Tag Archives: Sidney Crosby

New rule for NHL GMs: Stop trading with Ray Shero

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Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

Being an NHL General Manager comes with enormous pressure, constant scrutiny and second-guessing by players, fans, media and ultimately ownership.

It’s a tough business, but there’s one rule all NHL GM’s should live by, one that will extend their stay as the boss of hockey operations for a considerable amount of time – DO NOT MAKE A TRADE WITH RAY SHERO.

Seriously, don’t do it. If you do, start looking for the nearest employment office because your days are numbered. Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster is the latest to strike a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins GM, sending beloved captain Jarome Iginla to the Penguins for two prospects that wouldn’t rate anywhere near the top five in the Pens system and a first-round pick in 2013 that will be in the late 20’s.

In fairness to Feaster, he was limited in where he could trade Iginla and there’s a good chance any deal he made wouldn’t have been met with mass approval, but this – on paper – looks bad. He can take solace in the fact it’s not the first time Shero has done this. Let’s look back at some of the big deals the Pittsburgh GM pulled off in the past few years.

Feb. 26, 2008

Pittsburgh trades Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and 1st round pick in 2008 (Daultan Leveille) for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis

Result: Hossa and Dupuis helped the Penguins reach the Cup final in 2008 and was the biggest trade of the year. Hossa finished third in playoff scoring with 26 points in 20 games, the two players who finished tied for first with 27 were Sidney Crosby and Conn Smythe-winner Henrik Zetterberg. Hossa would sign with the Red Wings in the offseason, but Dupuis remained and won the Cup the following season.

The other players were traded to the Thrashers, a team that no longer exists, so it’s fairly obvious who won this deal. An interesting note is that Esposito and Leveille were both first-round draft picks, but neither has suited up for an NHL game. Armstrong and Christensen were with the Thrashers for a couple of years before being finding their way out of Atlanta before the team moved to Winnipeg. Dupuis has been a main stay in Pittsburgh with much of the time spent on Crosby’s wing.

Feb. 26, 2009

Pittsburgh trades Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi

Result: A year to the day after fleecing Atlanta, Shero and his staff take their act to the West Coast and rob the ducks. Kunitz would win the Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009 and is in the top five in scoring this season. Whitney has been a healthy scratch for the Oilers this season. Enough said.

March 4, 2009

Pittsburgh trades a conditional fifth-round pick (Michael Lee) to the New York Islanders for Bill Guerin

Result: Guerin played two seasons in Pittsburgh with the team winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. In total, Guerin played in 130 games for the Penguins, racking up 81 points. The Islanders traded the pick to the Phoenix Coyotes who selected goaltender Mike Lee who has yet to appear in an NHL game.

Feb. 21, 2011

Pittsburgh trades Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for James Neal and Matt Niskanen

Result: New rule, do not trade with Pittsburgh in February, nothing good will come of it. The funniest part of this deal is picturing Shero saying that Neal for Goligoski wouldn’t be fair, he’d need another asset. Goligoski has been solid for the Stars, but since arriving in Pittsburgh Neal has continued to improve into one of the top goal scorers in the league. In fact, Niskanen’s numbers since the deal – 130 games played and 71 points – have been slightly better than Goligoski’s (125 gp, 62 pts).

Many people will mention that Feaster had his back against the wall with Iginla only wanting to go to a few teams. Shero faced a similar situation with Jordan Staal last summer, but had the disadvantage of Staal only wanting to play in Carolina with his brother Eric. Shero quickly pulled the trigger, sending Staal to the Hurricanes for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and a 1st round pick in 2012 (Derrick Pouliot). Sutter has 14 points in 34 contests this season while Staal has racked up 20 in 31 games. Pouliot is part of the glut of young defensemen Pittsbugh has in its system including fellow first-round picks Simon Despres and Olli Maata as well as second-rounder Scott Harrington. It’s that core of young blueliners that allowed Shero to deal 2011 first-rounder Joe Morrow to Dallas for Brenden Morrow a week ago.

So the thing to remember is this – if you’re an NHL GM and Shero calls, don’t answer…especially if it’s February.

