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).