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Grade the Trades - The Winners and Losers

Let's take a quick look at the major trades that happened on D-Day and I'll give an opinion about them.

First off, if we review the Andrew Ladd for Tuomo Ruutu deal again, as I said the other day this trade looks about even on paper. But after having watched Ruutu play first hand now, even after just one game it seems to me that he is more advanced and skilled at this point in time than Andrew is. Carolina is getting the better of the deal today, but what about 3 to 5 years from now? Will Caniacs be asking themselves how the franchise could have possibly traded this Ladd guy away?

I have been reading around the blog world, and some people have pretty short memories and are quick to throw Ladd under the bus. One blogger even said that he would have been happy with a "case of stick tape" for Ladd. Really? Andrew Ladd was a force to be reckoned with at times when he was healthy. Remember when he leveled Daniel Briere in game 7 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals? Briere was looking over his shoulder the rest of that game and was not the same force that he had been earlier in the series. Ladd scored a couple of big goals throughout those playoffs as well. Maybe if he doesn't crash the net and get driven into Dwayne Roloson, taking the goalie out of the series, things might have ended differently in those finals?

Another thing the skater should get credit for is that he could create havoc in front of the net, which helped increase scoring opportunities. Doing this doesn't count as a point for him on the score sheet, but it's invaluable. I can remember quite a few goals that were scored when Andrew was screening the goalie. While I think everyone in Raleigh will enjoy the benefit of having Tuomo Ruutu in the lineup right now and I can understand why Jim Rutherford would make this trade, Andrew Ladd is far from being trash and it will be a few years before we can truly grade this trade.

It won't take years to see if the Pittsburgh Penguins gave up too much for Marian Hossa. If they don't go deep into the playoffs this spring, they just threw away two number one draft choices as well as two pretty good prospects. While the Pens are deep with youthful talent, I don't think any franchise can afford to do that. If the Pens go to the finals this year or win the Cup, the trade is worth it, but if not then they fail this grade. In my opinion, there is no way that they will re-sign Hossa at year end. Marian will be looking for a rich, long-term deal and Pittsburgh has bigger fish to fry.

I'd have to say that Dallas got the better of the Brad Richards deal, but if Mike Smith turns out to be a decent number one goalie, then all bets are off. Richards hasn't really lived up to his massive contract recently. He will need to produce more, but he certainly has the talent to do that. The Lightning used the money they are saving on Richard's contract to sign Dan Boyle, and wouldn't have been able to make that signing if Richards was still on the payroll. That is a big plus for them if you take keeping Boyle into consideration.

At first glance, Washington did very well for themselves by adding Huet, Fedorov, and Cooke. But in hindsight, they are taking a bit of a gamble. What if they don't make the playoffs? Huet and Fedorov are both unrestricted free agents at year end. If the Caps fail to advance this Spring, then they gave away a prospect and a 2nd round draft pick for nothing. I give them credit for trying though.

There is another big game tonight with the Rangers in town. I'll have my pre-game article up after lunchtime.