Lou Shows Em’ How It’s Done…

First off, let’s get the Trenton stuff out of the way…kind of like how the players seemed to want to get the game out of the way on Wednesday night, actually.

For starters, here’s a bit of a scathing game story from Wednesday night in The Trentonian

Secondly, Andy Thomas is back from his one game call-up.  None of my prior comments should be construed as not being happy for him that he called-up, it’s just the opposite, of course…any time one of these guys gets an opportunity at the next level, I’m happy for them.  There’s just no reason they had to rob Peter to pay Paul to make that happen.

Also, Jon Howse and Chris Poli have been transferred to the 21-day IR.  Howse had 15 games to show he could make an impact and instead added one assist…Poli’s obviously the name people will be watching here. 

Now, let’s get to that Ilya Kovalchuk deal, shall we?  I know, I know…the Devils and the Thrashers pulled off a trade and an ECHL player wasn’t involved this time, so this isn’t really the place for any sort of commentary on the deal, but how can I not throw in my two cents?

As a hockey fan in general, it’s both exciting and disappointing.

It’s exciting that one of the best players in the world is now about a 45 minute train ride away for me.  Truth be told, I go to way more Devils games than Rangers games during a season (Glen and company charging $49.50 just to get into MSG prices me out, for the most part) so I’m happy that Kovalchuk is a Devil to some extent.  As my friend Matt, an NJ season ticket holder, told me tonight, the Atlantic Division is now loaded with talent.  Well, maybe not the Islanders…but they’re getting there. 

But, on the negative side, I’ve been to Philips Arena in Atlanta.  Last season, actually.  On my way back from Houston, I stopped there because Alexander Ovechkin had a chance to score his 50th goal.  The game was nationally televised — if you consider Versus national TV, of course — and I was pretty stunned at the amount of empty seats there were for a game against a division rival in such a nice building.  People weren’t going when Kovalchuk was there, what’s going to happen now that he’s gone?  Can hockey survive in Atlanta?  Or will it fail…again.

Looking at the trade, those who worship at the altar of Lou Lamoriello should be showering their general manager with gifts.  I have a lot of respect for Lou as a hockey man, and to be able to pull a deal like this off shows why.  He turned a second pair defenseman, an at-best second liner, a prospect whose value had absolutely nosedived after he attempted to decapitate someone in juniors and a first round draft pick that will likely be somewhere in the 20’s (if not #30 after this deal) into Ilya Kovalchuk.  AND he got Anssi Salmela.  AND he convinced them to swap second round draft picks.

I mean, start the slow clap…

He didn’t give up one, true impact player.  Oduya’s a very solid defenseman who never hurts you, but he’s not a top pair guy and isn’t an impact guy.  Bergfors is still young and who knows what he’ll develop into, but he’s most likely a middle six forward.  Cormier, having read some reports on him, is expected to be a third or even fourth-line NHL’er.  And who knows what they’ll get with that first rounder, but nobody who’s ready to jump onto the roster in 2010-11 at that spot in the first round.

And the holes he created on the NHL roster, he filled.  Yes, Salmela is a downgrade over Oduya.  Salmela’s likely a third pair D-man with some holes in his game from a defensive standpoint.  However, in the long-term, he will likely provide more offense than Oduya will.  And, uhhh…need I even compare Bergfors to Kovalchuk?

So, bravo to Lou Lamoriello for pulling off an amazing trade.  I just wonder if Chris Lamoriello can do anything similar for these Trenton Devils…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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3 Responses to “Lou Shows Em’ How It’s Done…”

  1. Mike M Says:

    Been to Atlanta too, I would say the sparse crowds are not limited to Hockey there. Side note: Turner Field is one of the nicest stadiums I’ve ever been to.

    Nice to see Lou make a splash for once instead of just getting a rental veteran defenseman. Love that Patrice Cormier leaves, I personally liked Oduya & Bergfors, but that is how it goes.

  2. Trentondevilsfan Says:

    Great deal. If they manage to sign him, a blockbuster deal. Now we’ll see how he fits in. But to me, the initial gauge of a deal is what happens if it doesn’t work out? Did you give away the farm? Even if Kovy doesn’t put up the numbers expected and walks after the season, this isn’t the kind of deal that will hurt the Devils in the years to come.

    So, we’ll see.

    Completely not shocked about Poli. Feel bad for the guy, really. Got to be incredibly frustrating and disappointing.

  3. Philly Devil Says:

    Salmela has just as much upside that Johnny did. Oduya has been very bad this year. Salmela has just as much offesnive skill than Oduya and a much harder shot. Lou never should have dealt him last year. I like Oduya don’t get me wrong, but for what we get back..Johnny has to go. The Devils groomed Oduya and there is no doubt they can do the same for Salmela.

    There is no doubt that the Devs have a good shot at re-signing Kovy. Kovy want’s to win and no matter how much coin ATL flashed, if he took it..he’d almost never win a cup (unless he eventually would get traded out). Also, who say’s the Thrashers will be in ATL in a few years?
    Kovy might take a few dollars less to stay because he want’s to win a Cup. Also, Lou has a great relationship with Fetisov who is close to Ilya and will be in his ear. Larionov has played for the Devs and will be in his ear and Marty is friends with Tretiak, Ilya will have comrades to work with in Zharkov and eventually Vasyunov. Anyone who know’s about Russian hockey know’s this to be a fact: The young Russians in this league very much look up to their old Russian hero’s and listen very intently to them. Think that’s crazy to take into account? When I talked to Stan Fischler the night of the trade..he agreed 100%. Fetisov and Ilya are very close…so is Lou with Slava. More evidence for those who don’t believe? Lou recently sent Illka Pikkarinen to the KHL team run by ex Devils FETISOV and Nemchinov. Lou stated they would look after him for the Devils and keep him updated how he is performing.

    So Lou has that on his side, along with the model franchise outside of Red Wings country. If Ilya really want’s a chance to win year after year..he know’s where to re-sign. Ilya want’s to win..if anyone doubt’s this ..you’re not familiar with his IHF history.

    Mogilny loved it in NJ ans wanted to come back after the 2001 season but he was getting older, not in his prime and wanted a big contract. That is the only reaosn he was not re-signed.

    Also, Kovy is a player the Devils need not just this year, but for the future on and off the ice, especially he being in his prime. The Devils ARE NOT capped out for an upcoming falling cap next year (hello Flyers, NYR, Red Wings, Chicago) so they will have dollars. The point is there is a very good chance this is more than a rental. If it turns out that way, the Devs still have their top prospects in Josefson, Tedenby, Corrente, Frazee, Urbom and Eckford. THIS was a great deal

    Could you imagine: Elias, Kovy, Parise, Langs, Clarkson, Zajac..and here comes Tedenby and Josefson? Could happen.

    Are the Devs a lock for the Cup? Hell no, we need defensive help. Who and at what price, I have no idea. Souray?

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