Last evening, we saw three important dominoes fall as we approach Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline:

  • Dustin Brown has been taken off the trade block, per Kings GM Dean Lombardi. Following the acquisition of Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson, word immediately surfaced that the Kings were seeking to replace Johnson by means of trading team captain Brown. After learning just how popular Brown is across the league and how many teams covet him, Lombardi backed away from his desire to trade the rugged forward.
  • Ales Hemsky signed a 2 year $10 million ($5 mil. cap hit!) to stay in Edmonton. The pending Unrestricted Free Agent was among the more highly skilled forwards expected to be available leading into the trade deadline. But his re-signing, as questionable as it may seem, takes the winger off the market, further shrinking the pool of talented players available, and thus likely raising the prices of those still on the market.
  • The New Jersey Devils acquired Marek Zidlicky for Kurtis Foster, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux, a 2012 2nd round pick, and a 2013 conditional 3rd round pick.

Some thoughts on these developments…

  • Brown, in my opinion, is exactly what the Penguins need. He’s Chris Kunitz on steroids, as the members over at say. The good news is it was unlikely the Penguins were willing to part with what it would have taken to get him, and word is the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers both were highly interested — I’d rather see him stay on the West Coast than risk seeing him in a rival’s sweater!
  • So Hemsky, the oft-injured, soft, player with 26 points this season is worth as much as James Neal, the tough, physical player with 57 points? While Hemsky was a pending UFA (with more leverage) and Neal was a pending RFA (with less leverage), this still goes to show just how good of a GM Ray Shero really is.
  • It sure seems like New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello overpaid for a player who has been in the doghouse in Minnesota all season. In my opinions, Foster and a 3rd round pick seems to be fair value for the aging, declining Zidlicky. Palmieri and isn’t exactly a highly touted prospect, we have seen stranger success stories. Adding in two (2!) picks is ridiculous. Oh, and Zidlicky is signed for one more year at a cap hit ($4 mil) higher than that of Kris Letang’s. Considering New Jersey is in serious financial trouble, I just can’t see how this makes much sense — especially with Zack Parise skating to unrestricted free agency this summer.