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Top 10 Waiver Steals of the Decade

by chewy 26. October 2009 08:09

It's not often that a team can pull out a valuable player from the ashes of the waiver wire, but when they do, it's like getting something for nothing.  The past decade saw a big switch in how this process works.   Prior to the new CBA, there was a waiver draft held each year just before the season started.  Now, it's not uncommon to see players being claimed off waivers throughout the season.  Either way, there aren't many great stories to be found from waivers, but there are a few.  As part of my series on the Decade in Review, here a the top 10 Waiver steals of the past decade:


10.  Kyle Wellwood - Vancouver  (June 25, 2008)

Wellwood wore out his welcome in Toronto and it looked as if no other team would be interested in his services until Vancouver took a chance on him.  Even then, his start in Vancouver was rocky, being placed on waivers once again.  There were no takers this time, so he stayed a Canuck.  He turned things around with 18 goals that season and remains a decent depth forward for the team.


9.  Craig Adams - Pittsburgh (March 4, 2009)

Adams was a big, underrated player in the Hurricanes Stanley Cup run of 2006.  He was then traded to Chicago where he never really found a place.  Looking for depth and penalty killing help last season, the Penguins took a chance on the winger as they geared up for their Stanley Cup run.  Adams contributed nicely, scoring the first 3 playoff goals of his career.


8. Chris Osgood - NY Islanders (Sept 28, 2001)

In 2001, the Red Wings grabbed Dominic Hasek and didn't have room in their lineup for Osgood, so they placed him on waivers.  The Islanders snatched him up.  While his career in New York only lasted a couple years, he did help get the Islanders into the playoffs that season, which didn't happen too often this past decade.


7. Stephane Robidas - Atlanta (Oct 4, 2002)

Robidas was claimed by the Thrashers in 2002 and then traded to Dallas.  No doubt, Dallas would have claimed him them had he gotten that far in the waiver draft that season.  He went on to have several successful seasons as a Star and even made an All-Star appearance in 2009.


6. Sergei Samsanov - Carolina (Jan 8, 2008)

After wearing out his welcome in Boston, Montreal, and Chicago, Samsanov appeared at the end of his road as an NHL player.  The Hurricanes took a chance on him in 2008 and he has seemed to fit in nicely in Carolina.  Samsonov has been a steady 3rd line contributor for the Canes. 


5. Kyle Quincey  - LA (Oct. 13, 2008)

In 2008, Detroit just had too much depth at defense (and just about every position).  The Kings scooped him up in 2008 and he had a great rookie season, scoring 38 points.  He was then traded to Colorado for Ryan Smyth and is enjoying a strong sophomore season for the Avalanche this year.


4. Steve Begin - Montreal (Oct 3, 2003)

After a few seasons with Calgary, Begin was traded to Buffalo where he was immediately placed on waivers.  The Canadiens took a chance on him in 2003 and it paid off.  Begin was a steady depth forward for the team for five seasons before begin moving on to Dallas last season.


3.  Rich Peverley  - Atlanta (Jan 10, 2009)

Peverley started his career with Nashville, but he never seemed to stick with the big club.  Last season, he arrived in Atlanta via waivers, and he's since then, he's been a revelation.  He's averaged close to a point a game between last season and this season, and is making the Predators second guess their decision of a year ago.


2. Chris Mason - Nashville (Oct 3, 2003)

Although he actually debuted with the Predators a few years earlier, he was released and was moved around for a couple years before being grabbed up again off waivers in 2003.  He then split time with Tomas Vokoun before becoming the number one guy in 2007.  Mason has since moved on to St. Louis where he remains a top end talent.


1. Ilya Bryzgalov - Phoenix (Nov 17, 2007)

It's hard to believe Brian Burke couldn't find a trading partner for Bryzgalov in 2007.  The Ducks were set in net with Giguere and Hiller and had a third wheel to deal with.  Several teams were interested in him on waivers, but the lot fell to Phoenix.  Bryzgalov instantly became their best player, as he led the team to 26 wins in 2007 and 2008.  He's currently on top of the league in just about every goalie statistic.

Top 10 Deadline Deals of the Decade

by chewy 19. October 2009 10:06

As part of my series of articles reviewing the best and the worst of the past decade, I decided to take a look at the trade deadline deals that have gone down over the past ten years.  Here are the "biggest" deals in terms of significance then and the longer term impact.  We obviously don't know the full impact of some of the more recent deals, but we'll do our best to guess.


#10 - 2009:

The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Antoine Vermette from the Ottawa Senators for Pascal Leclaire and a 2009 2nd round draft pick.


It will take a year or two to understand the full significance of this deal; however, on the surface, this could be a major transaction for both sides.  The Senators have had a history of a shaky goaltending situation.  Although they've had some significant talent in the past (Hasek, Emery, Lalime), they've all come with baggage, or came on the downside of their career.  Leclaire entered the league a few seasons back with tons of promise and he started to deliver on that promise before injuries struck and a rookie stole his job.  From the early going this year in Ottawa, Leclaire looks comfortable and healthy, and is a big reason for the strong start that the Senators have enjoyed.  If they can get back into the playoff picture this season, Leclaire promises to be a big part of it.


On the other side, Vermette offers some depth at center that the franchise has never seen in the past.  He finished the season strong last year in Columbus and is skating regularly on the top line this season with the Jackets.  Looks like a win for both sides.


#9 - 2001:

San Jose Sharks acquired Teemu Selanne from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for Jeff Friesen, Steve Shields and San Jose's 2nd round choice in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.


