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The five biggest trade deadline losers

Feb 28, 2011, 10:01 PM EDT

Chris Campoli, Jonathan Toews AP

While Joe took a look at the five biggest winners of the 2011 Trade Deadline, it’s my assignment to rain on parades and be a downer. Fortunately, soiling the happiness of others is one of my accidental skills, so this should feel pretty natural. Click here for the full rundown of today’s trades, if you need a memory refresher.

Here are the five biggest losers from Monday’s anti-frenzy*, in order of increasing badness. (Keep in mind this is taking February 28th into consideration rather than a surprisingly stout month of pre-deadline deals.)

5. Detroit Red Wings just extend Jimmy Howard‘s contract

While some of these other teams would get a grade ranging from a C- to a big red F, the Red Wings probably would get a flat C or just an “Incomplete.” It’s not like they needed to do anything; after all, they remain a very dangerous team and re-signing Howard still stands as one of the day’s best moves.

That being said, Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski aren’t getting any younger and even some of the guys in their “prime” years have a lot of mileage for players in their early 30s. Why not swing for the fences while you’re still at full power rather than settling for a walk?

4. Chicago Blackhawks fork over a conditional second round pick for … Chris Campoli?

Look, it’s obvious that GM Stan Bowman was in a tough spot being that the ink wasn’t even dry on Jordan Hendry’s injury report from Sunday, but he paid a hefty toll for a mediocre blueliner.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Campoli cannot help the Blackhawks more than an AHLer – he can skate well and has some offensive upside – but he’s an adventure at best in his own zone. One scouting report described him as a “riverboat gambler” on defense. That’s not exactly the kind of guy you want on your side in the zero-margin-of-error West race, especially at the cost of a (conditional) second round draft pick.

3. Montreal Canadiens remain old, small and just good enough to lose early in the playoffs.

One of the biggest gags of another Twitter-dominated deadline involved a fake reporter account spitting out a rumor that involved Dustin Penner going to the Habs. As fraudulent as that report ended up being, you cannot blame some Montreal fans for getting excited. After all, Penner might be the antithesis of most Canadiens forwards. He’s huge and young; they’re old and small. The only common thread Penner and many of the Habs forwards share is inconsistency.

Instead of adding size or at least finding another quality forward for their playoff run, Montreal opted to cross their fingers and hope that they can repeat last year’s “go into turtle mode and pray that our goalie bails us out” trick. Carey Price has done a great job of making Montreal fans forget about Jaroslav Halak, but asking this team to luck out again is like gambling your mortgage on lightning striking twice.

Then again, perhaps Montreal’s management team has a secret “Reset Button” plan. Of their current roster players, only six forwards, two defensemen and one goalie remain under contract after this season. We’ll see if that ends up being a good thing or a disaster waiting to happen.

(If this deadline was any indication … well, let’s hope it’s not an indication.)

2. The Minnesota Wild sit in neutral.

It’s tough not to admire the Wild’s guile as they fight valiantly for a playoff spot without their backbone, center Mikko Koivu. But considering how passionate (and patient) Minnesota fans have been, why couldn’t the Wild’s front office throw them a trade deadline bone?

You can make excuses all day, but the long-term outlook of this team isn’t particularly peachy. Their two top players (Koivu and goalie Niklas Backstrom) are making market value money, but most of their remaining players are either on overpriced deals or bargains set to expire in the next season or two.

It’s hard to imagine the Wild progressing beyond their current bubble team/seventh or eighth seed ceiling … and they’re even getting a remarkably healthy season from talented but fragile winger Martin Havlat. How much longer will Minnesota fans tolerate a front office that seems quite satisfied with mediocrity?

1. And the biggest loser: anyone who took off work for the deadline.

Hey, with all those medium-sized to flat-out big deals in the weeks leading up to the deadline, there had to be at least some hint that today might not be a buffet of outlandish trades. Right?

On some level, the hockey media and all fans fall loosely into this category, but the people with the reddest cheeks took a precious vacation day from soul-draining cubicle jobs for this? Hopefully those cheeks were red because of a blissful mid-day buzz, because if you took off work to see a trade afternoon headlined by Penner, it’s tough to rationalize that as anything but a big loss.

* There were only 16 trades during today’s deadline, the lowest total since there were only 12 in 2000.

  1. whatagreatfootballmind - Feb 28, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    2. The Minnesota Wild sit in neutral.

    It’s tough not to admire the Wild’s guile as they fight valiantly for a playoff spot without their backbone, center Mikko Koivu. But considering how passionate (and patient) Minnesota fans have been, why couldn’t the Wild’s front office throw them a trade deadline bone?

    You can throw out excuses all day, but the long-term outlook of this team isn’t particularly peachy. Their two top players (Koivu and goalie Niklas Backstrom) are making market value money, but most of their remaining players are either on overpriced deals or bargains set to expire in the next season or two.

    It’s hard to imagine the Wild progressing beyond their current bubble team/seventh or eighth seed ceiling … and they’re even getting a remarkably healthy season from talented but fragile winger Martin Havlat. How much longer will Minnesota fans tolerate a front office that seems quite satisfied with mediocrity?

    Learn your hockey. Are the Wild really going to trade Brunette and Madden because they have expiring contracts at the end of the season? A season in which the Wild are legitimately in the playoff hunt?

    The trade deadline, all the teams have inflated prices. Is Konopka and Reasoner really worth a 2nd round pick? The same second round pick the Wild don’t have? So would the Wild really part with a 1st round pick for those rental players?

    Yeah, it would have been nice to dump somebody’s inflated salary such as Bouchard, but who wants that salary? Trade a struggeling Cam Barker, after you give up 1st round pick Nick Leddy for?

    The Wild don’t have the assets to pull off a major name trade either. I am 100% on Fletcher not making a move.

    • ThatGuy - Mar 1, 2011 at 9:47 AM

      I agree, dumb post. The wild are in the playoff hunt, as a fan that’s a bonus. They are not legitimate cup contenders likely, so what is the point of trading one of the few good prospects we have for a 3rd line grinder. DR left our minor league system in shambles, and Fletcher is just beginning to get it restocked. His draft last year landed Granlund, Zucker, Bullmer and Gustaffson. All legitimate prospects. As for the UFAs, we probably could have traded Madden and Brunette, but then your just waiving the white flag on the season. Kobesow, Meittenen, who would want them.

      • sknut - Mar 1, 2011 at 10:30 AM

        I totally agree, you look at what Fletcher has done in 1.5 yrs there is no reason to blow it up to grab a 6-8 seed in the playoffs. Flectcher has a plan and is sticking to it, I am excited to see some of the youngsters that they have collected. Look at Spurgen, Stoner and guys down in Houston. There will be some bad contracts leaving soon leaving the Wild with some cap room.

  2. bushay44 - Mar 1, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Well, that’s 5 minutes of my life i’m not getting back reading this useless bit of information. Nothing better to blog about than this non news summary?

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