Picks and prospects will prove to be valuable commodities leading up to the NHL trade deadline. GMs of teams that emerge as buyers (seemingly the vast majority of the league) might have to dangle key assets to land the perceived difference making players they desire in their quest to hoist hockey’s Holy Grail.
In no way am I stating either of these prospects will be dealt. While trade speculation is a guilty pleasure of many a hockey fan and hockey writer, I am not a proponent of meaningless trade rumour generating. I’ll leave that to many of the self-appointed hockey insiders.
The following are clever mockings of those who come out of the woodwork and claim to have a pulse on the inner workings of NHL squads:
- How to Make Yourself an NHL Twitter “Insider”: the E.K.L.U.N.D. System (On The Forecheck)
- NHL Fake Trades
The Trend: Dealing Picks Versus Prospects
The trend seems to be dealing draft picks rather than prospects as organizations make deadline deals. One possibility is that drafted prospects already have an established rapport with the team that drafted them, making it easier to deal a commodity that has yet to have a name attached to it. With any given prospect they would have by now had a hand, in some form or another, in their developmental process.
The bar has been already set by some of the intriguing trades that have already occurred. (See THW Trade Deadline coverage)
The Coveted 2nd Round Pick
It is no revelation that a second round pick can be very valuable. We’ve seen a number of these trades hands already leading up to the trade deadline (two each for Douglas Murray and Robyn Regehr) Two examples from 11 and 6 years ago at the trade deadline spring to mind (NHL.com):
Cammelleri, a stealthy sniper, may find himself a key piece for a buyer at this year’s trade deadline
2. March 9, 2006 – Boston acquired C MARTY REASONER, C YAN STASTNY and a second-round pick in the 2006 Entry Draft (LW MILAN LUCIC) from Edmonton for LW SERGEI SAMSONOV.
The Bruins took full advantage of acquiring the 50th overall pick by selecting Lucic, who was instrumental in bringing the Stanley Cup to Boston just five years later. The power forward continues to be a load to contend with for opposing defenders.
Here’s a few more examples:
A Dose Of Reality
Rarely does a blockbuster trade at D-day translate into a successful run to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. GMs contemplating making the biggest of splashes in the coming days must be weighing out their options, although somebody somewhere will surely think that this time will be different.
If teams do decide to port prospects rather than draft picks to different postal and zip codes, here’s a glance at ten prospects (in alphabetical order by surname) that may find themselves changing allegiances come April 3rd.
NHL Trade Deadline: Ten Tempting Prospects
(Click on players name for up-to-date stats and/or profiles)
- Sebastian Collberg, F (Montreal Canadiens)
As I reported in my The Next Ones profile and interview with Collberg leading up to the 2012 NHL draft:
“He is first and foremost, a goal-scorer. The Swedish sniper possesses high-end hockey instincts, able to create his own chances. Augmenting his pro-calibre shot is his speed and skating. Collberg is seemingly effortless out of the blocks and has very good top end speed. He is also quite agile on his skates.
The Collberg hockey story continues to build as to go along with the aforementioned shot and skating ability, Sebastian is a calm and collected competitor. He has good puck skills and when presented with a breakaway or shootout attempt, he has tremendous confidence in his ability to find twine. As well, Collberg has shown the ability to play at his best, the bigger the hockey stage.”
- Martin Gernat, D (Edmonton Oilers)
The Oilers may have to part with one of their Twin Tower Martins on Defense, leaving Marincin in the fold, to strength the squad to truly contend for a playoff spot in the NHL’s wild, wild, Western Conference.
- Alexander Khokhlachev, F (Boston Bruins)
Koko was almost a Calgary Flame. Almost.
- Scott Kosmachuk, F (Winnipeg Jets)
As Jets All Out sums up the Winnipeg savvy 3rd round pick in 2012:
“Known as a feisty power forward for the 39-23-2-4 Storm this season, Kosmachuk has led the team in scoring with 65 points in 68 games – including a team high 35 goals.
Not to mention his 105 penalty minutes and plus three rating, Kosmachuk continues to improve steadily and consistently.
In his third full season in Guelph, the nineteen year old Toronto native has seen his production rise from 21 points in 68 games in 2010-11 to 59 points in 67 points in 2011-12 to this year’s total of 65 points in 68 games.
At 6’0, 177 pounds, the gritty winger has potential to be a Dave Bolland type player with his power forward type play and his scoring touch as of the last two OHL seasons in Guelph.”
- Dylan Olsen, D (Chicago Blackhawks)
While his progress from some has been deemed slower than desired, the potential for a key cog of a NHL blueline remains. From our 2009 NHL Draft profile:
“He has good size and is equally adept at playing in the offensive or defensive zones. He also possesses a good level of toughness and has that “umph!” to his game. Add to those components a bullet-like shot!”
In an April Fool’s Day tweet, the New York Islanders optimistically obtained his rights:
- Garret Sparks, G (Toronto Maple Leafs)
If the Leafs go after a netminder, Sparks may be part of the compensation going the other direction. The Leafs liked him enough to have recently signed him to an entry level contract. If it’s Mikka Kiprusoff the Leafs end up persuading to join them, then the Calgary Flames will likely ask for a different type of return given the abundance of goalies now in the system.
St. Croix (son of former NHL goalie Rick) was a potential 4th round steal. For the record, I had the talented center rated as a 2nd rounder his draft year. The knock on him is that he does all his best work on the perimeter, electing to rarely get in the greasy areas.
The Red Wings would also like to add a superior puckmoving defenseman. They were unable or uninterested (or uninterested in the asking price and salary) in landing Jay Bouwmeester from the Calgary Flames. Mark Streit’s name keeps arising, but the New York Islanders find themselves in the rare fight for a playoff slot.
Bluechip blueline prospect Brendan Smith is reportedly and understandably unavailable. The emergence of forward prospects Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen and Gustav Nyquist could very well make Tomas Tatar available. Tatar was a star back at the 2009 World Juniors, finishing tied for 4th in scoring, for Slovakia and has continued to make progress in the AHL.
- Sami Vatanen, D (Anaheim Ducks)
Vatanen has notched an impressive 43 points in 56 games for the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals.
Anaheim Calling offered up this scouting report this past fall:
“Vatanen is a small (5’10”, 176 lbs) offensive defensemen. All scouting reports speak glowingly of hisskating (speed and fluidity) puck handling, passing and shooting, but the few comments on the defensive side of his game range from “has not been any sort of liability” to “need to show notable improvement,” and all consider his size (or lack thereof) a negative.”
- Columbus Blue Jackets 1st Rounder 2013 (via Los Angeles Kings)
I’ll end off with admittedly a bit of a cop out as we do not yet know what prospect this pick will end up being. What I can tell you is that this is a very good draft class and the team that supplies the Blue Jackets with some temporary offensive fire power will be getting an opportunity to draft a key future asset.
As not to be a cop out, as a honourable mention:
It remains to be seen if any of the above assets will get moved on or before the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline, but even in a lockout shortened season there is no shortage of speculation and intrigue.
Feel free to add to the list in the comments section below or elaborate upon why you think the above prospects or pick will or will not be shipped off for a hopeful final piece to a team’s playoffs aspirations.