Posted on: February 22, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:17 pm

NHL Trade Recap 2/22/2011

NHL GMs have been busy leading up to the 2/28 trade deadline with numerous trade being made already. Let’s take a look at some of the deals that have already gone down as of yesterday:

Colorado acquires Brian Elliot from Ottawa in exchange for Craig Anderson – I immediately Tweeted (@Ed_Welsh) about this one as I felt it was just a swap out of two mediocre goaltenders. Anderson has had one good season in the NHL and may never repeat it. Although, that is one great season more than Elliot. I have no idea why the Avs make this deal as it is my opinion that only the Sens have a chance of winning this deal.

Boston acquires Tomas Kaberle from Toronto in exchange for prospect Joe Colborne, Boston’s 2011 first round pick and a conditional second round pick in 2012 – Toronto gets real good value for Kaberle here. Colborne is having a pretty good rookie AHL season so far this year and the first and second round picks are just what the prospect starved Leafs need to re-stock the system. Boston has the prospects to be able to pay the steep price, although if they can re-sign Kaberle beyond this season, the price doesn’t seem too out of balance.

San Jose acquires Ian White from Carolina for a 2012 second round pick – The Sharks needed someone blue line help and they get it in White. Carolina picks up a low end second rounder for a guy that was basically falling into the third pairing.

Tampa Bay acquires Eric Brewer from St. Louis for Brock Beukeboom and their 2011 third round pick – Good trade for both teams here. Brewer was falling down the depth chart in St. Louis thanks to their tremendous young depth on the blue line, so they pick up some future in return for a veteran providing diminishing returns. For Tampa, it’s a small price to pay as Brewer is exactly the type of veteran presence they need as they attempt to go deep into the playoffs this season.

Colorado acquires Eric Johnson, Jay McClement, and a conditional first round pick from St. Louis in exchange for Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk, and a conditional second round pick – The biggest deal thus far with a marquee name on both sides. However, I like this for the Blues much more than the Avs. Basically, the Blues are in a much better position to lose Johnson than the Avs are to lose Stewart. With Pietrangelo taking the reigns as the #1 defenseman in St. Louis, losing Johnson is a easier pill to swallow, especially when you have bruising Barrett Jackman still around and you are getting an offensive puck-mover back in Shattenkirk. Colorado loses a budding power forward, with no one ready to assume that role and gets back McClement, who is best suited for thrid line center, a position they already had filled in O’Reilly.

Pittsburgh acquires James Neal and Matt Niskanen from Dallas in exchange for Alex Goligoski – I am on the Stars bashing bandwagon on this one. I don’t care how much payroll this trims. Neal has scored 20+ goals the last two seasons and is on pace to push 30 this season. At his age, it should take moving mountains to get him off the team. But instead, the Stars “throw-in” Niskanen and all they get in return is Goligoski. Goligoski is a nice puck-moving defenseman, but he has been wildly inconsistent and you are now hoping that he will gain that consistency by being higher on your depth chart than he was on Pittsburgh’s. This one is a slam dunk for the Pens, as if Niskanen responds well to a change of scenery, this will go down as an all out thievery.

Follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Welsh

Posted on: October 19, 2010 9:01 am

Can the Stars keep playing like stars?

I posted this to my Tumblr blog yesterday with the intention of pasting it to here today. Little did I know the Stars would prove me right in their game last night by giving up 44 shots and 4 power play goals!

At the time of this entry being written, the Dallas Stars are currently tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning 0-0. There are also a perfect 4-0 on the season, which begs the question, “Are they really this good?” 

Now, I obviously don’t mean that I wonder if they will go undefeated through the entire season, but rather is this an indication of a team that could win their division, that could make noise in the playoffs? Let’s take a look at each facet of the game and see how they have reached that record and if they are, in fact, a contender.

Offense: The Stars are currently on fire. They rank fourth in the league in offense at 3.5 goals per game. Both Brendan Morrow and Loui Eriksson have four goals through the first four games and Brad Richards leads the team with nine points. Now, it isn’t realistic to think either Morrow or Eriksson are going to score at that rate, nor is Richards going to average over two points per game. However, these three players are accounting for 2/3 of the team’s goals and one has to believe that not only will they slip in production, but the supplemental scorers (Jamie Benn, James Neal, et al) will offset the normalization of the other three players’ production.

Defense: This is an area of concern. The Stars defense has yielded 146 shots against in only four games. That’s an average of 36.5 per game. No team that even made the playoffs last season gave up that many shots per game, let alone a team considered a “contender.” This is an area of concern given the relative health of the blueline, leaving injury off the list of excuses for such poor performance.

Special Teams: Another area of concern. The power play ranks 18th in the league at a 13.3% efficiency rating, producing only two goals in four games. While this speaks well to their ability to continue their offensive success, the Stars need to improve their game with the man advantage. Performing even worse is the penalty kill at a 70% efficiency rating, good for 28th in the league. The Stars have been dreadful on the penalty kill. No surprising, as if they cannot keep the shots against down at even strength, I can’t imagine they would do much better short a man.

Goaltending: Behind that porous defense has been Kari Lehtonen. Often criticized for his poor conditioning, Lehtonen reportedly came to camp in the best shape of his career and it appears to have paid off. Despite facing such a barrage of shots against, his save percentage is a stellar 93.2%. To put that into perspective, Tuuka Rask led the NHL with a 93.1% last season. It is safe to say, Kari is a main reason for the Stars perfect record thus far.

Coaching: Marc Crawford is veteran coach that knows his way around an NHL rink. His teams have had mixed success at the NHL level and sometimes seems to rely on the talent level of his team rather than a terrific system. That could fail him as he may not be able to “right the ship” defensively and improve on those shots against numbers. Also, his coaching prowess will be greatly defined by his ability to improve the special teams’ play.

So far, one would have to say things have gone the Stars’ way through four games. With their penalty kill at 70% and yielding 36.5 shots per game, one would not guess this to be an undefeated club. It makes perfect sense that of the four wins so far this season, two have come by shootout with another in overtime. 

Unless the coaching staff can fix the defensive issues and poor penalty kill, I see this 4-0 start as nothing more than a fluke and the Dallas Stars on the outside looking in come playoff time.

Category: NHL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com