Saturday, June 21, 2008

A look at the draft-day deals

Let's face it, picking winners and losers based on Friday night's first rounders, at this point, is an almost frivolous exercise. There are some players I like that were selected (Zach Bogosian, Tyler Myers) but given we're talking about 18-year-olds, projections are incredibly difficult.

At The Globe and Mail, Tim Wharnsby did a look back at redoing the 1998 draft, and the results saw an almost entirely different list. It's just tough to project junior hockey stars into NHL ones. It was when I watched the likes of Hnat Dominichelli outscore Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla, and it is now.

Where we can pick some winners is in the draft-day deals, and boy were there a ton of them (13 on the night, five of which involved players).


1. Florida traded C Olli Jokinen to Phoenix for D Keith Ballard, D Nick Boynton and Ottawa's second-round pick in the 2008 draft (49th overall, previously acquired).

Finally, finally, poor Olli can stop hearing the rumours. Jokinen's played for more bad teams than almost any player in NHL history, but the Coyotes are in a bit of a turnaround and he could be a big part of that revival.

He's scored 173 goals over the past five NHL seasons, missing just one game, and is signed at a reasonable $5.25-million cap hit through 2010. Only six players have managed more goals since 2002-03: Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, Dany Heatley, Marian Hossa, Vincent Lecavalier and Jaromir Jagr.

Phoenix desperately needed a big body down the middle, someone to play with Doan and some of the young talent like Peter Mueller and Kyle Turris. They're obviously quite thin on defence without Ballard and Boynton, but I imagine that's a shortcoming about to be shored up via free agency, and with a full season with Ilya Bryzgalov in goal, they'll be better than this past season.

Florida, meanwhile, is now defence-heavy. Boynton will be an unrestricted free agency after this coming season, while Keith Ballard has a year left on a $2.275-million deal before he is a restricted free agent again. Ballard's a talented young defender, and gives the Panthers a real logjam on the blueline.

I wonder if this means Jay Bouwmeester will, in fact, be dealt. Have a look at this depth chart on the blueline:

Bouwmeester - Allen
Ballard - Boynton
Skrastins - Van Ryn
Welch - Murphy

Even without Bouwmeester signed, that's $16-million dedicated to a defence that looks like it has five or six No. 4s. Although Mike Van Ryn may be a write off if he can't recover from some awful wrist woes.

Losing Jokinen also leaves a big hole up front for the Panthers, who will likely be players in free agency as well. Expect Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss to be tasked with picking up some of the slack.

Here's the Miami Herald's George Richards on his blog:
Olli's been Florida's leading scorer the past five seasons. JM must have really wanted Olli gone to make this deal. It's not the overwhelming trade we all thought was going to come down the pike.
The fans in Florida are upset.



2. Calgary traded its first-round pick in the 2008 draft (17th overall) and second-round pick in 2009 to Los Angeles for C Mike Cammalleri and the Kings' second-round pick in 2008 (48th overall, previously acquired).

Cammalleri is set to become a UFA, and I don't think he had any intention of sticking around the Kings organization. A contentious arbirtation a summer ago is a factor in that.

He's an underrated centreman, one of the few players who, at age 24, put up an 80-point season on a bad team in 2006-07 before running into some injury problems last season. He's very effective on the power play and could work wonders with somone like Iginla.

The fact his deal is also worth less than the outgoing Tanguay is also a plus.

I frankly thought the Kings could have received more for one of their young stars. Thirty-goal men don't grow on trees.

Rich Hammond, one of the best mainstream media hockey bloggers out there (probably the best, actually), was all over the draft from a Los Angeles perspective. He gives us thoughts from GM Dean Lombardi on the Cammalleri move:
"This kid is obviously a good player, but it became fairly clear to me that he was probably going to be a one-year asset, and it's very clear that our ownership wants a young nucleus. ... I think that arbitration process, people said the Kings won but you never win. Quite frankly it's a lose-lose situation. That was certainly a factor going forward. Our chances of losing him and not maximizing our value were pretty good."
Kings fans sound fed up with Cammalleri. It was a very difficult negotiation last summer when he was an RFA, so you could see this trade coming months in advance, really.



3. Columbus traded Colorado's first-round pick in the 2008 draft (19th overall, previously acquired) and the Blue Jackets' third-round pick in 2008 (67th overall) to Philadelphia for C R.J. Umberger and the Flyers' fourth-round pick in 2008 (118th overall).

Good for the Blue Jackets. They get a player who's coming off an impressive performance in the playoffs, taking advantage of the fact the Flyers are in a tight spot due to the cap, and still manage to hold on and use the No. 6 pick in the draf to get a potential star in Nikita Filatov.

The problem in Columbus is that they need to win now after years of icing a terrible team. Umberger will help, but he's a 60-point player at this point, not a bonafide No. 1 centre, and the Jackets' lineup is full of holes due to free agency.

Gone are Adam Foote, Ron Hainsey, Mike Peca, David Vyborny. Other than Umberger and star Rick Nash, the forward lines are Peter Crouch thin. GM Scott Howson has a ton of cap space to work with in free agency, however, and this team needs some major upgrades to make the playoffs: A No. 1 defenceman and more scoring depth, enough that, preferably, Umberger can be a solid second-line citizen instead of a first-line star.

The Flyers need help on the blueline, and Umberger made himself too expensive to re-sign in the postseason.

Columbus Dispatch reporter Aaron Portzline's another beat writer who did a nice job covering the draft. Here's his notes on the Umberger deal:
Umberger is not a prototypical scoring-line center. Hell, he might not even be a prototypical center. But look at the Blue Jackets' roster. Suddenly, he's a sure-fire, scoring-line center.

