|Mark Bell, Michal Barinka, 2nd-round pick (2008)||Martin Havlat, Bryan Smolinski|
|Martin Havlat, Bryan Smolinski||Tom Preissing, Josh Hennessy, Michal Barinka, 2nd-round pick (2008)|
|Tom Preissing, Josh Hennessy||Mark Bell|
UPDATE Chris McMurty had talked about the possibility of a Havlat for Bell swap on Friday night, and it was a deal that, on a lot of levels, made sense to me. I'd planned to talk a little bit about why that would work for Ottawa, and give them a solid, gritty kid to slot in at their No. 2 centre spot.
Then, this deal happened.
From a brief peruse of the net, it seems Senators fans are quite upset with the returns on this deal — perhaps not quite accounting for both the dollar figures Havlat was looking for and the fact he was a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent.
What would one year of service from the young Czech worth? It's hard to say, but fans should under-represent the value a guy like Tom Preissing brings to Ottawa's blueline. He'll instantly jump into the No. 3 or 4 spot and put up good numbers on the power play. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that combined with Joe Corvo, Preissing restores Ottawa's blueline to being one of the best in the Eastern Conference (a title they briefly forfeited when Zdeno Chara and Brian Pothier skipped town July 1).
How do all three teams make out in this round-about trade? To start with, all three deal from their strengths.
- For Chicago, where the only thing they have an abundance of is young, unproven talents, they pickup two veteran players who can score. Shelling out $6-million per season for a guy who only has 105 career goals seems downright Looney Tunes, but Chicago had the worst power play in the league last season and desperately needs someone who can score. To give you an idea of this club's lack of depth, Smolinksi, whose 48 points were his best effort in five years, instantly becomes the top centreman in Chi-town. Yikes. (Kyle Calder might be one of the big winners here as he gets something he's lacked for a few years: linemates.)
If Havlat can pot 90+ points, the deal doesn't look so bad for GM Dale Tallon. He had cap room to burn and no one willing to sign on the dotted line with his team.
As for Havlat, he's got his deal and his very own team: It's time for him to prove he was worth all the fuss.
- For Ottawa, they unload at least $5-million plus salary for the coming season and pickup a low-cost, puck-moving defenceman who has what GM John Muckler is obviously after on his blueline after the loss to Buffalo in the playoffs: speed. He also picks up a couple of decent prospects (Hennessy looking more promising than Barinka).
The thing is, the Senators led the NHL in goal scoring last season with Havlat only playing 18 games and Smolinski contributing just 48 points. Those aren't insurmountable losses, by any means, and a 'grow from within' approach by Muckler isn't a bad idea given the steps guys like Patrick Eaves and Peter Schaefer took last year.
- For San Jose — well, that's an interesting one. They already have one of the best 1-2 combinations at centre already, so you wonder if this is just a case of GM Doug Wilson falling in love with Bell. If he can slide onto the wing, he could see time with Thornton and Cheechoo and see a huge boost in his point production.
With Matt Carle looking more than ready to play on the Sharks blueline towards the end of last season, I suppose Wilson figured he had room to move some of his depth out of the back end. A top six of Hannan, McLaren, Ehrhoff, Carle, Gorges, Davison/Fahey looks decent enough to put San Jose up in the Pacific Division title hunt.