1. Who won the Pronger deal?
There is only one way that Philadelphia comes out of this trade without a heap of stink on their chest. 3 years from now (or even 6 months from now), we could look back on this deal as the worst trade in last 5 years. The Flyers gave up a lot of promising young talent, in addition to some significant draft picks, to acquire an aging defenseman that they will struggle to find cap space for.
On Anaheim's side, knowing Niedermeyer will be back again in the fall, and after adding Whitney at last season's deadline, they were able to let Pronger go without much set back to their defense. Meanwhile, they've stockpiled some players and picks that could help them for years to come. In addition, it will open the door for underrated James Wizniewski to get the playing time he deserves.
So, unless the Flyers manage to take down the Penguins as Eastern Conference Champs (which they could well do in 2009), this trade goes overwhelming to the Ducks.
2. Will Gomez be successful in Montreal?
Gomez never quite fit into the Ranger's lineup from the day he arrived. Not that this makes him unique. It's hard to remember a big name (other than possibly Jagr) that the Rangers have added in the past decade that helped the player's career. Gomez is a gifted playmaker that will prosper if he gets paired up with at least one scoring winger, and is given ample playing time. Both of these things should unfold in Montreal for Gomez next season. Look for him to possibly put up a career season in Montreal in 2009. He may ultimately be the lone bright spot for the Canadiens going into training camp.
3. Who will play the wing in Pittsburgh?
The Penguins have a history of recycling wingers by plucking up players on the tail end of a decent career, and squeezing one or two inexpensive seasons out them before retirement. (Sandstrom, Robitaille, Sykora, Satan, etc.). It seems unlikely that Sykora or Satan will be back, and Fedetanko is questionable. It's possible that the Pens will just promote from within, but that's not how they historically address the position. So who will the Pens target, now that Free Agent season has begun? Here are a few names to ponder:
- Alex Tanguay - Tanguay has flirted with greatness over the years, but hasn't lived up to the hype of rookie season in Colorado. A saucer pass or two every other shift from Crosby could put Tanguay into the 30 goal territory.
- Erik Cole - Erik's not exactly at the end of his career, but he would be a great fit in Pittsburgh. Rumors were he was possibly going to Pittsburgh at the deadline last season. Could Orpik and Cole co-exist?
- Brian Gionta - Gionta really only enjoyed one great season, scoring 48 goals in 2005. While he'll never reach that height again, he could crack 30 in a Penguin sweater
- Alex Kovalev - Kovalev enjoyed his greatest success as a Penguin. The Pittsburgh fans would love to see his wristshot back in the Igloo for one or two more seasons.