So, Bryan Murray acquired behemoth goaltending prospect Ben Bishop from St. Louis for a 2013 second round pick. We don’t know much at this point, but we can probably read the following in the tea leaves:
1) That’s it for Alex Auld. Okay, maybe you didn’t need this move to know it, but I thought Auld didn’t get much of a fair shake this season. Ottawa preferred to play Anderson all the time: during both games in back-to-backs, after poor outings, against teams weak and strong. It’s tough to come into a game cold, and Auld never got on a roll. He has plenty of NHL experience. Given the chance, you’d think he might fill in suitably. Otherwise, why pay him a million bucks a year? Now, with Ben Bishop having arrived, and Robin Lehner going so far as to sabotage Craig Anderson’s frozen chicken so he can get his chance ; ), Auld is probably on his way to a ninth team in what will be 13 seasons. He’s still only 31; he’s cheap; he’ll find a home somewhere. Can Murray move him before tomorrow’s deadline? (Hint: no)
2) Ottawa don’t need no second round picks. This is just weird for a team that is supposedly rebuilding. Second round picks are the perfect trade resources – you’re not giving up a sure thing, but they have real value when you consider that the best way to build depth is with volume. I suppose Ottawa has only fastracked a prospect by taking a 25 year old, former 3rd rounder rather than wait the five years or so it takes a second round pick to pan out. But if you had told me that Bryan Murray would trade away both his 2012 and 2013 second rounders before the season was out-and both in deals for risky or unproven players, I would have said that that was unlikely, and taken your beer and poured it down the kitchen sink.
3) The team is not so sold on Robin Lehner. At least not yet. Sure, Bishop can play in Binghamton too, and they need the help, but considering he’s signing a one-way deal, we’re probably going to see an Anderson / Bishop tandem. Lehner is going to have to wait before he runs for mayor of Ottawa and crushes crime in his iron grip.
4) Tomorrow’s trade deadline will be boring for Ottawa fans. Given the complete lack of second rounders and management’s disinterest in trading prospects, Ottawa is pretty much set for the season. Maybe Murray trades a mid-round pick for some bottom-six depth. But it won’t be anywhere close to as interesting as when Alex Semin is traded to the Peoria Rivermen.
There are a few reason they are comfortable giving up the second rounds picks.
1) Historically 3rd and 4th round picks produce a very similar number of quality NHL players as 2nd rounders, and the Murrays have a ton of confidence right now in their scouting staff to find players regardless of where they pick.
2) They don’t like the depth of this year’s draft, so they don’t feel that the 2nd rounder this year is a big loss.
3) They have a ridiculous number of quality young NHL players along with a very stacked prospect pool already.
4) They would have used a pick on a goalie this year anyway, so this is the same result except they bypass the development process.
I agree with most of your points. Very similar to the Rundblad trade – skip a year or two of development by giving up a more valuable pick on a player drafted earlier. I like the tactic.
On the other hand, I’m worried about this confidence in the scouting staff. For one thing, all of Ottawa’s prospects are pure potential right now. No telling how many of them make it to the NHL. Secondly, their head scout left a couple of seasons ago, so I’m not sure if it’s the same staff who knocked it out of the park with Karlsson, for example. Only time will tell.
Pierre and Tim are the same people who made the decision to draft Karlsson and Cowen, along with several players who are currently dominating their leagues (Stone, Silfverberg, Prince, Noesen, Pageau). I agree that these guys are all still prospects, which doesn’t mean any of them will necessarily pan out, but Ottawa has some of the best depth and quality of prospects of any team right now. This allows them to operate much differently than a few years ago when they had very few guys in the system that were projected to become NHL players.
Wasn’t Ottawa’s head scout, now departed to coach in the SEL, the one who decided about Karlsson, recommended the Rundblad trade, etc.? Used to be a scout in Detroit, can’t remember his name…
Anders Forsberg. He has found them some gems in Sweden. He still helps them out even though he’s coaching in the SEL as well.
Pierre and Tim were the ones who make the picks though.
Another thing – there’s a difference between being on a one-way deal and being waiver exempt. One-way just means you get paid the same even if you’re in the A. Bishop could still get cut next year. This is a move for depth in the organization, not a reflection of Lehner as a prospect.
Yup, I know. Just figure that having to pay someone $500k to play in the minors makes it less likely.
I think in the case of a goalie like this they won’t mind. If Lehner legitimately wins the job they will send Bishop down. They’ve paid other guys pretty good salaries to play down there in the past. Locke, Benoit, etc.