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Hawks and Panthers make Divisional trade


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Kind of a curious deal between the Hawks/Panthers today. It is unusual because usually teams that may face each other in the first round do not trade with each other.


CHICAGO GETS Brett Connolly, a decent third line winger has been a consistant 15-20 goal scorer who lost his thunder this year with only 2 goals and 4 points in 20 games. They also get former first rounder Henrik Borgstrom who has not developed and is playing in Europe this year as well as defenseman Riley Stillman who has been okay when he plays but not really someone they are going to miss much. They also gave up a 7th rounder.


FLORIDA GETS Lucas Wallmark who had been a pretty consistant 30 point a year guy with upside with Carolina, traded to Florida as part of the Trocheck deal, he left as an UFA and signed in Chicago, he was passed on the depth chart and has been a healthy scratch latelly. They also get Lucas Carlsson a decent defensman who has been bumped down the organization depth chart in Chicago but who is in all honesty a slight upgrade over Stilman.


 Most important is the cap savings by getting rid of Connolly's contract, Connelly has two more years at 3.5 million per remaining on his deal, the move gives the Cats cap flexibility to add a defenseman to repalce Ekblad before the deadline. They currently have just under 4 million in cap space.


I think the Hawks got the secondary scoring winger they need but at a pretty heady price taking on his 3.5 million per for 2 more years in the flat cap era, The Panthers got a very slight upgrade on defense, Wallmark is a center and the Cats are familiar with him and wanted him back so there is that too. The wildcard is Borgstrom because if he develops the Hawks might yet win the trade but right now I give the win on this one by a knockout to the Panthers.

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I like this deal a LOT better for Florida than I do for the Blackhawks.

I watched Brett Connolly come up through the Lightning ranks, even watched him play a bit in the World Juniors where he looked pretty good, but to this point, his skill set hasn't translated particularly well to the NHL........ hence why he has been bounced around so much (TB, Bos, Wash, Fla, now Chi).

He is what Yave says he is.... a checking type forward, but I think teams still think they can somehow get more out of him.
At 28 years old now, I think he is who he is....nothing more, nothing less.
And while he has some decent offensive output numbers, it should be noted that he can be streaky as all hell getting those minimalist numbers. Just too many long stretches of nothing from him, only to see him spark a bit, followed by more stretches of nothing on the scoresheet.

Funny thing is, Lucas Wallmark style/output isn't too much different than Connolly's....yet people don't expect as much from him.
He hits, he checks, is pretty responsible defensively.....does everything a bottom sixer is supposed to, does them pretty well, and people are ok with that, for the most part.
Don't seem to have the expectations that Connolly carries doing sorta the same things.

Anyways, Florida is looking to make a run in the playoffs, I think Wallmark helps them do that as he is a clearly defined bottom sixer.
Chicago will try and extract more out of Connolly, maybe they do, but likely they won't, and if the Hawks do make it into the playoffs, they will be heavy underdogs against whomever wins the division anyways, meanwhile, Florida has a good chance to skate away with a series win against their first round opponent, whether that is the Hawks or Preds (if Florida finishes first), or Carolina or even the Lightning, whom they have played tough, should they face them.

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Agree with your assessment of Connolly completely. 


  Here is what I think makes this a huge win for Florida.


Wallmark is indeed a similar player to Connolly BUT he plays a more demanding position at center which the Panthers could use, a 12 minute a night 4C with a bit of ability to play up a line or two is a very useful center. Streaky 15 goal wingers like Connolly are easier to find.


  Connolly in a slight fit of madness was signed to a 3 year 10.5 million dollar deal (3.5 million AAV), with the flat cap forwards of his skill set are signing for far, far less. Getting out from under th final two years of his deal is a coup for Zito.


  For Chicago, Connolly is a decent player but does not move the needle, they will neither miss the playoffs nor make the playoffs because of adding him. This seems a bit of a panic move for them and a well thought out planned move by zito which also frees up the money to add, and as they didnt give up a high pick or any real futures they still have pieces to use to add.


  BTW read several places today that with the cap savings the Cats are all in on Taylor Hall and possibly Risto sening picks/prospects the other way. If that happens, THAT is moving the needle.

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