What’s the big deal?

Image of Jarome Iginla playing for Pittsburg Penguins via Pittsburg Penguins Facebook page

Formerly published in The Other Press. Apr. 9 2013

NHL’s lacklustre trade deadline

By Elliot Chan, Staff Writer

“I’m proud to be a Vancouver Canuck,” were Roberto Luongo’s words after the trade deadline on April 3. “I love it here and I love my teammates. I would love nothing better than to win a Stanley Cup here.”

There was no way for Canucks general manager, Mike Gillis to give a discount for one of the top goalies in the league, even if he is currently a backup. Early in the season, rumors about Toronto and Florida’s interest for the Canucks’ goalie surfaced, but Gillis refused to consider his team as one selling away players. Luongo is the ace in Gillis’ hand, and it would be a shame if he simply folded. “It was tough to make trades today,” Gillis tweeted moments after the deadline.

The Canucks managed to make one significant move, adding 29-year-old centre Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars for young prospect and former Vancouver Giant Kevin Connauton. Roy should be able to give a solid contribution on the third-line when Ryan Kesler returns from his injury.

Elsewhere, trade deadline day was anti-climactic, since Jarome Iginla was shipped out of Calgary to Pittsburgh earlier in the week. The New York Rangers were busy prior to the deadline landing highly-touted forward Ryane Clowe from the San Jose Sharks. Clowe is full of intangible talent that any playoff team could use in the playoffs. The Rangers also dealt Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Since grabbing Rick Nash from the Blue Jackets in the summer, the Rangers have been going through a revolving door of forwards. Perhaps they finally have the championship team they were looking for, but with a constant flux, the Rangers should be wary of their team chemistry.

The Boston Bruins also made a move, picking up veteran forward Jaromir Jagr from the rebuilding Dallas Stars. Jagr has been trade bait for many years and for good reason. Not only does he have more experience than any other play in the NHL, he was also the scoring point leader for the Stars. The Stars are in a clear rebuilding state since trading away captain Brendan Morrow to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Another rebuilding team who lost their long time captain are the Calgary Flames, who many expected were also going to trade goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff or defensemen Jay Bouwmeester. Turns out it was the defensemen that had to go. St. Louis Blues acquired Bouwmeester for draft picks, a defenseman, and a prospect goaltender.

The teams vying for the championships also turned out their pockets on trade deadline day. The Anaheim Ducks snatched up speedy winger Matthew Lombardi from the Phoenix Coyotes while the Chicago Blackhawks added to their offensive depth with Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks. And the Minnesota Wilds, a team sliding under the radar, picked up Buffalo Sabres’ captain, Jason Pominville.

The theme this year is team captains jumping ships for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Although fans usually feel the heartbreak, players understand that deadline day is all business.

“I wish we had more success over the past few years,” said Iginla, as he reminisced about his time in Calgary. “I know it wasn’t lack of effort from the organization.”

Often torn between loyalty and regret, team captains have to step down as the face of an organization to win the cup. The worst thing that can happen is for a player to over stay their welcome. All eyes are on Gillis, wondering what status Luongo will be in next season.

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