NHL Trade Deadline: What Does the Nicklas Grossman Acquisition Mean?
The man on the left, Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, is a very smart man. He led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals two seasons ago and has made his franchise a contender for the past three seasons (including this one).
This year started well. He had acquired the star goaltender that would end all the worries for the franchise in Ilya Bryzgalov, an aging super-sniper during the year in Jaromir Jagr and a gritty forward in Maxime Talbot.
He had replaced his major loss, Ville Leino, and the Flyers were slated to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference easily.
Despite solid team play, the Flyers season hasn't gone completely according to plan. Jagr's and Chris Pronger's injuries, Bryzgalov's poor form (to be generous) and a recent drop in the performances of the fourth line, the Flyers found themselves looking for a hulking body for defensive insurance.
This deal is great for the Flyers in many ways, but what does it mean for the league?
Beware of the Flyers
When the Flyers are completely healthy, the play a mean brand of hockey that disrupts the mojo of whole league. The Flyers love to hit almost as much as they love to score. They are not afraid to mix it up on the dirty areas, and they have one of the league's top bullies in Chris Pronger.
But this season, they haven't been healthy. While the players still keep this "tough as nails" DNA, the Flyers were desperate to add a large body that, despite lacking in skill, would occupy the same area that Chris Pronger would.
They got Nicklas Grossman for a hefty price, but they have acquired a defenseman capable able of playing in front of the goaltender and should have a big impact in this team's run for the Stanley Cup.
The Flyers have acquired a player that will add to their toughness.
When they get healthy, the Flyers will be back with a thirst that, in my opinion, other teams don't even come close to having.
Beware of the Flyers.
The Flyers Are Definitely Buyers
With James van Riemsdyk being rumored to be traded, no one had any idea that the Flyers would be aggressive buyers.
This trade was very savvy by Paul Holmgren because he didn't have to dip into his roster to get Grossman from the Dallas Stars.
For me, if anyone had an idea the Flyers would remain on the low, this just went out the window. This trade shows the rest of the league that Paul Holmgren is not only aligning this franchise for a Stanley Cup, but also willing to work to improve his team.
Whether this is their last trade remains to be seen, but seeing how the Flyers are longing for Lord Stanley's cup, I find it hard to believe that will finish at this.
The Stars Are Sellers
With this trade, Joe Niewendyk made the Stars open for business. They are a budget-minded team on the fringe of reaching the playoffs in the Western Conference. Deciding to ship one of your best defenseman to a contender does not make much sense in this situation, but the deal's done.
For the rest of the league, the Stars' status was very murky, but this trade clearly shows their intentions to the rest of the teams.
The Stars still have some very interesting players in Brenden Morrow, Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson.
I wonder if any team would dare to make a play for them.
The Dallas Stars Might Be Starting a Rebuild
For a Stars franchise that has been on the fringe in the last few years, one would think that they would trade not only for players, but for more players to help the cause.
Instead, they shipped out their stay-at-home defenseman in exchange for two draft picks on the upcoming NHL draft.
Getting a bottom second-rounder and a third-rounder from the Flyers, one can't be too thrilled, unless their European scout is Hakan Andersson. So, not only does this clarifies their status as sellers, but the amount of picks they got also points towards a rebuild.
This kind of trade is a method of acquiring depth players for the future.
The Stars started the season switching coaches and losing their best player. Might have Joe Niewendyk acquired pieces to further this process of rebuilding?
Nine days before the NHL trade deadline, the winds are starting to pick up and some deals are starting to happen here and there. In the next few days, we'll have answers to all the questions that have been bugging us for the last week.
Will the market temperature rise? I believe so. There are a lot of names out there and a lot teams with needs.
Let's wait and see...