Jared tells me that we played well tonight, despite the 1-0 loss, which is fine and dandy with me. I'll take a quality game of hockey from the team with a loss every night the rest of the way. And not just because 55 points would be a guaranteed 30th overall. Well... mostly.
1. LAK 59 GP, 24 W, 51 PTS, -27 DIFF
2. TBL 57 GP, 24 W, 54 PTS, -23 DIFF
3. TOR 58 GP, 23 W, 55 PTS, -28 DIFF
4. CHI 56 GP, 25 W, 56 PTS, -5 DIFF
5. EDM 58 GP, 26 W, 57 PTS, -17 DIFF
6. NYI 57 GP, 25 W, 57 PTS, -29 DIFF
7. FLA 59 GP, 26 W, 58 PTS, -9 DIFF
8. STL 55 GP, 25 W, 58 PTS, -17 DIFF
9. ATL 59 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -28 DIFF
10. CAR 59 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -17 DIFF
11. PHO 57 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -4 DIFF
12. CLB 59 GP, 26 W, 61 PTS, -12 DIFF
13. NYR 59 GP, 28 W, 63 PTS, -3 DIFF
Chicago's win, combined with our loss, moved us back into third (as I mentioned it would earlier in the day). Other than that we had some jockeying for position, which is only really significant because it created more space between Toronto and some of the other teams here. We can win another game and still be in the top five. That's not a very big cushion, but with this much hockey to play, it's still a nice one.
Boston (by winning) and Washington (by losing in overtime) ended their one night stays with us by moving back into playoff spots. Carolina returns by virtue of having an off-night and Washington flip-flopping with them yet again. Atlanta's win means that there is a three-way tie for first in that division right now, and the Panthers are only two points back.
The Rangers also make their first appearance here. Both Boston and Buffalo won, moving them up a spot; the Rangers were the victims of this. They also happen to be playing sub-.550 hockey, so: welcome! At least they got Lundqvist's name on a nice deal.
After looking at Darcy Tucker's relative value in the NHL trading world a couple of nights ago, I've been asking a couple of my friends who are fans of other teams what they'd give up in a deal for Bryan McCabe. This one is a little trickier, since we still only have the one trade (Commodore-for-Corvo) to use as a market-setter for defensemen, and that's not going to be the kind of trade that McCabe would be involved in. It would be really nice if we didn't have to try to pinpoint McCabe's perceived value to other NHL teams and he was just... you know... traded... but oh well. I imagine that I'll look at this again when another defenseman gets traded.
Anyway. I brought up three teams (Blackhawks, Islanders, and Avalanche) to these two and here are some deals that were deemed in-range for McCabe, according to them:
From Chicago: Tuomo Ruutu, Rene Bourque, and a 2nd round pick in 2008 (don't shoot either me or my friends; the one who okayed this is a Hawks fan). I don't know what to say about this other than 'hell fucking yes'. The second rounder should be in the top 40, Bourque is a decent young guy, but Ruutu is the real value pick here. His stock has fallen in Chicago, but there's a lot of talent there, and I'd like to think he could get back on track in Toronto.
From Colorado: Brad Richardson, Karlis Skrastins, and a mid-round draft pick (from the Avs fan). Skrastins basically helps clear a declining body and cap room for McCabe; with an expiring contract after next season, I said I'd have no problem taking him. Cody gave me a nice scouting report on Richardson, who I haven't seen play but always confuse with Cody McCormick. I guess he's a speedy young center with an untapped offensive game but a solid defensive one. He's stuck outside of the top six in Colorado for the foreseeable future, so he's expendable to them, and he would be the kind of player we need here. The pick is just another asset.
From New York: Chris Campoli, Jeff Tambellini, and this year's first rounder for McCabe and Kyle Wellwood (both said they'd have to think about this one long and hard from the Isles side). The pick should be somewhere in the 8-12 range, I'd think. That puts it just out of reach of the very best players in the draft, but it'll still be a good pick. Campoli is a smallish offensive defenseman (TSN's scouting report has his career potential listed as "powerplay quarterback"), Tambellini is a small, quick forward who's scoring a lot of goals at the AHL level this year. I wanted to discuss this as a trade possibility last night but didn't get around to it; I brought it up to my friends today and they said that it was close. Campoli and Tambellini would effectively replace McCabe and Wellwood, while getting younger, cheaper, and, hopefully, better in the long run. New York gets McCabe back to lead their defense, Wellwood gets a fresh start (and as a more established player at this point, the Isles would probably value him over Tambellini), and we get their pick because we're dealing with Garth Snow.
Now, none of these trades are rumoured and probably haven't been discussed outside of the confines of my crazy thought process. I think it's actually probably more likely we'll move McCabe closer to the draft than at the deadline, but these all still apply there. I think all this exercise really shows is that we can get something substantial in a McCabe deal, which is all I really wanted to show. Why dump him for crap when we can get something good, right?