Monday, March 22, 2010

"We've got to figure out how to win a game first." -Steve Downie

"We've got to figure out how to win a game first." That was Downie's comment when asked to evaluate the Tampa Bay Lightning's playoff hopes after dropping a 5-2 decision to the Florida Panthers on Sunday. It looks like he understands the situation as well, if not better, than most.

But I'm not going to harp on the team's decline right now. Well, I kind of am, but I'm not going to talk about the Bolts' two wins in fourteen games slide. But I am going to talk about a trade.

Tampa's goaltending right now, while not the only cause of the team's misfortune, is unfortunatly not carrying the team through its dark times very well. One half of their tandem, Mike Smith, was acquired from Dallas late in the 2007-2008 season with some throw-in forwards (Jokinen, Halpern), in exchange for a franchise-type player (Brad Richards) and a thrown-in goalie (Holmqvist).

The basic deal looked like Richards for Smith. Now it looks like Smith for Holmqvist.

"Homer" was a basic "who's he?" type goal-tender, and when he was traded, he was really just being dumped. He wasn't used by Dallas and has played the subsequent seasons in Europe. However, his stats from 07-08 hold up pretty well against Smith's from this year.

In 07-08 Holmqvist was 20-16-6 with 2 shutouts, .890 save % and 3.01 GAA.

In 09-10 Smith is 10-16-7 with 1 SO, .900 save % and 3.12 GAA.

Homer for Smith looks like a one-for-one trade. That means Richards was actually traded for Halpern and Jokinen. Jokinen was traded away for a warm hug last year and Halpern was swapped for Teddy Purcell. That means, in effect, the Bolts got Purcell (4 goals, 12 points this season) for Conn Smythe winner Richards (80 points so far this season).

I know this is really unfair analysis. But it's the type of revisionist thinking that keeps me busy on the bus to work in the morning.

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