There's a public perception in all sports, especially hockey, that if you aren't doing something you aren't moving forward and therefore you aren't competing. Nowhere is that more in evidence then on Trade Deadline Day.
But what about the teams that did nothing? Surely they can't be doing anything right.
That's the perception. But let's go upstairs and take a look at the tape:
For most of the season, general manager
It says here the Canadiens have been little more than a stumbling, sometimes bumbling team with on- and off-ice problems, mediocre or worse goaltending, precious little size, no No.1 center and no game-controlling defenseman (let alone a heavy shot) at the point. One could also argue that Gainey's coach,
Gainey is a smart man and he will solve all those problems over time, but the facts in evidence support the argument that this edition of the Habs isn't good enough to win the Cup. Rather than take on other team's problems, high salaries, and soon-to-be unrestricted free agents while sending his tools for the future (draft choices, prospects) out the door, Gainey did nothing.
To me, that was smart. The price for the under-achieving Jokinen was not only too high for Gainey's wallet, there was no reason to think he was a fit. The price for eventual UFA
He did nothing, and we say "good job."
One could argue that newbie GM
Does that mean the Flames move past his Canucks? In a word, yes. But they were already in that position, and on the morning after, Gillis still has all-world goaltending in
They were going nowhere and GM
To be sure, Upshall and Lombardi can't be happy, but that could change. What Maloney has done is grab picks and talent that is neither too old nor too young, which should make for a nice fit with the core of a team that has some promise. There is going to come a time when Maloney will need a different and perhaps better coach than
Speaking of fiscal nightmares...
What they did is as convoluted as their ownership's financing play to get control of the franchise.
The NHL signed off on a deal that, in essence, allowed the Lightning to sell a fourth-round pick to Toronto for players who will never play for the Leafs. In essence, the Lightning moved about a half million in salary, which should help the franchise qualify for a bigger revenue-sharing check at the end of the season. The Leafs, who had cap room to spare, took on
Since you can't trade picks for money, the Lightning tossed in some barely warm bodies and got cap relief in their place. A strange move for a franchise that doesn't have depth in the picks department to begin with, but about on par with what you would expect from an ownership group that put together smoke and mirrors financing to buy the franchise in the first place.
No kudos to the Leafs, however. Eight points out of a still open playoff race, they opted to shut down their No. 1 goalie,
Another GM who made smart moves was
Murray also got center
If there was a notable trend throughout the day it was that most teams decided against giving up prospects and draft picks for players they knew were heading for the unrestricted free agent market.
Overall, that's good team management.
It's just that on trade deadline day some GMs handle things better than others.