A Bulin Wall Goes Up in St. Louis

02-04-2004, 06:24 PM
A Bulin Wall Goes Up in St. Louis

(AP) St. Louis: The deal that seemed like it would never happen, finally happened.

After months - and some would suggest years - of having their goaltending questioned as a critical weakness in contending for the Stanley Cup, the St. Louis Blues finally pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade that will see the arrival of an elite level goaltender.

In what may be the biggest trade in St. Louis history, the Blues acquired goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin from the Phoenix Coyotes, as well as all-star left winger Paul Kariya in exchange for goalie Mike Dunham, left winger Rod Brind’Amour, prospect Scott Dobben of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and an undisclosed amount of cash.

Brind’Amour was in the top 10 in league scoring with 38 points in his first 32 games in St. Louis and had signed as a free agent just this off-season.

“I felt it was a move that will make our team better”, stated General Manager Nick Quain. “And while the economics of the deal are not without risk, we felt the risk was worthwhile given the quality of players we’re getting in return”.

The economics certainly are a risk.

While Khabibulin is hardly underpaid at $4.8 million per year, the inclusion of Kariya comes at an extreme cost, as he is in the last year of a $9 million per year deal. The Blues would be forced to offer at least that to retain the rights to Kariya at the end of the year, something most insiders deem unlikely given the current economic environment in the HFNHL.

Meanhwile for the Coyotes, Dunham and Brind’Amour combined make just over $7 million per year, and in addition to the cash included, this should put a Band-Aid on some of the Coyotes well-publicized economic woes.

Quain had gone on record in the past few weeks stating he would most likely give his two goaltenders some time in the next few weeks to show what they were capable of. However, it seems Dunham’s time ran out.

“You don’t expect me to tell you when a trade is going to happen, do you?” laughed Quain, who is famous for his cozy relationship with local scribes. “After all, what fun would that be for you investigative journalists?”

“The reality is this deal had never been on the table before, and I wasn’t going to risk whether it would be there in two weeks”

Kariya Excited About Cup Aspirations

While Khabibulin could not be reached for comment, Kariya was elated about the move.

“I’m pumped. How can you not be excited about getting traded to one of the top teams in the league, who also happen to be the highest scoring team with an exciting style of play?” said Kariya.

“I’m excited, and I don’t care where they put me. If it means a shot at the Stanley Cup, I’ll carry the bags if they want me too”

While baggage handling is unlikely, it is also unlikely Kariya will step onto the Blues top line. While Blues Head Coach Marc Crawford would not confirm where Kariya will start,
He did state the Blues top line of Joe Thornton, Pavol Demitra and Dany Heatley would remain together. The trio combined for four goals and ten points against the Flames in their 5-1 victory last night, and Thornton is now tied for the league lead in scoring with 55 points in just 32 games.

The most logical place will be on the Blues second line in place of Brind’Amour alongside Vincent Lecavalier and Craig Conroy.

Dunham Bitter

Meanwhile, Dunham was not pleased about the move

“Well, it seems our GM was talking out the side of his mouth when he stated he would wait and see” stated a clearly upset Dunham. “Last time I checked, my last outing I stoned the conference leaders”.

Dunham had backstopped the Blues to a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks two nights earlier.

“But that’s ok. St. Louis hasn’t seen the last of me. I’ll head to Phoenix, get them back in the playoff race, and hopefully be back hear for the first round of the playoffs.” stated Dunham before storming off. “And don’t bet against me”

HFNHL Red Wings
02-05-2004, 01:58 PM
Upon hearing the news of the Blues recent trade GM Niece's initiatl response was limited to "Ughhh".
He went on to say that he was disappointed in many ways. First he was very surprised that Khabibulin was aquired essentially for Mike Dunham when the Wings had made what they felt was very strong offers only to be rebuffed. One such offer is rumoured to have included Osgood, a 2003 prospect drafted in the 1st round and an above average prospect a while back only to be told that the Coyotes were not going to trade him. Something's not right in the dixie.

He then went on to murmuring something about cost cutting and there's always next season.

Phoenix AGM
02-05-2004, 04:08 PM
Phoenix management was nonplussed by Niece's comments.

"It's not the first time another GM has thought we made a bad deal, and I'm sure it won't be the last, but we feel good about this trade," responded AGM Jim Bauch. "If Drew feels that the Kariya-for-Brind'Amour part of the trade is a wash, he's certainly entitled to his opinion. Most GMs in the league regard a $9 million-a-year player who's about to become a free agent as something close to radioactive. There aren't many teams willing to take on that kind of salary for a rent-a-player; when St. Louis was willing to do it, we had to reconsider our position on trading Khabibulin."

