After what was a wild trade deadline, NHL fans will wake up Thursday to what is a completely different NHL. Roberto Luongo is no longer a Canuck, Ales Hemsky is no longer an Oiler, and Ryan Callahan is no longer a Ranger. Alas, almost every piece expected to move (and some non-expected) did in fact move, making for an entertaining shuffle of the league.
For the most part, the Phoenix Coyotes stood pat at the trade deadline, trading no one on the NHL squad (Brown, Klesla and Rundblad were all currently with the AHL squad). The return was nothing to scoff at, as the Coyotes received Martin Erat, a second rounder and center John Mitchell in return.
The first move: the Coyotes shipped David Rundblad, a defenseman who had no chance to play in Phoenix and 21-year old defenseman Mathieu Brisebois to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a 2014 second round draft pick.
Rundblad was the Coyotes’ main return for the Kyle Turris trade back in 2011. If you equate the trade to basically getting a second rounder for Kyle Turris, it looks bad, undoubtedly. However, the second round pick included in that deal was a piece in acquiring Antoine Vermette from Columbus, so it may not be fair to equate the two trades on a one-to-one basis. To me, the highlight is this: the Coyotes were able to get a second round pick for someone that was never going to play for the Desert Dogs.
But that move is secondary to this one: the Phoenix Coyotes acquired winger Martin Erat and center John Mitchell from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Rostislav Klesla, Chris Brown and a 2015 fourth round draft pick.
[Details on the Erat trade]
Martin Erat projects to be slotted next Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata on the Czech line. Although he only has one goal in 53 games this season, Erat has a very consistent scoring history. He has scored at least 16 goals in all but three of his 12 seasons, averaging 42 points per season in his career. Not an elite scorer by any means, general manager Don Maloney hopes that Erat returns to his consistent ways with a move to Phoenix.
“We’ve been looking at Martin for a long, long time,” Maloney said. “It reminds me a little of Radim Vrbata when he fit with us, he left us and it didn’t work, he came back and has been a great player for us. We think Martin can thrive in our style, which is very similar to Nashville’s.
He goes on: “We think he’s a good player and if we can get him back to the level we think he can get to, this is a good deal for us.”
The other player in the deal, center John Mitchell is a 27 year old who has never played an NHL game. He figures to be a career AHL guy, but with Portland’s struggles (21-26-2 in 2013-14), a good player in the system may not be too bad of a thing. At 6’6”, 223 pounds, he’s a big boy whose best case scenario is on the fourth line. Really, Erat is the highlight, and Mitchell is just a trade equalizer and nothing to get too excited about.
But if Erat can find a groove with the Coyotes, then Phoenix definitely helped themselves as far as this trade deadline is concerned.