Andrew Schopp takes a closer look at five prospects who changed teams at the trade deadline.
At 2:10 EST and with 50 to minutes to go, the 2013 edition of NHL trade deadline day was becoming a forgettable piece of NHL history. Then, NHL GMs went full tilt in the final hour with a flurry of trades; shipping all-stars, captains and a slew of promising prospects across the league. When it was all said and done, the Sabres began the rebuild process, the Blue Jackets look more like a playoff team, and a number of prospects found themselves on the fantasy radar. These five prospects dealt prior to the April 3 NHL trade deadline could make an impact soon.
5.) Ben Hanowski – Round 3, 63rd Overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft
The consensus amongst fans and the media is that the Calgary Flames traded franchise player Jarome Iginla away to the Penguins for next to nothing. 22-year-old right wing Ben Hanowski will look to convince Flames fans GM Jay Feaster hasn’t pulled off the biggest trade blunder in Flames history. Virtually unknown prior to the March 28 trade, Hanowski put up two 100 point seasons in his high school career, followed by a decent 82 points in 119 games at the college level.
Standing at 6-2, 198 pounds, Hanowski is touted by scouts as a goal-scorer with a good combination of size and skill. A solid player at the NCAA level, the general consensus on Hanowski’s NHL future is grim, many believing he will never set foot on NHL ice. Hanowski will work out of the shadow of the Iginla trade fiasco and hope to crack a shallow Flame’s roster.
4.) Kevin Connauton – Round 3, 83rd Overall, 2009 NHL Entry Draft
After sending their captain Brendan Morrow to Pittsburgh the Dallas Stars shipped top center Derek Roy to the Vancouver Canucks for 23-year-old defensive prospect Kevin Connauton.
An offensive-defenseman, Connauton tallied 72 points in 69 games in the 2010 WHL season with the Vancouver Giants. Connauton has hit a snag in his development recently though, experiencing a lag in his offensive contributions with the American League’s Chicago Wolves this season, notching 25 points in 60 games. The Stars will need to exercise patience with Connauton as he works through his struggles in his defensive game but remains a solid option for poolies looking for a future top-four offensive-defensemen.
And he has a bomb of a shot:
3.) Joe Morrow – Round 1, 23rd Overall 2011 NHL Entry Draft
The Stars continued to add depth to their prospect pool on deadline day by acquiring defenseman Joe Morrow from Pittsburgh in exchange for their (former) captain, Brenden Morrow (no relation). An offensive minded defenseman, Joe Morrow is also noted for his aggressive play and his ability to shut down opposing forwards. Yet to make his NHL debut, Morrow has tallied 15 points in 57 AHL games in his first pro season (to date).
Possessing a great shot from the point, Morrow’s upside is in his potential to anchor the power play. Like most prospects, Morrow lacks consistency, but at just 20 years old, has plenty of time for development and seasoning in the American League, where he will climb the Stars defensive depth chart as they enter a new era.
2.) Johan Larsson – Round 2, 56th Overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft
After firing the longest-tenured coach in NHL history, Lindy Ruff, the Buffalo Sabres went into full rebuild mode, trading 30-year-old captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild. The Wild dipped into their deep (arguably the deepest in the NHL) prospect pool to land Pominville, shipping 20-year-old forward Johan Larsson to the struggling Sabres.
A two-way player with great vision, Larsson is capable at playing both left wing and center at the NHL level. Prior to his pro-debut with the AHL Houston Aeros this season, Larsson played the entirety of his career in his native Sweden, scoring 36 points in 49 games with Brynas of the Swedish Elite League in 2010-2011. In his NHL debut and only NHL appearance, Larsson logged 14 minutes TOI with the Wild this season. Scoring 37 points in 62 games in the AHL in 2012-13, Larsson is close to NHL ready, but could use a season or two in the AHL as he adjusts to the North American game.
1.) Matt Hackett – Round 3, 77th Overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Odds are Ryan Miller won’t be in a Sabres uniform beyond next season, which is good news for goaltending prospect Matt Hackett, acquired by Buffalo in the Pominville deal. Behind Miller and backup Jhonas Enroth, Hackett now finds himself third on the Sabres goaltending depth chart and their number one goalie prospect.
A butterfly goalie, Hackett is touted as an excellent prospect possessing great athleticism. 2.64 GAA in 13 NHL starts the last two seasons; 23-year-old Hackett’s NHL future is bright with the Sabres.
Injuries to Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding last season helped to speed up Hackett’s development, earning him unexpected starts where he proved himself a NHL capable goaltender. With Enroth’s contract expiring after this season, and Miller’s days in Buffalo numbered, Hackett is a great option for keeper leagues. Hackett could assume the starter role in Buffalo following Millers likely departure via UFA in 2014 or even sooner in a trade this offseason.
Don't forget to check out in-depth prospect information over at DobberProspects.com.
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