The 2011 NHL Draft concluded Saturday, as all the rounds except the first one were played out. There were also a few more trades, though most of them are of the minor variety unless you are particularly interested in the likes of Bruno Gervais. However, there were two trades I thought were worth mentioning. One was a fairly big trade, and the other saw a team give up on a frustrating young player.
I’ll go with the second one first. The Columbus Blue Jackets have finally decided enough is enough with Nikita Filatov. Once drafted sixth overall, the 21-year-old winder was dealt to the Ottawa Senators for a mere third round pick. You know how many third round picks ever amount to anything in the NHL? Very few, and that shows you just where Filatov’s stock is now and how badly the Blue Jackets wanted to be done with him.
He’s fought with coaches. He’s gone to the KHL. All he has to show for his three year NHL career is six goals and 13 points in 44 games. He’s certainly starting to look like a bust. The Senators are taking a gamble on his talents, and it was a worthwhile move considering how little they gave up. Maybe Filatov finally gets it together and becomes a good player. Or maybe he’ll be washed out in a couple of seasons and Columbus will come out on the better end of this trade.
As for the other trade, the Robyn Regehr deal was finalized Saturday, sending the defenseman to the Buffalo Sabres, along with Ales Kotalik and a 2012 second round pick, for defenseman Chris Butler and forward Paul Byron. Regehr isn’t much of a scorer, but he plays a lot of minutes and is strong in the defensive zone. Kotalik, a former Sabre, has pretty much done nothing since leaving Buffalo. He’s now 32 and his best days appear to be behind him. Unless a return to Buffalo sparks somethin glying dormant inside him, he’s pretty much a depth player.
Calgary’s main goal in this trade seems to be getting some cap space. Regehr is signed for two more years at $4 million a year and Kotalik has one more year at $3 million. The Flames are a veteran team that has little to no young talent and hasn’t made the playoffs in two seasons. A change was severely needed. They used some of the money they saved to sign a resurgent (but still aging) Alex Tanguay to a five year, $17.5 million deal. Butler is a 24-year-old defenseman who’s been pretty good for the Sabres the last three seasons, and still has room for improvement. He’ll never be as good as Regehr, but he’s serviceable. Byron has only eight games of NHL experience, but he just turned 22 and his track record so far is promising.
Overall, I like this trade better for the Sabres. While the cap space and the younger talent helps the Flames, they are still kind of in no man’s land and gave up the best player in the deal. The Sabres, meanwhile, are looking to win now it would seem, and that isn’t unreasonable. They have Ryan Miller. Tyler Myers is getting better. With a healthy Derek Roy on offense next season with the likes of Thomas Vanek, they have a decent offense. They aren’t exactly Stanley Cup contenders just yet, but another division win seems possible.