The NHL Draft tends to be a time of a lot of roster movement. The offseason is getting into full swing, free agency is around the corner, and all the GMs are in the same place. This year was no exception, as several trades took place on day one of the NHL Draft, and that’s not including trades that just involved draft picks.
First, a relatively minor deal, as the Chicago Blackhawks traded Troy Brouwer to the Washington Capitals for the 26th pick in this year’s Draft, which the Blackhawks used to take Phillip Danault, a winger. Brouwer is a pretty solid forward, as last season he scored 17 goals and 36 points, and the season before he had 22 goals and 40 points. He provides the kind of offensive depth the Capitals need, and may be a bit of Brooks Laich insurance if they lose him. Chicago, meanwhile, saves a bit of money, Brouwer is a restricted free agent, and gets a bit younger. I like this deal better for Washington, but it really depends on what kind of player Danault becomes.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman John-Michael Liles from Colorado for a 2012 second round pick. I like this move for Toronto. They need players on defense, and Liles is a talented player. On a bad Colorado team, Liles has 46 points, and he’s scored double digit goals four times. The Avalanche gave up a player under contract for another season for pretty much nothing. I know they are rebuilding and Liles isn’t a part of that, but they’ll need to get a steal in the second round next season for this trade to be worthwhile.
Devin Setoguchi was just signed to a three year extension by the San Jose Sharks, but now he’s on the move. They traded Setoguchi, forward Charlie Coyle, and the 28th overall pick for defenseman Brent Burns and a 2012 second round pick. My first thought is this: Sharks fans will be saying “Boo-urns.” Second, I like this trade for both teams. The Sharks are loaded on offense, but their defense was a bit lacking. Burns is a great offensive defenseman, and after a couple of injury shortened seasons he was healthy last year and scored 17 goals and 46 points while playing over 25 minutes a night. He’s now San Jose’s second best defenseman behind Dan Boyle.
Setoguchi, meanwhile, will probably play on Minnesota’s top power play unit and will be one of their better goal scorers. Coyle was San Jose’s first round pick last season, and he scored seven goals and 26 points in 37 games as a freshman at Boston University. With the Sharks’ pick, the Wild took center Zack Phillips. So, a team that needs offense got three forwards. Coyle and Phillips need to pan out, of course, but if they do this trade could really help both teams.
Another team that needed some help on the blueline is the Florida Panthers, and they acquired Brian Campbell from Chicago for forward Rostislav Olesz. This trade was all about getting out from under Campbell’s contract for Chicago, so fittingly they traded him to the team that is run by the guy who signed him to that contract, currently Panthers GM Dale Tallon. Campbell is a top notch puck moving defenseman who will tally the assists while chipping in a few goals. He had 27 points in 65 games last season, but he was also an excellent plus-28. Olesz scored six goals and 17 points in 44 games last season, and he has 14 goals and 29 points the season before that. Clearly, on talent the Panthers got the better of this trade.
Like I said, however, this was about trading away Campbell’s contract for the Blackhawks. Campbell is 32 and has five more seasons on a $65 million contract. He’s probably not worth his deal now, and certainly in a few years he won’t be. Of course, Olesz is overpaid as well, as he has three years left on an $18.75 million deal. However, he’s only 25 so he could still get better. Still, I like this deal for the Panthers. Yes, they are rebuilding, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use at least some depth and talent. You don’t want to have a team made up almost solely of young, developing players. Bryan McCabe is gone now, and Tomas Vokoun will likely still follow. Campbell will probably be their best defenseman this season, and his contract probably means he’ll be around for a while, Chicago, meanwhile, still has Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, so they are fine on defense.
That’s all the trade news for now, but there will be more in the near future. Robyn Regehr has apparently been traded to Buffalo, but the full details aren’t known yet. Plus, there is a Ryan Smyth for Gilbert Brule rumor floating around that would send Smyth back to the Oilers. So, keep an eye on the NHL news.