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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brian Burke's Next Trade - Part 3 - Catching The Big Fish

Brian Burke has done 3 of the last 18
"Big Fish" Trades in the NHL
Many of you are anxious to learn what Brian Burke will do for his next trade.  Three weeks age, we covered the various types of trades Brian Burke does in Brian Burke's Next Trade - Part 1.  Two weeks ago, we listed the various players on the 50 Active Player roster who might go in Brian Burke's Next Trade - Part 2 - Making Room for Prospects.

Today, we cover "Catching the Big Fish".  It should give you interesting insight into what might happen and why.  We do this by reviewing all of the "Big Fish" trades since 2005 when the current CBA came into effect.

By "Big Fish", we are talking about top players in their prime and top prospects who have yet to enter their prime.  Ages 24 to 26 are prime years for forwards and 26 to 30 for defencemen and goaltenders.  Top prospects are players who were top five selections in their draft year.  We have taken liberties to include some trades that just miss on the criteria but we still consider to be "Big Fish" trades such as Chris Pronger (at age 31), Brad Richards (at age 27), Mike Ribeiro (2nd liner in Montreal), and two prospects selected 6th overall in their draft year.

You can see the trades listed in the table below.  Along with the date of the trade, we characterize what motivated the team to give up the "Big Fish".  We also include each players age in brackets.  Following the age, is the draft position for any player originally drafted in the first round of their Entry Draft.

Big Fish Trades Since 2005
DateToBig FishFromPrice Paid
1st 2006
Erik Johnson
Chris Pronger (30) 2nd
Eric Brewer (26) 5th
Jeff Woywitka (22) 27th
Doug Lynch
I. Kovalchuk
Dany Heatley (24) 2nd
Marian Hossa (27) 12th
Greg De Vries (33)
5th 2006
Phil Kessel
Joe Thornton (26) 1st
Marco Sturm (27) 21st
Brad Stuart (26) 3rd
Wayne Primeau (29) 17th
Roberto Luongo (27) 4th
Lukas Krajicek (23) 24th
6th 2006 (Sergei Shirikov)
Todd Bertuzzi (31) 23rd
Bryan Allen (26) 4th
Alex Auld (26)
Chris Pronger (31) 2nd
Joffrey Lupul (23) 7th
Ladislav Smid (20) 9th
1st 2007 (traded)
1st 2008 (Jordan Eberle)
2nd 2008 (traded)
Playoff Run
LA Jack Johnson (20) 3rd
Oleg Teverdosky (29) 2nd
Tim Gleason (24) 23rd
Eric Belanger (29)
T. Plekanec
DAL Mike Ribeiro (26) MTL Janne Niinamaa (31)
Playoff Run
PHA Scottie Upshall (23) 6th
Ryan Parent (19) 18th
1st 2007 (traded)
3rd 2007 (traded)
NSH Peter Forsberg (33) 6th
PHA Scottie Hartnell (25) 6th
Kimmo Timmanen (32)
NSH 1st 2007 (Jonathon Blum)
1st 2008
S. Stamkos
DAL Brad Richards (27)
Johan Holmqvist (29)
TB Jussi Jokinen (24)
Jeff Halpern (31)
Mike Smith (25)
4th 2009 (traded)
Playoff Run
CHI Andrew Ladd (22) 4th CAR Tuomo Ruuto (24) 9th
Time Machine
SJ Brian Campbell (28)
7th 2008 (Drew Daniels)
BUF Steve Bernier (22) 16th
1st 2008 (Tyler Ennis)
5th 2009
B. Schenn
CGY Mike Cammalleri (25)
2nd 2008 (Mitch Wahl)
LA 1st 2008 (traded)
2nd 2009 (traded)
CGY Jay Bouwmeester (26) 3rd FLA Jordan Leopald (29)
3rd 2009 (Josh Birkholz)
TOR Phil Kessel (22) 5th BOS 1st 2010 (Tyler Seguin)
2nd 2010 (Jared Knight)
1st 2011
TOR Dion Phaneuf (24) 9th
Fred Sjostrom (26) 11th
Keith Aulie (20)
CGY Matt Stajan (26)
Niklas Hagman (30)
Ian White (26)
Jamal Mayers (35)
NJ Ilya Kovalchuk (26) 1st
Anssi Salmela (25)
2nd 2010 (Jonathon Merrill)
ATL Niclas Bergfors (22) 23rd
Johnny Odua (28)
Patrice Cormier (19)
1st 2010 (traded)
2nd 2010 (traded)
BOS Nathan Horton (25) 5th
Greg Campbell (27)
FLA Dennis Wideman (27)
1st 2010 (traded)
3rd 2011

