Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Reacting To The Marian Hossa Trade

As I packed up at work and headed for school today at noon Central time Marian Hossa was still in play in the NHL's trade deadline dealing. TSN made it sound all morning as though it was only a matter of if he would end up in Montreal or Ottawa. They even kept talking up how the Thrashers were in Montreal for a game tonight and how easy it would be for him to just stroll down the hall to the home team locker room. Easy indeed.

When I arrived home I kissed the wife and kids and headed for the computer. I had a notion this morning that Sergei Fedorov was going to end up a Pen, so I was curious about that, but I was more curious to see where Hossa landed. As I typed in the web address for TSN and was hitting enter, the thought entered my mind Wouldn't it be wild if Shero snagged Hossa? Sure enough as quickly as the thought formed in my brain there was Marian Hossa on TSN's home page staring back at me in a Penguins jersey.

This is where the story takes an unexpected turn...

You would think my initial reaction would have been one of jubilation. It was not. The first thing to go through my head was, Who did we have to give up? As things turned out, the finalized deal went down as:

Marian Hossa
Pascal Dupuis
Colby Armstrong
Erik Christensen
Angelo Esposito
2008 1st round pick

Let's just take this one thing at a time. I had a feeling all along that Christensen wouldn't be here after the deadline and it turns out I was right on that one. I think he still has a good chance to turn into a really good player, and we'll miss him in the shootout naturally, but he's an acceptable loss. Angelo Esposito was going to face an uphill battle to find a spot in Pittsburgh and was a very tradeable asset so I didn't give that a second thought. And a draft pick is pretty much a lottery ticket so that's no big loss either. There's already enough 1st round talent on the Penguins.

But then there was that one other name... Colby Armstrong. That one stung a bit. Colby has been one of my favorite players for quite a while now and I think he plays played a big role for the Pens on the ice and in "the room". Colby is going to be missed very much by the team and the fans. A lot will be made about his relationship with Sid, and I think for good reason. I don't think the Penguins need to keep players around just because Sid likes them, but I think Colby (from what I've heard/read) did a great job of keeping Sid grounded and making him feel like one of the guys. Something Sid seems to truly desire. I know Sid is too much of a pro to complain about Colby being sent to Atlanta, but you know it disappoints him a little.

I'm disappointed too. I knew going in that there was a good chance that Colby could get traded. Honestly, if it came down to needing to include either Colby, Ryan Malone, or Jordan Staal then I think Shero made the right move. I just wish it could have been someone like Ruutu instead. When it all comes down to it though, for me the nucleus of this Penguins team is:
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Evgeni Malkin
  • Marc-Andre Fleury
  • Jordan Staal
  • Ryan Whitney
  • Kris Letang
Having said that, when it comes to trades, especially for players like Marian Hossa, everyone else is fair game.

When I started going through this post in my head I was full of thoughts about how the Penguins overpaid for Hossa if they don't re-sign him, and what would be the trickle down effect of adding a contract like that if they do re-sign him, but I'm not going to get into that. The bottom line for me at this point is that the Penguins brought in a world class talent to play with Sidney and they are a more potent offensive team than they were 24 hours ago. They have players who can fill the roles left empty by Colby and EC (including Dupuis, who I think is an unsung part of this deal), but they didn't have someone like Hossa just waiting around. As far as the cap impact if they do re-sign Hossa, which I'm going to go on record and say they will do, I think they'll be okay. If Ottawa can lock up their top line and still have money to spend then Shero should be able to do the same with Sid, Geno, and Marian. And don't think that extra money Sid left on the table last summer isn't a huge boost for the Pens right now.

Another positive byproduct of the Pens getting Hossa is that Montreal and Ottawa didn't. The Pens not only strengthened themselves with this acquisition, but they also kept Hossa away from two of their biggest competitors in the Eastern Conference and have set themselves up to be one of the favorites to make it to the Finals from the East. That's all you can ask for from your GM on deadline day, and with the brass of a riverboat gambler Ray Shero has come through again for Penguins fans.

In Shero We Trust!

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