Thursday, February 26, 2009

Whitney traded for Kunitz/Tangradi

This trade has some (cap) problems for both teams. I think that the key piece involved in the trade is prospect Eric Tangradi. There is a good chance that he can play for the Pittsburgh Penguins within two years. Some comparable players have ended up with very successful NHL careers, others not, but he may well be able to outperform his entry-level contract.

That’s going to be a mighty important thing for Pittsburgh. Shero has, with good reason (see the analysis of the trade by Jonathan Willis), soured on Whitney as an all-around defenceman, but he’s moved a lot of money from one asset class to another. By taking virtually all of the 4M in cap dollars invested in Whitney and putting it into Kunitz the Penguins now have just over 25M tied up in 4 forwards. They're also locked in to an absolute minimum of 5.5M for two goalies because of the Marc-Andre Fleury deal. If the cap moves down to around 50M in the next couple of years that only leaves 19.5M for 7D and 9F. If they aren’t able to move Staal they are going to have a terrible time trying to find some quality on defence. If I was moving Whitney, I would have made sure that I wasn't taking long-term salary back, especially at forward. If Tangradi is more Stone than Cheechoo this is a big loss for the Penguins.

As for the Ducks, the deal depends on whether or not Whitney rounds out his game. It’s not a bet I would be making but it does seem to have some chance of working out and, at the very least, this move looks to have a long-term plan in mind. One of Niedermayer or Pronger will be leaving soon and Whitney is, I assume, being groomed as a(n inadequate) replacement.

No comments: