In regard to the trade: three Sabres, Housley, Arniel and Parker for one Jet, yes, ONE Jet, Dale Hawerchuk and a draft pick referred to as a "top young prospect . . ."
Winnipeg has the advantage in this one. Big time. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take anything away from Hawerchuk. He's a great player and will no doubt effectively fill the gap we have on offense, and I'm glad this move was what he wanted. Granted, Housley didn't complete his defensive duties in the playoffs, but simply using him strictly as a forward would possibly eliminate those problems in the future. He's too small for defense and has the speed and mobility of an effective forward. He proved his offensive abilities while playing as a defenseman.
Meehan said himself that defense was an area we could afford to gamble with, and obviously we need changes on offense. Also, it seems that Arniel was, is, and always will be our "unsung hero," which he deservingly received awards for in the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons. He was one of the players who gave us his all, and now, because of his committed play, will be giving it all to someone else. And as for Parker, we no longer are a physical threat. We needed his strength and toughness.
I know we have to sacrifice quality to get quality, but this trade was not evenly balanced. I can name at least three other quality players and good trade material, if in fact three were actually necessary. One or possibly two would've been sufficient, but not all three. Our draft choice, Brad May, the "top young prospect," may make us wait to see anything. We have enough prospects. We need "now" players.
Jerry Sullivan, you were correct in saying that this trade was bold and forceful, but it wasn't necessary if it was at such a great expense. It could've been done differently, and not so lopsidedly.
However, I am relieved that this happened rather than the original plans (Foligno, Housley and Hogue for Olczyk, Osborne and another prospect). What was Gerry Meehan thinking? Foligno has the leadership that is the foundation of any team's success. He is looked up to by younger and older players alike. No one else is as capable as he of providing the support, experience, confidence and initiative a team needs. That was evident in the team's unanimous vote for him to fill Ruff's skates on the ice and shoes off. But Ruff is another story.