In an ongoing effort to make Actual Trade Deadline Day as painful as possible for those of us covering it, two more (relatively) big name players were dealt yesterday. Let’s take a look at the deals, and share some thoughts.
To St. Louis: Jay Bouwmeester
To Calgary: The Blues 2013 1st-round pick, minor-league d-man Mark Cundari, goaltender Reto Berra of the Swiss League.
Stipulations: If the Blues don’t make playoffs this year, the 1st-round pick in 2013 becomes a 4th-rounder, and the 1st-rounder gets deferred to 2014.
From where I sit, Bouwmeester was essentially traded for a first-round pick, which given the return on guys like Douglas Murray – two second round picks – doesn’t seem all that impressive. Actually, to hell with it, it’s not impressive at all. I haven’t seen either of the prospects play in person, but I’ve read enough about the two to think there’s about a 4% chance either play an NHL game, let alone become NHL regulars. So yeah: Jay-Bo for a good pick.
I suppose part of the reason the return for Bouwmeester isn’t great is his cap hit – the Blues are taking the entirety of Jay-Bo’s $6.68M against the cap, a number not a lot of teams are willing to eat given the cap’s coming freefall this summer. But I suppose when you’re sitting here on list of lowest cap hits…
…you can handle it. To be clear, that’s the Blues in 29th after taking on Bouwmeester’s salary. The two categories you’re seeing are “cap space” and “cap hit they could add at the deadline.” So like, they have room for all the players right now.
Whatever you make of Bouwmeester as a player, if you’re a Blues fan, he’s better than some random depth defenseman (way better, actually), so your team just got better, and remember, you basically gave up a pick for him. That’s a good deal.
And hey, Flames fans – you’re up to three 1st round picks next season (or two in each of the next two drafts) which is cool, but the best news of all: your team is utterly decimated, so you should plummet down the standings and get in the dogfight for one of those top three picks (Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin). Make no mistake about it: this is a team that’s also trying to acquire one of those guys via being terrible, and if last night’s game was any indication of what we can expect out of them going forward, I like your odds of failing/succeeding. Mikka Kiprusoff seems particularly motivated to shuffle his team down the table.
To Los Angeles: Robyn Regehr
To Buffalo: A second round pick in 2014, and a second rounder in 2015
Stipulations: Regehr has to pass a physical. Pretty standard.
Regehr was due to become a free agent this summer, and the Sabres are in untter disarray, sitting in 13th, and a mere four points back of last in the East. Speaking of hoping you eat garbage down the stretch – and we were – and I think it’s safe to say the Sabres have their eyes on one this coming year’s top-heavy (or just generally deep) draft class. They’ve also asked captain Jason Pominville for a list of (apparently eight) teams he’d be unwilling to go to, because again, they’ve checked out on the season.
For the defending Cup champs, they find themselves playing without Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene (injuries), and those two reliable thugs were a huge part of their Stanley Cup campaign last season. Regehr provides a big body who’s tough to play against (6’3″, 225), who’s only 32 (despite what his hairline may tell you), who logs a lot of minutes a night in Buffalo (over 18 a game). He actually plays a lot of tough minutes, and that includes the three-plus minutes a night he averages killing penalties. He seems like a guy who’s built for playoffs.
I see people kvetching about the price of a rental defenseman – “overpay,” “overpay,” “overpay,” they say on every deal – but I think it’s safe to say the price of acquiring one of these guys is more or less set. It takes a lot of time and luck to draft and develop players, so you can understand why turning picks into actual NHL talent for your team NOW is going to cost.
The Kings get better, the Sabres look to the future. I like it all around.