By the Numbers

Here’s a breakdown of the trades above in terms of games played and points. The numbers are consistent with how may games the players involved played with Pittsburgh and their trading partner. Numbers include the Staal-Sutter deal and are current as of Mar. 28, 2013.

Pittsburgh acquired:

1,248 games played

786 points

Teams that traded with Pittsburgh acquired:

487 games played

229 points

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It’s time for random NHL predictions

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Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

Reading all of the NHL predictions can leave you wondering what to believe. Some predictions are conservative, others completely off the wall. What it comes down to is no one has a magic 8-ball, it’s basically educated guess work – some more educated than others.

With that in mind, here are some predictions for the 2013 NHL season, both conservative and going out on a limb.

Stanley Cup Champion:

Who I think will win – Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ve got arguably the two best players in the NHL in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, another top 10 scorer in James Neal and a potential Norris candidate with Kris Letang. The Penguins were ousted in the first-round of last season’s playoffs by the Flyers, thanks, in large part, to horrendous goaltending.

Marc Andre Fleury cannot be that bad again, a full season of Crosby and Malkin, and a strong supporting cast including new addition Brandon Sutter will be too much for any team to handle.

Dark Horse – St. Louis Blues. On paper the Blues might be the most balanced team in the league. A strong core of forwards will be bolstered with the addition of Vladamir Tarasenko. The rookie Russian winger was averaging a point-per-game in the KHL before coming to Blues training camp.

The biggest question for the Blues is if the goaltending duo of Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak can repeat last year’s brilliance in the crease. There’s got to be some regression, but if one of them gets hot heading into the playoffs, the Blues could be in the Cup final.

Hart Trophy:

Who I Think Will Win – Evgeni Malkin. The Russian sniper will make it back-to-back MVP campaigns. He’s in game shape having played in the KHL and will reunite with Neal on Pittsburgh’s top line. The duo had great chemistry last year and that should continue.

Dark Horse – Jordan Eberle. Of all the players in the NHL, Eberle strikes me as the one ready to breakout and advance to the superstar level with the likes of Crosby, Malkin and Claude Giroux. Eberle will be the captain of the Oilers in a few seasons and the undisputed leader of the team. I think he has a legitimate chance to win the scoring race this season. He’s been playing in the AHL alongside linemates Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the trio will start the season together. I think the Oilers ascendance back to NHL relevancy will coincide with Eberle’s rise to dominance.

Norris Trophy:

Who I Think Will Win – Shea Weber. A season like Erik Karlsson’s in 2011-12 doesn’t happen very often, which is the reason he won’t be repeating as the Norris Trophy winner. Instead, Nashville’s Weber will take the honour as the league’s top D-man. Playing without Ryan Suter, Weber will take on an even bigger role in Nashville and prove the Predators were right in matching the offer sheet Philadephia signed him to in the offseason.

Dark Horse – Alex Pietrangelo. The St. Louis blue-liner had an excellent season in 2011-12 and had some pundits talking about a Norris nomination. He will continue his emergence as a top tier d-man and cement himself as a franchise cornerstone for the Blues. A shiny new trophy would help in contract negotiations.

Other predictions:

  • Despite having heard Roberto Luongo’s name pronounced correctly, Don Cherry will continue to call him La-Longo.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs fans will continue a decade’s long tradition of believing this is the year their team wins the Stanley Cup – it most certainly is not.
  • Pierre McGuire’s head will explode on air after getting too excited about a big Dion Phaneuf hit. NBC will get him put back together for the second period.
  • TSN’s Gord Miller will continue to talk about goaltenders being in the midst of a shut out during games, bucking the hockey tradition of not mentioning a goalies shut out while the game is happening. Several old men will threaten to never watch TSN because of Miller’s antics, then realize they’re in a room by themselves and no one is listening.
  • The smile on Rick Nash’s face will remain for an entire season as he keeps looking at his jersey and realizing it has no Blue Jackets.
  • The Philadelphia Flyers will continue to pursue ginger-haired players via trade to compliment Giroux and Scott Hartnell. It’s all part of GM Paul Holmgren’s plans to weird everyone out with a team of Epic Gingers.
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