NHL Trade Deadline: Why The Blackhawks Should Remember The Phantoms

As trade speculation and rumors heat up all over the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks are in the enviable position of having cap space, quality veteran depth, and good organizational depth.

But before giving away any of the team’s top prospects, the organization should look back at the 2005 Calder Cup champion Philadelphia Phantoms for a moment of pause.

The Blackhawks are no longer a team hoping to sneak into the playoffs. With a young core locked up, the annual debate around the trade deadline and the Draft has become weighing short-term success against long-term sustainability.

And while the 2011-12 AHL playoffs haven’t started yet, the Hawks have a similar depth “problem” that the 2004-05 Philadelphia Phantoms did when they made a historic run to the Calder Cup.

Those Phantoms had great forward depth with some legitimate NHL prospects putting up solid numbers. But they also had a couple of young centers that were drafted the year before that were matriculating their way toward the NHL at a rapid pace.

The luxury of too many good players was great for the Phantoms, but ultimately the Flyers inability to adequately evaluate their organizational depth cost them dearly.

In 2004-05, the Phantoms top two scoring centers were both 22, and had really good regular seasons. RJ Umberger posted 65 points (21 goals, 44 assists) in 80 games, while Patrick Sharp registered 52 points (23 goals, 29 assists) in 75 games.

But the Flyers used two picks in the first round of the 2003 NHL Draft on centers. And while they both spent their respective 2004-05 regular seasons with OHL clubs, both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were brought up to the Phantoms for the postseason and were dominant. Carter had 23 points in 21 games and Richards added 15 points in 14 games.

Suddenly the Flyers were coming out of the lock-out with more prospects than they knew what to do with. Umberger, Sharp, Richards and Carter were all regulars in the Flyers’ lineup during the 2005-06 season, but not all of them could stay.

So, after a slow first 22 games, Philadelphia traded Sharp to Chicago in arguably the most one-sided deal of the last decade.

The Blackhawks acquired Sharp with Eric Meloche in exchange for Matt Ellison and a third round draft pick.

While I don’t need to point out what Sharp has meant to the Blackhawks, the moment of pause is considering what might be leaving the Chicago organization in a deal for what is hoped to be the “missing piece” this year.

In a market that is seeing the price for centers and defensemen skyrocketing with almost every day because of injuries to key players on teams with postseason aspirations, someone is going to grossly overpay for a guy they think fills a hole in their lineup today.

It’s possible to look at recent draft picks like Brandon Saad, Mark McNeill and Kevin Hayes and convince yourself that AHL veterans like Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri, who are both still only 20, are “expendable.” But the risk of moving a player with talent like Morin or Pirri in exchange for a role player to fill as short-term need could ultimately come back to bite the Blackhawks.

The image of Sharp skating around the ice in Philadelphia with the Stanley Cup raised above his head in a visitor’s sweater should provide all of the pause Stan Bowman needs when considering a deal.

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32 Responses to NHL Trade Deadline: Why The Blackhawks Should Remember The Phantoms

  1. Joe says:

    great article tab.

  2. You nailed it with this one Tab, I hope that Stan and the scouts do their due diligence when they put together whatever package they put together. It sure is nice to have this abundance of prospects and NHL talent though.

  3. jeff says:

    Tallon ia a stud. Yes that was a sick trade among many that fueled the Blackhawks rise from uncompetitive to champions in a few short years.
    I am slowly and cautiously becoming a believer in Jr. and I believe he will not to sell the farm come deadline time.
    But folks we are all kidding ourselves if we don’t believe the “win now” montra for many teams is full throttle. There will be several trades before this roller coaster is over and done.

  4. This piece really hit the mark. Great research and facts. I had started to become a little more critical of the make up of the team and was thinking we needed to make a significant deal…here’s hoping that good common sense and longer term vision is foremost in Stan’s mind as the trade deadline is neared. I would hate to see us lose a guy who could one day turn into anything close to a Sharpie…
    Again, great article Tab!

  5. John Sternagle says:

    Six short years later and the Flyers have none of them.

  6. wall says:

    Tab you make some good points… this was a GREAT Hawk trade/steal…

    But I assume that if the Bowman moves a Morin or Pirri type (unproven NHL commodity), JR. will be getting a PROVEN/KNOWN player (Moulson, Bobby Ryan, Getzlaf type) as a last “piece” to the puzzle. So while this was a steal of a trade- I don’t think any one here is talking about trading a Pirri for a Matt Ellison type (unknown NHL commodity).

