Earlier today the Anaheim Ducks traded center Peter Holland and right winger Brad Staubitz to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenceman Jesse Blacker, a 3rd round pick (which could become a 2nd round pick), and a 7th round pick.
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Staubitz was on a 1 way contract, and had no place in Anaheim. As such, he has been playing in Norfolk this season, but the Ducks do not like to bury players with 1 way contracts in the minors, it costs too much. From what it sounds like, Staubitz was included as a favor for the Ducks.
Holland is a former 1st round pick, selected 15th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft. The Ducks actually had 2 1st round picks in the 2009 draft, selecting Holland and winger Kyle Palmieri. Since then, Palmieri has become part of the Ducks core of young players. While he's had a bit of a rough season, there is no questioning his skill set, but he is still adjusting to the NHL. He's at the point where he has earned his spot in Anaheim. While he won't play in every game, he has progressed nicely over the last few years. Holland has struggled at the NHL level. While he does have 1 goal this season, it was a bit of a flukey one. And in the last couple of season he has been passed in the depth chart by centers Nick Bonino (a 6th round pick of the SJ Sharks, acquired by the Ducks along with goalie Timo Pielmeier for Travis Moen and Kent Huskins) and Rickard Rakell (selected in the 1st round, 30th overall of the 2011 NHL Draft). And, with the addition of Mathieu Perreault at the start of the season from Washington, it quickly became clear that there wasn't a spot for him in Anaheim.
The Ducks started the season with Getzlaf, Perreault, Koivu, and Bonino as their centers. As the team has been rocked by injuries and illness, he was called up and played in 4 games. He finished with 1 goal and a -1 rating. Not great numbers, but not terrible. I think what really did him in were his faceoff numbers. He was under 40% in those 4 games. The Ducks 4 primary centers are all above 50% in the faceoff circle, and Rakell is winning over 47% of his draws. While the Ducks aren't deep at center, there is currently not a spot on the top 2 lines for Holland, and that's where he should be playing with his skill set. In the end, it became a numbers game and he simply didn't fit in with the Ducks. I wish him the best of luck in Toronto and hope he fits in. He's definitely going to get some games early on as almost every center in Toronto is either injured or suspended, and hopefully he can take advantage of it.
It is a little worrisome to be trading away a center, after the big 4, the Ducks have Rakell and then that's about it. Winnik has been at center for the last few games, and while he has played well there (in the little bit of Ducks hockey that I've been able to watch, bloody time zones), his faceoff numbers are quite atrocious. But, with the recent signing of Dave Steckel, dealing Holland isn't as big a loss as it could be. Steckel is never going to fit into the top 6, he could be a useful callup in the future if injuries continue to ravage this team.
In return, the Ducks get a young defenseman in Blacker back in the deal. He's a player that I know nothing about. The little that I do know is what I've gleaned from hockeysfuture.com (a great way to learn about young prospects around the league). From what it looks like he had some really good years in junior in terms of offensive numbers, but hasn't been able to replicate that success at the AHL level and has yet to play a game in the NHL. However, hockeysfuture.com says that he is a really good skater, which is why I think the Ducks targeted him. Ever since Murray became the GM of the Ducks, he has targeted defenseman who are or can become good skaters. Just look at the 3 youngest players who have played on defense for the Ducks this season: Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Sami Vatanen. All 3 of them are fantastic skaters. And in the 1st round last year, the Ducks drafted Shea Theodore, another defenseman who could turn into a great skater. So, even though I know nothing about Blacker, it sounds to me like he fits the mold of defenseman that Murray likes to get. Young, good skaters who can join the rush and get back on defense fast. Who knows if he'll ever make his into Anaheim, but having another young defenseman is never a bad thing.
Along with Blacker, the Ducks received 2 picks in the 2014 NHL Draft. The 7th rounder is actually the Ducks pick that they gave up to Toronto for Steckel last season. The 7th rounder will probably not amount to much, but late round gems are found a decent amount of the time. Besides, I've always been of the opinion that the more picks in the draft the better. It's either better odds at finding good players, or they can be packaged to move up in the draft and get players that you want. So while it probably won't impact the Ducks, you never know, this 7th rounder could end up being very useful for the team. Hell, Pat Maroon was a 6th round pick and Daniel Winnik was a 9th round, and both have done well in the NHL, especially Winnik.
That being said, the pick that is a lot more interesting is the 3rd rounder. 3rd round picks have a much higher chance of becoming NHL regulars. But, depending on certain conditions, that 3rd rounder can become a 2nd round pick. If Holland plays in 25 NHL games this season, that the pick will become a 2nd rounder. Current Ducks taken in the 2nd round include Devante Smith-Pelly and Jakob Silfverberg as well as prospect John Gibson. So if Holland ends up sticking around with Toronto, then that pick has a good chance to be a very high impact player for the future of the Ducks. As it stands, the Ducks currently have 2 1st round picks (as a result of the Bobby Ryan trade), and if this pick does become a 2nd round pick, then the Ducks will have 4 picks in the 1st 59 selections (NJ forfeited it's 1st round pick this year). The Ducks can either use all 4 picks to draft some good prospects and help replenish the number of players who have made it to the NHL level (Etem, Palmieri) or those who will make it in the near future (Rakell, Andersen), or they can package some of them and possibly move up in the draft to grab a prospect that they really like. Personally, I'm pretty happy with either scenario. So, hopefully Holland plays well enough for the Leafs to turn that pick into a 2nd rounder.
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