playing in Hamilton or Quebec in a few years.

Calgary is going to ask for a king's ransom at the trade deadline for the services of Jarome Iginla, but will they actually trade him this time? The Flames aren't entirely out of it in the West, but they're out of it, as are their northern Alberta neighbors. I can see the Flames moving Iginla only if they get more than they should for him. Does LA have enough scoring without Iginla to mortgage their future, and some futures at that, for another run at the Cup, or at the very least, securing a playoff berth. Yes, Iggy and Sutter meshed well in the 2004 Cup run (wow, that was long ago), but it but Boston is intriguing. Have to figure that Iggy will fit in well on that team with his snarl, not to mention skating with the likes of Patrice Bergeron or Tyler Seguin. Seems like the Bruins have a great one in Tuukka Rask and Svedberg could be an appealing option for Calgary, as Kipper isn't going to last forever.

You have to wonder if the Morrow deal to Pittsburgh will set some of the asking price, as in getting a talented prospect back. It seems Joe Nieuwendyk likes those Penguins defensive prospects. You have to think that Morrow will be put into the lineup sooner in Dallas than he would with the Pens, as the Stars have a bit of a need for a defenseman that can contribute offensively. I'd be disappointed too with Joe Morrow leaving the Penguins if I owned him, it's a great situation and it's going to be interesting with Kris Letang as a potential UFA after next season.

What do you make of Rick Nash avoiding suspension for his elbowing of Thomas Kopecky in Friday's game? It seemed similar to the Patrick Kaleta-Brad Richards hit and the NHL even posted a video justifying why they didn't suspend Nash. Is it because it was Rick Nash?  Also, nasty hit from Braydon Coburn on Pascal Dupuis in tonight's Pens-Flyers' game. 

I'm surprised there were no "dead where they stand" cracks with Ilya Kovalchuk being out 2-to-4 weeks with a shoulder injury. He does so much on the ice that he doesn't get credit for, it will be near impossible for the Devils to replace him.

Boucher and Lindy Ruff have been fired, who's next?


From: Janet Eagleson
To: Dan Pennucci
Sent: Tuesday, March 26
Subject: Flame Out

The Bruins were in the mix for Morrow and Nieuwendyk chose the Pens' package over Alexander Khohklachev and a second round pick. Jay Feaster has insisted Malcolm Subban head west in a deal for Iggy and the Hawks are in serious discussions with them, too, but they need assurances he'd accept a role on the third line should that be what they need. I still like the Kings, but it seems Feaster is demanding a three-piece deal: top prospect, roster player and first-round pick. And I don't think the Kings have a pick in the first this year. But will they finally ante up Jonathan Bernier in a deal? Or has the luster gone off him because of inactivity?

The Rick Nash non-suspension is a joke. Joffrey Lupul was confused by the inconsistency between his hit and Nash's, and I agree. Both to the head and both from behind. I don't believe there's a conspiracy at play, but there was little difference between the two other than the spot on the ice. I believe a hit to the head is a hit to the head. They need to be treated the same. People won't like it, but it'll change the behavior and fast. Sometimes you have to be a hard-ass -- some people won't learn until you do.

Firings? I think John Tortorella's neck is on the line if the Rangers don't produce. Rich Nash has performed well, but he's the only one. They traded away too much depth in the Nash deal and it feels like guys are tiring of his barking. I'll miss his -- what should I call it -- honesty? I'll also miss his interactions with the media and Larry Brooks in particular. (Ed note: The Brooks interaction is No. 1 in TSN's Top 10 Torts moments).

Is it just me or have players really started to grow some, at least in terms of dictating where they'll play? I've heard of a giving a list, but Miikka Kiprusoff has taken that to new heights. He doesn't have a no-trade or no-movement clause, but has told told the Flames he will not report to another team if they trade him. I get the family reasons part, but wow -- is it admirable or selfish?

And what's your take on Joffrey Lupul? Is this for real or is there a letdown coming? What might have been possible had Dion Phaneuf been able to hit the net instead of Lupul's arm?

Eagle out.

From: Dan Pennucci
To: Janet Eagleson
Sent: Wednesday, March 27
Subject: Iginla the Bruin!
(Ed. Note: The following message was typed when Iginla was as good as traded to Boston).

Loved those clips with Tortorella and, yes, his interactions with Larry Brooks over the years have always been amusing. That fire and brimstone act seems to work much better when the team is winning than when the Rangers are struggling.

Bye Bye Iggy, or so it seems as I write this with the second period of the Bruins-Habs game closing down. Observations: Good lord P.K. Subban can fire the puck from the blue line, but a nice answer from Dougie Hamilton too. I'm guessing Subban will be at worst the third defender taken in drafts next season, most likely second but there's an argument to be made for him going first.

Back to Iginla, a healthy scratch while two of the Bruins' prospects in Providence, Khohklachev and Bartowski are scratched in The A. I'd have to think you put Iginla alongside all-world center Patrice Bergeron, but it'll be nice seeing Iggy and Chara firing one-timers on the B's power play. Boston's players would be tremendous fantasy options if the team played a more offensive game, but I'm still sticking with my call of the Bruins coming out of the East. (daring, I know). They're just a nasty team to play against that will bounce you around and wear you down and turn on the scoring when they need to. I'm liking Brad Marchand more every time I see him play.

