Calgary and Carolina Make a Deal
Amid talk about how difficult it can be nowadays to consummate trades in the NHL, the Carolina Hurricanes, recent 8-1 and 7-2 losers and sitting out of the early playoff picture, managed to make a deal with a Calgary team that is struggling to climb in the west.
Flames GM Darryl Sutter traded son Brett and an underperforming Ian White, and in return got Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopoulos, as well as about $1M in cap space. Carolina GM Jim Rutherford said he had been targeting Brett Sutter and White, and Jay Feaster of the Flames confirmed that after the Mark Giordano signing, Calgary was not going to be able to resign White in the offseason.
The deal really appears to be mainly about cap space for Calgary, who sit down in 14th spot in the western conference. Brett Sutter was a 6th round pick in 2005, and in 18 NHL games had only 1G and 1A and was -4. He was a spot forward, playing only 4 games this season, and is united with cousin Brandon. Ian White was a large piece of the Phaneuf trade with Toronto. In 339 NHL games, he has 123 points and is +5, including 12 points and +7 in 27 games after the trade last season. However, White (as with many Flames) stumbled out of the gate, with 6 points and an ugly -10 in 16 games so far. His almost $3M 1-year deal comes off the Flames’ books, and he is reunited with Paul Maurice who coached him in Toronto.
Calgary gets back Anton Babchuk, a former 1st round pick in 2002, who has put up 69 pts in 185 games, but has bounced between the KHL, AHL and NHL since being drafted. Kostopoulos joins his 5th NHL team, and brings some grit with 604 PIM in 475 games.
All in all, this deal likely works in Carolina’s favour, talent-wise. They acquire a young prospect who needs some work on his game, and a player they wanted in White who’s career has levelled off at top-4 NHL defenseman. Calgary adds another 30+ player (with some grit) in Kostopoulos, and something more affordable in Babchuk, considering Calgary has enough cash tied up in Giordano, Bouwmeester and Regehr. And going forward, cap space is becoming as important a factor on NHL rosters as scoring and intangibles.
Though none of the players were in the lineups for their respective teams on Wednesday night, Carolina went and beat up on Ottawa 7-1, while the Flames went down to another defeat, 3-1 to Phoenix.