Tag: draft picks

Kris Vertsteeg

Flyers trade Kris Versteeg to Panthers for a pair of draft picks


Mutual needs can sometimes get worked out well. After the Flyers went hog wild today signing Jaromir Jagr as well as Maxime Talbot to big free agent deals to join Ilya Bryzgalov in Philadelphia, the salary cap was creeping up on the Flyers. Consider that problem solved now as they’re hooking up a team that needs to add payroll in the worst way.

Philadelphia traded Kris Versteeg to Florida in exchange for either a 2012 or 2013 second round pick and 2013 third round pick. Florida adds Versteeg and his $3.083 salary cap hit to the team as well as his up and down production. He’s a guy that Panthers GM Dale Tallon is more than familiar with from his days in Chicago. Last year with Toronto and Philadelphia, Versteeg scored 21 goals and added 25 assists. He’s scored 20 or more goals for the last three seasons and he’s a consistent contributor that way.

For Philly, they’re happy to free up the space on the roster for Jaromir Jagr and make separating the lines a bit easier. Florida gets another guy that can score goals and helps make their payroll a bit more respectable. If nothing else, Tallon is doing his part to get people talking about the Florida Panthers again. With their signings of Scottie Upshall, Ed Jovanovski, and Jose Theodore the Panthers are doing work and adding money. How it translates into wins remains to be seen, but there’s a little bit of excitement in Sunrise.

For Philadelphia, you have to wonder if they’re making room for another signing or two by getting Versteeg out of town or if they’re just trying to give themselves breathing space against the cap.

Flyers blockbusters: Trade Jeff Carter to Columbus and Mike Richards to Los Angeles

Jeff Carter, Mike Richards

Back in 2003 at the NHL Draft, Philadelphia was able to select forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, a pair of guys the Flyers felt they could build around for the future and win the Stanley Cup with. Now, just a day before the 2011 NHL Draft in Minnesota, both of them on their way out of town in separate trades.

Thursday afternoon’s madness began with the Flyers sending Carter to Columbus for restricted free agent forward Jakub Voracek and first and third round picks in the draft. Voracek has been slowly emerging as a power forward force in Columbus and while playing alongside Rick Nash he’s become a better player. Carter has been a perennial 30-40 goal scoring center and now he’ll line up with Nash in Columbus. The Blue Jackets and GM Scott Howson have been talking about making a big splash this summer one way or another and acquiring Carter does just that.

The other stunning deal sees Flyers captain Mike Richards off to Los Angeles in exchange for Wayne Simmonds and highly touted prospect centerman Brayden Schenn. Richards will give L.A. a definitive second line center behind Anze Kopitar and a guy that provides a ton of snarl to the lineup. The Flyers getting Simmonds and Schenn gives them another young center to join Claude Giroux and Daniel Briere in Philadelphia and now an instant chance to make a splash in the NHL after Kings GM Dean Lombardi wouldn’t give him the green light last year.

The Flyers clearing out both Richards and Carter will now clear the way to sign goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to whatever contract he might want now. The rumored deal that Bryzgalov was looking for was a seven-year, $50 million deal with a cap hit of just over $7 million a year. With Carter and Richards both out, the Flyers have moved out 20 years worth of contract commitments to those two worth $102 million. Richards’ deal was a 12-year deal worth $69 million, good for a $5.75 million cap hit while Carter’s was a 11-year $58 million deal with a cap hit of just over $5.2 million.

(Update: Flyers sign Ilya Bryzgalov to nine-year $51 million deal)

With over $10 million gone from the cap, the Flyers now have $51 million committed to next season’s cap and with a salary cap of around $64 million set for next season that’s more than enough space to get Bryzgalov and Voracek signed as well as having flexibility to add elsewhere. It’s an unreal more for Flyers GM Paul Holmgren to free up this kind of cap space and a gutsy one as well as both Carter and Richards were beloved in Philly as well as being their top two centers. Now that role shifts to Giroux to lead the way up the middle.

For the Kings they’ve got their second center in Richards and with a potential trade of Ryan Smyth elsewhere, they’ll have to be a bit more active in the free agent market this summer to help give the team some depth. Giving up Schenn is a move that will keep eyes on the Kings and on Schenn’s progress in his career.

Thrashers trade Brent Sopel, Nigel Dawes to Canadiens for Ben Maxwell, 4th rounder

Eric Boulton, Brent Sopel

The Montreal Canadiens are doing their best to beef up their blueline before the trade deadline is up. Their most recent acquisition is former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel, whom the Habs acquired along with Nigel Dawes in a trade that sent Ben Maxwell and their fourth round pick to the Atlanta Thrashers. Sopel joins Paul Mara as the team’s recent defensive acquisitions, costing them a fourth and five round pick separate trades.

Sopel is in the last season of a deal that registers a $2.33 million salary cap hit. He is a rugged defenseman who had some shaky years in Chicago (only 23 games played in 2008-09, less than 15 minutes per game last season) only to become a difference maker in their playoff run, with his time on ice jumping more than three minutes (18:30) in that Cup chase.

Dawes has been passed around the league quite a bit lately, going from Phoenix to the Rangers to Calgary and Atlanta since March 2009. He only played nine games with Atlanta this season, spending most of his season with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL.

