The Vancouver Canucks made their first deal of deadline just before 11 am on Monday, acquiring Sammy Pahlsson from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a pair of fourth round draft picks.
This is quite the interesting move for the Canucks, for starters, it looks like he will be the added forward depth that can play some tough competition as a defensive specialist. Pahlsson is no stranger to tough minutes, starting just 32.2% of his shifts in the offensive zone and he’s third among forwards in quality of competition faced.
Read past the jump for more analysis.
He’s a guy that both the numbers guys, and the traditionalists will like. He was part of that terrific Anaheim shut-down unit during their Stanley Cup run in 2007 that beat out the Canucks and won the Cup, playing alongside Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer.
The impending unrestricted free agent in Pahlsson is a clear “buyer” move for the Canucks. His cap hit of $2.65M goes off the books at the end of the season which may have made him a slightly more attractive option to the team over Steve Ott.
So, Pahlsson will be around to complement Manny Malhotra, most likely, and probably won’t take away the major face-off duties from the Canucks in the defensive zone. But at 51.1%, he gives the team a little bit more depth and potentially gives the Canucks three guys on that fourth line (or first checking unit, the other being Maxim Lapierre) who can take a draw if necessary. That’s a lot of insurance in case Malhotra gets waived out of the circle.
This sets the team up for a very good fourth line. All three hypothetical members (Malhotra, Lapierre and Pahlsson) will have demonstrated a proven ability to play against tough competition in defensive situations. It means that the team won’t be required to dress Dale Weise or Byron Bitz going forward, but the fact the team now has two guys outside the lineup who can be comfortable in the lineup helps the team as well.
As for the return, we know that draft picks act as magic beans and have tangibly very little value. A team can sometimes get lucky past the first round, but the Canucks haven’t drafted an impact player in the fourth round in quite some team.
“It’s weird to be traded but it’s good to come to a good team,” Pahlsson told TSN a few minutes after the deal was announced, who was very reserved and seemed quite emotional about the trade, although he spoke with some optimism about joining the club. “It’s been a bit of a tough run for us in Columbus and it’s not a lot of fun when you’re number 30 in the league.”
“I hope I do,” Pahlsson told TSN’s James Duthie when asked if he still had the elite defensive game that had him in Conn Smythe talk back during 2007. “It’s always hard to play your best, I guess, but I’m going to give it all I got I guess.”