The Czech Condor has returned to his perch. Today, the Hurricanes traded Eric Belanger to Nashville for the return of Joe Vasicek. This is a surprise move that nobody saw coming. While it had been rumored that the Preds were disappointed with Vasicek and he was being mentioned in some trade banter, the Hurricanes were never mentioned as one of the possible trade partners. Also, while Eric's production had dropped off recently, there was nothing mentioned anywhere about the Canes wanting to part ways with Belanger.
Examining the trade, this looks like a pretty even swap. Both had been averaging about the same number of points per game, even if they play totally different games. Belanger is a faster skater, good on the backcheck, and a dependable penalty killer. He also has a winning face off percentage. Vasicek is stronger along the boards, will fight in front of the net, and is a better pure shooter and goal scorer, when he is healthy. That's a big "when" though for big Joe since he has missed more games than he has played the past 2 years.
Hopefully Vasicek is healthy and ready to contribute. In other news, Ryan Bayda was recalled from Albany to fill in for either Cole or Walker, or maybe for both of them. Those are big skates to fill for Ryan, but I'm sure he'll do his best. Apparently Laviolette liked his game better than Aucoin's when both were recalled earlier in the year.
I always liked Vasicek as a person and he always seemed thrilled to be here, where Belanger never really seemed happy as a Cane. Maybe this will be a good trade for both sides. Still nothing new on Babchuk! GO JOE!