2013 NHL Trade Deadline Winners: #8 Anaheim Ducks, #7 San Jose Sharks

I forgot the Anaheim Ducks and a few other teams when I wrote out all my “trade deadline winners” at once yesterday, so I don’t have my typical overly long explanation about why I consider them winners. But the short answer is because they acquired Matthew Lombardi, who I was a fan of a few seasons ago when he was basically the Phoenix Coyotes’ top center, for Brandon McMillan. I was actually asking a Ducks fan on twitter the other day about McMillan, because he was basically the only one of all the awful no-name AHL players the Ducks filled their third and fourth lines with last season that looked any good to me, well him and Dan Sexton. Of course I thought guys like Smith-Pelly had more potential, but like Sexton he didn’t get as many games in Anaheim, and in terms of all their lesser known guys, McMillan was one of the only half-decent ones, actually better than Nick Bonino last year in my opinion, which is why I was curious what had happened to him this season, as I never saw him on the NHL team, but Bonino was.

Of course, Bonino looks way better this year, like a totally different player, but that’s beside the point. The point is that McMillan may not be a big name prospect, but for those saying the Ducks gave up nothing to get Lombardi, I wouldn’t be so sure. But at the same time, the Ducks have enough prospects and obviously didn’t feel like they needed McMillan, and Lombardi should help them, which is why they get on this list.

At #7 (there are actually more than the nine I started with, so this is actually probably really #8 or #9 now that I remembered to include the St Louis Blues for their pre-deadline move to acquire Jay Bouwmeester, as well as a few other teams), the San Jose Sharks. I include the Sharks on this list more as winners for the future, as opposed to right now. Yes, moving Douglas Murray has made the Sharks better right now, but I can’t really give Doug Wilson credit for finally moving a bad player after keeping him on the roster for way too long in the first place, nor can I credit Wilson for the great return he got for a bad player, since you take the best offer you can get from other teams, and therefore it’s much more Ray Shero to blame for trading two second round picks for Murray than it is Doug Wilson to credit for accepting that offer. Who wouldn’t have accepted it?

Likewise, the fact the Sharks have improved without Murray weighing them down is more a credit to the players they already had on the roster finally being able to perform to their full capabilities without Doug Murray’s anchor around their necks, than it is to any additions the Sharks have made (up until today, anyway). Plus, the Sharks lost Ryane Clowe yesterday, and even though he hasn’t scored a goal this season and seemed to be on the decline overall from nagging injuries, I still think he was a good player for the Sharks, and they will miss his ability to protect the puck along the boards.

The Sharks did add Raffi Torres right before the deadline today for a 3rd round pick, which is another move I really like similar to the Devils’ getting Steve Sullivan for a 7th rounder (except they’re totally different players and Sullivan was cheaper), but at best I think that puts them even with Clowe leaving, if that.

The Sharks also added Scott Hannan for a seventh round pick, another low-risk move that I like. Hannan was actually one of my “best value signings of the offseason” two seasons ago, although more because he only cost about 550k against the cap than because I considered him a superstar or anything, but still, as recently as three seasons ago I’ve been impressed with his game. I’m not sure how well his game still holds up today, as I’ve only seen him play in maybe one or two games this season, but from what I saw I’d say he’s still much better than Douglas Murray, so Doug Wilson has effectively traded a 7th round pick for two 2nd rounders, plus upgraded from Murray to Hannan.

Again, I don’t credit Wilson for that personally, because it’s just the prices other GMs were willing to give out and the market obviously valued Murray much higher than Hannan for whatever reason, but it’s still a win for the Sharks. It’s just that it’s a win because the market played out in a very fortunate fashion for the Sharks in that regard, rather than as a result of some brilliance on Doug Wilson’s part.

Overall, I really like the draft picks Doug Wilson has accumulated by trading pending unrestricted free agents who weren’t even helping the Sharks this season, like Douglas Murray and Michael Handzus (although I’m not as happy about the Clowe trade), and that’s why the Sharks are one of the deadline winners. However, when it comes to the present, I don’t think the Sharks got any better by swapping out Douglas Murray, Michael Handzus, and Ryane Clowe for Raffi Torres and Scott Hannan, other than the addition by subtraction, which is significant when it comes to getting Murray off the roster (and even Handzus, to a degree, given the nonchalant way he played in a Sharks uniform).

But the addition by subtraction isn’t so much addition at all as it is the rest of the Sharks roster proving that they are probably better than they appeared to be before with Murray still playing for the team and slowing the whole team down. I mean, while it’s not addition, it is still improvement, and as long as you’ve gotten better, who cares how you did it? In that light, there’s an argument to be made the Sharks are winners this deadline for the future and the present, but overall you hopefully get what I mean, and why I am only putting them in the winners category for the future.

Written by Shark Circle

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