Tryin’ To Reason With Trade Season
It’s only been a few days since the NHL Free Agency Period began but it feels like my head is spinning with all the trades and signings like no other season that I can remember in recent history. It’s like when Jimmy Buffett sang about Hurricane season in his song “Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season”:
And Now I must confess,
I could use some rest.
I can’t run at this pace very long.
Yes, It’s quite insane,
I think it hurts my brain.
But it cleans me out and then I can go on.
We’ve seen contract buyouts and strange contract drops, LA Kings releasing Mike Richards for who knows what. The Rangers signed my two favorite Scranton Pens, Brian Gibbons and Jayson Megna to deals. However they shipped out Talbot and Hagelin.
T.J. Oshie went to Washington in what I think will be a major deal for them. Not because I think it will make them into an instant contender but because I think they will miss Troy Brouwer. I think his heart and determination will be missed hugely. Their signings of Niskanen and Orpik were huge gets from the Pens. The backline was greatly improved and the Pens never recovered after losing those two. Yes the Pens had great depth in Scranton with young studs, but they were a long way away from being ready to play at the NHL level and this has severely limited their ability to go far. More on that in a bit. I’m not entirely convinced either that T.J. Oshie is Washington’s missing link either, or that Washington had to do much. Washington had the Rangers on the brink, in fact as I’ve stated before, Ovie turned a corner in the playoffs. Ovie had me a believer. They built something last year and I think Brouwer was a part of that. Watching the Road to the Stadium Series special you could see what Brouwer brought to that team. I’m thinking this is going to affect chemistry more than many might believe.
Brandon Saad went to Columbus from the Blackhawks yes, but Anisimov is going to be a monster in that Chicago system. I know he’s going to play well as that third line center who can dominate and score. He’s not the young winger that they are giving up but Chicago is good at finding people to replace and retool. They are good at working within the confines of the cap. If they had to give up someone they got a great piece in return. They got many pieces in return. The obvious pieces at the top are what are keeping them there. The two big guns and their top D men. You can talk all you want about what they’ve given up here, but that D depth is huge.
I know there were a few other trades that made headlines for a few days, Dougie Hamilton from Boston to Edmonton, Milan Lucic to LA and Robin Lehner to Buffalo but the biggest deal for me was the Phil Kessel deal to Pittsburgh.
The Maple Leafs were looking to go in a new direction with a change in management and a need to shake things up after years of not making the playoffs. A new coach has come in and time has shown that Kessel isn’t working in the Leafs uniform. For such a talented player he’s been traded multiple times already, it’s unfortunate. Lots newspapers and blogs have said that the Leafs got the short of end of the stick because all that they got in return was Scott Harrington, Nick Spaling, Kasperi Kapanen, a 2016 third round pick and a conditional first round pick while giving up Kessel, Tyler Biggs and Tim Erixon. The truth is folks, Scott Harrington is a young consistent D man who played the power play at Scranton and picked up points while being solid at his own end. He will shake out to be on the 2nd D line, which isn’t a bad pick up. He’ll be solid and contribute. Kaspi has a world of potential. If he comes into his own he will be a top tier player. The Pens organization had designs for him. He was celebrated when he made his debut in Scranton in the playoffs. This kid has serious star power. As for the picks, if done properly, we all know what can be gotten in the draft. Do I think the Leafs got robbed? Definitely not. I think the Leafs have done themselves a world of good. They’ve gotten younger and gotten assets to build with. They are working for the future. Kessel wasn’t part of that future. The Pens have to wonder with all the money tied into the top tier players if they have the depth to compete, especially considering their goalie situation and the defense needs some serious work. From my perspective, I believe the Leafs made themselves way better.
But what do I know? I can’t reason with trade season.