NHL Trade Deadline: What to Make of Recent Defensive Deals

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.

25 thoughts on “NHL Trade Deadline: What to Make of Recent Defensive Deals

  • February 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I think the prices that both teams paid were steep…if Philly can resign Grossman, then I would say they did alright, but Nashville paid a large price for a 37 year old…unless the Preds are planning on playing in the finals, then they way over paid.

    So, what does that say for Chicago…all the remaining players you listed are BETTER than Gill…what would we have to give up?

    Brandon Saad or Mark McNeil…NO WAY…

    That is why I have said playing the roll of sellers and not buyers may end up being the right move…you can say what you want about that game last night, but short of a first period burst, the Hawks and Crawford looked pretty similar to me…it was nice to get the win, but as is, I can’t see this team going very deep in the play offs, even with a J. Toews rounding back into shape…

  • February 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    BTW…while being far from perfect, both Lepisto and Olsen have looked good on defence…they both hit, skate well and look to push the puck up ice…why Lepisto has been rarely used this year, on a team with such poor defence is beyond me…

  • February 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I think that everyone watching the Hawks is waiting for a deal for a defensman. But if you watch the Hawks very closely, it’s our style of play that is killing us, not the lack of a defenseman. Everyone is screaming for a big, body checking defensman. If we could get him, would you take Nick Lidstrom? Of course you would. But last year Nick Lidstrom played 45 games without registering a hit. 45 GAMES WITHOUT A HIT!!!

    The game of hockey is changing before our eyes. They have taken away everything that slows down the game and now it’s basically pinball on ice. So what we need is speed everywhere on the ice. It’s about body position and speed, pure and simple. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Brian Campbell was worth his weight in gold”!!
    Now that he is gone, we can only wish he was still here.

    What we need is for the Hawks to change their style. We need to stop the run and gun style and play a more controlled game in all three zones. Against Nashville and the Rangers, we back checked better than in any game this season. We were aggressive on the PK and had net presence at both ends of the ice. Our turnovers were a little less damaging in both games, but we still need to work on giving up the puck alot less.

    Sami Lepisto? So far he’s been pretty good. He’s not big, but he moves the puck well and takes people off the puck without getting penalties. He’ll get better with more playing time. Dylan Olsen needs more playing time, too. I think we’ll deal for a defenseman, but definitely not a number 1 or 2.

    The goaltending will be just fine when we start changing the way we play. The better we back check and play in our zone, the better our goaltending will be. I agree with Tab and a few of the others on here, this 9 game losing streak was a long time coming. All year we were continually outshot, outhit, outworked and outplayed, but somehow we won our share of games. Now, we need to adjust to what teams are doing to us. That’s a simple fix because we have what every team in the league needs………..speed.
    We just need to use it correctly.

  • February 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Lepisto has looked good this time around but those previous times…not so much. He would giveaway or turn over the puck thru passes quite a bit. Last couple games tho’…he has been quietly solid. Jordan Hendry was like that.

    The remaining choices on that list….I dunno. I’m thinking StanBo isn’t gonna get nothing because there is nothing. I think there may be some bitterness for Kubina still…heck, I’m still bitter and it wasn’t my head he hit. The other D-men…no thanks. Like Tab states…they’re not Top 4. We already got plenty of 3rd line defensemen. We don’t need more.

    If a deal isn’t there, it isn’t there. People can harp on Stan all they want for him not pulling the trigger on a trade but really….if the only trade is to cough up our future….then that would be worse. Much worse!

  • February 17, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Exactly why you offer a 5th roung pick for Campoli – he moves the puck, gets involved in the offensive zone. After Gill, not much value.

  • February 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Campoli is considered 3rd pairing and altho’ he’d improve the 3rd pairing, I think they’re wanting a top 4 D-man.

  • February 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Why would you trade an asset for Campoli when he’s no better than what we have in-house w/ Olsen & Lepisto? We’ve already tried Campoli and it didn’t work. I’m not trading anything for a defenseman that isn’t going to be a top-5 guys. Frankly, the injuries to Montador and Hjalmarsson may have opened the door for Olsen to show he’s got the mettle to be part of the mix down the stretch.

  • February 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Popular or not, if I’m Stan Bowman I’m selling. The way the Red Wings, Predators and Blues are playing I find it difficult to comprehend that no matter what the Hawks do they can’t compete with these teams come playoff time. Especially with the goaltending situation. As far as I’m concerned there are only a few untouchables on the Hawks current roster, Toews, Sharp, Seabrook and Hayes. The Hawks have a great group of young talent that can’t make the big club because there is no room. Sell, sell, sell then call up these guys and see what they can do for the next few months.

