As the NHL Trade Deadline now history, there wasn’t too much excitement for the moves made on the actual deadline day. Even with that, there were some trades that had some AHL repercussions. This is my attempt to break it down and make sense of why these guys are on the move and what they can bring.
One of the more notable names that got moved was that of Sven Baertschi who moved from Calgary (Adirondack) to Vancouver (Utica). While you could argue that Baertschi got jerked around in the Calgary organization, the move to Utica could be the best fit; especially given the history he has with head coach Travis Green. Green was the coach in Portland of the WHL when Baertschi was playing there in juniors and where Baertschi amassed 179 points in 113 games. After a point-per-game February for Baertschi, it could be the change of scenery he needs in order to fully achieve his potential as a former 1st round pick.
Utica also loaded up in acquiring Cory Conacher from Bridgeport for Dustin Jeffrey. Conacher is a former Calder Cup champion and has a knack for scoring– seeing him put up five goals and 22 points in 28 games with Bridgeport. Conacher had a big season in 2011-12 and has been up and down from the NHL and AHL since then. With the Comets getting back Jacob Markstrom and Alex Biega back from the Canucks, they will be looking to keep their hot streak rolling through into the playoffs. However, they do lose Jeffrey; who was the team’s leading point getter this season with 17 goals and 41 points in 49 games, but will be going to Bridgeport to help give that squad a bit of a shot in the arm in a more wide-open format with the Sound Tigers not being able to rely on their goaltending heavily.
The Lake Erie Monsters could be the team with the most turnover on the deadline day, as they said goodbye to Paul Carey, Mark Sgarbossa, and Karl Stollery; but welcomed Freddie Hamilton, Mat Clark, and perhaps Jordan Caron (depending on what the Avalanche want to do with him). It has been a down year for the Monsters, as goaltending and defense has been suspect at times with scoring being down as well– but a little swap here and there could help them save some face and play the role of spoiler. It could be tough for that, as Clark hasn’t been the most defensive defenseman in his time with Norfolk or previously Syracuse; but Hamilton could give a little upside offensively with his change of location– especially with his development stalling in the San Jose organization. If Caron stays in the AHL, he will give some experience and some offensive upside; but odds are he’ll get a fair shot up in Colorado– thus Lake Erie could miss out.
Paul Carey will bring some kind of depth scoring to Providence, as he was one of the leading goal-scorers for the Monsters– which doesn’t technically mean much. Another move the Bruins made was acquiring Zach Phillips from the Iowa Wild for Jared Knight. Phillips wasn’t able to find his footing in the Minnesota organization, especially after a decent junior career; but with Providence, he could be provided a chance to open up his game or to decently learn a new role in his game. The same story for Knight, who was a leading scorer for his team in junior, but the pro game transition hasn’t been kind to him. Knight will get plenty of time to hone his craft in Iowa, who are looking forward to next season to come sooner rather than later.
One guy returning to a familiar place is David Leggio, who was traded from the Islanders (Bridgeport) to the Arizona Coyotes (Portland) and will most like be backing up Mike McKenna as the Pirates push for the playoffs. Leggio spent the 2010-11 season in Portland when they were affiliated with the Buffalo Sabres and had a 22-12-5 record; but this season has been rough in Bridgeport with a 7-13-0 record and a 3.93 GAA and has been noted mostly for flipping a net on a 2-on-0 break. In return, the Sound Tigers receive Mark Louis; a big 6’4 defenseman who will be given the Sound Tigers a bit of a relief, who have given up the second most goals in the AHL this season. Louis is more of a stay-at-home type who won’t help too much offensively, yet will help stop the onslaught of goals against for the Sound Tigers.
A team that got a shot in the arm was the Springfield Falcons, who will get Rene Bourque and William Karlsson, both acquired in a trade from Anaheim to Columbus. Bourque is a three-time 20+ goal scorer in the NHL, but has fallen on hard times being in the AHL for a bit this season in Hamilton and will be assigned to Springfield to help their offense get back on track after hard times. Karlsson has been solid when called upon by the Ducks, but did get some decent work done in Norfolk, where he had eight goals and 24 points in 37 games in his first full pro season in North America. Without giving up any assets, the Falcons should use this to try and rebound from the second half of the season which saw the regress to the mean of the league.
Some other moves made at or before the deadline of note include:
-The Hartford Wolf Pack acquired Carl Klingberg from the St. John’s IceCaps. Splitting time in the AHL and NHL, Klingberg will give the Wolf Pack some secondary scoring as he had 15 goals and 30 points in 51 games in St. John’s.
-The Rockford IceHogs lost two defensemen when Klas Dahlbeck was dealt to Portland (then recalled by Arizona) and leading scorer TJ Brennan was moved to the Marlies. The hope is that Scott Darling and/or Antti Raanta will be able to hold down the fort for the IceHogs, who haven’t gotten much scoring support, but have been able to shut the door more often than not.
–Dany Heatley is on the move from Norfolk to San Antonio, despite Heatley not having a goal since December. Yet the big plan is probably for Heatley– who has been adjusting to his role in the AHL well— is for him to bring some veteran leadership and poise to the San Antonio line-up.