Trying to follow all of the action that swirls around the NHL’s trade deadline can make your head spin.
With rumors, tweets, deals, no-deals, salary cap implications, analysts opinions, web refreshes and all of the jazz that now accompanies the weeks and months leading up to the event, it’s tough to lose sight of what actually ends up happening.
To me, the whole ordeal is like a day at the amusement park.
You wait in line all this time – sometimes too much time – and after each ride (or in this case deal), you immediately start rambling off what had just happened to your friends.
This is better than that. This is great. That Sucked…whatever. No matter what your opinion is, you at least have one.
More specifically, the deadline is like one of those spinning thrill rides –maybe a Tile-A-Whirl for all you carnival enthusiasts.
Amidst the nausea, anxiety and maybe even nervousness you experience as part of the ride, you walk away wanting more. More rides and more fun; more speculation and more deals.
But while trying to dissect this year’s trade deadline, I noticed one reoccurring theme. It’s simply observational, perhaps unworthy of any true analysis, but it was interesting to see the number of former-Bruins who were moved leading up to Monday’s deadline.
Here are some of the guys who previously donned the ‘Spoked B’ that have once again changed sweaters the past couple of weeks:
Brad Boyes (traded to Buffalo from St. Louis in exchange for a 2011 second round draft pick)
Eleven months after taking over as Boston’s GM, Peter Chiarelli sent Brad Boyes to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Dennis Wideman.
The deal gave the Bruins a puck-moving defenseman — which we all know Chiarelli has frequently coveted – but it sent away a 24-year-old former first-round pick that had showed a scoring touch for the struggling post-lockout Bruins.
Boyes led the Bruins in assists (43) in 2006-2007, while ranking second on the team in goals (26) and points (69) behind Patrice Bergeron. But with Marc Savard and Phil Kessel on board for the 2007-2008 season, Chiarelli eventually viewed Boyes as a chip that could land him a young defenseman who could add some much needed blue line help.
Wideman put together a couple solid seasons for the Bruins, especially in 2008-2009, before a decline in performance and a chance at goal-scorer Nathan Horton finally determined his fate.
Meanwhile, Boyes has two 30-goal seasons to his credit, including 43 goals in 2007-2008, his first full season with the Blues. But after 65-point and 72-point seasons, Boyes took a step backwards in 2009-2010, only tallying 42 points despite playing in all 82 games.
Boyes has had a strong bounce-back campaign for the Blues this season, though, notching virtually the same numbers through 62 games that he did through the full 82-game schedule last season.
Boyes obviously has tremendous potential. It’s rare that a player scores 40 goals in a season by accident.
But truth be told, the only consistency in his game is that he’s been consistently inconsistent – let that one sink in.
All things considered, it’s not the worst move Buffalo could have made. Boyes should add some depth and versatility to the Sabres because of his ability to play both center and wing. However, I expect to see him mostly on the wing, with the Sabres already having Tim Connolly, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville manning the middle.
But as Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports! points out, line placement will be key in determining Boyes’ true effectiveness with his new team. He scored 43 goals while on a line with Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk, and 33 while skating alongside David Backes. If placed on the right line in Buffalo, he could really add some scoring punch to a Buffalo team that ranks around the middle of the pack offensively.
On Tuesday night, Boyes scored a goal in his first game while playing alongside Connolly and Tyler Ennis.
For St. Louis, the move certainly makes sense from a financial standpoint, as Boyes is owed $4 million next season.
Nick Boynton (claimed off waivers by Philadelphia from Chicago)
Boynton was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (21th overall) of the 1999 draft after failing to reach a contract agreement with the Washington Capitals two years ealier. He went to sign that illusive first contract and played parts of six seasons in Boston before leaving as a free agent following the 2005-2006 season.
Boynton has always had a history of missing games, but he did play significant minutes for the Chicago Blackhawks at the end of last season after being claimed off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks. He eventually appeared in three Stanley Cup Finals games.
When Boynton was placed on waivers again last week and 28 other teams reportedly passed on him, the Flyers decided to take a flier given some injury concerns regarding their defensive core.
The Boynton acquisition is a low-risk investment for Philadelphia and one worth making. He might not be a game-changer, but he’s a veteran with playoff experience and could sure up their blue line, especially if the health remains an issue for the Flyers’ defense.
Petr Kalus (traded to Columbus from Minnesota in exchange for future considerations)
Kalus only played in nine games for the Bruins in 2006-2007 after being drafted by the team in the second round of the 2005 draft. But he played pretty well in those nine games – or at least well enough to give him some added trade value.
Kalus had four goals and an assist for the B’s, but spent most of his time in Providence before being traded, along with a fourth round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, for goaltender Manny Fernandez.
