Just some notes to cover.
-We never did get around to analyzing the Smith-for-Desjardins trade, mostly because most of us here think it doesn’t matter in the long run. At least hopefully it doesn’t. If Ben Smith becomes the difference between winning a Cup and not, then there were probably bigger issues at play.
By now, everyone’s realized this is a cap move. Smith was signed for one more year, and there are alternatives for his 4th line/PK role next year. While Nordstrom’s past few strong games are hardly sample size enough to have convinced the front office to do away with Smith, it does at least offer hope that any gap will be made up pretty quickly. Looking ahead to next year, Nordstrom, Hartman, and/or Danault could all find themselves on the 4th line. If Garret Ross gains 30 pounds, he might even get a look too. (I also have this sneaking suspicion that if Tyler Motte were to leave Michigan after this season he’s going to be the kid who surprises everyone at training camp. But I doubt he leaves Michigan this year).
As for next year’s cap, and I’m going to attempt to do this without the aid of capgeek so god help us, I have the Hawks at about $64.5 million. That’s with Saad, Kruger, and almost certainly Nordstrom to re-sign. We’ll have the cap debates at a later date, but you can see what has to be done.
I think Smith was treated slightly unfairly, and you could have made this deal during the summer for some late round pick. Smith’s numbers were off, but he did suffer from rotten luck, the slide of Johnny Oduya behind him, and some other factors. However, he’s already 26, so this is pretty much what you’re going to get. A useful bottom sixer, probably will chip in more goals per year than he has this one, and basically won’t let you down. Seeing as how the Sharks have gone most of the year without a bottom six, he’ll be welcomed there.
As for Desjardins… well, I don’t see where getting slower and dumber really helps the Hawks. I have this fear that he was acquired partly to help the Hawks out-St. Louis St. Louis, while the Blues actually try and get away from that. As a possession player he sucks, and quite frankly the only line he could play on is Kruger’s and Q should set that as Shaw-Kruger-Nordstrom and not change it until training camp.
Which is why I’m pretty sure Desjardins is going to get the Peter Regin treatment this season, except not be as effective as Regin was when he finally got a look at center. Maybe it’s one more thing to wave in front of Brad Richards to actually threaten to healthy scratch him down the line. “Hey here’s another guy who can play center! Just sayin’!” But I doubt it comes to that.
-I’m also not going to get in a twist about Desjardins getting in tomorrow over Teuvo. You do have to see what he can do after all, just in case. And Bickell-Richards-Teuvo wasn’t going to be a long term solution to anything. The reason for that isn’t because of Teuvo either.
When Brad Richards was signed, we feared that as the spring approached he would start to fade. Yeah…
Well, having not scored since January 11th, six points in those 21 games kind of tells its own story. Looking at some underlying numbers, Richards has gotten clocked possession wise by the Lightning, Panthers, Bruins, Wings, and Yotes recently. And some of that was with Kane.
I want to say that Richards is suffering from some bad luck, but I wonder how many Hawks I can say that about without sounding like a complete loon. Richards’s 6.4 SH% at evens is the lowest he’s posted since 2008, but it also continues a slide that started last year.
His scoring chance numbers are holding steady from previous years, so maybe we can expect a small rebound. He had three himself against the Canes, but I don’t know what that portends to. It doesn’t feel like Bickell and Teuvo/Desjardins are the best linemates for him, but he hasn’t really earned playing with anyone else in a while. We shall see.
-Song for the day: