It’s always interesting to me to see what drives people to this site. I haven’t posted in… almost three weeks? But with the Dion Phaneuf trade there was a sudden flood of people looking for Tobias Lindberg information–it’s gratifying to know there’s a slice of the fandom that appreciates the work I do on prospects.
What do I think of the trade? It’s typical of Bryan Murray–trade away the future for the now (the usual 2nd round pick along with a prospect, the aforementioned Lindberg) for an aging player in Phaneuf. Nichols has already explored the limited savings the deal accomplishes in jettisoning the useless Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, and Milan Michalek, as well as how shortsighted the move is, but it’s exactly what you’d expect from the organisation at this stage. Is Phaneuf the best player in the deal? Sure he is. Does acquiring him help the Sens moving forward? No. Not unless maybe getting crushed in the first round is your goal.
As for the assorted confetti Toronto threw in with the blueliner, it’s a smorgasbord of minor league garbage. 28-year old NCAA free agent bust Matt Frattin leads the crowd (he can play minutes in Binghamton), followed by another NCAA free agent in Casey Bailey (probably a bust, but at 24 you can’t be absolutely sure), QMJHL free agent Cody Donaghey, and sixth-round pick (6-157/12) Ryan Rupert (who may or may not have AHL-chops). Frattin and Bailey are off the books at the end of the season, while Rupert is signed through next year and Donaghey through 2017-18. Maybe Donaghey is a diamond in the rough, but CHL FA success stories are extremely rare so the odds are he’ll spend a few years in the AHL or ECHL and then disappear into the night. This is basically the Leafs clearing a bunch of dead weight.
I’ve seen a lot of dumb things written about Lindberg by Binghamton fans this year–along with even dumber things from the coaching staff–but he was the only prospect of any note in the minors for Ottawa and now he’s gone. The talented Swede may or may not be able to develop into an NHL regular (for my part I believe he’ll play, it’s just a question of where his ceiling is–third or fourth line), but the organisation’s inability to do anything with skilled players continues to hamper their ability to assess players or develop them. Even “good in the corners” Jeff Ulmer noted the BSens were 1-14 without him in the lineup and while the team won’t have a .066 winning percentage with him gone those who think those numbers are a coincidence just haven’t been paying attention to what he brings to game (possession play, basically). He’s a great pick-up for the Leafs and the trade is ultimate better for them in the long term (with both Lindberg and the pick).
It’s now old news, but speaking of talented Swedes, one of the dumber episodes in Sens history came to a close when the Sens loaned Mikael Wikstrand back to Farjestad. Did they bow to public pressure? Murray’s press release indicated he released Wikstrand because he wasn’t interested in playing in North America, but that’s something we knew a long time ago. It’s difficult to see any other reason for the curmudgeonly Murray to give up on his policy other than pressure (public and private), especially after all the ridiculous rhetoric about Wikstrand. I’m happy the Swede is free to play for his team, but you have to wonder what the Senators thought they were accomplishing with their nonsensical approach. By loaning Wikstrand they’ve denuded their previous refusal of any and all meaning–now it appears to be nothing more than a petty temper tantrum from management which has achieved absolutely nothing. The door remains open for Wikstrand to play somewhere in the future, but it won’t be for Ottawa. Tying this to moving Lindberg along and I can now sadly agree with Nichols long held opinion that there’s almost nothing in Ottawa’s cupboard anymore.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)