Pontus Aberg

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Trade: Blue Jackets welcome back a familiar face in Mark Letestu in three-way deal

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Trade deadline day could be a snoozefest at this rate.

The trade: Predators acquire Mark Letestu from the Edmonton Oilers for Pontus Aberg. Predators then trade Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Why the Predators are making this trade: Picks are nice. Teams like draft picks. Aberg also hadn’t played in 10 days and his future in the Music City was in doubt. Perhaps the deal is part of a bigger plan for general manager David Poile, who apparently are in the running for Erik Karlsson. (Wouldn’t that be something.)

Or maybe another conspiracy?

Why the Oilers are making this trade: Two words: Fire. Sale. The Oilers need to dump pending unrestricted free agents and get something in return. Aberg is the return. He wasn’t a fit on a very strong Predators team but perhaps could offer something to the Oilers going forward. He has one year left on a two-year, $1.3 million deal.

Or maybe not:

Why the Blue Jackets are making this trade: The Blue Jackets needed help in their bottom six and get some with veteran center Letestu, who will likely be hungry to perform as he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Letestu knows the area well, having played parts of four season with the Blue Jackets. He has eight goals and 19 points in 60 games this season.

Perhaps some further context as well:

Who won this trade: Another one of these even deals, for the most part. Blue Jackets get depth, Predators grab a pick. But what do the Oilers gain in Aberg? He’s a cheap player going forward, but his metrics aren’t great. Maybe a change of scenery will help. Edmonton got something for a pending UFA, so that’s something.

MORE: Pro Hockey Talk 2018 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

World Junior Championships evaluation camp kicks off in Lake Placid

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It’s a bit early to start getting excited about the 2013 World Junior Championships set to take place in Russia, but the time to evaluate the talent is now.

The WJC evaluation camp featuring Team USA, Sweden, and Finland kicked off their week of action in Lake Placid, NY today. During the week, the teams will practice and face off against each other in scrimmages and the amount of future NHL talent on display this year is hefty.

Chris Peters at the United States of Hockey previewed the camp extensively and highlighting the Americans group of talent are 2012 third overall pick Alex Galchenyuk (Montreal) and potential 2013 top pick defenseman Seth Jones (pictured).

I’ve written about Jones here after seeing him in last year’s camp as a 16 year-old. Seeing how the son of former NBA player “Popeye” Jones has improved in a year is virtually worth the price of gas to get there.

Joining Galchenyuk and Jones for the USA will be a handful of other 2012 first-round picks in Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg), Jordan Schmaltz (St. Louis), Henrik Samuelsson (Phoenix), Brady Skjei (Rangers), and Stefan Matteau (New Jersey).

Sweden and Finland aren’t slacking off either as the Swedes will have 2012 draftees Filip Forsberg (Washington), Oscar Dansk (Columbus), Pontus Aberg (Nashville), and Hampus Lindholm (Anaheim).  They’ll also have some highly touted 2011 picks in Mika Zibanejad (Ottawa) and Oscar Klefbom (Edmonton) as well.

The Finns will counter with 2012 picks Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago) and Olli Maatta (Pittsburgh) and Sabres 2011 first-round pick Joel Armia who was impressive last year in WJC camp.

PHT will be in Lake Placid this week providing observations of Team USA’s games against both Sweden and Finland on August 8 and 9.

Get to know a draft pick — Pontus Aberg

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All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.

Pontus Aberg (LW)

Height: 5’11 Weight: 194 Shoots: Right

Team: Djurgarden (SEL)

Country: Sweden

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 6 among European skaters

What kind of player is he?

Aberg already has experience playing with and against men much older than him. He’s an enthusiastic player, but he’s already ran into some injury problems that has probably caused his stock to drop.

He looks like a bit more of a long-term project and it’s worth noting that, as The Hockey Writers pointed out, he’s tied to Djurgarden through the 2013-14 season. Still, he could develop into a top-six forward for the club that ends up drafting him.

He ended up with eight goals and 15 points in 47 games in his rookie season in the Swedish Elite League. However, his club, Djurgarden, has been relegated to the second tier of Swedish teams for the 2012-13 campaign.

Quotable:

“Started the year with vengeance as he was the first player to be nominated for the Elitserien rookie-of-the-year award however a series of injuries took their toll on him and derailed his season. Aberg is a fearless competitor who willingly hurls his under-sized body at players regardless of size. He compliments his competitive streak with a set of nimble hands and a sizzling shot. He is more shifty than he is fast and he will need to address his acceleration moving forward. Aberg would also benefit from being more selective in his physical confrontations for self preservation purposes.” — David Burstyn, McKeen’s Hockey

More draft profiles:

Nail Yakupov

Filip Forsberg

Malcolm Subban