    After the season ends, look at free agency and blend guys in the middle of their careers with the core and young talent. Don’t go after guys at the end of their career. I’m a huge Kane fan, but maybe he needs a change of venue plus he could bring great value. This is just my opinion, but then again that is probably why I am not an NHL General Manager.

  • February 17, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Why is it that the flyers obtained Grossman for a couple of picks and we would have had to give up our top prospect for the same player. Why couldn’t Stan have offered two second round picks over the next two years to get Grossman or throw in an extra third as well if draft position/year of the pick was the issue?

  • February 18, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Good article .

    Why do u think Lepisto has shown improved play lately ?

  • February 18, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I really like Olsen a lot .

    What’s chance he will stick with Hacks ?

  • February 18, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Brad and Hawksfan- Who would you sell? yes there are people like scott and bickell and lepisto, but to be a “seller” you need pieces a “buyer” would want. This would be guys like Hammer, Bolland, even Stalberg. We are still in the playoffs, and as long as we stay out of the 8 seed, we dont have to play Nsh, Det, or Stl until the conference finals. We have had success vs SJ, and that would be a winnable series. bottom 6 guys will only reap mid-low picks. Not worth “selling” in my mind. We are better off being buyers… how much we can buy is the question. we could offer a 2013 second for Kubina … and we can resign him for another year. 2 years of a veteran D man for a 2nd when we have plenty of organizational depth as is right now… sounds good to me!

  • February 18, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I agree that anything can happen in the playoffs. And most times it is who is hot going in so the Hawks still have a chance, but I think there needs to be a change in chemistry. Players I would look at dealing are Kane, Hammer, Stalberg, Frolik and Keith. I’m not crazy about going after Nash because of the salary cap hit and length left on the contract. I hate what the cap has done to extending contracts out so far. The guy you sign today won’t be the same player eight years down the road.

  • February 18, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I think the reason Lepisto is playing well is because of the injuries to the other D men. He’s allowed to make a mistake & not get benched right away, so he plays more relaxed which build his confidence hence his better play.

    I still believe there is a double standard by the organization which is causing problems in the locker room…..

    Tom J. has it right, we have the pieces they just need to be used properly i.e. match the player to the situation whenever possible.

  • February 18, 2012 at 8:45 am

    What is Brian Campbell’s contract status and what would it take to get him back? I am only half-kidding about that one…but in all seriousness, doesnt seem like much is out there defensively that is worth losing future talent for at this point. I dont see our GM going after any of these guys,and hope that he can acquire quality D during the offseason through free agency. As far as our style of play,yes,we have speed,thats what helped win us a Cup,along with 4 quality lines and solid D pairings. Speed kills,boys-use it to your advantage.

  • February 18, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Draft picks and current IceHogs…not the kids playing in the WHL…

  • February 18, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Olsen needs to stay… has improved our ability to seperate “O” from puck and in front of net.
    Glad Hayes is back… need to stick him in front of net on PP and give him 1st line chance on PP for 3-4 games, cuz we suck there!

    Agree w/ Brad (as always)… Hawks played much better/harder…. but, breaking down the game, we scored 3 goals on break-aways… (if that is product of great D, backchecking- great) but if it is happen-stance… we still are struggling w/ sustained offense and Power game/”half-court game”.

    On positive note… w/ Olsen looking good-I think Hawks chances of picking up quality power forward on the cheap are better than picking up a quality D-man on the cheap!

  • February 18, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I still don’t think that we will make a deal for a “difference maker”, but that’s okay. I still think that this team, when we play a defensive style like in 2010, can beat any team. Our problem is that we are NOT a patient team. Therefore, we make way to many turnovers and get back on our heels.

    In 2010, we would pressure teams all over the ice and create our opportunities. Now, teams can neutralize our speed, so we have to be a more patient team. Wait for them to make a mistake. As soon as they turn the puck over we need to jump on the opportunity. We need to stop trying to make fancy plays and trying to skate through three men in the neutral zone.

    The playoffs are a different season, boys. I think this team can go deep in the playoffs if we just realize that we are NOT the 2010 or 2011 Blackhawks. We don’t need a deal for one defensman, we need 5 players on the ice to THINK like one defensman.

  • February 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    There’s the Lepisto I remember! Nice pass to Brassard you ****in’ lunkhead!

  • February 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    With what is available and what Dallass (Dallas with the extra s) give me a break Saad being added to a potential Grossman deal I would stay put and let the domino’s fall and try to pick up whatever depth defenseman and centerman that may be available without fleecing ourselves.

  • February 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I really think we should try for Pavel Kubina if the price is not too steep. Bowman used bad judgement in negotiations for Chris Campoli who signed with Montreal for 1.75m. I think Campoli is as good as Montador for a million less. We needed Campoli this year. Also, Brent Sopel was available and would have loved to come back to Chicago. With Campoli and Sopel instead of Lepisto and O’Donnell, we would have been much better defensively.

