Today we finish the first half of the 29 Trades series by making deals with all the clubs in the old Northeast Division. There are some promising deals to be had. I only trade Bobby Ryan twice today, I think thats 5 times out of 15 deals, which for me is really impressive. The festivities begin with a trip to Bob Murray's favorite trading buddies in Toronto.
Why Toronto does it: Phaneuf is expensive - $6.5M cap hit - and he hasn't turned into the clear-cut No.1 defender they wanted, despite the fact that he's eating a ton of minutes. Jake Gardiner is in the pipeline, and Toronto probably wants to spend a lot of money on getting that top line center so that they don't have to pay Tyler Bozak a ton of money he probably isn't worth.
Holland makes them younger up front and can add talent to a bottom 6 that is probably full of too much grit. He can also evolve into a 2C replacement if Toronto successfully tracks down Vinny Lecavalier or some other veteran 2C. Vatanen makes them younger and more mobile on the back end and he's under contract which will be a nice change of pace for a team that has 3 RFAs on their blue line, and is obviously trading us one.
Why Toronto doesn't do it: Phaneuf is arguably the best guy on the blue line. Moreover, the information on the Leafs being interested in moving him is lukewarm at best. It's likely that they will listen to an offer and probably want to be blown away. This deal might not be enough for that. Plus, GM Dave Nonis may not have had his lunch eaten on the Jonathan Bernier trade, but Dean Lombardi definitely opened the box and took his cookie. Trading a big name player might be too much criticism for the new GM.
Why the Ducks do it: Phaneuf can be an impact player on the blueline. He hits. He shoots. He's got a nasty streak and maybe he and Getzlaf can turn that old WHL rivalry into some good chemistry. We need upgrades on defense and Phaneuf is undeniably one. He logs tough minutes and can play hom with Cam Fowler, since pairing him with Francois Beauchemin probably isn't the right answer. Maybe, just maybe, Phaneuf will enjoy being out of that fishbowl in Toronto. [Ed. Note: He's engaged to actress Elisha Cuthbert. I think I read during the lockout she's LA-based. - JN]
Why the Ducks don't do it: Unless we can come to an agreement in a negotiation window, Phaneuf is a rental and that's a big price for a rental defender, even a top pairing guy. We are going to want to keep him, and if he wants to keep that $6 million tag, it could be tough to hold onto him.
Overall Assessment: It's an overpayment for a rental, but a fair to good price if we can get Phaneuf to extend for somewhere in the neighbor hood of $5-6M. Honestly, I wouldn't mind giving him 7 years if he'll take $4.5 million a year. He'll be a top 4 guy for the next 5-6 years and maybe the full deal if he keeps up with Beauchemin's workout regimen. Toronto gets good players and a pair of decent picks. The only question for them is whether or not Phaneuf is a key piece going forward or if they think they can spend that money better someplace else.
The Ducks get: Jarred Tinordi
Why Montreal does it: Tinordi is a big defenseman and a tough one to part with. He's projected as a good shutdown defender. Money-wise, Yanick Weber gets a new contract right now. Unfortunately, Montreal saw fit to give P.K. Subban a short deal and he's going to take them for a ride on his extension next year. Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu are up for contracts the year after that.
Allen allows them to get some size in the deal and they are only married to that deal for 2 years in case something better comes along. Plus, they can afford to pay a bottom pair guy $3.5M; we can't. Beleskey makes them tougher on the wings, which was a problem in the Ottawa series. He has some skill and can spell Rene Bourque in the top 6 when Montreal gets mad at him.
Why Montreal doesn't do it: I'm sure they like Tinordi. He's a big defenseman who might have all the mean they need, so they won't have to get it somewhere else. Allen is expensive. As the cap goes up in the future, paying Tinordi might not be a problem.
Why the Ducks do it: Tinordi is a young defender with plenty of size and promise. He's one more young guy on a blue line that needs to get sorted out, but he'll be an NHL player. Moving Allen is icing on the cake. Beleskey is a bit of a loss, and so is the pick, but it's worth it for Tinordi.
Why the Ducks don't do it: Ummm...there really isn't a good reason. Unless Montreal decides they want a higher end prospect like a Rickard Rakell or a Kyle Palmieri in the deal, there isn't a reason to panic. The Ducks could be more than willing to part with a mid-level prospect, like Max Friberg; it's worth it. If Montreal wants this year's first, that's probably doable too.
Overall Assessment: I just talked myself into a better deal for Tinordi. He's good. Montreal could use parts, especially toughness, and while Tinordi is part of that solution, he might also be one more guy that it's tough to keep in the fold. The Ducks should make a call and work this one out, so they can get better on the blue line.
