While the Canes have played better over the past 4 games and have 5 points to show for it, I still believe that changes are needed for the long-term success of the franchise. I still believe the #1 change or first priority should be a coaching change. Management needs to bring in a coach with a different system and approach toward the players. If we are to be a consistent playoff team, changes have to start at the top. But while I believe that is the most important change needed, I also feel that a "reorganization of the talent" would be helpful. This means trading a few players, getting a few back in return, and giving prospects some more time/responsiblity. So while watching some other NHL games, I think I might have found an interesting trade option. I'm not saying this should definitely happen or even if the two organizations would make such a trade, but I thought is would be a fair deal and I would like to know what others on this board think of my hypothetical proposal. Now be prepared, because this suggested trade involves 2 fan favorites; but to get something of value, you have to give up something of value.
Here are these players average stats (rounded) from the last 3 NHL seasons:
Name - Games Played - Goals - Assists - Points - +/- - Points per Game
Ruutu - 72GP - 20G - 29A - 49P - (-1) - 0.68PPG
Gleason - 71GP - 2G - 13A - 15P - (-3) - 0.23PPG
Stewart - 55GP - 5G - 10A - 16P - (-6) - 0.22PPG
Brown - 81GP - 25G - 30A - 55P - (-1) - 0.68PPG
Mitchell - 62GP - 4G - 11A - 15P - (+15) - 0.24PPG
Here is why I think this trade would work for both teams:
Carolina & LA have some pretty recent trade history with the Gleason/Johnson trade & the Cole/Williams/O'Sullivan trade. I also figured it out and this proposed deal would work cap-wise for the Kings and it would work salary-wise for the "budget" Canes. The Canes would probably get who is considered the better player in the deal, but the Kings would probably get the better package. IMO, this would help the Kings is their supposed "Cup Run" this season without greatly effecting their ability to compete in the future. I look at this proposal as a "win now" for the Kings and "prepare for the immediate future" for the Canes.
While getting rid of Ruutu would probably upset some Canes fans, Dustin Brown is a similar player. Both play a physical game that involves a lot of hitting and net-crashing. Both are considered top 6 players on their respective teams and both have averaged 0.68 PPG over the past 3 seasons. Ruutu hits a little more, is the better passer, and is probably a little more consistent game to game. But he is in the final year of his contract and current make $4.4 million ($3.8 million cap hit). Brown is a little more offensive, is more of a goal scorer, and might be considered more of a leader due to him being the Kings captain. But the big advantage of Brown for the Canes is that he has 2 years remaining on his current deal after this season, and it is a very affordable rate of $3.5 million ($3.175 million cap hit). Brown would provide Carolina a top 6 power forward with similar production to Ruutu (a little more goal scoring), who is under contract for a couple more seasons at a very "budget friendly" salary. Ruut would provide the Kings with a more complete & consistent player that has similar production to Brown.
Getting rid of Gleason would be devasting to some of the Caniacs, but Gleason is in the last year of his deal and like I said earlier; you've got to give something to get something. Mitchell is an older player with some injury history, also in the last year of his deal. The actual salaries for the 2 players would be a wash (both $3.5 million), but the cap figure is $75 thousand less for Gleason. Where I see Mitchell really helping the Canes is his hockey IQ. He is a shutdown defenseman that is not overly skilled in any area. He plays an intelligent game that focuses on positioning and making the smart play. I think he could be a great locker room, on the bench, and on the ice addition for the Canes young defensemen (Faulk, Joslin, McBain, etc). We currently have offensive and physical defensemen, but we really don't have the "smart" defenseman. I think he could show our younger guys how to play smart, effective defensive hockey and hopefully help them develop into more complete players. He's not going to provide much offense, but he is a very responsible defender (has averaged a +15 rating over the past 3 seasons). The thing that Gleason would give LA would be another physical defenseman that will lay a hit and stand up for his teammates (imagine a defensive pairing of Greene/Gleason; the opposition would be getting destroyed). Also considering Mitchell's age & recent injury history, he is probably not going to make it through a full NHL season. Gleason would provide them with some security in that respect. LA has plenty of offensive defensemen depth, but not so much on the defensive defensemen side; and we all know the playoffs become a lot more physical. Gleason also has some history with LA, spending 3 seasons with the organization; so that is probably a positive. This would basically be a physical defenseman for a playoff run to LA for an intelligent, defensive mentor for the young kids in Carolina.
And the last part of this deal is Anthony Stewart. I think Stewart has to be added to balance the deal and he can also provide LA something they have been missing for the most part this season. LA is in the bottom half of the league in goals scored this season (right behind us at 24th). Their top 6 is doing pretty good, they even have 2 players in the top 15 in goal scoring, but their bottom 6 has not provide hardly any secondary scoring. Their bottom 6 has only scored 4 goals this season. That means that Stewart playing 7:43 per night has scored the same number of goals as LA's whole bottom 6! They need some scoring and Stewart might be able to provide them a little. Stewart has been under-utilized here and trading him would do 2 things for the Canes. It would relieve them of paying his $1 million salary next season and it would open up a forward spot for one of the kids. If the opening will be on the 4th line, then maybe Bowman or Samson could be called up to fill his spot. If LaRose or Dwyer would moved back to the 4th line, then maybe Dalpe or Boychuk could fill in among the top 9. That depends on the coach! But either way, we would be giving up 3 good players in return for 2 that should be able to help our team out; just in different ways.
Let me know what you guys/gals think.