The Minnesota Wild made a significant trade last night, sending forward Craig Weller, prospect Alexander Fallstrom and their second round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft to the Boston Bruins for winger Chuck Kobasew.
Kobasew is an interesting player. To start with, he’s madly inconsistent, starting hot and hitting slumps or, as is the case this year, starting cold. He plays with an edge, but he’s not big enough to play a real power forward game. Kobasew played low-quality competition last season, but he did start a lot in the defensive zone . He put up a lot of points relative to ice-time (2.27 PTS/60) on a very good team, but the entire Boston squad last season finished well in that department. One other item of particular interest: among Bruins forwards, Kobasew was ranked second last in Corsi in 2007-08 (Petteri Nokelainen was worse). He finished dead last in 2008-09. He’s ranked last again this year. I know not everybody buys into Corsi, but there’s no way to convince me that getting outshot that badly – three years running – is the mark of a good player.
The Guys Going the Other Way
Craig Weller didn’t make the Wild out of camp this season; he has played five games for their AHL affiliate in Houston, recording one assist and a minus-two rating. Weller has size, plays a physical game and is willing to drop the gloves. That said, he isn’t blessed with an over-abundance of talent, cleared waivers at the start of the season, and while he may serve as depth for the big club he’s probably going to spend most of the season in Providence.
Fallstrom was the Wild’s fourth-round pick in the last draft, a Swedish right winger who came over to play at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Jack Barzee, with Central Scouting had this to say about him:
“I felt Alex was a good player last year but he was in the shadow of [David] Toews and [David] Carle at Shattuck, and behind those guys in development. But Alex went back home and worked hard off the ice, got bigger and stronger and now he’s able to carry the puck a lot longer. I’d be shocked if he isn’t taken between the third and sixth rounds, because he’s a player who has improved in every aspect that much.”
Meanwhile, Gare Joyce passed along this bit:
Skating is brittle. Saw him a couple of times. Decent player. A highly intelligent kid (on the Shattuck entrance exam he registered the second-highest score ever for a foreign kid whose first language wasn’t English). Comes from big money. Might not be a hugely driven kid. I like him as a middle-rounder.
All of which means that the second round pick is the most valuable piece coming back to Boston in this trade – unless the Bruins have big plans for the $2.33-million in cap space they just cleared.