The Bruins get: Bobby Ryan, Sami Vatanen, 2013 first round pick
Why Boston does it: Bobby Ryan is an instant replacement for Nathan Horton at less than the $6M per year Horton is rumored to be seeking. Hamilton is a bitter pill to swallow, but the emergence of Torey Krug will help alleviate that pain. They'll have a little extra money to spend to fill in that last spot on the blue line, or to pay Tuuka Rask because they won't be spending it all on Horton. Seguin hasn't jumped David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron in the depth chart which means he's expendable. No one wants to play their 3rd line center almost $6 million dollars. Seguin can play the wing, but he's probably not an option to replace Horton, since costs almost the same money.
Why Boston doesn't do it: Dougie Hamilton is a high price and one they didn't want to part with before. Krug looked good in the playoffs though...real good. Like, I wanted to take a stab at getting him before they announced they wouldn't re-sign Andrew Ference. Hamilton is still a great prospect and he'll end up making an impact on the NHL level. He's a cheap option on the blue line, one Boston might not want to part with just for 2 more shots at the Cup with Bobby Ryan. However, the Ducks can't move Ryan and not get defense back
Why the Ducks do it: First, for all the financial reasons that have been stated again and again. Second, because Seguin instantly solves the 2C problem and he can keep up with Teemu Selanne and Emerson Etem, if the Finnish Flash plays another year. Finally, Hamilton is the big time defense product the Ducks need to get in a Bobby Ryan deal, while they help Boston out with a crowded forward situation.
Why the Ducks don't do it: They're giving a little more up in this deal. Vatanen is still a good defenseman. He might not fit the physical Boston mold, but he can fill in for Johnny Boychuk's slap shot on the PP, and that might drive down Boychuk's price in the long run, even $500K would help. Vatanen offers Boston options when they have to give up D to seal the Bobby Ryan deal. It's hard to walk away from a first round pick, no matter how late, in a deep draft.
Overall Assessment: It's an odd situation. I don't think this trade is necessarily unfair, but it might also not be a trade people can go for. It depends on how organizations value their players. Boston might not be willing to part with these players. It's a gamble for them, but one that can help clear up their financial situation going into the future.
Sabres get: Bobby Ryan, 2013 first round pick, Max Friberg
Ducks get: Thomas Vanek
Why Buffalo does it: They want to unload Vanek and get some assets in return. the first and Friberg are good pieces for the future. Bobby keeps them a little competitive going into the future. They still save some money.
Why Buffalo doesn't do it: They might be looking for a pure dump on Vanek and Bobby would be too high profile of an asset to take back.
Why the Ducks do it: Vanek is a real LW who can play on the top line and he might actually fit with the Twins. It's an extra cost for scoring [cap hit: $7.14M], but it might also be invigorating for the club. It lets Palms and Etem stay together on a second line. It's taking a gamble at a big reward. Plus, maybe he loves Disneyland and decides to stick around for a little less money.
Why the Ducks don't do it: It's hard to move Bobby for a rental, and Vanek doesn't necessarily solve any of the financial issues that Bobby creates in the first place.
Overall Assessment: It's a trade that, honestly, doesn't make a huge amount of sense. It makes a little bit of sense, but as more of a finishing move than anything else. Vanek could potentially be a guy who settles into this team and has a lasting positive effect. It's something to think about. Buffalo doesn't really have movable assets for us. No one wants to get in on Christian Erhoff, and they'd be a little foolish to give up on Tyler Myers right now. Drew Stafford is young and a key going forward. I think Cody Hodgson is kept too.
Senators get: Matt Beleskey [RFA]
Ducks get: 2013 third round pick
Why Ottawa does it: Beleskey adds a little skill and a lot of toughness to a line up that certainly isn't short on toughness, and probably wouldn't mind the extra skill. He can be a slightly cheaper Chris Neil for the Senators and give them some options up and down the lineup. He might even be able to spell in the top 6 fishing pucks for Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris.
Why Ottawa doesn't do it: They might not see Beleskey as worth the third round pick, and might be thinking something a little more later round. Plus, good GMs know lots of ways to pick up gritty depth players with heavy shots. Bryan Murray is a good GM.
Why the Ducks do it: Beleskey just had a pretty successful offensive season, for him, and he might be thinking raise. With guys like Pat Maroon, Devante Smith-Pelley, and Josh Brittain in the organization, there's no shortage of grit on the wings. Getting an extra pick is a good idea for a successful scouting staff.
Why the Ducks don't do it: Beleskey has been a fairly successful and flexible piece for us. Moving him for an extra pick and a few hundred thousand in cap space might not be their ideal move.
Overall Assessment: It's a move I kind of like. I'd like it better if we could get a player back, but there are options for the wing in the bottom 6 and saving a little money is good for cash teams. It's supposed to be a deep draft and the pick would be nice. The only question is if Ottawa sees the need.