Who says that big trades can't be made in this day and age of salary caps and no movement clauses? The Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators exchanged players in a surprising move today which has both teams trying to fill holes where they are most needed.
Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore will move up north while Joe Corvo and Patrick Eaves become new members of the Hurricanes. It's been reported a few times that Stillman had a no trade clause, so Cory must have lifted it so that this move could be completed.
Both Stillman and Commodore are unrestricted free agents after this season, so the Senators will be taking salary off of the books for next year. Joe Corvo has signed through 2009-2010. The puck-moving defenseman makes 2.5 million this year, then 2.75 million in each of the next 2 and is the most expensive piece to this trade. Eaves is a restricted free agent at the end of this season and only makes about 940 thousand.
Cory Stillman makes 1.75 million while Mike Commodore is at 1.3. While both are reasonably priced now, they both expect to get raises next year. If they are successful playing for the 1st place Sens, this can only help their future contract negotiations.
I think that this trade could be one which benefits both teams. Carolina was desperate for a puck-moving defenseman. Ottawa wanted to get tougher and needed a scoring forward.
While it's tough to see pieces of the 2006 championship team leave, the Hurricanes really needed to do something to shake up the dressingroom. Stillman can be one of the most under-rated players in the league at times, but lately he looked like a slow, aging star whose best days were behind him. He should be able to find new life playing with the skilled stars in Ottawa. The Sens obtain someone with invaluable playoff experience and a player who knows what it takes to win the Cup.
You would never be able to find a nicer person than Mike Commodore and he was one of the few defensemen in Carolina who had any trade value at all. He might have had his career year last season, because he couldn't duplicate it this year. He takes his share of penalties, but was one of the only blueliners with a physical presence for Carolina.
Joe Corvo is an American born defenseman who has a nose for the net. He's a consistent scorer, but can have lapses in his own end. Most importantly for the Canes, he's a creative force at the point on the powerplay. Hopefully, he can help move the puck out of the Hurricanes zone.
Patrick Eaves is a young American player who has been a bit of a disappointment for the Sens. After scoring 20 goals in just 58 games in his rookie year, his production has slipped. He reminds me a bit of Andrew Ladd, who has had a fair amount of injuries to deal with, but he's got tons of potential. He was drafted late in the first round in the 2003 draft.
This certainly makes things interesting for both of these slumping teams and their fans, but will the gamble pay off? Wouldn't it be interesting if the teams face each other in the playoffs?