    If Jr. deals it will be for something that will help us immediately– not Matt Ellison!

  7. Mike says:

    I have said it before, Hawks should follow a new youth movement. We need one or two D men that the system can not yet provide. There is no reason to trade prospects for any forward position. I would put Ben Smith on the permanent roster and let him find his way. Shuffle the young guys a little but let them mature a bit more and bring them up.

    I like Brunette but he and Carcillo will not be back. I hope we keep Mayers if he wants to play. Hawks will be contenders for years if they continue to develop the whole organization.

  8. Bonehead says:

    I too like the Hawks young players & have been anxious to see them in Chicago. Certainly Shaw & Hayes have not disappointed. I would love to see Dylan Olsen up for the rest of the season, I think he is closer to being a solution on the backline than what fans may think.

    That being said, this team still needs a true second center. I don’t think any of the youngsters project into that role. There are good solid kids in the organization but not projected “Blue Chippers”. Thats the problem being a good team & drafting late. They can’t be afraid of losing somebody to get better & address weaknesses. Stan has yet to make a mark on this team other than the Leddy deal for Barker. Remember the Sharp deal was Tallon’s. It’s time for Stan to step up & get the center they need to complete the top six forward combo’s. Maybe then Q could settle on some lines & help everyone understand their role.

  9. wall says:

    Bonehead- I think Bowman was responsible for Stalberg too! I know it is only 1/2 season of “good” Stalberg… but he has a boatload of potential- is a steal for the money he is paid… when they re-signed him for $900,000, I thought the only mistake was they didn’t try for 3+ years ( then again perhaps Victor’s agent wouldn’t go for it).

    Any how, #25 is the most improved player over the last 2 years… I remember last year #25 fell down every other time he battled on boards (first 20 games of season)…
    he has improved so much- in short time- and still could be alot better!!!

  10. Pat D says:

    Great Article. you really nailed on the head what the BlackHawks need to do. It Kinda shows you how sometimes no matter how attractive a deal may seem at the moment, it could come back to bite you later, case in point with Sharpie. I hope the organization thinks long and hard before making any huge trades, because smaller trades such as getting Stalberg seems to be a positive for the Hawks as his game continues to grow and mature this year.
    LETS GO HAWKS!

    I

  11. Brad Stevenson says:

    Great article Tab…and so true…

    I think the key here is what we get in return…if it is just a rental player to get us over the hump, then it becomes a huge risk, as winning the Cup is NOT an easy task.

    Bowman must be looking at what it takes to beat the Canucks and the Bruins…and for us to do that, we need more than just a decent rental player…so I would think that either Bowman gets what he feels this team needs to win it all, at a price that he can live with, or he doesn’t make any major moves at all, as one piecemeal move could end up hurting us a lot more than it helps us.

    Just think about this…does giving up Morin, Pirri, #1 draft picks and current players give us additions to allow us to out finesse the Canucks and out “tough” and out “system” the Bruins…because if these moves don’t, then it is a waste!

  12. Negzz says:

    Let’s not fall too much in love with our prospects as the success rate rule of thumb is hit and miss with players similar to those in the Blackhawks system. Pirri, Krueger, Smith and even Saad are not sure hits and you have to give up potential talent to get a proven player in return. The test of StanJr will be to acquire a key piece for now AND the future (particularly on D where we are soft), with a package that maintains our ability to run the remaining kids up to the show and develop them for the future. I’d move #4 AND a combo of 2 of any of those listed above for a Ryan/Getzlav and a physical defenseman. Takes talent to get talent and we need help on D and someone tougher around the net.

  13. Melissa says:

    Never really thought about like that. Great article. People over look that Sharp had just as many goals as Byfuglien in the 2010 playoffs. Without his goal scoring ability, leadership, and fun loving nature off the ice we don’t win the cup. I think he would be captain if Toews weren’t here. You never know which of these guys could be like Sharp. Who could of guessed that Hayes, Shaw, Saad…. would be as good as they are. Can’t get rid of these guys too soon and miss their potential like the Flyers did with Sharp.

  14. Greg says:

    As a Boston Bruins fan I can give somewhat of an unbiased opinion of The Hawks and the possibility of giving up prospects at the deadline. Jimmy Hayes is a relative so I will stay away from that topic as much as possible.
    The Ducks and the Canes are your primary sellers so lets look at them in this scenario. Bowman has to find a solution both long and short term. Ccontract length as well as redundance in the prospect pipeline are the two issues. If two players in the system have the same skill sets, it makes one of them a poss. To be dealt. Getting Sharpe back mid Feb will be like a trade in itself, but the emergence of Andrew Shaw makes Ben Smith the odd man out in any trade. Getzlaf has the same skill set as Hayes (more established obviously) but the Ducks will want too much for their still young captain and he has too much money locked up in his contract for Bowman to take on for one player. Shaw and Hayes are safe, it would be scary to see either go only to unleash their potential on the rest of the league. Saad is also safe, watching him with the Hawks early in the season showed he can seriously play. He nearly made the team as last cut.
    My instinct is that is Pirri and Ben Smith will be dealt in exchange for Tuomo Ruutu (banger who can score, a valuable piece in time for extended playoff series) and Francois Beuchemin will be the guys. Their contracts are also manageable, and with some of the great young talent in the pipe, he’ll need that cash to sign them so that they continue to guarantee future Hawks success. It’s a young players league now, and with guys like Taylor Hall, Hopkins, Skinner, Seguin, and Eberle on display each night it’s not a bad thing to have young stars in the making to offset what other teams throw at you. Youth is energy and hustle.

  15. Tab Bamford says:

    in the bidding war that is already in play for Ruutu, a package of nothing but Smith & Pirri doesn’t come close to getting it done. Sorry.

  16. Zmorg77 says:

    This is where the front office really earns their keep.

    In my humble opinion, the Blackhawks “expendables”(that actually have value in a trade) are as follows…

    NHL Players: Ben Smith, Brian Bickell (not much, but he’s young enough & cheap)

    Prospects: Kyle Beach, Brian Connelly , Shawne Lalonde,, Alexander Salak or Alec Richards if someone needs a goalie,

    Trade Chips:

    Consider adding M. Frolik to the package (if needed) for a quality Center

    Consider adding N. Hjalmarsson to to the package (if needed) for a top Defenseman

  17. Negzz says:

    #Tab- Agree it would take more than Pirri + Smith to get Ruutu and Beuchemin. Feel free to add your dog Bickell plus Hjalmersson and/or Frolik. If it takes a dif’t prospect you’d have to consider it, particulalrly if you can keep Beuchemin for 2+ seasons.

  18. Mike says:

    You guys are still talking offense. The team needs a tough stay at home #4 defenseman. Look at the number of goals given up. Hawks can not score 4 or 5 goals against the top 10 teams consistently. Bickell is expendable. A change of scenery could would do him good. Frolik is also expendable but he is the second best bottom 6 defensive forward. Hawks can let go of several forward prospects, they have many. But I think keeping Shaw, both Hayes brothers, Smith and Saad should be priority keeps for the future.

  19. Greg says:

    Tab,

    I was only talking about existing players in the pipe. It was not to say that 2012 draft picks wouldn’t be involved in the deal for Ruutu. I’m not sure Bickell and Frolik will be dealt. When scouts look at the tape, they’re going to see what we see each and every game. The players have to be ‘Valuable’ assets to be dealt and I do not see value in either. Bickell is more than likely to be sent to Rockford to work on his game in hopes of finding last year’s mojo. His confidence is shattered no doubt.
    I don’t see Stan mortgaging the house for Beuchemin and Ruutu, but he can afford to pay a bit more with the overstocked prospects he has as a result of the great purge. Ruutu knows Chicago having been in the system so his adjustment period will be quick. Mike, Beauchemin is a defenseman. Last night Bob Murray quoted as saying nobody is safe including Getzlaf. Beauchemin logged 25 plus mins last night and had 2 goals and an assist. Give the Ducks what they want (not too much but a first is ok seeing as it will be late 1st) for picks and make the trade conditional on extending Beuchemin 2 more years. The package for obtaining these two guys would not be outrageous. They will solidify the front and back end with grit, experience, and some scoring punch just in time for a cup run. Secondary scoring is a requirement for winning a cup. See Brad Marchand, Mike Rupp, Max Talbot, etc…

