The NHL trade deadline saw a frenzy of activity. There were 30 trades in the last two days, that does not include deals earlier in the week.
The Central Division was a major player in the trades. The Blues made the biggest splash in the Central Division. The Blues acquired Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from the Sabres. They sent back Chris Stewart, Jaroslav Halak, prospect William Carrier, a first round pick in 2015 and a third round pick in 2016. The Blues went from a contender for the Stanley Cup to the CONTENDER in the Western Conference.
Following the Blues moves, The Wild shored up their goalie position by acquiring Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton.They surrendered a 4th round pick for Bryz. The Wild then added some offensive punch by getting Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick from the Sabres. The Wild sent Torrey Mitchell, a 2014 2nd round pick and 2016 2nd round pick.
The Avalanche got into the free agent frenzy by adding Reto Berra from the Flames. The Avalanche surrendered a 2014 second rond pick for him.
The Blackhawks responded to all the moves in the Central division by STANDING PAT on Wednesday. The Blackhawks did make two head scratching moves earlier this week. On Sunday March 2nd, the Blackhawks traded AHL All Star and Former AHL points leader Brandon Pirri to the Florida Panthers for 2014 3rd round pick and 2016 5th round pick. The second Blackhawks move was in the last two days, they acquired David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois for a 2014 second pick.
While the rest of the Central was addressing needs the Blackhawks traded a potential second line center for draft picks and added a well traveled /never used defenseman.
Here is my interpretation of Stan Bowman’s actions. As stated in previous articles on Blackhawkup.com, Bowman is not known for a big move at the deadline. He usually makes an under the radar move that pays off in the short-term and long-term for the Blackhawks examples: Johnny Oduya, Nick Leddy, and Michal Handzus were acquired at previous deadlines. Bowman did address the Blackhawks needs before the deadline at a cheaper cost.
Bowman addressed the second line center issue by acquiring Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard from the New York Islanders on Feburary 6th. After acquiring Regin and Marc-Bouchard, Bowman was done with the second line center role. He was not going to get into the David Legwand sweepstakes.
With Regin and Marc Bouchard in the Blackhawks system, Brandon Pirri became expendable. Pirri was never a favorite of the Blackhawks coaching staff and he was never going to play consistently at the NHL level. Bowman decided to deal Pirri. The Pirri move also to freed up salary at the NHL level. Even though Pirri was playing at the AHL level, his salary was still counting against the NHL cap. His cap hit was 618,333 for the Blackhawks at the NHL level. By trading Pirri, the Blackhawks freed up money to acquire Rundbland and Brisebois. In the Pirri trade the Blackhawks netted a 3rd round and 5th round pick. If it any consolation to Pirri fans, this was the same type of compensation the Blackhawks netted from Winnipeg for Michael Frolik.
The acquisition of Rundblad is a bit puzzling, Coach Quenneville said that he has a similar skill set to Michael Kostka. Rundblad will be in rotation with Sheldon Brookbank as the eighth defenseman. My thought process like many others was that Rundblad would be replacing Leddy or Oduya.
Bowman publicly stated that he not looking to do anything major at the deadline and he was true to his word. Do I still trust in Stan Bowman? I do trust in Bowman, without him we wouldn’t know players Michal Handzus, Johnny Oduya, and Nick Leddy. Bowman has been apart of two Stanley Cup Championship front offices. Until we work for a front office that wins a Stanley Cup, we can question Bowman methods.
For all your original Blackhawks content, stay tuned to Blackhawkup.com. You can follow us on twitter @Blackhawk_up or you can like us on Face Book.