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An Everson Trade Rumor


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By MARK (N)Єverson


Devils 2 - Blues 0

December 11, 2002 -- This word in the wind would be just as shocking as the trades of Patrik Elias' former A Linemates.

While Martin Brodeur was posting his 58th career shutout, blanking an 18-man Blues team decimated by 10 cases of food poisoning, The Post was told that Elias, the reigning three-time leading scorer, could be headed to Colorado for winger Alex Tanguay and defenseman Martin Skoula.

After signing for $14.5 million over three years, Elias has struggled without former A Liners Jason Arnott and Petr Sykora, both traded since March. His goal drought reached nine games in last night's 2-0 victory over St. Louis and his seven goals and 14 points are third in each department for New Jersey.

"Teams are going to be trying now," Elias said philosophically.

Such a deal would represent a major salary dump of $2.5 million this season for the Devils, reported to have wallet trouble with a $53 million payroll and disappointing attendance. Tanguay earns 900G and Skoula $1.1 million.

Both 23, Tanguay and Skoula were the first two of Colorado's four first-rounders in 1998. Neither, however, would seem to represent the scoring potential of Elias at a time when the Devils are desperate for goal-getters. The last remnant of the A Line that led the Devils to their 2000 Stanley Cup, Elias has scored 35, 40 and 29 goals the past three seasons and was appointed alternate captain by Pat Burns this year.

Tanguay and Skoula have been mentioned as possibilities for Boston, for unsigned Kyle McLaren and Martin Lapointe, a package that would far exceed Elias' salary. Skoula scored 10 goals on defense for Colorado last season, while Tanguay's best was 27 goals and 77 points two seasons ago.

While Elias continued unable to find net, the Devils took advantage of the malady the Blues think they acquired in Detroit. Dallas Drake, Scott Mellanby, Jeff Finley, Nathan Laflamme and Justin Papineau all sat out with the suspected food poisoning and four more skated sick as the Blues dressed only 18 players.

New Jersey has scored only eight goals in five games and last night's precious offense came from two forwards known more for muscle than gunnery. Jim McKenzie put New Jersey in front at 13:14 of the first, steering in Brian Gionta's set-up for his first goal since March 13.

Turner Stevenson gave the Devils a 2-0 lead at 11:52 of the second, swiping his third past Fred Brathwaite on a scramble off Joe Nieuwendyk's feed from the corner.

"We got our goal-scorers going tonight. We're all set now," Scott Stevens said in fun.

When does (N)Єverson realize his imaginary trades never come true? Why does he keep wasting his and our time spouting this drivel?

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Of course this trade would make perfect sense for the Devils. Get rid of their best offensive player over the last three years for two guys that have basically disappointed in Colorado all so they can save a little over $2 million. Yep, you can book it. Maybe we will trade Marty for a bag of pucks next.

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In all honestly, the Devils aren't cash strapped, Lou even said they can even increase payroll if they want. This is why the partners were upset that a small financial problem leaked out... because now everyone thinks the Devils are out of money and will start dumping salary...

If anybody was to go, it would be Nieuwy and his $5,000,000.... but honestly, I see the Devs doing nothing but acquire a 4th/3rd liner for Danton, and a prospect whatnot.

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That's a doozy all right. From a personnel perspective, the trade doesn't make much sense. But if the Devils are desperate enough to cut costs, who knows?

Aylbert, I think the partners are upset because the Star Ledger reporters found out the truth, that the Devils are struggling financially. Just because Lou said the Devils aren't cash-strapped, you believe him?

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I knew a lot of people would just dismiss it. But think about how it was written. The Devils have been rumored to be in financial trouble. If they are, it makes some sense. You get two younger players back and both are much more affordable than overpaying Elias for zero production.

Plus they could get rid of one of their Big Three (either Tverdovsky or Rafalski) for a scoring forward to take Elias' place.

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Zero production, Dage?

That's a bit oversimplifying.

Yes, he's not scoring. But he's still effecting a lot of play on the ice -- whether it's on the penalty kill or assisting the pint-sized wonder on goals like the one that gave us a win over one of our favorite rivals.

So I wouldn't deem it "zero." I certainly deem it low... and especially for him. We're used to him being our scorer on the top line and now he's setting up others while he works his own way out of the funk.

But even if NONE of that was the case, I still would give him the benefit of the doubt, cause he was third in the league in scoring when he was making just about league minimum wage. And cause he was a key component to our postseason teams while making just about league minimum wage. And cause he's led this team in scoring three years while making just about league minimum wage.

That doesn't buy him a free ride forever, but it certainly gives him some time to work his way out of a funk.

Like I say, this is just Tanguay-Skoula news getting around to the Devils. I've heard them mentioned in regard to just about anyone.

Who knows maybe it was a Burns slip set up to ruffle Elias' feathers? He's still sorting out the way the guy's mind works.

And the last point is this. If the Devs are looking to keep putting the butts they have into the seats, they best not get rid of one of the few marquee names they have (to people outside the rabid following community we have here). Since he's still working hard and trying to break out of it, it seems wholly unrealistic to consider this deal from my viewpoint. He's one of the reasons they get my dollars. I won't be flying in near as much to see ex-Avs.

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Tanguay is not Elias, period. No deal. We don't have enough top-tier players to begin with, now we trade one of the few we do have on top of that just to get a sixth D that will send Mr. Devil to the bench and play twelve minutes a game? If Lou wanted to save money that bad he'd dump Niewy who's been even more ineffective for a draft pick and I don't see him doing that either.

Same ol' same ol' (N)Єverson garbage.

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ESPN insider I'll bet is getting this from Neverson. Can anyone post the text of the article?

This trade makes no sense. We are short on Centers and Full on Defensemen.

Maybe there's a 3 way swap planned and with the "emergence" of White, they feel they can spare a "D" man? Who?

This whole thing has to be terrible for moral. It's like a conspiracy to take the Devils out. :saddevil:

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Tanguay's an enigma. He has all the talent to be something special as proven two years ago. His name has been mentioned in so many trade rumors this year that he has to be getting dealt.

Skoula is a decent puckmoving defenseman who can jump into the play. I'm not sure about his D but take a look at his numbers this year:

27 GP 2-7-9 40 PIM Team leading +15 rating

Maybe he's making strides as a player. Blake only has two more points and is -3 on the same team. Foote is +10.

Where's SBT when you need him?

Hypothetically, if this deal took place, the Devils would have a surplus of puckmoving defensemen. They could then ship one of them out for another scoring forward.

One thing that's on NJ fans' side is that whenever a trade rumor is reported, it never happens due to Lou's eerie style.

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As you know, Skoula had a breakout year last year, with respect to the regular season.

However, he made multiple defensive mistakes in the playoffs last year, leading to diminished ice time.

This year, he has been in Hartley's doghouse because he has been taking a ton of undisciplined penalties (hooking, obstruction, etc.)

Put that with some lousy penalty killing, and you've got one angry coach.

Anyway, don't be fooled by that +/-.

That's lousy TEAM penalty killing.

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