  20. Jared says:

    Oh wow completley ridiculous….philly was basically one goal away from winning the cup from us….if we lose game 6 surely we lose game 7…..and even though we did win we were completley and utterley out worked…by them….It’s becoming apparent that unless chicago is willing to part with a big name player….and the only one that makes any sense at all is unfortunatley Patrick Kane we will not get what we need. No sober Nhl GM would ever trade Getzlaf or bobby ryan or Parise for middle of the road players with no future and prospects that will most likely not pan out….You want those guys and your gonna have to deal your very top porspects and picks plus a player…..you spend years scouting and praying for a guy like Getzlaf you dont just trade for him and and say oh i guess will just draft another one next year. TRADE KANE…..I love Kane as much as the next guy great talent likeable fan fav and all that but you trade Kane Frolik Olsen (under no circumstance would you ever trade the hammer your most consistent D-man) and a 2nd, 3rd round picks for Bobby Ryan Ryan Getzlaf and Beachuamin…..we win the stanley cup the minute the trade is completed. These would all be players we could keep for years to come, at no real great loss to chicago…here is what it would look like

    Stalberg Toews Ryan
    Hossa Getzlaf Sharp………….(top 5 passer in the league feeding to sharp all year)
    Brunette Bolland shaw
    mayers Kruger hayes

    Keith Seabrook
    Beauchemin Hammer
    Montador Leddy
    John Scott……keep him on the bench for crying out loud teams arent as physical when they know he is in the bulding.

    Crawford Emery

  21. Tab Bamford says:

    Who said the Blackhawks need Getzlaf, Ryan or Parise? Furthermore, if you’re frustrated by Kane not scoring, what would you do w/ Getzlaf production AND stupid penalties on a nearly-nightly basis? I’m entertained by the premise that the Blackhawks are broken and need radical change just because Kane has 10 goals.

  22. Jared says:

    Getzlaf may take dumb penalties but he protects his players and doesnt just poke at the puck with his stick in the corner avoiding contact like Kane….The year we won the cup we also had Ladd 20+ goals and the same with big buff….with Kane not scoring and not scoring at all combined with lazy play….I feel a message needs to be sent to the players…basically saying If your not gonna do the dirty work and go into the corners then were gonna get somebody who will…..sending bickell to rockford, waivers, or trading him for a next to nothing pick might do the same thing….Ive never seen a hockey player over 6 feet around 200lbs play like he his 5″6 150lbs. Its time to trim the fat would you not agree?

  23. Jared says:

    Oh and im not a Kane hater I love the guy actually and proudly have a Kane U.S.A. jersey that I wore to Joe Louis the other day…..I just feel that people fall in love with the players when you need to fall in love with winning I think Kane is an amazing talent but he is expendable….Toews Hossa Bolland Keith Seabrook are not

  24. OMG…Jared…we’re going to acquire Ryan, Getzlaf and Beauchemin? You’re hallucinating…I’m surprised you didn’t add Selanne to the mix!

  25. jared says:

    LOL…. I never said we would thats why you and me and Tab arent NHL GM’s all 3 of us would be fired….and second why not? Gretzkey got traded didnt he….and Esposito? For Kane and draft picks the deal is possible I think Beauchemin or a defensemen like him is inevitable would you not agree? All 3 of the Duck players that are mentioned are reportedly on the block and 1 name repeats it’s self over and over on the interest level. DETROIT!!!!! What do they have to offer we dont? Anaheim is most likely gonna rebuild so why would you hold on to those 3 guys it doesnt make sense. Either all 3 go or none of them go and I would love to see them in Chicago. 3 different players to 3 different teams or 3 players to 1 team. Blockbuster moves like this can and have happened. Remember Colorado? Oh and no not correy perry why would you trade your franchise? I never said trade toews and keith but it is something to consider.

  26. jared says:

    I meant consider the trade not Toews and Keith I may be ambitious but not stupid

  27. If we acquire any combination of 3 of the 4 names – Beauchemin, Getzlaf, Ryan, Selanne – for Kane and draft picks I’ll promise to connect with you and dinner and cocktails will be on me for the night. There’s no way those names will all go to one team. You’re right, we’re not GM’s and Bob Murray wouldn’t be for long either if he moved all 3 to one team.

  28. jared says:

    if we have what he is looking for he would…..look at the relationship we have with tallon…in florida…..and again colorado…..sakic forsberg deadmarsh foote krupp all to 1 team.

  29. jared says:

    And I dont think we will be having cocktails either i just believe it would be a good idea truthfully i feel the days of the mega trades are over as well but in order for us to win we need a major move….not frolik and campoli. if we do something of the same caliber this year as we did last year….its really gonna suck losing to detroit in the first round

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