While the Blackhawks continue looking for a defenseman via trade, two trades have taken place in the last 24 hours that are noteworthy.
How do those deals impact the ongoing search for the Hawks?
- Deal One
Philadelphia acquires defenseman Nicklas Grossman
Dallas acquires LA’s 2nd round pick in 2012 & Minnesota’s 3rd round pick in 2013
Grossman, 27, is a quality defenseman. He had only five assists in 52 games with the Stars, but was also credited with a team-leading 100 blocked shots and 96 hits while averaging just under 19 minutes per game in Dallas this year. Listed at 6’3 and 227 pounds, Grossman will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Philadelphia was looking to replace Chris Pronger in their lineup all season, and landed a good, younger defenseman in Grossman.
Certainly the Flyers paid a premium in moving a couple picks for Grossman because there is potential to bring him back after this season. He’s young enough that a deal to keep him around Philadelphia for a couple more years could be on Flyers’ GM Paul Holmgren’s mind.
ESPN reported that the Stars told Chicago GM Stan Bowman that Brandon Saad would have to be involved in a deal for Grossman and Bowman (rightfully) left the conversation. To get a couple decent picks for a defenseman in the final year of his contract is pretty good value for Dallas.
- Deal Two
Nashville acquires Hal Gill and a conditional 5th round pick in 2013
Montreal acquires Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney & a 2nd round pick in 2012
Unlike the first deal, there are players involved that help us evaluate what the Predators paid to land Gill.
Gill, who will turn 37 around the end of the regular season, is a big, physical defenseman who brings postseason experience and more size to an already impressive Nashville blue line. He was credited with 122 blocked shots and 48 hits in 53 games with the Habs this season.
Gill, like Grossman, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Geoffrion is a fascinating story. Heading back to Montreal is the son of former Hab Danny Geoffrion, grandson of great Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion and great-grandson of legend Howie Morenz. The former Hobey Baker Award winner turned 24 on Feb. 3, and had three assists in 22 games with Nashville this season.
Last year, Geoffrion showed some signs of being worth the second round pick the Preds used on him in the 2006 Draft. He posted 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 45 games with Nashville’s AHL affiliate in Milwaukee, and added six goals and a couple assists in 20 games with the Preds.
Slaney, 23, had 11 goals and seven assists in 30 games with Nashville’s ECHL affiliate in Cincinnati, and one assist in nine games with Milwaukee this season.
This deal boils down to a couple simple factors.
The Habs need scoring as an organization, and it’s hard to turn down the opportunity to bring a legacy like the Geoffrion family back into the fold. If he helps the Habs now, or signs an extension as a restricted free agent this summer and provides some scoring for Montreal is a bonus.
Meanwhile, Nashville making this move is a clear indication that they’re all-in this season. Indications are that this move does not indicate anything regarding the futures os Ryan Suter or Shea Weber other than management is giving them a team that can win now.
So what’s left for the Blackhawks?
Pavel Kubina, Tampa Bay Lightning
Sheldon Souray, Dallas Stars
Johnny Oduya, Winnipeg Jets
Jaroslav Spacek, Carolina Hurricanes
Bryan Allen, Carolina Hurricanes
Kubina is already on the market, and would fit the big, physical role the Hawks need. Souray would be a solid power play point man, but the comments about Dallas wanting Saad makes you wonder if there will be any more conversations between the Stars and Blackhawks.
Oduya, Spacek and Allen wouldn’t necessarily be improvements from what we’ve seen from Dylan Olsen and Sami Lepisto in the last couple games. None of those three would be a top-four defenseman in Chicago.
The more important factor to consider now is cost. A second round pick was included in both of these deals, and would likely be a starting point for a deal involving Kubina or Souray. Bowman will have to weight he potential impact of a defenseman in the final year of his contract against the value of a the picks and/or prospects heading out the door.