Typically there are at least three "Big Fish" trades each year.  So far, there has only been one this season.  Although "Cap" trades haven dominated the past year, the majority of trades have been either "Salvage" or "Tank" trades.

By "Salvage" trade, we refer to a situation where either a player does not want to remain with the team or the team has given up on the player.  By "Tank" trade, we refer to when a team literally gives away a top player with the intent of finishing low enough to get a lottery pick.  There can be a "Budget" element to a "Tank" trade.  But, never doubt the trading team having its eye on the prize (lottery pick).

The "Tank" trades are most striking because it involved St. Louis trading Chris Pronger to tank to the 1st pick to draft Erick Johnson at the end of the season.  Boston traded Joe Thornton to tank to 5th last to draft Phil Kessel.  Tampa Bay traded Brad Richards to tank to last overall to draft Steven Stamkos.  Los Angeles traded Mike Cammalleri to tank to 5th last to draft Brayden Schenn.

Whenever a 1st round draft pick player is traded, the trading team usually expects either a 1st round draft pick player or 1st round draft pick in return.  Dion Phaneuf and Jay Bouwmeester trades are two exceptions.

As a result, expect Nazem Kadri, Luke Schenn, Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, and 1st round draft picks to be in play when Toronto has "Big Fish" trade talks with any team.  To avoid giving up these players, Toronto will have to target teams wanting to do a "Depth" trade with a 2nd liner because they have a top prospect waiting to take over.  Mike Komisarek, Colby Armstrong, Fred Sjostrom, and Matt Lashoff are other 1st round draft pick players who can be secondary players in a deal.

"Salvage" trade scenarios are brewing for players such as Shea Weber and Zach Parise.  However, they are more likely to be summer trades if they materialize.  Only one of the past five "Salvage" trades occurred at trade deadline.  The other four occurred in the off-season.

Teams wanting to do a "Tank" trade might be Toronto's wild card.  Such a team will be motivated to trade with Toronto because it can help lift Toronto out of a lottery pick position while they drop into one.  Edmonton, Ottawa, Florida, St. Louis, Buffalo, and Columbus are candidates for such a trade.  Of course, this list can grow as we approach trade deadline.  Ottawa trading Jason Spezza or Columbus trading Rick Nash would be similar to Boston "Tank" trading Joe Thornton.

Ultimately, it is up to the team holding the "Big Fish" to determine if and when the trade occurs.  All Brian Burke can do is be prepared when the opportunity arises.  In other words, have the cap space and trading assets available to capitalize on the opportunity.  It has payed off for him in the past with a Stanley Cup.

In the next two weeks, we will cover "Brian Burke's Next Trade - Part 4 - Tomas Kaberle and the Time Machine Trade" plus "The Winnipeg Curse".

In Case You Missed It

Brian Burke's Next Trade - Part 2 - Making Room for Prospects

Brian Burke's Next Trade - Part 1

After Thoughts

It is interesting how Boston Bruins recovered from the Joe Thornton "Tank" trade with free agent signings Tim Thomas, Zdano Charo, and Marc Savard.

Post Script 14-Feb-2011

Brian Burke's Next Trade - Part 4 - Tomas Kaberle and the "Time Machine" Trade

Post Script 28-Feb-2011

Brian Burke has "Time Machine" traded Tomas Kaberle, Francois Beauchemin, and Kris Versteeg to acquire Boston's 2011 1st and conditional 2nd, Philadelphia's 2011 1st, Joe Colborne (20 years old, drafted 16th overall 2008), Jake Gardiner (20 years old, drafted 17th overall 2008), and Joffrey Lupul (27 years old, drafted 7th overall 2002).

He clearly has loaded up with assets which can be used in "Catching the Big Fish" trades.

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