Although it didn't directly didn't greatly affect the fortunes of either team involved, this trade had a major impact on the career of one of the league's great superstars over the past 20 years.  For the first 10 years of his career, Selanne averaged well over a point a game and was always at the top of the goal scoring list.  After joining the Sharks, his totals tanked and didn't recover for four years when he rejoined the Ducks and saw a major comeback in his stats. 


As for Friesen, he was a fan favorite in San Jose and was regularly one of the team's leading scorers.  After being traded, Friesen bounced around to 5 different teams over his last 7 seasons.  Overall, the trade didn't work out for either side.


#8 - 2008:

The San Jose Sharks acquired Brian Campbell and a 7th round pick in 2008 (Drew Daniels) from the Buffalo Sabres for Steve Bernier and a 2008 1st round draft pick (Tyler Ennis).


This is another deal that has yet to fully play out.  The Sabres had little choice but to deal Campbell in 2008, and they got the best return they could for him.  Bernier didn't last long in Buffalo and Campbell didn't last long in San Jose.  The Sharks were poised for a Cup run and rolled the dice on Campbell.  They weren't able to hold on to him that summer when Chicago threw a truckload of cash at the defenseman.  The biggest factor left to play out is the career of Tyler Ennis.  He has yet to graduate to the NHL level, but when he does, all signs seem to indicate this is going to be a big win for the Sabres in the end.



#7 - 2006:

The Carolina Hurricanes acquired Mark Recchi from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Niklas Nordgren, Krystofer Kolanos, and a 2nd round pick in 2007.


Although Recchi's career in Carolina was very short-lived (20 regular season games), his impact on the franchise's history and durability cannot be underestimated.  Recchi played a key leadership role in the Canes' Stanley Cup run that season and contributed with big goals throughout the playoffs.  It's debatable whether or not the Canes would have won, and would still be viable in Carolina had they not swung that deal for Recchi. 


#6 - 2007:

The New York Islanders acquired Ryan Smyth from the Edmonton Oilers for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O'Marra and a 1st round pick in 2007 (D Alex Plante).


At the time, this deal made no sense for either party.  It still makes no sense.  The only question is who lost more?  The Oilers lost the heart and sole of their franchise over a petty salary squabble.  Fans were outraged that their favorite player was discarded.  The Islanders tried to land Smyth in hopes they could sweet talk him into sticking around.  It didn’t happen and the Islanders were out a few more prospects and a 1st round pick.  Again, we'll have to wait and see how Nilsson, O'Marra and Plante pan out for the Oilers.  Best guess is that the Islanders come out the bigger losers in the deal.


#5 - 2007:

The St. Louis Blues acquired Brad Boyes from the Boston Bruins for Dennis Wideman.


This is one of those deals that seems to be a big win for both sides.  Boyes and Wideman both showed promise with their former clubs, but never emerged as stars until after the trade.  Upon arriving in Boston, Wideman became an instant success and racked up some great totals, while Boyes went out on a goal-scoring tear in St. Louis.  Hard to pick a loser in this deal.  Both sides win.


#4 - 2001:

Phoenix Coyotes traded Keith Tkachuk to St. Louis Blues for Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, the rights to Jeff Taffe and a 1st-round pick in the 2001 or 2002 Entry Draft (The Coyotes selected Ben Eager in the 2002 Entry Draft).


While the Coyotes seemed to get a fortune in this deal at the time, none of the returns panned out very well for Phoenix.  Handzus and Nagy moved off to L.A., while Taffe and Eager never materialized into stars for the organization.  And they gave up one of the best players in the franchise's history.  Tkachuk had an immediate positive impact on the Blues, leading them in scoring several times.  While it didn't lead to a whole lot of team success, St. Louis fans would all agree that the Blues walked away the winner in this big deal.


#3 - 2008:

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis from the Atlanta Thrashers for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a 2008 1st round draft pick (Daultan Leveille).


This trade nearly paid off in a big way for the Penguins, and will probably pay dividends for the Thrashers for years to come.  Hossa played a key role in getting the Penguins to the finals that season, and was a big motivational factor (at least from the fans standpoint) in the rematch this past spring.  Either way, Hossa's trade to the Pens was a big deal in Pittsburgh.  The Thrashers got a lot in return.  Armstrong is a character player that will be a part of anything good happening in Atlanta.  The jury is out on Esposito and Leveille.



#2 - 2002:

New Jersey Devils obtain Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner from the Dallas Stars for Jason Arnott, Randy McKay and 2002 1st round draft pick (later traded (Daniel Paille)).


Fresh off of leading the Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999, Nieuwendyk and Langenbrunner were dealt to the Devils for two guys that were a big part of a couple of Cup wins in New Jersey a few years prior.  The deal was an instant success in New Jersey.  Nieuwendyk and Langenbrunner played key roles in the Devils third Cup victory a year later, while the Stars haven't made it back to the Finals since the blockbuster deal.


#1 - 2000:

Colorado Avalanche obtain Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk from the Boston Bruins for Brian Rolston, Samuel Pahlsson, Martin Grenier and a 2000 1st round draft pick (RW Martin Samuelsson).


After 20 years in Boston, it was shocking to see Bourque move on to Colorado, even though the fans in Boston seemed to adopt the Avalanche as their brother team.  The trade helped give the Avalanche an edge the following season, as they captured their 2nd, and Bourque's first Stanley Cup win.  Andreychuk would have to wait a few years for his ring, as he left in the summer of 2000 for Tampa.  All told, this was probably the most memorable, and most significant of the trade deadline deals in the past 10 years.

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