After a lengthy road trip, Jack and Brick were back at NESN Headquarters for another new installment of the The Instigators. We saw this one go down live in the studio and we were very impressed with the professionalism of the The Instigators Crew. True professionals all around. They banged out an entire episode basically in one take. That is preparation and execution, something the Bruins could use a little more of these days.
One of the topics debated was the winners and losers in the wheeling and dealing at the trade deadline. We know most of the best trades went down well in advance of the deadline this year, but we choose to focus on the moves around deadline day.
Aside from the Bruins, we thought Washington improved their team the most. Jason Arnott (proving us wrong) still has gas left in the tank and should serve as a solid third / second line center. While not fondly remembered for his time in Boston, Dennis Wideman is that elusive puck moving defensemen highly coveted in today’s NHL. And Marco Sturm for free off waivers from the Kings? Stay classy Los Angeles; way to cut Sturm loose after he waived his no trade clause to move out west for the Kings.
The Rangers are a surprise winner for not picking up the best player available, Brad Richards. They did desperately need help at center, but Richards is a bit of a question mark coming off the concussion. And even if they did add Richards, it would not put them over the top. At best they could have scored a first round upset, but this is clearly not the Rangers season.
Have to count the Dallas Stars as a loser for not dumping Brad Richards. Rumor has it the Rangers offered an impressive package, but the Stars got too greedy. Richards will likely leave the Stars as an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and they will receive no compensation. Richards will help their playoff push, but again, the best Dallas is looking at is a first round upset.
The biggest losers have to be the fans of the Florida Panthers. The Panthers have not made the playoffs since they were swept by the Devils during the ’99-’00 playoffs, and they will not be playing playoff hockey anytime soon. The Panthers did dump a lot of dead weight, picking up even more picks (first, two seconds and four thirds) for the draft in June. Florida has a lot of young talented kids battling hard to establish themselves as NHL players, but we feel for Panthers fans as their team is always in a perpetual rebuilding mode.