As for Niece's comments about Detroit's prior offers, he added "I don't like to comment on trade discussions, though if Drew wants to tell you guys what he offered us, that's his prerogative. I note that he didn't mention Kariya as part of that proposal, though, and with all respect to Chris Osgood, we don't regret not making that deal."

Is the Coyotes' front office irked at the suggestion that the Blues got preferential treatment? "I didn't hear him say that -- that's your spin. I read something about 'dixie,' which obviously can't mean Phoenix. Maybe he's confusing us with Atlanta. But in any event, I can't imagine that's what he meant. We've done deals with Detroit in the past and had many cordial discussions with them, and I'm sure we'll continue to do so. I can understand his disappointment at a division rival getting a player everyone thinks will be the missing piece, so let's just leave it at that."

HFNHL Red Wings
02-06-2004, 08:17 AM
Sorry, I really should stop writing at all b/c I am so ineffective in my writing that things regularly seem to be taken more seriously than I intent them.
I was partially feigning my distress,however, going back and reading my message I see it through your eyes and all I can say is that was not what was intended. I definitely never thought it was a bad trade or even seriously questioned your motivation. I admit having been slightly bewildered at the trade but not from the 'it's a bad trade' persepctive (Douglas will attest to that) it was a bewilderment that after having had a deal turned down that, in my eyes at least, I was heavily overpaying I assumed that Khabibulin would never be moved.
I did not discount the Kariya salary dump part of the equation but apparently underestimated it's magnitude in the deal as you have pointed out.

Anyway hope that clears things up.
Gotta go work.

02-06-2004, 09:15 AM
Despite the diplomatic and fair response by their division rivals, the St. Louis Blues can't help but maintain an extremely healthy hate for the Detroit Red Wings.

We'll see you at the Kiel Center tomorrow night.

Phoenix AGM
02-06-2004, 10:52 AM
No offense taken -- I kind of figured it didn't mean what it sounded like, which is why my response was kind of tongue-in-cheek. And I didn't think we'd trade Khabibulin, either, but that damn Nick wore us down....

Ohio Jones
02-06-2004, 10:59 AM
(Douglas will attest to that)

This is me attesting to that. :rolly:

Nick - don't be too disappointed if your match against Detroit is anti-climactic: the Wings weren't even able to beat my lowly Jackets last night, so your new group of superheroes shouldn't have any trouble whatsoever! ;)

HFNHL Red Wings
02-06-2004, 11:18 AM
Despite the diplomatic and fair response by their division rivals, the St. Louis Blues can't help but maintain an extremely healthy hate for the Detroit Red Wings.

We'll see you at the Kiel Center tomorrow night.

Are you still smarting about that ronger issue Nick :-)

It will be a game time decision as to whether Worrell plays tonight, hope Pronger's up to a little contact :p

02-06-2004, 11:28 AM
Are you still smarting about that ronger issue Nick :-)

It will be a game time decision as to whether Worrell plays tonight, hope Pronger's up to a little contact :p

The wounds are still fresh, and they have continued to fester this season as your Wings have demonstrated the audacity to stand atop the Central division at various times - a position that belongs to no other team than the Blues.

Tomorrow night will be the first of many spirited matches between our club's this season, although it looks like neither Demitra (Out: another victim of a cheap hit from the Blues long-standing rivals in Dallas), nor Khabibulin, (questionable: still recovering from the fatigue of carrying the Coyotes) will play.

Still, the Blues defensive corps of Pronger, Chara, Witt, McCabe, Gauthier, Klesla and Leschyshyn look forward to welcoming Mr. Worrell to the Western Conference playoff race.

02-06-2004, 11:37 AM
I just have on question concerning the deal. I was under the understanding that if you sign a UFa he must be on your roster for a certain length of time. I was wondering when that date was???

Thanks in advance,

HFNHL Red Wings
02-06-2004, 12:01 PM
The restriction is only for resigning your own potential UFA's. There was never a rule that an actual UFA cannot be traded.
You were allowed to do this you traded a signed UFA player in a package when you aquired Jovanovski I recall.

02-06-2004, 12:14 PM
That was before the re-signing rule came out. I just thought the rule pertained to UFA's as well.

My mistake,