2007 NHL Trade Deadline Brings Big Moves

The 2007 NHL Trade Deadline involved some big players going on the move. Pretty much all of the big names (some waving no-trade clauses) are unrestricted free agents July 1, and were established players for prospects and/or draft picks. Salary cap issues came into play for some teams, and all the big names end up on American teams.

Notable Trades
  • Ryan Smyth from Edmonton to New York Islanders
  • Todd Bertuzzi from Florida to Detroit
  • Martin Biron from Buffalo to Philadelphia
  • Bill Guerin from St. Louis to San Jose
  • Gary Roberts from Florida to Pittsburgh
  • Keith Tkachuk from St. Louis to Atlanta
  • Anson Carter from Columbus to Carolina

Interesting Notes

Smyth was traded today after the Oilers were unable to sign him to a new contract. Tonight, prior to the Edmonton-Phoenix game in Edmonton, Mark Messier’s number 11 jersey will be retired. Unfortunately the cycle in Edmonton keeps continuing, with Gretzky, Messier, Guerin, Comrie, Pronger and now Smyth have all left Edmonton over essentially monetary reasons. While Edmonton may be able to make a play for Smyth in the free agent market this summer, the Islanders likely have numbers to offer him that they think can keep them since they are in more need than just renting him.

Bertuzzi leaves Florida after less than a season for some draft picks and a prospect after giving up Roberto Luongo to get him last summer.

Pittsburgh added some toughness and grit with the acquisition of Georges Laraque and Gary Roberts. This addressed their noted weakness of toughness to protect Crosby and Malkin. They seem serious about taking a run at the Cup this year.

Overall, the NHL has become a rent-a-ringer league, where there will be plenty of trade activity at the deadline, and unrestricted free agents moving for a few months to teams wanting to take a run in the playoffs. These trades will all be players for prospects and draft choices; the days of the star for star trade are long gone. While some fans believe in win at all cost, I believe all fans would enjoy the results of a team built over time over a team that is assembled for the last six weeks of the season and playoffs, then is disbanded during the summer. Some would say the current situation reflects an instant gratification society. I say that just because society is used to instant gratification does not mean they would not enjoy seeing long-term results from their team.

The Coverage

I only caught some Sportsnet coverage during the day and after the deadline and did not see any TSN or The Score coverage. The whole hype around the trade deadline has gone to far. Sportsnet has been advertising their special HockeyCentral edition for a month. Sportsnet offered the Deal or No Deal Canada girls, the Hanson brothers and mascots in the background playing foosball. Their number one source was some blogger named Eklund who named everyone in the NHL in trade rumours. He first reported that Jason Smyth had signed with the Oilers, only to report two hours later he was traded to the Islanders without batting an eye.

While Sportsnet went for the fluff coverage, TSN apparently went for its standard news reporting format. All networks were on the air for six hours discussing the trades as they came in. Back in the day coverage started an hour or two before the deadline and that was plenty to talk about any deals without repeating yourself. Now, with six hours and so many inconsequential trades to discuss, the talking heads come on to repeat their empty comments over and over about each event and speculation. It seems the audience numbers make this one of the biggest days in Canadian sports television and everyone wants the largest piece of it. I would think that after a few years people would be wise to the waste of time watching the coverage would be, but I know better considering hockey rabid fans in Canada.

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