And this, folks, speaks to the larger issue ... look at the Blue Jackets' roster. Howson did what he could to get something done, but there are so few assets at his disposal that his hands were tied. In my draft prep today, I jotted out the Blue Jackets' depth chart. It should be called the "shallow" chart. When I showed it to one of the Calgary writers, he groaned. Then he said, "they got 80 points this season?"
Howson has perhaps the most difficult job of any GM this off-season.



4. Calgary traded LW Alex Tanguay and its fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft (138th overall) to Montreal for the Canadiens' first-round pick in 2008 (25th overall) and second-round pick in 2009.

Not a lot to get for Tanguay, who struggled under Mike Keenan and was rumoured to be going to the Habs for a lot of last season. He'd been a pretty solid 25-goal, 80-point citizen up until that point, so that's a win for the Canadiens.

Montreal has a bit of cash to play with and won't lose much via free agency, and if Mats Sundin joins the party, things look quite a bit rosier for a team that finished first in the Eastern Conference without the two expensive upgrades.

Tanguay and Sundin would easily be the highest-paid Habs, and would leave Montreal with its top four forwards all heading toward UFA for 2009.

I guess you worry about that when you get there.

Having a starting netminder on an entry-level deal affords GM Bob Gainey some spending money in other areas, and we're seeing how he's going to use that. Montreal was already the second highest-scoring team in the league last season and could be much more dangerous going forward.



5. Washington traded D Steve Eminger and the Capitals' third-round pick in the 2008 draft (84th overall) to Philadelphia for the Flyers' first-round pick in 2008 (27th overall).

An RFA, Eminger really didn't fit into Washington's plans and the Flyers, as noted above, need some bodies on the blueline.

After a lost season with the Capitals, he'll come cheaply and could round into the form that made him a 12th-overall pick back in 2002. There's talent there.



For the curious, below is a list of the draft pick-related deals made Friday. I imagine we'll see more moves made Saturday during Rounds 2 to 7:

6. Anaheim traded Edmonton's first-round pick in the 2008 draft (12th overall, previously acquired) to Los Angeles for Calgary's first-round pick (17th overall, previously acquired) and Dallas' first-round pick in 2008 (28th overall, previously acquired).

7. N.Y. Islanders traded their first-round pick in the 2008 draft (fifth overall) to Toronto for the Maple Leafs' first-round pick in 2008 (seventh overall) and - at the Islanders' option - either Pittsburgh's second-round pick in 2008 (60th overall, previously acquired) and Toronto's third-round pick in 2009; OR Toronto's third-round pick in 2008 (68th overall) and Toronto's second-round pick in 2009.

8. N.Y. Islanders traded Toronto's first-round pick in the 2008 draft (seventh overall, previously acquired) to Nashville for Florida's first-round pick in 2008 (ninth overall, previously acquired) and Florida's second-round pick in 2008 (40th overall, previously acquired).

9. Buffalo traded its first-round pick in the 2008 draft (13th overall) and its third-round pick in 2009 to Los Angeles for Edmonton's first-round pick in 2008 (12th overall, previously acquired).

10. Nashville traded its first-round pick in the 2008 draft (15th overall) to Ottawa for the Senators' first-round pick in 2008 (18th overall) and third-round pick in 2009.

11. New Jersey traded its first-round pick in the 2008 draft (21st overall) to Washington for the Capitals' first-round pick in 2008 (23rd overall) and second-round pick in 2008 (54th overall).

12. New Jersey traded Washington's first-round pick in the 2008 draft (23rd overall, previously acquired) to Minnesota for the Wild's first-round pick in 2008 (24th overall) and third-round pick in 2009.

13. Anaheim traded Dallas' first-round pick in the 2008 draft (28th overall, previously acquired) to Phoenix for the Coyotes' second-round compensatory pick (35th overall) and second-round pick (39th overall) in 2008.

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4 Comments:

At 4:11 AM, June 21, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

If Gainey can convince Sundin, next year is going to be a ton of fun. But if it's just Tangauy, I'm kind of "meh". When you have a LW depth chart that has Andrei Kostitsyn, Chris Higgins, and Guillaume Latendresse to start with, adding Tanguay doesn't seem as big of a move. But of course, they could switch either Kostitsyn or Latendresse to RW, or even Higgins to centre. Just don't try Tangauy as a centre, that's been a failure whenever tried in the NHL.

 
At 12:53 PM, June 21, 2008, Blogger ddawwidd said...

The Habs scored the most goals in the league, they weren't the second-best. You make the same mistake for a second time ;)

I was afraid they were going to trade Higgins. For whatever reason, there have been rumours about trading him since December I think. I guess in Montreal people really wanted him to become a superstar this year. That didn't happen so he's considered a dissapointment even though he had the best point total of his career.

 
At 1:32 PM, June 21, 2008, Anonymous Alec said...

The Coyotes had a logjam at D, with Keith Yandle, Matt Jones and (potentially)Nick Ross all ready to contribute.

So now you have a 1st pair of Jovo & Morris, 2nd of Yandle & Michalek and 3rd of Jones and Ross

The biggest problem is a lack of right handed shots except for Morris.

 
At 1:44 PM, June 21, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

The Habs scored the most goals in the league, they weren't the second-best. You make the same mistake for a second time ;)

The NHL's inconsistent accounting of shootout winners is to blame here. They're first in the standings-related GF (262-261), but second in real GF behind Ottawa (258-257).

 

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