The holiday season brings one bummer for imaginative fans: their hypothetical trade ideas cannot (even potentially) become a reality until midnight on Dec. 27. The NHL is currently in a “roster freeze” period which means that teams aren’t allowed to make trades or waiver moves during this time.
It’s a nice thing that fringe players cannot utter the Step Brothers line: “You know what I got for Christmas? A crushed soul.”
Those worried about injuries can relax, though, as teams are allowed to recall minor league players on an “emergency basis.”
(H/T to Kukla’s Korner for the reminder.)
Columbus Blue Jackets fans had to be calling for blood on the heels of the team falling to a ridiculous 2-12-1 after an embarrassing loss to the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. It only makes sense, then, that (somehow still employed) GM Scott Howson … made another marginal trade.
In this case, the Blue Jackets sent offensive defenseman Kris Russell to the St. Louis Blues for hilariously named blueliner Nikita Nikitin. (If I ever have a child and name it Bryan O’Brien, I’ll have to buy him a Nikitin jersey.)
The Blue Jackets have “traded” with the Blue Jackets a couple times already if you count Ken Hitchcock’s surprising St. Louis hiring, but they don’t seem to be learning the lesson that the Blues should have imparted. That franchise sent a lightning bolt through their ranks with that coaching move while the Blue Jackets are trying to patch up the Titanic’s leaks with Band-Aids.
Want more abuse for this decision? Instead of being a lateral move, it might actually be a slight step back. Russell is a third-round pick from the 2005 NHL Entry Draft who has played in 12 games this season. Nikitin is a fifth-round pick from 2004 who only appeared in seven contests.
Here’s the only real silver lining, then: Howson isn’t making huge decisions while his career hangs on the line. People want big moves, but what if he made a blockbuster that saddles the franchise with another bad contract or inferior talent?
Who knows how long this sad little ordeal will go on, but one thing seems to be clear: it might just be a tragicomedy until the end.
Call it Kyle Turris insurance if you’d like, but either way, the Phoenix Coyotes got a little bit deeper at center today by acquiring Cal O’Reilly from the Nashville Predators. It’ll cost the ‘Yotes their fourth round pick in 2012.
O’Reilly showed flashes of brilliance in Nashville, but with the emergence of veteran pivot Mike Fisher and competition from Craig Smith, Blake Geoffrion and other youngsters it seemed like he was the odd man out. (Some wonder if this might be a prelude to a bigger move for the Predators, but we’ll see.) The Coyotes can always use a little boost to an offense that isn’t especially exciting on paper, so we’ll see if coach Dave Tippett can squeeze out more of O’Reilly’s offensive potential.
Coyotes GM Don Maloney more or less admitted that the move has at least something to do with Turris’ holdout.
“(O’Reilly) is good young center ice man, very clever, creative,” General Manager Don Maloney said. “I’m not overly optimistic that Kyle will sign with us this season. However, the door is always open for him to return. O’Reilly is a good player. We’ve targeted him for a while, a clever center iceman, quick.”
Exceedingly literal Predators fans can say that GM David Poile generated a “gain” in the deal, too; O’Reilly was drafted in the fifth round in 2005 (50th overall). His production in Phoenix this season (and beyond) will tell us if the team will regret the move in the future, though.