Fernandez spent almost all of the 2007-2008 season on the IR, but bounced back and spelled Vezina Award winner Tim Thomas quite nicely the following season.
Kalus is still only 23 years old, but he’s appeared in only two NHL games since leaving Boston, both of which were last season for the Wild. It’s really tough to tell at this point what kind of impact, if any, Kalus will have at the NHL level.
The move really just gives the Blue Jackets, who are currently 12th in the Western Conference, some more organizational depth.
Sergei Samsonov (traded to Florida from Carolina in exchange for D Bryan Allen)
Samsonov was one of the most frustrating players to watch as a member of the Bruins. He was also one of the most exciting.
A former Calder Trophy winner and a 2001 All-Star, Samsonov posted two 70-point seasons with the Bruins. But there was always this notion that he could accomplish so much more.
Samsonov’s speed and agility excited Bruins fans, but he simply never developed into the franchise goal-scorer that the team had initially wanted to complement Joe Thornton. Samsonov’s season-high for goals stands at 29.
Prior to the 2009 trade deadline, the B’s shipped Samsonov to Edmonton in exchange for Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny and a 2006 second round draft pick, which the Bruins used to draft Milan Lucic.
Samsonov, who has digressed even more since leaving Boston, will now be playing for his sixth team as a member of the Panthers. He will become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
The move to trade Samsonov’s expiring contract for defenseman Bryan Allen makes sense for both sides. The Florida Panthers get some cap relief by shipping off Allen, who is under contract for $2.9 million next season, while the Hurricanes fill a need.
Carolina ranks 23rd in the NHL in goals against despite the stellar play of goaltender
Cam Ward. Allen, listed at 6-foot-5 and 226 pounds immediately becomes the biggest defenseman on the Hurricanes. His size and strength should really help out in front of the net and make things a bit easier for Ward and whichever defenseman he plays alongside.
Marco Sturm (claimed off waivers by Washington from Los Angeles)
Watching Marco Sturm leave Boston this season was tough, but it was necessary. With a $3.5 million price tag, he
entered the season as the likeliest casualty of the Bruins’ early season salary cap struggles.
Sturm has always been a solid player in Boston, showing a propensity to not only put the puck in the net when healthy – he led the team in goals (22) last season – but also to play the body down in the corners.
For me, the Sturm sequence that will forever stand out my mind came in Game 6 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals versus Montreal. Giving up two inches and roughly 20 pounds, Sturm completely outmuscled Roman Hamrlik in the corner on two separate occasions en route to the game-winning goal.
While Sturm’s knees will always be a question mark, he should provide the Capitals with a nice third-line scoring option. Sturm has nine points in 18 games this season.
The Caps have to keep their fingers crossed, though, that they get the Sturm who recorded four points in Boston’s seven playoff games against Montreal two seasons ago and not the Sturm who put up a goose egg in seven playoff games last season.
Overall, though, I like the move for Washington. He should help the team’s power play in particular, which is currently ranked 25th in the NHL.
Dennis Wideman (traded to Washington from Florida in exchange for F Jake Hauswirth & a 2011 third round draft pick)
Wideman was essentially booed out of Boston. I’ll admit that I was one of the few that defended Wideman almost to the very end, until it got to the point where I too felt as though a move was inevitable. He made some costly mistakes and was even called out by head coach Claude Julien.
I still feel like Wideman caught too much slack in Boston for the team’s struggles and that he was undoubtedly the team’s second-best offensive defenseman – behind Chara. Nevertheless, when the opportunity to acquire Nathan Horton presented itself, I too thought it was finally time to cut ties.
Like Sturm, Wideman’s impact with the Capitals will most likely be felt on the power play. Eight of his 9 goals with Florida came on the power play, while 17 of his 32 goals in a Bruins uniform came on the man advantage.
With Washington’s top defenseman Mike Green out at least another couple of weeks with a head injury, Wideman will face even more of a responsibility from the onset. Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post even wrote a brief piece about how Wideman’s poor plus-minus seems to be more of a result of the lack of talent around him.
With Wideman under contract for almost $4 million next season and the Capitals already with some tough financial questions to answer in the offseason, the move clearly shows the Capitals are really going for it all this season.
I think Wideman makes Washington better, but I’m not sure if he’ll truly be worth the salary cap headaches that could ensue following this season.
Kris Versteeg (traded to Philadelphia from Toronto in exchange for a 2011 first round pick & a 2011 third round pick)
While Versteeg never laced them up for the big club, Versteeg did play in 56 games for the Providence Bruins from 2005-2007 before being traded to Chicago with future considerations in exchange for Brandon Bochenski. In an effort to not ruin anyone’s day, I won’t harp on that deal. But it’s still worth mentioning.