Catching Up On Recent Trades

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S ince the flurry of transactions following the conclusion of the 2012/13 NHL season, something that hasn’t Ice Nation UK hasn’t reported on is the trades carried out since the league returned to action in September for training camp and preseason.

We’ll take a brief look at each trade made from September 28th onwards, while also performing a “Where Are They Now?” on each player involved, giving an idea of how the transaction worked out for each team.

Florida Panthers acquire Krys Barch & STL’s 7th Rd Pick (2015) from New Jersey Devils for Scott Timmins & 6th Rd Pick (2014).

  • A veteran of 340 NHL games prior to the trade, 33-year old right winger Barch has rarely been a regular in an NHL lineup but hasn’t played a game in the minors since 2006/07.  With 32 points in those 340 games, it’s not hard to see why he’s struggled to play much.  Barch wouldn’t be regarded as a heavyweight enforcer, but he is a willing combatant, with team’s clearly valuing his toughness.
  • Timmins is a 24 year old center, drafted in 2009, and with 24 NHL games under his belt (1 goal).  He’s been a solid, if unspectacular scorer in the AHL for the last several seasons, and according to prospect guru Corey Pronman is a hard-working defensive specialist with bottom-6 NHL potential.
  • Barch has played in 14 games for the Panthers this season, notching 1 assist and 3 fights, whilst Timmins is currently playing for the Devils’ minor league affiliate in Albany, where he is rolling along with 13 points in 12 games.  New Jersey gets a prospect with decent, not great, NHL potential and the higher pick, whilst the Panthers get a bit-player and a slightly worse pick.

Calgary Flames trade a conditional 4th Rd Pick (2014) to Toronto for Joe Colborne.

  • 23 year old center Joe Colborne spent the preceding 3 seasons as a member of the Maple Leafs’ organisation, suiting up for 16 NHL games in that time but, despite his 1st-round draft pedigree and high potential, only managed 6 points, and was disappointing in the AHL too.  With his massive size (6’5″, 213lbs) and top-end skills, observers have been waiting for him to emerge, but it has looked less and less likely.
  • Colborne has played in 22 of 23 games for Calgary this year, tallying 3 goals and 7 points, both totals surpassing his career numbers prior to the commencement of this season.  He’s no screaming hell, but he’s getting an opportunity in Calgary and making use of it.  Unfortunately, despite fairly sheltered minutes (60% offensive zonestarts, average quality of competition), he is getting killed in Corsi (shot attempts for/against).  Unless he can start posting better numbers, or turn into a defensive specialist, it’s unlikely he’ll ever have an NHL career of note, though he is still relatively young. 
  • The 4th Rd Pick will become a 3rd rounder if Colborne scores 10 goals or 35 points during this season, and if Calgary qualifies for the playoffs.  With Colborne currently on pace for 10-11 goals, the former qualification would be met, but given the Flames are currently languishing near the league cellar, the pick will likely remain a 4th rounder.

Vancouver Canucks trade Kellan Tochkin and a 4th Rd Pick (2014) to Carolina for Zac Dalpe & Jeremy Welsh.

  • Tochkin, a 22 year old right winger, was never drafted but rather was signed as a free agent by Vancouver back in 2009  in the middle of a decent WHL career.  It’s a pretty rare case for an undrafted 18 year old to still get signed when he still had draft eligibility remaining.  His size (5’9″) almost automatically means he’s fighting an uphill battle to reach the NHL, and the beginning of his pro career hasn’t been an overwhelming success.  He put up 44 points in 56 games with Missouri of the Central Hockey League last year, and has 7 points in 11 games for Florida of the ECHL this year.
  • Dalpe has long been a highly rated prospect, the center drafted 45th overall in 2008 by Carolina.  He had a very strong 2-year stint at Ohio State in the NCAA, and has been a very good offensive contributor in the AHL since 2010.  Prior to the trade, he had 41 NHL games to his name with 10 points to show for it.  So far in 11 games for Vancouver this season, he has no points and even in the most sheltered minutes on the team has been a defensive disaster at even strength.  At 24, he’s not a young prospect, and has to start showing something soon in the NHL or he’s in trouble.
  • Welsh, a 25 year old forward considered an “extra” to Dalpe, had a decent NCAA career with Union College, and had a solid pro-debut in the AHL last season.  Prior to joining the Canucks, he had 6 NHL games under his belt with 1 assist.  Since the trade, he has appeared in 16 more games, and scored his first NHL goal the other day.  He might not have the pedigree that Dalpe does, but with his big frame and admirable performances in all leagues, he might actually become a more useful member of the organisation, particularly given that in a less-sheltered role than Dalpe he’s been far less of a liability at even strength.

