Trade deadline movement of prospects

By Jason Menard

In all, there were 22 trades on 2009’s deadline day, featuring 45 players and 21 draft picks. While this year saw much more conservative prices on deadline day — no team was willing to mortgage the future on an upcoming UFA — there were still several deals that involved prospects that day and the days leading up to it.

In reverse order of their confirmation, here’s an analysis of the NHL deadline trades involved prospects.

1) Andy Rogers, D — traded by Tampa Bay Lightning with Olaf Kolzig, Jamie Heward, and a fourth-round selection for the Toronto Maple Leafs Richard Petiot, D

The Leafs were sellers at the deadline, undergoing a full-scale overhaul of their roster. While obtaining picks was the order of the day, they managed to pick up a prospect with potential in doing the Lightning a favor.

This deal was designed to allow the Lightning to use some of the Maple Leafs available cap space. And while the key asset was the fourth-round pick — and as Kolzig and Heward will likely never pull on a white-and-blue jersey in the future — they may have found a diamond in the rough in the form of Rogers. Well, diamond may be strong — but at least a serviceable cubic zirconium depth piece.

The 22-year-old Rogers was the Lightning’s first-round selection, 30th overall, in the 2004 NHL entry draft. He has spent this season with the AHL‘s Norfolk Admirals. Rogers has next to no offensive upside, but has shown a respectable defensive game. In time, he could become a fifth or sixth defenseman at the NHL level, but to date he’s shown signs of being a career AHLer. He will join the Marlies for the remainder of the season.

2) Nick Bonino, D & Timo Pielmeier, G — obtained by the Anaheim Ducks, along with a conditional 2009 fourth-round draft pick from the San Jose Sharks in return for Travis Moen, F & Kent Huskins, D

With Moen and Huskins both heading for unrestricted free agency, Anaheim managed to acquire a nice pair of assets in return for bolstering the Sharks’ depth. In Bonino and Pielmeier, they’ve obtained a pair of prospects who won’t see NHL action any time soon, but could be serviceable NHLers in the future.

Bonino, San Jose’s sixth-round selection in the 2007 NHL entry draft, has been lighting up the lamp at Boston University for the past two seasons. In 33 games, he’s scored 13 goals and added 24 assists as a sophomore, which is up from a freshman campaign that saw him tally 16 goals and 13 assists in 39 games.

Pielmeier was obtained with the Sharks’ third-round selection in the same draft. The German native has spent the past two seasons playing in the QMJHL and is enjoying a phenomenal season this year, with 30 wins against only seven losses. He’s earned a 2.65 GAA behind a .915 save percentage with the Memorial Cup-bound Shawinigan Cataractes.

Bonino will likely spend another year in the collegiate ranks, while Pielmeier could find himself in the AHL next season.

3) Logan Stephenson, D — acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks, along with Sami Pahlsson and a conditional 2009 draft pick from the Anaheim Ducks in return for James Wisniewski and Petri Kontiola

Originally drafted in the second-round of the 2004 entry draft by the Phoenix Coyotes, Stephenson was obtained by the Ducks earlier this year in a trade for Joakim Lidstrom. He’s already been assigned to the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford.

Measuring in at 6’3, 200 pounds, Stephenson has yet to come close to fulfilling his lofty draft status, with only five goals and 15 assists in three AHL seasons. He was expected to be a physical presence coming out of the WHL, especially following his standout final year where he had 10 goals, 43 assists, and an eye-catching 162 PIM in 71 games. With a deep NHL blueline, Stephenson will spend plenty of time in Rockford trying to reach that potential.

4) Kevin Lalande, G — acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Calgary Flames in return for a 2009 fourth-round selection

The Blue Jackets were active on the goaltending front, having traded away Pascale Leclaire for Antoine Vermette earlier that day. Obtaining Lalande bolstered their system. The Flames’ fifth-round selection, 128th overall, in 2005 has already been assigned to the Jackets’ AHL affiliate in Syracuse. This season he’s posted good numbers in the ECHL (17-5-4, 2.05 GAA, .932 save percentage) and at the AHL level (4-1-1, 1.94 GAA, .929 save percentage).

Lalande will have the opportunity to play more AHL games in the Blue Jackets system and show what he’s capable of. He took the Las Vegas Wranglers to the ECHL finals last spring.

5) Eric O’Dell, F — acquired by the Atlanta Thrashers from the Anaheim Ducks in return for Erik Christensen, F

For the second year in a row, Christensen’s found himself packing his bags at the trade deadline. And although this year’s deal doesn’t have the wattage of last year’s, where he was packaged along with Angelo Esposito, Colby Armstrong, and a first-rounder for Marian Hossa, this deal could play large dividends long-term for the Thrashers.

