NHL Predictions: Tomas Kaberle and the Traded Players Impacting the Playoffs
Monday's NHL trade deadline was relatively uneventful. Perhaps because some of the biggest moves came in the weeks leading up to the deadline. One of the bigger trades to take place was defenseman Tomas Kaberle being traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Boston Bruins.
Kaberle has been the target of trade rumors over the past few years, and up until he was actually traded, many were still unsure if it was true. This trade also had the potential to incite a riot amongst Leafs fans. Luckily, the Leafs got a first-round pick, forward prospect Joe Colborne and a conditional second-round pick in 2012.
No one can dispute the fact that Kaberle helps the Boston defense a great deal. He is very good at making the first pass to start the break out. He also has a good shot from the point. If picking up Kaberle sent a message, I can assure you that the message was: We're ready for the playoffs, and we're not going down without a fight.
With that said, let's take a look at some other traded players that are going to have an effect on the playoff race.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Alexei Kovalev
With an injury-depleted roster, the Pittsburgh Penguins were in need of a scorer. Lucky for them, the Ottawa Senators weren't so happy with Alexei Kovalev this year. It was rumored that Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux lobbied to bring Kovalev back.
This move does two things for the Penguins right now. First, it gives them some scoring help that they need right now with Crosby and Malkin out. Second, if and or when Crosby comes back, it gives him a talented winger to play with.
Even though Kovalev's numbers dropped some at the beginning of the year, he is still a natural goal scorer. In my opinion, he also possesses one of the most lethal wrist shots in the league.
This move could be just what Pittsburgh needs to keep their playoff spot and potentially make it deeper in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings: Dustin Penner
Bringing in Dustin Penner was a solid move by the Los Angeles Kings. Penner has 21 goals and 18 assists for 39 points so far this year. Of course, they did pay a lot for Penner: a first-round pick this year, a conditional third-round pick next year and defensive prospect Colton Tuebert.
Playing with the Kings' solid core is only going to benefit Penner. Perhaps more importantly for the Kings is that they didn't have to give up promising forward prospect Brayden Schenn. Overall, this move could really solidify the Kings roster.
Look for the Kings to make a good run. The trouble for them will be if they run in to the Vancouver Canucks.
Washington Capitals: Jason Arnott
Jason Arnott is a leader; there is no denying that. I'm sure that is why the Washington Capitals wanted him at the deadline. Arnott will bring a checking center role to the Capitals. This could complement the scoring talent that the Capitals already have by adding some defense to their game.
Arnott is also capable of adding a few goals to a club. So far this year, he has scored 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points. These are good numbers for a checking center. Arnott is a very talented player and has scored at least 20 goals almost every season in his career.
This move could bring the scoring/defensive balance that the Capitals need to get over the hump.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Dwayne Roloson
This trade happened way before the deadline, but to leave Dwayne Roloson off this list would be an injustice. The Tampa Bay Lightning can score goals, no doubt about it. The problem they had before getting Roloson was that their goalies couldn't stop them.
Roloson seems to have aged backwards and is playing some of the best hockey of his career. He has become an outstanding goalie and has put up respectable numbers. This trade was also a great thing for him, because it got him out of the Eastern Conference basement.
Since getting to Tampa, Roloson has put up four shutouts. He also reversed his record, going 6-13 with the New York Islanders and 12-6 with the Lightning.
I have no doubt in my mind that if the Lightning perform well in the playoffs, it will be largely due to Roloson's play in net.
Philadelphia Flyers: Kris Versteeg
How do you make a very deep, Eastern Conference leading team even better? That's easy; add some depth to the wing. The Philadelphia Flyers did just that when they added Kris Versteeg.
The Flyers are first in the Eastern Conference. They are very deep at the center position as well as on defense. Their goalies are playing really well, and it seems like the only thing they needed was a winger that could be a fit on the top line.
Versteeg can do just that. And while some Flyers fans are wondering when the advertised Versteeg will show up, I urge you all to keep in mind that he has only played seven games as a Flyer. Versteeg has a scoring touch and can also make plays to set up goals as well.
The Flyers are currently on a "break" and won't play again until Thursday. With the extra practice, look for Versteeg to be more comfortable on the ice.
These players could be just what the doctor ordered for their teams. Feel differently? Agree?
If you have something to add, feel free to comment and I will answer all questions or concerns.