Ben Maxwell hasn’t registered a point in his 20 career games with Montreal, so Dawes and Maxwell probably more or less negate each other as marginal-at-best NHL players. Both will likely spend most of their time in the AHL for the rest of the season, although Maxwell might have more potential in the long term.

Is this move a sign that the Thrashers are at least in moderate sell mode? Ultimately Atlanta sacrificed some depth for a fourth round pick, which is basically a shoulder shrug move.

Late-night blockbuster: St. Louis trades Erik Johnson to Colorado for Chris Stewart


Whether the Blues and Avalanche were saving the best for last after a remarkably busy day for trades or starting Saturday off with a bang, the teams came together for a blockbuster trade. St. Louis trades former No. 1 overall draft Erik Johnson, defensive forward Jay McClement and a conditional first-round pick to Colorado in exchange for power forward Chris Stewart, rookie defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, and a conditional second-round pick.

To say that this deal came out of nowhere would be an understatement. There have been rumblings of late in St. Louis that they’ve had concern with how Johnson has played this year, but giving away a guy they took first overall in the 2006 draft is a shocking turn of events. This season Johnson has been quiet with five goals and 13 assists along with a -10 rating for St. Louis.

Sending him to Colorado means giving the Avalanche a defenseman they’re hoping will enjoy the change of scenery and go back to developing into the top level talent he looked like before injuring his knee back in 2008 in an offseason golfing accident. With how poor the Avs defensive play has been the past year or two, getting a talent like Johnson on board is the sort of player they’ve been dying to have since the likes of Rob Blake left town.

Adding a top-notch defensive forward like Jay McClement is an underrated addition to the deal. Colorado has one of the worst penalty-kill units in the league killing off just 78.0 percent of their penalties, good for 27th out of 30 in the league. Getting McClement into their lineup will help that out as the fans in St. Louis last year started a grass roots campaign to get him nominated for the Selke Trophy.

For St. Louis, they’re able to add a power forward capable of 25-30 goals a season and ability to make plays in Chris Stewart. Stewart broke out last year scoring 28 goals and showing great knack for the net and playing tough hockey. Think of it like the Blues adding another guy in the mold of David Backes. Considering how well Backes is appreciated in St. Louis, Stewart will be a huge hit. He’s missed some time this season with a broken hand suffered after a fight.

Shattenkirk is still very young on defense and while he’s shown a great offensive game, his defense leaves a bit to be desired. That’s all right as every team needs a power play quarterback and Shattenkirk can be that in the future for St. Louis. With captain Eric Brewer now out of town after being traded to the Lightning earlier Friday and Johnson on his way to Colorado, the Blues defense looks radically different. Shattenkirk will continue to learn and grow on the job with a virtually new Blues defensive corps. With seven goals and 19 assists so far this season, Shattenkirk’s offensive abilities are apparent.

Fans on both sides of this deal are going to feel like their teams are giving up on them. Stewart was beloved in Colorado while Johnson was the Blues No. 1 pick just five years ago now. Giving up that kind of talent hurts to see, but for both teams it’s a change in how they view themselves heading towards the future. Colorado gets a cornerstone defenseman to build around while the Blues add goal-scoring power forward to help fill out their ranks and make the team deeper up front.

The clichés about giving up something to get something good in return fully apply here, but in the end this looks like a deal where both teams can come out looking good. At the moment, however, we can’t help but think Colorado got better from this simply by adding a guy capable of being a top pair defenseman. With how bad the Avalanche defense has been all year, getting a guy of Johnson’s caliber was a move they had to make no matter how much it hurt to do so.

Ian White traded to San Jose, Derek Joslin to Carolina in separate trades


Carolina and San Jose got busy working the phones with each other today and cut two separate trades. The bigger of the two deals sends Ian White from Carolina to San Jose in exchange for a second round pick in 2012. White now joins his fourth team in 13 months having gone from Toronto to Calgary to Carolina and now landing in San Jose with the Sharks.

San Jose’s been in need of a better veteran presence along the blue line all season long and in White they get a guy who performed great last season with Toronto and Calgary amassing 13 goals and 25 assists. This year, things have been leaner for White pulling down just ten points, all assists, with the Hurricanes. Lately, he’s been a healthy scratch out of the lineup leading the speculation he’d be sent out of town. San Jose is hoping that a return to the Western Conference will help him find his game again.

In the other deal between these two, San Jose sent defenseman Derek Joslin to Carolina in exchange for future considerations. Joslin is 23 years-old and has been up and down between the AHL and NHL this year. In 17 games in San Jose, Joslin has a goal and four assists. While in Worcester in the AHL he’s got five goals and 27 assists in 55 games there. He’s a more offensive-minded defenseman and could find his game with more consistent minutes if he’s sent to Carolina right away.

These deals are a bit more important for San Jose in that it helps them out immediately along the blue line. It also helps them in the fantastic facial hair department in case Ian White decides to grow back his killer mustache for the playoffs. With Carolina adding Joslin it’s good for the future but getting rid of White’s contract gives them the budget space they’re looking for to make another addition to their team. They could be on the lookout for a defensive defenseman to help solidify their blue line and give them more of a stopper there. Their veteran guys are a bit more offensive minded in Joe Corvo and Joni Pitkanen and getting a stay-at-home guy would do wonders for them.