The Anaheim Ducks trade John Mitchell and a 4th Rd Pick in 2014 to Washington for Mathieu Perrault.

  • 27 year old John Mitchell, a huge specimen at 6’5″ and 216lbs, only joined the pro ranks in 2010 following an OK career at Wisconsin of the NCAA, and has almost exclusively been in the AHL since.  He possesses some hockey skill, having reached double digits in points in each of his three full AHL seasons, but doesn’t look to be fighting for an NHL spot any time soon, particularly at his age.
  • Mathieu Perrault, on the other hand, has been great for the Ducks.  The 25 year old former 6th round pick has been a solid NHLer for the last couple of years, but has not risen above bottom-6 status.  Whilst it’s still early in the season, Perreault has nonetheless taken off for Anaheim with 15 points in 24 games and with very strong possession numbers looks to be a strong two-way player at 5v5.  His on-ice save percentage is fairly high, as it is for most Ducks skaters, but his on-ice shooting percentage is pretty average, and well below several other team-mates, so he’s not playing with particularly great luck.  A very, very good pickup for the team.

Edmonton trades Mike Brown to the San Jose Sharks for a 4th Rd Pick (2014).

  • Mike Brown was acquired by the Oilers from Toronto last season in an effort to place some “functional toughness” in the lineup.  Whilst the toughness was there, with Brown a willing fighter and physical player, the functional wasn’t.  Despite promises of a guy who can make and take a pass in addition to his rough-and-tumble style, Brown’s history (298 games, 27 points, -22 and bad possession numbers) don’t really suggest much of an NHL-calibre player.
  • Even those that liked Brown questioned the need to spend a relatively valuable asset like a 4th rounder on him when players just like him could be signed as free agents or plucked off waivers.  And so, Craig MacTavish corrected his predecessor’s mistake by fleecing the Sharks of their own 4th rounder.  Just before Movember started, which is a shame as Mike Brown can grow one hell of a ‘tache.  C’est la vie.

Thomas Vanek traded by Buffalo to the NY Islanders for Matt Moulson, a conditional 1st Rd Pick (2014) and a 2nd Rd Pick (2015).

  • In Buffalo’s continued firesale, they saw off long-time franchise scorer Vanek, in return for continually underrated scorer Moulson.  Over 8 full seasons for Buffalo, Vanek scored 497 points in 598 games, including two 40+ goal seasons, two 30+ goal seasons and four 20+ goal seasons.  Whilst his scoring tended to fluctuate from year to year, he’s someone I regard as “consistently inconsistent”, in that the totals fluctuate, but they remain amongst the best on the team.  He’s not what you’d regard as a two-way player, receiving his minutes almost exclusively at 5v5 and on the powerplay, but he’s paid to score goals so that’s what he does.
  • Matt Moulson has spent the last 4 seasons riding shotgun on John Tavares’ wing, notching three 30+ goal seasons and being on pace for 26 goals and 76 points last year in the lockout shortened season.  Many believed he was just “riding the coat-tails” of Tavares, but his 9 points in 12 games this year show that he can earn his keep.
  • This is an interesting trade, in that Vanek was the “big name”, and the Sabres received quite a return for him, but Moulson has actually been a more consistent goal scorer over the last several years.  Perhaps that is partly the Tavares Effect, but these players are both basically very comparable (even down to the poor possession numbers this year) yet Buffalo received two high draft picks on top of Moulson.  That Moulson has an expiring contract may well play into things, as the Sabres could very likely trade him by the deadline for extra picks should they really want to enter full-rebuild mode.

