Toronto coach Ron Wilson has seen firsthand the effect that a big trade can have. He hopes his team can avoid being overpowered by the Devils, who will debut Ilya Kovalchuk
against his Maple Leafs on Friday night.
Buoyed by the acquisitions of Dion Phaneuf, Freddy Sjostrom and J.S. Giguere, Toronto topped the Devils, 3-0, on Tuesday. New Jersey will be looking for redemption when the clubs face each other for the third time in a week.
"They're going to be all pumped up for obvious reasons," Wilson said of the Devils. "They've got Kovalchuk and it changes the dynamic of their team having another weapon. They've got Zach Parise
, who's having a great year, and adding Kovalchuk really gives them a balance in their scoring.
"When you look at a couple of their guys that are out, like (Patrik) Elias and (David) Clarkson, Paul Martin, they've put themselves right in the Stanley Cup hunt, for sure – not that they weren't before. (Devils' President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello) is capable of making moves that energize his team. He has a good sense of that. When you get Marty Brodeur all fired up, that certainly helps."
In comparing the Kovalchuk deal with the two Toronto trades with Calgary and Anaheim, Wilson noted the Devils are going for it this year.
"Their deal is different than ours; it looks like a rental to me," Wilson said. "But you never know. Lou's always been able to pull a rabbit out of his hat and be creative in how he handles salaries on his team. Ours is more for the future, New Jersey's deal is for the moment."
He added that Kovalchuk won't force the Leafs to come out with a different game plan than Tuesday.
"You have to be aware of him, but it won't change what we'll try to do on the ice, ourselves," he said.