HAWKS GET PAHLSSON: Deal Wiz, Kontiola, get minor league defenseman
The Chicago Blackhawks watched the trading deadline come and go today with only one trade being made, and only one other, minor transaction, which took place yesterday.
Yesterday, they put Craig Adams on waivers. Today he was picked up by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had the misfortune of being a pretty good 4th-line forward on a team that already had 3 pretty good 4th-line forwards. He got playing time when Adam Burish got hurt, but everone on the line is now healthy, and the Hawks were looking to retool for the playoffs.
How do we know this? They traded defenseman (and HOCKEENIGHT favorite) James Wisniewski, along with minor league center Petri Kontiola to the Anaheim Ducks for center Sammy Pahlsson and minor league defenseman Logan Stephenson.
Wiz, like Adams, pretty much became expendable when defensemen Cam Barker and Matt Walker really elevated their games. Watching Barker play now makes it hard to believe he started the season in the minors, and Walker has become a big physical presence partnering with Brian Campbell, who hits guys as if he has eggs in his pockets.
Wiz was relegated to the 3rd pair, with Barker, and he can be a top 4 with Anaheim. He carries the puck fairly well, can hit, and will drop the gloves. All of which is why we love him here at HOCKEENIGHT. We wish Wiz all the best out West, knowing he won't take any shit from those douchebags in Anaheim, and we hope he gets to stick this trade up the Hawks' ass once.
Kontiola is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. He's been racking up points like crazy the past two seasons in Rockford, never getting even a cup of coffee in Chicago, while other centers like Pelletier and Brent get (brief) callups. He's small, and doesn't play a strong enough game at this point to merit NHL consideration. Anaheim is not the place for him, because they don't exactly play a wide open style there. Look for him to hightail it back ti Finland at the first opportunity.
Now let's talk about Pahlsson. He was a mainstay on Anaheim's Stanley Cup team.. There's one thing he brings to the table that will help the Hawks immensely come playoff time: The man wins faceoffs. The Hawks are developing a puck-control offense, albeit still not at the level of Detroit, and winning faceoffs are a big part of that. Pahlsson immediately becomes the guy the Hawks want taking faceoffs in the defensive zone late, when they have a lead, and the other team pulled their goalie. He will win that shit, you can bank on it.
He's more of a shut-down type than one who will really help VERSTEEG get back on the scoresheet more often. But, that's the line he'll be pivoting. Here's hoping VERSTEEG gets a shot with Kane and Toews, and Byfuglien and Brouwer get Pahlsson's wings.
Problem is, Pahlsson's been out since February 2 with mononucleosis. Yep, the kissing disease. Maybe they can have a Hawks/Bulls Heritage night some time, with him and Scotty May. At least the Hawks have the 4 seed pretty secure, so Brent can stick around until Pahlsson is ready to go. He really just needs a few games before playoff time to get in sync with his linemates.
The sleeper in all this may be Logan Stephenson. Hockey's Future projects him out to maybe a 4 or 5 defenseman. Which is what Wiz had become. He's a big kid, and likes to take the body. He'll probably go to Rockford, with Aaron Johnson taking Wiz's spot next to Barker.