Flames go all in with Stuart deal
Bruins' rebuild continues with Kobasew, Ference
Who knew this is all it would cost for two thirds of Boston's take in the Joe Thornton deal?
Eric Duhatschek, mc79hockey and The Battle of Alberta all had some good takes on this trade, so I won't go on and on. As far as I see it, there are two things that are going to determine whether this is a deal that works out in the Calgary Flames' favour or not:
- How far do the Flames go?
It's a short-term rental, so what happens in the short term is key for Calgary. Both Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau are almost certainly headed out of Cowtown this summer, which means the sum total of what they accomplish in the final 27 games of the regular season and then the playoffs is what GM Darryl Sutter forked out for. If Calgary misses the playoffs (unlikely) or loses in the first round (possible), this one hurts, if only because next year Boston will have two more assets than the Flames.
- How good is Chuck Kobasew?
The first time I saw him, back in 2001 when he opted to jump from Boston College to the Kelowna Rockets, the answer is Kobasew was phenomenal. A scoring star as an 18-year-old in the NCAA, he lit up the WHL in a 55-game audition, scoring 41 goals with a mediocre team and leaving little doubt the Flames had a budding talent on their hands.
Since then? Well, there have been ups (38 goals in the AHL during the lockout) and downs (this season comes to mind), but I think an important thing to keep in mind is that he's 24 and hasn't quite been given a full shot in a scoring role. Flames fans will likely disagree with me, but this season, Kobasew has averaged 13:13 minutes per game, which is the most he's played in portions of four seasons to this point. And while he managed 20 goals last season in just 12:16 minutes, he was seventh among forwards in power-play ice time on a team that was decidedly middle-of-the-pack with the man advantage.
Kobasew reminds me a little bit of Brad Boyes in that he is a first-round pick who produced in the minors and didn't flourish until he was a little bit older and had a legitimate scoring-line role. (That Boyes has taken a big step back this season is neither here nor there.)
I honestly believe we're going to see far bigger things from Kobasew in the NHL, but the question really is just how much better will he get and when will it happen? Because if we're talking about a Dan Cleary like five-year progression, Sutter was right to move him with his team in position to contend for the Stanley Cup this season.
If there's only one thing you can take away from this deal, it's that we've got a sellers' market on our hands here. Peter Chiarelli made out well for the rebuilding Bruins.
- Ference addresses Flames fans on CalgaryPuck.com