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Friday, June 24, 2011

What do you have on Draft? A trade you say?

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As I sit on my draft throne with my ISS draft guide (best 50$ I ever spent), my netbook, a bottle of scotch, some chicken wings, and a 55" LCD television, I am reminded of why I love draft day.

The trades!

First off, I have to acknowledge the pure insanity of Philadelphia yesterday. To trade Jeff Carter, that we saw coming, and the return was a lucrative one. However, to trade your captain in Mike Richards as well? This was a team that did falter when up against the Bruins this post-season, however it was a team that performed very well. Selling both of them, to me, was a mistake despite the extremely valuable assets in return. This leads me to believe they intend to make a big run for Brad Richards this post-season to fill that #1 center spot, unless they choose to elect to go with Daniel Briere and Claude Giroux in the 1 and 2 spots.

That said, it's been done to death. We'll see what happens.

Before the festivities kick off, I have to comment on the Maple Leafs acquiring defenceman John-Michael Liles from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for the Bruins 2nd round selection in the 2012 draft (thanks again, Tomas Kaberle, as the Bruins reaching the Cup final closed the condition on that trade that gave us their pick.) This, to me, is a solid deal - that pick will likely be between the 52-60 spot next season, and to me the acquisition of a legitimate puck moving defenceman for this price is solid.

Liles carries a 4.2M$ cap hit next season, below what Kaberle was making, and far less what the free agents on the market will see this summer. While we could have kept the pick, and potentially signed the likes of Christian Ehrhoff, Joni Pitkanen, or Kevin Bieksa this off-season, they would be overpaid in a sellers market... and for far longer than the one year Liles has left on his deal.

For those wondering, JML is a puck moving d-man, can quarterback a powerplay and make a very solid crisp first pass. He puts points on the boards consistently, and will likely see lots of time playing on the 2nd pairing with Luke Schenn, and getting plenty of PP time on the 1st unit with Dion Phaneuf.

The down side? He's got defensive limitations, and is by no means a physical presence (though more physical than Kaberle.) He'll make mistakes, but his skillset will bring more to the table than will take away.

I would also like to take the chance to mention the loss of E.J. McGuire, Vice President of NHL Central Scouting until his passing on April 7th, 2011 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was truly a solid presence as a coach, a scout, and in the hockey community. I can honestly say every year I looked forward to reading his analysis of the upcoming draft, and feel like this season is clearly missing something without hearing him beforehand.

Thoughts to his friends and family on a day where his presence was most strongly felt, but in the most superficial of areas.

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