Philadelphia trades Max Talbot to Colorado for Steve Downie.

  • Right winger Steve Downie returns to the team that drafted him in the first round in 2005.  The 26 year old has developed into a pretty decent NHLer, scoring 151 points in 292 games to-date, playing a tough, chippy style of game that belies his relative lack of size.  He’s struggled with injury over his career, but is largely healthy this season and playing very well, having scored 13 points in 18 games (including 6 in 7 since pulling on a Flyers jersey) and coming out on the positive side of the possession ledger.
  • Center Max Talbot seems to be a fan-favourite wherever he goes, having worked his way from being drafted in the 8th round in 2002 by the Penguins to becoming a hard-working, defensively responsible core member of a Stanley Cup winner.  His first season in Philly was his best offensive campaign to-date, but last year was not quite so successful and he’s been even worse this year, with just 4 points in 22 games.  He’s been OK possession-wise, and since his value is more on the defensive side anyway (particularly penalty killing), he’s not devoid of value.

Edmonton trades Ladislav Smid and Olivier Roy to Calgary for Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit.

  • A surprising move by Edmonton to say the least, and not just because they traded with Calgary for only the second time ever.  27 year old defenceman Ladislav Smid was part of the return (along with, among other things, the pick that turned into Jordan Eberle) in the Chris Pronger trade back in 2006, and has since played 8 seasons and 474 games as an Oiler, whilst becoming a beloved fan favourite.  He took a while to develop, but once he did he became a bona fide top four NHL defender, taking on tough competition and performing extremely well, though puck-moving and offense are not a strength.  The almost-annual Smid goal was an occasion that brought smiles to everybody who watched him, and the Flames should be considered lucky to have such a player.  Whilst he’s not having his best season, I have to admit to being baffled when Edmonton decided to trade one of their few genuine NHL quality blue-liners.  He has 0 points and is -1 in 6 games since joining Calgary.
  • They also traded 22 year old goalie Olivier Roy.  Roy has undeniable raw talent in the position, employing an athletic style, and enjoyed a good career in the QMJHL.  He has proven himself to be a top-ECHL goalie aswell, but has struggled to establish himself at the AHL level, even behind a team as good as the OKC Barons.  It will be interesting to see if he ever develops into the goalie he could be.
  • Roman Horak was the primary piece coming Edmonton’s way.  The 22 year old Czech center was drafted in the 5th round in 2009, and has earned good reviews since making his pro debut in 2011.  With 82 NHL games under his belt, he’s got some experience, and whilst he’ll likely never be a scorer, he projects well into a bottom-6 role in the NHL, particularly with the Oilers – a team bereft of good players at the position.  He has 5 points in 6 games for the OKC Barons since joining the organisation.
  • Laurent Brossoit, a 20 year old goalie drafted 164th overall in 2011, is a piece the Oilers have clearly been looking at for a long while.  Brossoit recently finished a distinguished career with the powerhouse Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL, during which time he led the team to the WHL Championship (and subsequent berth in the Memorial Cup) in 2012 whilst winning the MVP award, and seeing rave reviews come his way.  He is in the midst of his first pro season, and whilst he didn’t earn much time in either the ECHL or the AHL for Abbotsford or Alaska, he has already played 3 games for OKC, again earning good reviews for his play.  Brossoit isn’t as far along in his development as Roy, but the Oilers hope that he can replace Roy as the next up-and-comer in an organisation devoid of depth at the position.

Chicago trades Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen to Florida for Kris Versteeg and Phillipe Lefebvre.

