3.07.2009

The comeback kids?

I saw an interesting snippet today while perusing The Hockey News' Future Watch 09.

Stefan Legein is back in hockey now.


For those of you who aren't aware of this young man's story, Legein made headlines late in the summer, claiming he had quit hockey. The decision was so questionable that it sparked debate for a good month or so before quieting down.

Now the young right winger is back, playing for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, and although he's still looking for his first point through 9 games, he's gained enough attention and shown enough potential to get back to #8 of Columbus' top 10 prospects.


Another NHL prospect who recently went through this sort of ideal was current Providence Bruins center Dan Ryder.
Last season, Ryder left the Quad City Flames 6 games into the AHL season, claiming he needed to take some time to think about his commitment to the game.
Ryder didn't return for the rest of the season, and his game has struggled since returning this season. Despite 9 points in 19 games with Quad City, he was sent down to the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL for 4 games, where he went scoreless, and then was traded and has gone scoreless in 4 games with Providence.


Unfortunately, this probably won't be the last time a young prospect with enormous potential questions their commitment to the game. And while it would be wrong to try and force the prospect in question back into the game, one can't help but feel somewhat more depressed at seeing someone with so much promise throw it all away because of a commitment issue.

Trade Deadline Analysis: Atlanta

All one has to do is look at the Thrashers spot in the standings to easily realize that Atlanta's purpose at the deadline was to clear out veterans to continue (or start?) a youth movement.

Their first trade was to send solid D-man Niclas Havelid to New Jersey along with prospect Miles Stoesz in return for young defender Anssi Salmela. Salmela was a highly regarded free agent coming out of Finland, and still has the potential to be a top blue-liner with some experience. He had 3 assists in 17 games with the Devils and was plus-1.

Atlanta's last trade was to send checking center Erik Christensen to Anaheim for prospect center Eric O'Dell. O'Dell will be another building block for the team in the future. The Thrashers might miss Christensen's shootout skills, though.

Those were the only moves made by the Thrashers. Many expected Ilya Kovalchuk to be involved in a blockbuster trade, as he'll be a free agent soon, is unsatisfied with the success in Atlanta, and would draw a strong return from many teams. However, the Thrashers will most likely look to the draft and hope that they can get a center to play with Kovalchuk; or hope that Bryan Little can develop stronger chemistry with the Russian left-winger.

3.05.2009

Trade Deadline Analysis: Anaheim

This is the start of a team-by-team trade deadline analysis that has no set time in length, although I'm going for a team a day.


*Anaheim-* The Ducks made several trades in February and March before the deadline, although only two of them are likely to have any impact.

Their first two moves sent center David McIntyre, acquired in the Brian Sutherby trade, to New Jersey in exchange for defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, and defender Nathan McIver to Vancouver for winger Mike Brown.

Their next trade was the major impact move, sending star left winger Chris Kunitz and prospect Eric Tangradi to Pittsburgh for star blue-liner Ryan Whitney. The Ducks are trying to break a three-team tie to get into 7th or 8th place, and Whitney will be an cannon from the blue-line to add offense, and will also relieve some of the pressure that Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger inherited when Francois Beauchemin went down with an injury. However, the Ducks, who have struggled on offense at different times this year, are sure to miss Kunitz and the 16 goals and 35 points he scored in 62 games with Anaheim.

Anaheim continued with their defender shift, sending Steve Montador to the Bruins for Petteri Nokelainen. Nokelainen will add a defensive presence to the Ducks 4th line when he plays. He had 3 assists in 33 games with the Bruins.
The next Ducks move was to send prospect Eric O'Dell to Atlanta for center Erik Christensen. Christensen will add depth offense, likely from the 3rd line. He has scored 5 goals and 19 points so far this year with the Thrashers, and will probably take on some of the departed Travis Moen's defensive responsibility.

The Ducks also sent prominent checking center Samuel Pahlsson to Chicago for defensman James Wisneiwski. Wisneiwski is a hard-hitting defender who's also injury prone, but should add good depth on the blueline.

Lastly, in a deal with San Jose, penalty-killing center Travis Moen and up-and-coming defenseman Kent Huskins were sent to the Sharks in exchange for prospects Nick Bonino and Timo Pielmeier, as well as a conditional draft pick.

Overall, the trades the Ducks made seem to be building up for the post-season while simultaneously trying to add some insurance for the team's future. The trade most likely to make an impact is probably the Kunitz-Whitney trade, but we'll have to wait for the playoffs to roll around to see who wins that deal.