In obtaining O’Dell, Anaheim’s second-round draft pick, 39th overall, in the 2008 entry draft, Atlanta receives another solid young talent with an impressive offensive upside. The 18-year-old forward is averaging a point per game with the OHL‘s Sudbury Wolves, with 30 goals in 59 games. He’s also proven to be a defensively responsible player with a solid two-way work ethic. O’Dell likely will spend another season at the OHL level and should be among the league’s top players. While Anaheim gets an immediate NHL roster player in Christensen, O’Dell’s promise is far greater long-term.

6) Matt Lashoff, D & Martin Karsums, RW obtained by Tampa Bay Lightning from the Boston Bruins in return for Mark Recchi and a 2010 second-round draft pick

Not many teams showed a willingness to mortgage the future in return for a Stanley Cup run, but the Boston Bruins parted with a significant package to obtain Mark Recchi’s veteran experience and leadership by sending Lashoff and Karsums to the perpetually rebuilding Lightning.

Lashoff, a 2005 first-round draft pick who went 22nd overall, is a legitimate NHL defensive prospect. Over the past three seasons, he’s managed to find his way into 46 NHL games. And while he hasn’t much offensively to show for it — just one goal and seven assists — the East Greenbush, NY native has shown glimpses of his potential. While his opportunities were limited playing on a very deep and talented Bruins club, he should have plenty of opportunity to flourish on the Lightning.

Karsums may not be as blue-chip of a prospect as Lashoff, but he’s got legitimate NHL potential. The 2004 second-round selection has seen action in six NHL games this year with the Bruins and has shown an ability to put the puck in the net at the AHL level (20 goals last year, 17 in 43 games this season). The Latvian native is expected to serve as a depth player in the near future, but should get more of an opportunity than in Boston, where he was a healthy scratch in the four games preceding the deadline.

7) Ryan Wilson, D — acquired by Colorado, along with Lawrence Nycholat and a 2009 second-round draft pick from the Calgary Flames in return for Jordon Leopold

Colorado obtained this prospect, as well as Nycholat (who was signed off waivers just a day prior to the deadline) and Montreal’s 2009 second-round draft pick (obtained in the 2008 trade for Alex Tanguay), in return for Jordan Leopold, as Calgary was looking to add a reliable offensive force to their blueline.

Wilson was signed by the Flames as an unrestricted free agent this summer and will continue to toil in the AHL with the Lake Erie Monsters. In 60 games with the Quad City Flames, the 21-year-old Windsor, ON native had four goals and 16 assists, complemented by 86 PIM. At 6’1, 205, he has adequate size for a blueliner, but likely will remain as a depth option in the organization.

8) Anssi Salmela, D — acquired by the Atlanta Thrashers from the New Jersey Devils in return for Niclas Havelid and Myles Stoesz, F

The Devils obtained Havelid, an unrestricted free agent after this season from the Thrashers, who were able to obtain a serviceable prospect in return for the veteran. In Samela, the Thrashers receive a 24-year-old prospect who the Devils signed as a free agent in May 2008.

During the 2007-08 season, Samela posted personal bests of 32 points in 56 games in the Finnish league, evenly split between goals and assists. Since being signed by New Jersey, Salmela has been called up by the NHL club three times and has played in a total of 17 games. Although he’s only accounted for three assists in the NHL so far, he has enjoyed success at the AHL level, with eight goals and 16 assists in 38 games with Lowell. A restricted free agent this summer, Salmela will likely get a fair opportunity to ply his trade in Atlanta later this year and next.

The Devils also obtained Myles Stoesz, Atlanta’s seventh-round selection in 2007. The rugged Stoesz’s numbers tell the story — he’s scored four goals and three assists in 43 games at the ECHL level this year. But offense isn’t generally what he’s using his hands for. The 22-year-old has racked up 158 PIM this season (and 449 PIM in 107 career games with the Gwinnett Gladiators) and will add physical depth to the Devils’ organization.  He is not a true NHL prospect at this point, however, as his skating remains sub-par.

9) Eric Tangradi, F — acquired, along with Chris Kunitz, by the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Anaheim Ducks in return for Ryan Whitney

The Pittsburgh Penguins, top-heavy with rich contracts and deep in blueliners, managed to trade some of their surplus blueline help for an offensive boost — both for now and in the future. While Kunitz will fit into the NHL club right away, the prize of this trade may be Eric Tangradi.

Tangradi, the Ducks’ second selection, 42nd overall, in the 2007 entry draft, currently is second in the OHL in scoring — behind only phenom John Tavares. At 6’3, 214 pounds, he’s already living up to his future power-forward billing, and in addition to being a vital component of the Belleville Bulls, he played a key role with Team USA at this year’s World Juniors. In 54 games this season he’s scored 38 goals and added 50 assists. Add to that 61 PIM, and Tangradi is sure to bring a welcome mix of goal scoring and grit to the Penguins’ line-up in the future.

Some have already suggested that Tangradi was a second-round steal by the Ducks. Having just turned 20 in February, Tangradi’s junior days are finished following the season and he should find himself a steady job in Wilkes Barre/Scranton next season.