  • February 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Can someone, Brad?, answer Pete’s question. I mean wow that must be addressed.

    I had Grossman in a yahoo pool last year, awesome +/- and hits were why I picked him up as an FA. I mean, just better the picks.

    The host of this site seems to think Jr. can do no wrong since it is too hard. tears tears.

    With that logic in defending Jr. from adding any worthwhile pieces in 2 years, he says ALL GM’s can’t improve their teams in 2 years. Really?

    I almost vow not to come back to this site when I see an argument that says “show me what you would have done” or “look at the context”.

    The context is we have STUNK in the standings for 2 years with Jr. at the helm and STL and NSH have taken off. STL got that power forward Stewart from COL for a top D pick that never panned out. I mean make a bold trade, something of perceived value (cough kane) for something of value.

    Kabina and Grossman go away and jr. sits by.

    Tab, if other GM’s can add to their clubs in whatever context you want to put it in, why can’t ours?

  • February 18, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    @Steve: the ignorance of your comment is painful. Indeed, if you vow to never come back, I’m not sure why I waste the time answering your questions. But I’ll do it for those that appreciate common sense.

    I have not, at any time, said Stan Bowman is perfect. But to ignore context is both naive and irresponsible. Indeed, the cluelessness is laughable. It isn’t logic that has kept Bowman from “improving” the roster, it’s called a salary cap, and a crappy free agent market. As I’ve pointed out now too many times, you can’t create an affordable superstar to magically fill a hole. The player has to be there to be signed, which hasn’t been the case. If you choose to ignore reality, I can’t help you. That approach defines stupidity.

    The context is that the Blackhawks made the playoffs last year, and they’re currently the 6 seed in the Western Conference. I’d first like to welcome you to the bandwagon, and secondly like to remind you that the Hawks went a decade w/ one playoff appearance.

    If you’re going to cry about the Stl-COL deal, answer me this: what equivilent to Erik Johnson was on the Blackhawks roster when that trade went down last year? The simple answer is: there wasn’t one. But if you want to ignore reality, again, good luck w/ that.

    Finally, I’ll invite you, too, to go ahead and put your money towards Bulls tickets next year and in subsequent seasons when kids like Brandon Saad, Mark McNeill, Jimmy & Kevin Hayes and other prospects that have been drafted/acquired by Bowman are contributing at the NHL level, and it’s painfully obvious what Bowman has done to improve the organization. What Philadelphia paid for Grossman and Kubina was more than either was too much. If you’re OK w/ mortgaging the future for a team that, in your eyes, doesn’t have a chance at the Cup anyway, then say hi to Bob Pulford for me.

    Harry Potter doesn’t run the Chicago Blackhawks, or any other NHL franchise. Magic doesn’t happen. Sorry to disappoint you.

  • February 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I agree that Bowman did the right thing by not trading any of the top picks like Brandon Saad, Mark McNeill, Jimmy & Kevin Hayes . Don’t sell out the future for a playoff run that likely won’t go that many rounds anyway unless team defense and goal tending improves. I would offer players like Michael Frolick, Rostislav Olesz, Kyle Beach, Shawn Lalonde and possibly Ben Smith ( Too small ) or Andrew Shaw ( Too small ) and maybe a 4th or 5th round pick.

    I think Nick Grossman would have been a good asset but Hall Gill ( too slow ) or Kubina ( not that good defensively ) would be worth much.

    Maybe they can get someone good like Toni Landon from the ducks, who is a good defensive D-man.

  • February 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    There’s no doubt that we need help on defense but there really aren’t any bargains in this bunch, nor is there the kind of player we need. It sure would be nice to have Brian Campbell back, sure we’d be closer to the cap but would have also saved having to blow money on guys like Montador, O’Donnell, and Lepsito, who can all fill a spot in the lineup but little else.

    Bowman gets a big F on his work last offseason, and the hope is that he first admits his mistakes and then learns from them. Elite talent is what we need, above average players at the very least, not a grab bag of lugs like he ended up trading for (Olesz, Carcillo, Mayers, Brunette, Montador, O’Donnell, and Lepisto). Add Morrison to that list and that’s really a reach there, we might as well add one more over the hill useless player to the team though.

    Now is not the time to look to fix this as the likelihood is that Stan will only compound his mistakes. Fortunately, most of these aforementioned players will be UFSs at the end of the year, along with, finally, Huet.

    When Dale was hired he said that his goal was to build the team from the net on out, he could have done better at this but at least we got a Cup, we won’t get another one until we can rebuild our defense so that we’re not among the lead leaders in total goals against. The time to look forward to that happening isn’t now.

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