Now that the Marian Hossa era has ended in Pittsburgh, let’s look back and reminisce…
I must have blinked and missed it.
OK, so Hossa wasn’t in Steeltown for long, no biggie. I stick by my original thought that it was worth picking up the superstar at the trade deadline. It’s not terribly shocking he left, anyway.
Would you, Pens fans, rather still have Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong, Angelo Esposito and, say, Vjateslav Voinov… or Pascal Dupuis and an exciting run to the Stanley Cup, before falling 4-2 in a hard-fought final to a powerhouse your young team is still learning to become?
Those are the choices because, quite frankly, the Penguins, though strong and talented, would not have advanced as far without Hossa. Armstrong and Christensen simply don’t draw the same amount of attention, demand the same amount of minutes from opposing top pairings and grind lines or score as many points.
I know, I know, bring on the hate mail. But there are plenty of game-breaking variables you get with Hossa in the lineup you don’t get with depth players.
Who led the Pens in scoring in the Philadelphia series? I’ll give you a hint: he also led them in scoring once they reached the final.
Who was the constant offensive pulse throughout the playoffs? Crosby had one more point, but there were a few games he wasn’t very golden.
And who came to within an inch and a millisecond of bringing Pittsburgh back from the dead in Game 6 of the final?
Hossa added something to the Penguins that is a key reason to why Detroit is so consistently strong: depth of skill.
For the most part, the more of it you have, the better you’ll do. The team that gets the best player in a trade wins the deal, plain and simple. Don’t doubt Sam Pollock, he knew a thing or two.
Elite players at affordable prices are tough to come by, especially with how out of control and competitive free agency is in these “cautious” days of “penny-pinching.” It’s different than sacrificing youth for Keith Tkachuk or Andrew Raycroft; this is Marian freakin’ Hossa!
And while prospect depth is becoming more and more important, the Penguins were in a unique position of having been a poor team long enough to have built up a stable of stud prospects starting to find themselves as NHL players. And with two of the league’s best young guns itching for playoff experience, it was time to sacrifice a little overflow and one draft year.
Was the deal a waste because the Penguins lost in the Cup final? Heck no, that’s absurd. Stanley Cup appearances don’t happen every year.
In fact, the Prince of Wales trophy and the sniff of playoff-immortality it gave to Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury proved the calculated risk worked, if not to Hollywood perfection.
No matter what anyone else blogging on our site today says.
Rory Boylen is THN.com’s web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.
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