Monday, October 19, 2009

Weller traded; roster remodelling continues (H)

The Minnesota Wild have shed some more dead weight.

The Wild traded under-achieving winger Craig Weller, 2009 fourth-round pick Alexander Fallstrom (now playing at Harvard) and their 2011 second-round draft pick to the Boston Bruins for winger Chuck Kobasew. The Wild also placed Pierre-Marc Bouchard on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) in order to temporarily expand the salary cap, in order to absorb the remainder of Kobasew's $2.33M/year contract. The exception will remain until Bouchard is able to rejoin the active roster, for which no date has been set.

Bouchard is scheduled to receive $4M this season.

The Wild also placed Petr Sykora on IR, retroactive to Oct. 10th's game vs. San Jose, in order to place Kobasew on the active roster; however, Sykora, who suffered a groin pull during the Oct. 8 game at Los Angeles, will be able to return to the lineup following Wednesday night's game vs. Colorado at Xcel Energy Center, necessitating another roster move between Minnesota and their AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros.

Kobasew was originally a first-round draft pick of the Calgary Flames (No. 14 overall) in 2001. Minnesota will be the third NHL organization in his career.

JMO: This is a good trade for the Wild. The upsides of Kobasew is that he is known as a hard-skating, fast, grinding-style forward with a bit of an injury history (due to his aggressiveness). With Calgary, he made players better (e.g., Daymond Langkow). His cap number is a bit high as opposed to, say, Stephane Veilleux (who was not re-signed this past summer, now plays for Tampa Bay) but he also has a knack for scoring 20 goals a season; this is a good thing when 3 of your top 9 forwards are injured in one week.

While some may cry hypocrisy over giving up a draft pick, this is the price you pay for the near-decade of letting UFA's go for nothing from DR. Besides which, this is a 2011 draft pick, not 2010; there will be opportunities (especially around the 2010 trade deadline, March 2) to remedy this, with the number of pending UFA's currently under contract to the Wild.

As I said in my previous post, Wild fans will need lots and lots of patience in order to survive this season of transition. This is part of that transition. Any way you can get tangible assets for players who do not fit the new system, you do it. This move by Chuck Fletcher is one of those moves.

A good trade.

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