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Prospects, picks coming back in trades can pay off

by Mike G. Morreale

In a span of five days last week, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero dealt three prospects, three draft picks and one conditional pick for three veteran players in three separate deals in an attempt to shore up his roster for the stretch run.

While everyone is familiar with the veteran players the Penguins acquired in forwards Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow and defenseman Douglas Murray, it remains to be seen if the teams receiving those potential blue chip prospects and draft picks will ultimately hit the jackpot.

It's not unusual to see these types of deals gaining attention leading up to the National Hockey League Trade Deadline, particularly this season with just a dozen games left in the regular season for a majority of clubs. Still, the warp speed with which Shero made them is not only a credit to the GM himself, but his entire scouting department that includes amateur scouting director Jay Heinbuck and director of pro scouting Derek Clancey.

While the Penguins garnered all the attention in the past week, dealing for Jarome Iginla and two other veterans, history shows the prospects and draft picks going the other way could be valuable to the teams acquiring them. (Photo: Gregory Shamus/NHLI )
"There's a lot of time spent heading into a draft year; there's a lot of labor put into it and a lot of man hours spent," NHL Network analyst and former NHL GM Craig Button told "You have to be very clear as to what type of player you could acquire among the top 60 spots in a given draft year. So you have to balance out trades when it comes to dealing with prospects and draft picks in two ways. First, what are you getting in terms of a trade and, second, what you have organizationally."

The Penguins parted ways with defense prospect Joe Morrow, a 2011 first-round choice (No. 23), and a 2013 third-round pick in the deal with the Dallas Stars to acquire Morrow. They sent collegians Ben Hanowski (2009, third round, No. 63) of St. Cloud State University and Kenny Agostino (2010, fifth round, No. 140) of Yale University as well as a 2013 first-rounder to Calgary in the Iginla trade. Rugged defenseman Murray was acquired from the San Jose Sharks for a 2013 second-round pick and 2014 conditional second-round pick.

"You have to credit our scouting staff, which has done a very good job," Shero told the media following the trade for Iginla. "In 2008, I didn't give them a lot to work with since we made some trades and didn't have a pick until the fourth round, so it's tough to replenish. But they've done a very good job and now we don't have a first- or second-round pick [in 2013], but we did gain a third-round pick in the Morrow deal so we do have two third-round picks."

The key for Button in a trade that includes several picks or prospects is making certain your organization doesn't unload its best prospect.

"As long as you don't feel you're trading your best, I think you can make those trades," Button said. "We [in the media] like to take trades and put them in a silo, but the bottom line is that the Jordan Staal trade to Carolina [at the 2012 NHL Draft] created so much flexibility, more cap space for Ray Shero moving forward. We're seeing some of it come to fruition right now."

Only time will tell whether or not Shero reaps the rewards of his major shakeup, and if those prospects he jettisoned will ultimately haunt him down the road. After all, it has happened.

With the NHL Trade Deadline set for Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, now is as good a time as any to reflect on some of those previously unknown prospects or draft picks that have changed the dynamic and fortunes for many teams over the years. It's certainly a scenario that Calgary, San Jose and Dallas are hoping for after deciding to part ways with veteran leaders.

Here are 13 trades that included key prospects or draft picks from 2004 through 2010 that paid dividends for those teams on the receiving end. The prospect or key draft pick is listed in capital letters.


Feb. 12 -- The Chicago Blackhawks acquire defensemen NICK LEDDY and Kim Johnsson from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for defenseman Cam Barker.

Skinny: The Wild took Leddy in the first round of the 2009 Draft (No. 16) before trading his rights to the Blackhawks. On Jan. 17, 2011, he was assigned to Chicago's American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford, but was recalled five days later. The 6-foot, 191-pound Leddy is playing a big role in Chicago this season, his third in the League. A native of Eden Prairie, Mn., Leddy ranks among the top 10 in hits and blocked shots on the team, sees significant time on the power play and averages nearly 17 minutes a game for coach Joel Quenneville. Barker would ultimately be placed on waivers by the Wild in June 2011.


Sept. 18 -- The Boston Bruins acquire a 2010 first-round pick (TYLER SEGUIN, No. 2), a 2010 second-round pick (Jared Knight, No. 32) and a 2011 first-round pick (DOUGIE HAMILTON, No. 9) from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Phil Kessel.

Skinny: Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli pulled the trigger on one of the most talked-about deals of the past five years, dealing his No. 5 selection in 2006 to the Leafs for a boatload of high-end draft picks. Kessel has certainly paid dividends in Toronto, registering 30-plus goals the past three seasons, but the Bruins have also been rewarded. Seguin is a proven goal-scorer and played a role in Boston's Stanley Cup charge in 2011, notching three goals and seven points in 13 playoff games. While a hamstring injury has delayed the progress of Knight this season, Hamilton is already turning heads as an NHL rookie working alongside Zdeno Chara.

June 30 -- The New York Rangers acquire defensemen RYAN MCDONAGH, Pavel Valentenko and Doug Janik and forward Christopher Higgins from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forwards Scott Gomez and Tom Pyatt and defenseman Michael Busto.

Skinny: The big name in the deal at the time was Gomez. McDonagh, selected No. 12 at the 2007 Draft by the Habs, hadn't yet made his mark, but the Rangers would sign him to an entry-level contract on July 6, 2010. In his first two seasons with the Blueshirts, the 6-1, 213-pound McDonagh had eight goals and 41 points in 122 games. He's become a lynchpin along the Rangers back end and is expected to have a long and prosperous future. Gomez had nine goals and 49 points in 118 games during those same two seasons with the Canadiens. He's currently with the San Jose Sharks.

June 26 -- The Anaheim Ducks acquire defenseman LUCA SBISA, forward Joffrey Lupul, a 2009 first-round pick (traded to Columbus) and a 2010 first-round pick (EMERSON ETEM, No. 29) from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Chris Pronger and forward Ryan Dingle.

Skinny: The trade paid immediate dividends for the Flyers, who would reach the Stanley Cup Final in the season after the deal due in large part to Pronger's brilliance along the back end. But knee surgery limited him to 50 games in 2010-11 and post-concussion syndrome, which forced him to miss 13 games in 2011-12, has since shut him down. The Ducks would deal the '09 pick to Columbus (defenseman John Moore, No. 21), but would select forward Emerson Etem (No. 29) with the first-round choice they acquired in 2010. Etem is earning ice time as a rookie with Anaheim this season and Sbisa, whom the Flyers drafted No. 19 in 2008, is currently averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game while ranking among the top five in both hits and blocked shots for the Ducks in 2012-13.


June 23 -- The Washington Capitals acquire a 2007 sixth-round pick (goalie Dann Dunn, No. 154) and a 2008 fourth-round pick (goalie BRADEN HOLTBY, No. 93) from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 2007 fourth-round pick (defenseman Alec Martinez, No. 95).

Skinny: To uncover a goalie of Holtby's ability at this stage was quite a pickup for Capitals GM George McPhee -- he was actually the 10th goalie chosen at the 2008 Draft. Only two other goalies drafted prior to Holtby are currently playing key roles for their respective teams, Jacob Markstrom (Florida Panthers) and Jake Allen (St. Louis Blues). Martinez has certainly proven to be a steady defenseman for the Kings, earning a Stanley Cup with the team in 2012. Holtby has appeared in 25-plus games this season and owns a sub 2.70 goals-against average. His superb play last spring enabled the Caps to upset the Boston Bruins in the opening round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

June 20 -- The Washington Capitals acquire a 2008 first-round pick (JOHN CARLSON, No. 27) from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Steve Eminger and a 2008 third-round pick (Jacob Deserres, No. 84).

Skinny: Basically, McPhee traded for his future defenseman (Carlson) and future goalie (Braden Holtby) just prior to the 2008 Draft, and both picks paid off big time. Carlson has been a mainstay along the blue line over the past three full seasons in the NHL. Eminger played only 12 games with the Flyers in 2008-09, notching two assists. Deserres is currently playing for the University of Calgary.


Feb. 27 -- The Florida Panthers acquire forward SHAWN MATTHIAS and conditional draft picks from the Detroit Red Wings for forward Todd Bertuzzi.

Wayne Simmonds, Tyler Seguin and Nick Leddy are paying dividends for their respective teams. (Photo: Getty Images / Jonathan Kozub - NHLI)

Skinny: The Red Wings traded Matthias' rights to the Panthers and he would make his NHL debut on Jan. 18, 2008. Matthias had 16 goals, 40 points and 120 hits in his first two full seasons (130 games) in Florida. He's regarded as a top-six forward for the Panthers and a key centerman. He's already established career-highs in goals (14) and power-play goals (two) in 2012-13. After playing only eight games with the Red Wings in 2006-07, Bertuzzi signed a contract with the Anaheim Ducks in July 2007, before joining the Calgary Flames in July 2008. He'd re-sign with the Wings in the summer of 2009.

Feb. 26 -- The Los Angeles Kings acquire a 2007 second-round pick (WAYNE SIMMONDS, No. 61) and a 2008 fourth-round pick (later acquired by Buffalo, Justin Jokinen, No. 101) from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman Brent Sopel. Vancouver acquired the '07 second-round pick previously from the Anaheim Ducks as compensation for hiring coach Randy Carlyle on Aug. 1, 2005.

Skinny: Sopel would spend just 20 games in Vancouver and provide one goal and five points before being signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Chicago Blackhawks in September 2007. A feisty, yet productive Simmonds spent three seasons with the Kings and turned out to be a key piece, along with forward Brayden Schenn, in the trade with the Philadelphia Flyers that brought Mike Richards to the West Coast. A Stanley Cup championship would follow in 2011-12.


June 24 -- The Boston Bruins acquire goalie prospect TUUKKA RASK from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for goalie Andrew Raycroft.

Skinny: The Leafs selected Rask in the first round (No. 21) of the 2005 Draft, but before the Finnish goalie even played a regular-season game, he was dealt to the Bruins for the 2004 Calder Trophy-winning Raycroft. At the time, the Leafs felt prospect Justin Pogge was their goalie of the future, so Rask became expendable. Rask has performed admirably as Boston's starter this season. He's finished with higher than a 2.50 goals-against average just once in three previous campaigns with the Bruins (2.67 in 2010-11 in 29 games). It's interesting to note that serving as backup to Rask this season is another player the Bruins traded for in 26-year-old Anton Khudobin (Minnesota Wild, 2004, No. 206), who was acquired in February 2011 in exchange for defenseman Jeff Penner and forward Mikko Lehtonen. The Rask-Khudobin duo has helped the Bruins rank among the top five in goals-against average in 2012-13. In his first full season in Toronto (2006-07), Raycroft tied the franchise record for most wins by a goalie in the regular season (37), previously held by Ed Belfour in 2002-03. But he finished outside the top 40 in both goals-against average and save percentage as the Leafs failed to qualify for the playoffs.

June 24 -- The Boston Bruins acquire a 2006 third-round pick (BRAD MARCHAND, No. 71) from the New York Islanders in exchange for a 2006 fourth-round pick (San Jose Sharks, James DeLory, No. 98) and a 2006 fifth-round pick (Shane Sims, No. 126).

Skinny: The Islanders originally acquired the 2006 third-round choice in a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes on March 6, the League's trade deadline day, in exchange for forward Oleg Kvasha. The Bruins would ultimately deal for that pick and make the most of it by tabbing the feisty Marchand. The 5-foot-9, 183-pound left wing out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League had 11 goals, 19 points and a plus-12 rating during Boston's 25-game march to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

March 9 -- The Boston Bruins acquire forwards Marty Reasoner and Yan Stastny and a 2006 second-round pick (MILAN LUCIC, No. 50) from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Sergei Samsonov.

Skinny: The Bruins took full advantage of acquiring the 50th pick by selecting Lucic, who was instrumental in bringing the Stanley Cup to Boston five years later. The ornery Lucic entered the 2012-13 campaign having posted back-to-back 60-plus point seasons. He had five goals, 12 points, 63 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating in 25 games during the team's Cup run in 2011. The Oilers did receive an immediate boost from Samsonov, who tallied five goals and 16 points in 19 games down the stretch to secure the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. He tallied 15 more points in 24 playoff games as the eighth-seeded Oilers made their run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Carolina Hurricanes.


March 9 -- The Colorado Avalanche acquire forward Chris Gratton, defenseman Ossi Vaananen and a 2005 second-round draft pick (PAUL STASTNY, No. 44) from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for defensemen Derek Morris and Keith Ballard.

Skinny: Who would have guessed the Avs would have a shot at Stastny in the second round of the '05 Draft -- the team's second pick in the second round behind center Ryan Stoa (No. 34). The son of Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Stastny had put together three straight 50-plus point campaigns prior to 2012-13. He already ranks among the top 10 on the franchise's all-time scoring list in points in just six-plus seasons.

Feb. 27 -- The Washington Capitals acquire a 2004 first-round pick (MIKE GREEN, No. 29), a 2006 fourth-round pick (Luke Lynes, No. 122) and forward Tomas Fleischmann from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for forward Robert Lang.

Skinny: Green emerged as an elite offensive-defenseman in 2007-08 and even earned the nickname, "Game Over" for his knack of scoring game-winning goals. He finished with four game-winners and had a League-leading 18 goals among defenseman that season as the Capitals qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2003. In 2008-09, he scored a goal in eight straight games to set an NHL record for most consecutive games with a goal by a defenseman. He would then set a career-high with 76 points in 2009-10 and, despite being plagued by various injuries over the past few seasons, has continued to make contributions. Lang did have a productive two full seasons in Detroit with 62 points in 2005-06 and 52 points in 2006-07.


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