It’s been a nice change this offseason. With only Round 1 of the draft in the books, we’ve already seen several trades involving some serious names. Let’s take a look at some of the deals that have gone down.
The Lightning started things off by acquiring goalie Anders Lindback, Kyle Wilson, and a 7th round pick from the Nashville Predators for G Sebastian Caron, two 2nd rounders, and a 3rd rounder in 2013. After a couple of strange seasons in net, Lindback has the potential to develop into a strong NHL goalie. At 6’6”, he’s definitely got the size, but he’s only played in a handful of games in his two NHL seasons. Now we’ll see if the Lightning hold onto Mathieu Garon or if they make a move for a veteran goalie for a year or two to compete with Lindback. Nashville gets excellent return on their backup goalie who had no chance of starting after Pekka Rinne was signed long term.
Sergei Bobrovsky was the next backup goalie to go as the Flyers sent him to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 2nd round pick and two 4th rounders. This gives the Flyers some cap relief as a backup on the free agent market can be had for cheaper than Bob’s $1.75 million cap hit. I’m surprised the Flyers got this much in this deal. Bobrovsky’s got talent, but he was not good last season which could have been hidden by all of the controversy and criticism surrounding Ilya Bryzgalov. Bob likely won’t be an elite goaltender at any point, given the chance and the right circumstances, he has a chance to be a solid starter.
The New York Islanders sent a 2nd round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky. He was disappointing this year after a blistering 68 point performance the year before. I’m not sure I get this deal for the Islanders. Visnovsky is good and will make an absolutely lethal blue line if he’s paired with Mark Streit on the powerplay. Outside of that, however, he’s 35 years old and makes a lot of money (although he’s in the last year of his contract). I would think that a team closer to making any serious push in the playoffs would get him, especially a team with a window that’s closing. The Islanders are still a few years and a few players away from that. The plus side, however, is that he could be the elder statesman to bring along some of the young players on the team.
Mike Ribeiro will be making a new home in Washington, D.C. as the Dallas Stars traded him for Cody Eakin and a second round pick. I really like this for Washington. Ribeiro gives them a great option as the second line center on a team that sorely needs a solid 1-2 punch to compliment Nicklas Backstrom. The Caps have almost $21 million in cap space and still need to sign Mike Green and John Carlson, but they should still have some money left over to get a winger for Ribeiro via free agency. This move also allows younger center Marcus Johansson some time to hone his skills under less pressure.
And now for the big trade: Jordan Staal will now be playing with his brother Eric in Carolina. For Staal, the Penguins got a 1st round pick (D Derrick Pouliot), Brandon Sutter, and Brian Dumoulin. Staal had just turned down a 10 year extension, so it was pretty much a given at this point that he would be traded. Staal is a good player, but the Penguins got a great return on him. Brandon Sutter should do well as the Penguins’ new third line center, as he can play solid defense and chip in goals at a decent clip. And he’s still young (23 years old), so a bit of an offensive breakout isn’t out of the question. Jordan Staal will likely never score at the same clip that Eric has, but it’s going to be a whole lot of fun watching them play together. Jordan should see an improvement in his offensive output as he’ll be playing with better wingers and gets more playing time with better scoring opportunities as he’ll be playing a legitimate top-6 forward role. I like the trade for both clubs: the Penguins get a solid player to fill the void and a boost to their farm system while the Hurricanes create a great core of forwards in Staal, Staal, and Jeff Skinner.
The Penguins were able to clear some cap space by trading Zbynek Michalek back to the Phoenix Coyotes for a 3rd round pick, Harrison Ruopp, and Marc Cheverie. Michalek has been a disappointed—the Penguins were fortunate to jettison him the way they did and get something in return. Many think there’s something bigger brewing in Pittsburgh. With Ben Lovejoy and Derek Engelland as their third pairing of defensemen, they need help. Anyone want Paul Martin for a bag of pucks?
With the anticipation of making a play at a veteran (and hopefully top) goalie, namely Roberto Luongo, the Maple Leafs traded the signing rights of Jonas Gustavsson to the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional 7th round pick…essentially nothing. The Jets have no goalies under contract and while Ondrej Pavelec is an RFA, there have been rumblings that he might not be wearing a Jets uniform next season. Even if he does sign, Gustavsson is a decent enough goalie that can fill in for some stretches if need be, but I don’t think he’ll ever be a clear cut #1.
The Toronto Maple Leafs finally got a trade that reflected the rumors. Luke Schenn is going to join his brother Brayden in Philadelphia in exchange for James van Riemsdyk. These rumors started about a year ago and were reignited this past week. It’s been known that JVR has been on the block for the Flyers this summer. He’s a good player who has the ability to be a consistent 30+ goal scorer. Unfortunately for him, a combination of injuries and a stacked Flyers offense have prevented him from reaching his potential just yet. I figured that he would have been involved for a bigger name defenseman, but Schenn is intriguing. At this moment, the Leafs win this trade. The consensus among things I’ve read is that both players could use the change of scenery. I think that matters a whole lot more for Schenn. He was billed as a big time shutdown defenseman and has yet to achieve that status. The thing is, he’s only 22 years old. That’s very young for a defenseman which means there’s still several years for him to continue to develop. This could be a deal that puts some egg on the Flyers’ faces if it doesn’t pan out. The Flyers also get a little bit of cap relief. That could come in big if they still have a big move or two up their sleeve. The Leafs get an automatic top-6 forward, but the team still lacks a legitimate #1 center. Tim Connolly is not the answer.