Pronger to Ducks

This Chris Pronger to Anaheim trade today is an interesting one. My initial reaction is that the Oilers got burnt on this trade but after thinking about it, I am not so sure that Anaheim did all that great either. When trading a star player if you don’t get a star player back I tend to think you lost the trade. I am not sure Edmonton got the star player back. Between Lupul, Smid, and the draft picks they potentially picked up some pretty good players, but the same could be said for Boston in the Thornton trade and most people consider that a bad trade. Superstar players are hard to get, Joffrey Lupul’s are much easier. That is why it is a bad trade for Edmonton.

But before we all jump on the Anehim for the Stanley Cup band wagon (I can hear Pierre McGuire drooling over the Ducks already) let me say that I am not convinced that two superstar defensemen are the right way to build a team. The last 2 Stanley Cup champions had no superstar defensemen on their team but rather had depth. The west champion Oilers had Pronger, but also had excellent depth on defense with Staios, Smith, Bergeron, Spacek, Greene, and Tarnstrom. The 2003-04 west champion Calgary Flames also had excellent depth on defense but no superstar 2-way defensemen. Anaheim’s current defense looks like this:


Aside from Niedermayer and Pronger that isn’t a very good defense. There aren’t many examles of teams with two star defensemen to compare Anaheim with but I will bring up the example of Chara and Redden in Ottawa and MacInnis and Pronger in St. Louis of a few years ago. Neither of those teams had much playoff success and both of those teams had better offenses than Anaheim looks to have. New Jersey and Detroit both had success with multiple star defensemen but both of them also had excellent depth on defense. In the salary cap era teams won’t really be able to have both multiple stars and depth and I believe it is better to have the good depth on defense than have a couple star defensemen.

Anaheim will have a good team next year but I am not yet convinced they are a top Stanley Cup contender despite probably having 2 of the top 3 defensemen in the NHL (Lidstrom being the other).

This article has 7 Comments

  1. There is precedent for a team winning the Stanley Cup with two top defencemen.

    Lidstrom and Chelios.

    Lidstrom and Konstantinov.

    Bourque and Blake.

    Stevens and Niedermayer.

    (and that is only looking back 10 years)

    Obviously Anaheim needs to get a top effort from the rest of the team, but it is a possibility.

  2. Those teams all had defense depth in addition to multiple defense stars. In the salary cap era it will be very difficult to have both. Anaheim doesn’t just as Ottawa and St. Louis didn’t. If you can’t have both, I’d chose depth over a couple stars.

  3. It takes less of a team to win the Stanley Cup in the salary cap parity era (I am not impressed by that fact). There haven’t been any elite teams by the pre-salary cap standard of elite. Probably Anaheim won’t be one next year – but they might given good goaltending a big performance or two from their forwards. They have people who have the potential to provide some depth.

    The point I question is that Anaheim lacks any depth. If that was true, explain how they accomplished a good run during the last half of last season and a trip to the semi-finals.

  4. I’d say you’re underrating the rest of the Ducks D, David.

    Beauchemin really came into his own down the stretch and unless it was a fluke/flash in the pan (which I don’t think it is) and he’s unable to maintain that high level of play, I’d say he’s a better third d-man than at least half the rest of the NHL.

    Vishnevski is a horse and will only get better, while O’Donnell seemed very rejuvinated after being traded. In Phoenix, he was a bust, but he rediscovered his game in SoCal.

    I don’t know much about DiPenta but it’s not as if his role will be a significant one.

  5. Joe Dipenta is 27 years old and has 75 career NHL games. Beauchemin is 26 and has played 73. If these guys were good players they would have played more already. They are OK, but are definitely depth or bottom end of your defense squad talent. Vishnevski and O’Donnell are OK defensemen but again, closer to bottom end of your depth squad talent. Anaheim could suffer from what Toronto suffered with last year when McCabe and Kaberle played so much ice time that they got worn down and not able to contribute in 5 on 5 hockey as much as they should/could have. Toronto had a good PP but the lack of depth (particularly in the form of offensive defensemen) meant that Toronto had to put sub-par players out for 5-on-5 hockey. Toronto had one of the best PP in the NHL but was one of the worst 5-on-5 teams.

    The biggest mistakes people make, and we all do including myself, is to assume that players coming off a career year will repeat that career year and that players coming off of a weak year will return to form. Are DiPenta and Beauchemin going to be reliable defensemen? Is Andy McDonald (who never scored more than 10 goals prior to last year) going to repeat his 34g, 85 point season? Will Selanne (who hadn’t scored 30 goals since 1999-2000) have another 40 goa, 90 point season?

    The Ducks will be a good team next year but in my mind they won’t be a great team until they add another quality 2-way defenseman and until Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan develop and gain some experience. And that won’t happen for at least a couple more seasons.

  6. Superstar players are hard to get, Joffrey Lupul’s are much easier.

    don’t kid yourself. did you see this kid play last season? Lupul is on the edge becoming a top 10 power forward who can be a game breaker.

  7. I don’t like this trade for Ana, nor do I get it. Ana already had a capable defense but they were inconsistent scoring goals. I agree with LeRinkRat, Lupul is on the cusp of becoming a front line player. Who is going to replace his production, 25 goals this past season?

    I think they gave up too much, potentially 2 first round picks and a second, and will regret it. Ana should have signed Salei and looked elsewhere.

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