Have to hand it to Peter Chiarelli and the B's if they pull this move off without moving Malcolm Subban, where do the Kings go from here if the Bruins, as expected, land Iginla?  Bernier's luster has faded a bit and it was only a few years ago it was thought he was the goalie of the future in LA and not Mr. Quick.

With Iginla and Morrow off the market, does Calgary add to that now with moving Bouwmeester. Interesting story with Miikka Kipprusoff refusing to report to a team if he's traded and it makes sense with he and his wife having a new child at home. I think it's admirable. Kipper has earned the right to say things like that and it seems to be from a place of legitimacy where as guys like Jeff Carter and Lubomir Visnovsky simply didn't like the place they got dealt to and whined petulantly. Whether Kipper is using his family to mask his feelings about leaving Alberta will never be known by us, but his reasons for not wanting to be traded are sincere and admirable. Some players, like Carter, do take it to amazingly selfish purposes such as playing so far below your potential you get yourself traded as he did in Columbus last year.

The NHL's video defending the non-suspension shows that Nash did not, in fact, hit Kopecky in the head (just close to it), but I have my doubts. Still, how often do they produce videos detailing why someone wasn't suspended. Plenty of chances to do make announcements like that considering all the hits in every game, why was this one produced and not one after Max Pacioretty nailed Ryan McDonagh a few weeks ago, which fostered more soundbites from Torts.

Lupul has to come back to Earth, that's simply unsustainable. He's playing out of his mind since coming back, but six goals over four games is nuts for anyone not named Stamkos or Crosby.

Two for you: The Alexander Semin contract extension: Smart? Soon to be regretted? About right?

Ottawa owner Eugene Melnyk is at it with regards to the Erik Karlsson injury again, hiring a group of forensic doctors to prove Matt Cooke injured his star player intentionally. Considering what Melnyk paid the doctors (I'm assuming, with no factual basis), I bet they can find evidence identifying Cooke as the gunman on the grassy knoll in Dallas.
From: Janet Eagleson
To: Dan Pennucci
Sent: Thursday, March 28
Subject: Pittsburgh?
I can't believe I stayed up for the Iggy mess, but I did. OK, I was on deadline with my Frozen Fantasy article, but still. It's highway robbery for the Pens -- Iggy cost them arguably less than they paid for either Brenden Morrow or Douglas Murray. (The Pens sent current Yale star Kenneth Agostino, Ren Hankowski with a 2013 first-rounder for Iggy). I feel for Pascal Dupuis, though. Bu-bye, Sidney Crosby and hello, Brandon Sutter.

You asked about next fired? I think Jay Feaster should be. He won't, but man -- what was that?

I have to go to bed -- it's 2:30 a.m. But I'll hit the Semin thing hard and fast. Right dollar amount, wrong number of years. I think I would have needed to see him sustain his current strong play -- and commitment to being a team guy -- for another year before I sank that kind of coin into him. Really -- is he any better than Phil Kessel? How much does it cost the Leafs for that guy? Or does he suddenly become trade bait RIGHT NOW for the Blackhawks or the Kings?

Hmmmmm ...

Eagle Out

From: Dan Pennucci
To: Janet Eagleson
Sent: Friday, March 29
Subject: So Much For A Trade Deadline

The Iginla thing was a bit of a saga. When I went to bed, I was hearing Boston fans chant his name, only to see them get massively smacked in the gut. Even more so when you consider they blew several leads against the Habs in that 6-5 shootout loss.

I'm still not subscribing to everyone handing the Penguins the Cup. Yes, it's basically a lineup people make on EA Sports' NHL 13 but they still have to come together and still have to stop the other teams from scoring. Boston is still going to be a handful come playoff time and it will be interesting to see how they respond with a roster move.

Jay Feaster is getting run through the fire even more so by the national hockey media, but according to all reports I read, Iginla had the final say. However, Don Cherry instructs all of Canada not to blame Feaster for the trade

Does anyone remain on Calgary in the coming weeks, Alex Tanguay? Michael Cammalleri? Jay Bouwmeester? It looks like its Sven Baertschi and Mikael Backlund time in southern Alberta.

You asked me some great questions last week about duos of youngsters that are expected to produce, I'll rank them in order of fantasy impact:

1.Mika Zibanejad/Jakob Silfverberg: Love this duo and the skills they are showing on the resilient Senators. No Spezza, no Karlsson, no Anderson? Who cares, team is firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt and this duo is producing. Also, Zibanejad made a slick move on Martin Brodeur to win the shootout Monday night.

2. Alexander Galchenyuk/Brendan Gallagher: Gallagher is looking like a seasoned vet, especially with his performance on Wednesday against Boston. Galchenyuk is amazingly, skilled, but he's fallen off a bit as expected from a rookie.

3. Charlie Coyle/Mikael Granlund: The latter of this Minny duo is still getting his bearings, but Coyle's looking solid (which probably isn't that hard to do with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise on your line.) Coyle has five points in March and gives that line a tougher look.

4. Filip Forsberg/Evegeny Kuznetsov: This duo has the potential to do some serious damage in The District, provided the latter ever leaves the KHL. Forsberg looked great at the World Juniors this past January.

And, in response to Chris Stewart v. James van Riemsdyk, I'll take Stewart over my fellow New Jersey native. Stewart has produced before and he's enjoying a resurgence on the Blues this year. Still can't believe the Blues got Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk for Erik Johnson.


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