Blockbuster trades do not happen very often in the NHL. Guaranteed contracts, internal caps, roster limits, no movement clauses, overbearing ownership, unhappy players all get in the way of large player for player trades. It is very hard to address all the needs of two teams. There are big questions in the hockey world about this trade, is Zach Bogosian or Tyler Myers the better player? Will Evander Kane turn into the goal scorer he was supposed to be? Will the Winnipeg Jets retain Drew Stafford? Will Kevin Cheveldayoff use the 2015 1st round pick he acquired for further help? Who won this trade? But the smaller details may explain why this trade happened, and most seem to favor the Winnipeg Jets:
Chevy is not just counting his pennies, he is hoarding them
Kevin Cheveldayoff has to not only deal with a salary cap under the NHL CBA, but an internal one as well. The NHL salary cap is related to cap hit, which is the average value over the term of the contract. The internal cap has nothing to do with the cap hit, but is strictly salary related. Cap hit and salary are not the same number. Under the previous CBA teams would front load contracts so the player would receive substantial salary up front, but the cap hit would be brought down by a declining salary in later years. Kevin Cheveldayoff structures his contracts differently due to his internal cap. The Jets GM structures his contracts so that the salary rises in later years. This is to satisfy the internal cap in the short term, hoping that team revenue will rise in future years.
Was this contract structure scheme starting to be a serious problem? Michael Frolik is due a raise this upcoming summer. Andrew Ladd, Michael Hutchinson and Dustin Byfuglien are due raises in the summer of 2016. Jacob Trouba and Mark Scheifele are also coming off of their ELCs at the same time. This could create a perfect storm where NHL heavyweight teams salivate at the thought of offer sheets. Chevy likely needed to move salary, and quick. This also sets up more moves for the playoff run. We have seen the conservative general manager be frugal this year already in the Jay Harrison retained salary trade, and he forced Buffalo to keep 50% of Drew Staffords salary. The blockbuster trade may have helped his fortunes dramatically this year and in the future:
|Drew Stafford @ 50%||2||UFA|
|Savings in USD
Some of the savings will likely go to retaining Drew Stafford in the summer, but there is no denying that Chevy has made a significant cost saving move. The blockbuster has saved him approximately $1.2 million USD this season, and that money can be used to make more moves for a playoff push. The total savings adds up to a staggering $40,000,000 USD.
Joel Armia might be our best forward prospect on the rock
While he may not be an elite prospect, Joel Armia is an important piece in this trade. The Jets have significant prospect talent, but they are all locked away in juniors on playoff teams. They cannot be called until their respective junior season is over. The St. Johns Ice Caps have dealt with injuries, and a general lack of depth. Acquiring a prospect like Armia gives the Jets another important forward depth option immediately, essential for any playoff run. It is possible that Armia could even fill the third line winger hole, as Chevy suggested during the post trade presser:
He is someone knocking on the door from a national hockey league perspective. - Kevin Cheveldayoff on Joel Armia
Chevy wanted Brendan Lemieux at the draft
In the post trade press conference, Cheveldayoff let out an interesting tidbit of information:
Last year at the draft he was projected as a first-rounder and when he did not go in the first round we tried like heck to be able to move up to see if we could acquire a pick to get him. - Kevin Cheveldayoff on Brendan Lemieux
Tobias Enstrom can make anyone look good
Although the Jets GM stated he viewed Tyler Myers as a longer term piece, it is curious that Myers is being matched up with Toby Enstrom, who has a history of making his defense partner look good. Enstrom's role has been slowly evolving from a dominant top pairing rearguard to one that takes a more secondary role to his puck moving offensive partner. His shot suppression statistics are the best on the Jets blue line and he can cover up any possible mistakes with relative ease. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Myers could be flipped before the deadline, or in the summer at an increased value.
The smallest piece might turn out to be the biggest surprise
Jason Kasdorf just gets no respect. Probably the least valuable piece in this trade and what seemed like a last minute throw in, the Winnipeg native and 6th round draft pick may turn out to be the biggest surprise. The 2014 edition of The Hockey News Future Watch had this intriguing morsel:
In addition to Comrie, Connor Hellebuyck is at No. 6 and the Jets even consider RPI's Jason Kasdorf, who's been injured for most of this season, in this stable, too. - The Hockey News Prospect Watch, Page 49 feature on Jets prospects
That's high praise for what seems like a throw in piece. Another interesting tweet after the trade:
People I trust have gone out of way to tell me Hellebuyck is real deal, + really like Comrie; Jets have chance to be like Kings, a G factory— Kevin Woodley (@KevinisInGoal) February 13, 2015
Has this article changed your opinion on the blockbuster trade? What is Chevy going to do with the money he has saved? Let us know what you think.