Just filed the story regarding today’s trades. In all, 55 players changed teams in 31 deals, both NHL records.
The Ducks’ five trades seemed meager in comparison to the Phoenix Coyotes’ seven, the most of any team. Here are the highlights from Bob Murray’s pregame summit high atop Honda Center:
– Murray believes Ryan Whitney was placed in an unfair role after Chris Pronger was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers over the summer, “because Ryan Whitney’s a good hockey player, he just didn’t fit where – once we lost Chris, we asked Ryan to play the top of the power play and that’s not fair that we asked him to do that, because he had never done that before.”
Enter Visnovsky, whose 10 goals rank third among NHL defensemen and is capable of running a power play. “Lubomir can do that and he has done that before,” Murray said. “Ryan Whitney is a shooter. He likes to play on the half-wall, or the half-side. That’s where he played in Pittsburgh. We thought he could do that here and it didn’t work. He didn’t fit.”
– Murray compared the 33-year-old Visnovsky, who recently competed in the Olympics for his native Slovakia, to Scott Niedermayer.
“He’s a good athlete, he’s in good shape,” Murray said. “He can skate. He can move the puck. He’s very efficient in what he does. He’s kind of effortless in what he does, a little bit like Scotty. He gets the puck, out-thinks other people and just moves the puck. He’s a good hockey player, always has been.”
– Notably, this is the first trade between Edmonton and the Ducks since the Oilers (under then-GM Kevin Lowe) tendered an offer sheet to Dustin Penner in the summer of 2007. That led to a famous moratorium between then-Ducks GM Brian Burke and Lowe. The moratorium is officially over.
– Murray said the trade talks began when the Oilers’ season went into a tailspin, probably in January. But they didn’t have the cap space to absorb Visnovsky’s $5.6 million hit until Vesa Toskala was traded to Calgary earlier in the day.
– Aaron Ward was on the Ducks’ “wish list” of defensemen compiled by the pro scouting department. In particluar, Murray likes Ward’s size (6-2, 209) and experience (three Stanley Cup championships).
– Murray also noted that he had “no issue” with Justin Pogge. “Carolina wanted him. Carolina has some injuries in goal. We really like our younger goaltending coming along. It was an opportunity where instead of taking a second-round pick, we had some depth in goal.”