Thursday, November 18, 2010

White Dealt to Carolina

2010/2011 NHL Statistics
To CarolinaPositionGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Ian WhiteDefense162461$3 million
Brett SutterForward40111$500,000
To CalgaryPositionGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Anton BabchukDefense173581$1.4 million
Tom KostopoulosForward171342$917,000

The Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes were able to swing a deal on Wednesday afternoon, swapping offensive defensemen and bottom six forwards.  The deal sees Ian White and Brett Sutter head down to Carolina for Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopoulos, which isn't quite a blockbuster, but it does shift around a fair bit of cap space, something that the Flames desperately need and the Hurricanes can take on.

The Hurricanes are taking on an experienced blueliner, who has some offensive upside in White, but a bigger (yet manageable) contract on a stuffed blueline for a team that is struggling kind of left his neck wide open for the chopping block.  Sutter, despite a lot of the speculation, was a target of the Hurricanes for a while, possibly hoping for some chemistry with his cousin, Brandon Sutter, much like the Hurricanes picking up the youngest Staal brother, Jared Staal.  Both White and Sutter have games that are complimentary to the Hurricanes' style and should fit in well.

The Flames picked up a defenseman that does have some decent offensive upside in Babchuk, especially with the power of the shot he possesses.  Babchuk has had some attitude issues in the past, but has returned to the NHL looking for better results.  In Kostopoulos, the Flames get a veteran bottom six forward, who should be able to provide some solid minutes and some responsible play in the team's own end.

ImplicationsThis is the first trade of the season that has any implication on the draft pool and it is both defensemen that are playing a role in the swap. White, who belongs to Dale B., will move to a statistically-better team in the Hurricanes, while Babchuk, who leads this trade in points, will be demoted to a lesser offensive team in the Flames, which may not sit well with Stacey C..  Dale and Stacey are currently 13th & 14th in the standings, respectively and the better-ranked team has come away with a better situation.  This may indeed pad the 6-point lead.

Salary CapThe difference in the annual totals between the players getting swapped is very noticeable, as the Flames are saving $1.2 million in the annual projection, which works out to be just underneath a million when you break it out into days.  That's a pretty nice number to save on for the Flames, who are also likely saving some cap space with Adam Pardy on the shelf as well.  The Hurricanes have told the hockey world that they will be a budget team this year, but taking on a little bit of extra cap space can be done, especially with some of their younger, more expensive entry-level talent in the minors, not counting against them.

If there was ever a team that was desperate for something to have happen, it would be the Flames, as they have been on a rocky road of late, which includes Wednesday night's loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.  None of these players were able to dress for their new teams last night, so the game almost plays as a mulligan, except the Hurricanes beat the Senators handily, so they didn't seem to mind being a little shorthanded.

I don't think this deal is terribly one-sided yet, but Calgary is playing with fire with a volatile personality like Babchuk in their line-up.  Babchuk does have the potential to be very good, but joining a new hard-defense system like Brent Sutter's, could prove to be a bit of an issue, potentially.

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