Posted on: February 22, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:17 pm

NHL Trade Recap 2/22/2011

NHL GMs have been busy leading up to the 2/28 trade deadline with numerous trade being made already. Let’s take a look at some of the deals that have already gone down as of yesterday:

Colorado acquires Brian Elliot from Ottawa in exchange for Craig Anderson – I immediately Tweeted (@Ed_Welsh) about this one as I felt it was just a swap out of two mediocre goaltenders. Anderson has had one good season in the NHL and may never repeat it. Although, that is one great season more than Elliot. I have no idea why the Avs make this deal as it is my opinion that only the Sens have a chance of winning this deal.

Boston acquires Tomas Kaberle from Toronto in exchange for prospect Joe Colborne, Boston’s 2011 first round pick and a conditional second round pick in 2012 – Toronto gets real good value for Kaberle here. Colborne is having a pretty good rookie AHL season so far this year and the first and second round picks are just what the prospect starved Leafs need to re-stock the system. Boston has the prospects to be able to pay the steep price, although if they can re-sign Kaberle beyond this season, the price doesn’t seem too out of balance.

San Jose acquires Ian White from Carolina for a 2012 second round pick – The Sharks needed someone blue line help and they get it in White. Carolina picks up a low end second rounder for a guy that was basically falling into the third pairing.

Tampa Bay acquires Eric Brewer from St. Louis for Brock Beukeboom and their 2011 third round pick – Good trade for both teams here. Brewer was falling down the depth chart in St. Louis thanks to their tremendous young depth on the blue line, so they pick up some future in return for a veteran providing diminishing returns. For Tampa, it’s a small price to pay as Brewer is exactly the type of veteran presence they need as they attempt to go deep into the playoffs this season.

Colorado acquires Eric Johnson, Jay McClement, and a conditional first round pick from St. Louis in exchange for Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk, and a conditional second round pick – The biggest deal thus far with a marquee name on both sides. However, I like this for the Blues much more than the Avs. Basically, the Blues are in a much better position to lose Johnson than the Avs are to lose Stewart. With Pietrangelo taking the reigns as the #1 defenseman in St. Louis, losing Johnson is a easier pill to swallow, especially when you have bruising Barrett Jackman still around and you are getting an offensive puck-mover back in Shattenkirk. Colorado loses a budding power forward, with no one ready to assume that role and gets back McClement, who is best suited for thrid line center, a position they already had filled in O’Reilly.

Pittsburgh acquires James Neal and Matt Niskanen from Dallas in exchange for Alex Goligoski – I am on the Stars bashing bandwagon on this one. I don’t care how much payroll this trims. Neal has scored 20+ goals the last two seasons and is on pace to push 30 this season. At his age, it should take moving mountains to get him off the team. But instead, the Stars “throw-in” Niskanen and all they get in return is Goligoski. Goligoski is a nice puck-moving defenseman, but he has been wildly inconsistent and you are now hoping that he will gain that consistency by being higher on your depth chart than he was on Pittsburgh’s. This one is a slam dunk for the Pens, as if Niskanen responds well to a change of scenery, this will go down as an all out thievery.

Follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Welsh

Posted on: October 21, 2010 9:38 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 3:30 pm

The NHL-CHL agreement needs to be revisited.

For those who do not know, the CHL (Canadian Hockey League) is an umbrella organization that encompasses all three major junior hockey leagues (OHL, WHL, and QMJHL). Those leagues supply the league with many of the young players that are drafted each year in the NHL entry draft. 

In order for a player to be eligible to be drafted, he must turn 18 years old by September 15th of the year. Because the date falls during the year, you have players that are draft eligible for the first time with two different birth years. For instance, this year’s first overall pick, Taylor Hall, was born on November 14, 1991. The second overall pick, Tyler Seguin, was born January 31, 1992. 

Once a player has been drafted, he must either make the NHL roster or be returned to the junior club that owns his rights. My problem with the rule is that this is the case unless the player turns 20 years old by December 31st. Now, if Hall and Seguin did not make their respective club’s roster, they both would need to go back to junior for this season, but because of the different birth years, next season, Hall would be eligible to play minor pro while Seguin would still need to be sent back to junior.

Now, the CHL defends the rule stating that they need to protect the quality of the product on the ice. But as a developmental league, shouldn’t the primary function be the development of young players? I want to discuss two players from the 2009 draft class that in their second season after begin drafted, have no ability to play minor pro. Their respective teams decided to handle each player differently, but I believe in both cases, a disservice is being done to their personal development as hockey players.

The first player is Brayden Schenn of the Los Angeles Kings. Schenn was the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft and considered a high end prospect. He impressed the Kings last year enough that they almost kept him on the roster, but instead sent him back to his junior team, where he dominated. Again this season, he had a strong camp. However, the Kings are very deep at center and there isn’t a lot of ice time to go around for a rookie like Schenn. He has already dominated the junior leagues and has nothing to learn there except bad habits. So, rather than have Schenn bored with the lack of competition in junior hockey, they are keeping him with the big club playing fourth line minutes. This is a player that would be best served in the AHL playing on the first or second line playing key minutes and continuing his development.

The second player is Jared Cowen off the Ottawa Senators. Cowen was a highly rated defenseman that suffered a severe knee injury his draft year and saw his stock slip a little, getting drafted ninth overall. Coming off that injury, Ottawa sent him back to his junior team for the season after his draft year, wanting him to get a year to recover from the injury. Now, this season was a whole different situation. Cowen had a terrific camp and had many people wondering if he would make the team. At the end of the day, the signing of Sergei Gonchar and the remaining veterans on the team made keeping Cowen unrealistic. With no option to send him the the AHL so he could take the next step in his development, the Senators were forced to send him back to his junior club, where he will be just a year older and more mature, playing against the same competition as last year.

Playing minor pro hockey would be the most effective way for these players to continue their development as hockey players, but the CHL’s rule has both players in less than ideal situations. The NHL should really consider pressuring the CHL to change this rule to force players to honor their junior eligibility for only the first season after they are drafted. There have been too many players ready for minor pro in their second season that have been forced to either play 10 minutes a game in the NHL or be bored in juniors. Let’s act in the best interest of these young players rather than selfishly keep these players in junior well after they have outgrown that setting.

Follow me on Twitter: @Ed_Welsh

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com