Thanks to the ongoing ratings battle between TSN and Sportsnet, the NHL trade deadline is built up to point where irrespective of the volume of trade activity, the day itself often winds up being a let down.
It’s to the point where one of the best parts about the trade deadline winds up being the post-deadline articles that reveal details on the trades that fell through.
According to Elliotte Friedman’s latest ’30 Thoughts’ column, one of those deals involved the Ottawa Senators making a serious pitch for the Dallas Stars’ Patrick Sharp.
17. Dallas GM Jim Nill scored points with his fraternity by being upfront about Patrick Sharp’s injury. Not surprisingly, there were several teams ready to make serious pitches, including Ottawa before it acquired Alex Burrows. Nill told Dallas-area reporters by saying “you can’t trade an injured player,” but, as one of his brethren replied, “No, you can’t. But some have tried. And others have succeeded.” Sharp chose to play through it because he wanted to try and help the Stars get back in the playoff race. What I’m more curious about is that he will have the surgery instead of competing for the Cup. That’s a sign he intends to play next season.
We probably won’t even know whether the Senators were ever really close to a deal or whether the deal was kiboshed because of Jim Nill’s disclosure about Sharp’s health, but it sounds like the Senators had a number of offers out there.
Considering that Sharp has missed 26-games this season because of concussions, coupled with Friedman’s comments above that touch upon another injury that will require surgery and the fact that Sharp’s numbers this season are the worst of his career since he broke in as a rookie in 2003-04, it’s probably fair to assume that the asking price on Sharp would have been significantly lower than the price paid to acquire Burrows.
Moreover, it stands to reason that the inability to get a deal done with Dallas probably helped fuel the Senators’ urgency to get a deal for Burrows done.
At the time of the trade, there was a substantial amount of consternation regarding the price that the Senators paid and even after Burrows’ excellent two-goal performance last night against the Avalanche, I don’t think it changes that. Not only did they give up a blue-chip prospect, but they essentially had to make a sizable financial commitment in the form of a two-year extension worth $5-million to entice Burrows to waive his no-trade clause. They’ve invested a lot into this soon-to-be 36-year old forward.
Given the reported interest in Burrows and how he refused to waive his NTC to other teams, it was a commitment to a player that a lot of other teams weren’t willing to make.
To Dorion’s credit however, it’s not like he could afford to sit on his hands.
Clarke MacArthur’s long-term injury afforded the Senators the financial flexibility to go out and make a series of trades and faced with a playoff mandate by owner Eugene Melnyk, Senators general manager Pierre Dorion obviously felt compelled to protect his team’s short-term interests while the team is seated in a playoff position and could take advantage of a weak Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
Until the philosophy and mandate from the top changes, these are the circumstances that Dorion’s forced to operate under.
We don’t have to like them, but I certainly don’t envy them.