  • 24 year old Jimmy Hayes, a right winger, has put together some decent stretches for Chicago following a good NCAA career for Boston College, but hasn’t yet established himself as a regular NHLer.  With 14 points in 47 games, he’ll likely never be a top-6 scorer (though his AHL numbers show a guy who has at least some scoring talent), but his 6’6″ frame, along with excellent skating ability, ensures he’s someone who’ll receive plenty of opportunity as a budding power forward type.  He has 1 goal in 4 games for Florida.
  • Dylan Olsen, drafted 28th overall in 2009, is a 22 year old defender with good size and speed, and projects to be a shutdown defender.  He’s been decent in the AHL following a good NCAA career for Minnesota-Duluth, but hasn’t played any NHL games since he appeared in 28 of them back in 2011/12, scoring one assist.  He’s still young, and has plenty of potential, so with Florida’s likely considerable roster turnover over the next 12 months expect Olsen to be given a good shot to make the team.  He has 1 goal in 3 games for San Antonio of the AHL since the trade.
  • 27 year old Kris Versteeg, who previously won a Cup with Chicago in 2010, returns to the town in which he made his name.  One of the many cap casualties following that wonderful run, Versteeg became a Leaf, then a Flyer, then a Panther, and is now back in Hawks colours.  He enjoyed a productive first season in Florida in 2011/12, with 23 goals and 54 points in 71 games, but struggled with injury last year and only managed 4 points in 10 games.  With 7 points in 18 games for the Panthers this year, he hasn’t exactly bounced back, until that is he rejoined Chicago where he now has 4 points in 5 games.  It’s amazing what playing on a good team will do for you.
  • 22 year old left winger Lefebvre has had a pretty non-descript career, putting up average numbers in the QMJHL and not really doing a lot in the pro ranks either.  He has yet to make an NHL appearance, and if he does ever make it, it’ll be due to his hard working defensive style.  He has 0 points in 2 games with Rockford of the AHL since the trade.

Toronto trades Jesse Blacker, a conditional 3rd Rd Pick (2014) and Anaheim’s 7th Rd Pick (2014) to Anaheim for Brad Staubitz and Peter Holland.

  • The acquisition of 29 year old right winger Brad Staubitz is pretty much what you’d expect from a team obsessed with goons and face-punchers.  He has 230 NHL games under his belt with 21 points to show for it, and averages around 6 minutes per game whilst providing little of tangible value.  He has 1 assist in 3 games for the Leafs’ AHL affiliate.
  • The former 15th overall pick in 2009, Ducks fans have been waiting quite a while for Holland to emerge as an NHL-calibre center.  He’s an accomplished AHL player, tallying 114 points in 129 games at that level, but had just 7 points in 29 NHL games prior to the trade.  He’s still young, and with his size and skill level will receive plenty of opportunity to fill the role that Joe Colborne never could, but he only has 1 goal in 4 games so far, and will need to step up his play.
  • Blacker, a 22 year old defender, was drafted in the 2nd round in 2009.  He enjoyed a very good OHL career, and has been solid in his first 2 full seasons of AHL play.  With good size and excellent skating ability, he has the tools to emerge as a good shutdown player, with a little offense added here and there.  The Ducks are quite deep at the position prospect-wise, but he’ll nonetheless challenge for a spot at some point in the near future I expect.  He has 1 assist in 2 games for Norfolk of the AHL.
  • The conditional third round pick will become a second rounder if Holland plays in 25 games or more for the Leafs.

Anaheim trades a 6th Rd Pick (2014) to Calgary for Tim Jackman.

  • I wrote about the Tim Jackman trade for The Farm Club, but in short, Jackman is actually not an entirely useless NHL forward.  Whilst he’s primarily known as a tough-as-nails enforcer, he can chip in on scoring and is fairly low-event in terms of possession.  There are worse players to have on your fourth line.

Calgary Flames acquire Lane MacDermid from Dallas for a 6th Rd Pick (2014).

  • MacDermid is a big, 24 year old left winger with 3 seasons of pro hockey under his belt.  He has proved he can chip in the odd point at the AHL level, but it is primarily his physical skills and menacing demeanor on the ice that gets him noticed, and it looks like the Flames hope he can become Tim Jackman’s successor as enforcer-that-can-actually-play.

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