NHL: The 7 Most Pointless Trades and Signings of the NHL Offseason
Some NHL teams have made a huge splash in the offseason through trades or free agency signings. The Minnesota Wild signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter and the Nashville Predators signed Shea Weber to a massive offer sheet.
Other teams haven’t made such brilliant moves. Some teams have made downright pointless moves.
Certain teams failed to address crucial shortcomings in their roster. Other teams have overpaid for certain players because of the relative lack of depth in the free agency pool. Yet others have made just downright unnecessary moves.
So here are seven moves during the 2012 offseason that made you think “why?!”
B.J. Crombeen to the Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning traded their 2013 and 2014 fourth-round draft picks to the St. Louis Blues and received B.J. Crombeen and a 2014 fourth-round pick.
Crombeen told the Lightning’s website “I think it’s going to be a good fit. It’s no secret that I bring a physical element to the game, so I’m looking forward to contributing and providing the Lightning with what I do.”
Crombeen’s physicality will be a nice addition to the Bolts. However, his knack for racking up penalty minutes will come back to haunt Tampa Bay.
In the 2011-12 season, the Lightning had the fifth-worst penalty-kill percentage in the NHL. They also tied the Detroit Red Wings for least shorthanded goals, only netting two throughout the season.
The Lightning could certainly benefit from Crombeen’s physical style but it seems that they didn’t consider that it could be more of a liability than a benefit.
Jack Hillen to the Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals have plenty of defensive depth but still decided to sign defenseman Jack Hillen to a one-year deal.
The Caps signed Hillen prior to resigning restricted free agent defensemen Mike Green and John Carlson, so it’s possible that Hillen was signed in case either restricted free agent decided not to return to the team.
But both men signed new deals. So now what’s the purpose of having Hillen on the roster?
Perhaps the Caps signed him as a bargaining chip for a trade that would get them a better third or fourth line right winger. But that trade never happened.
It’s possible that Hillen may edge out Jeff Shultz for a spot on the third defensive line. It’s also possible that they could call up someone like Patrick McNeill from Hershey to be a third line defender.
Hillen signing with the Caps was definitely one of the more random signings of the 2012 offseason.
Toronto Maple Leafs Re-Sign Nikolai Kulemin
In 2010-11, Nikolai Kulemin delivered big time with 30 goals and 27 assists. This past season, however, Kulemin disappointed when he only posted seven goals and 21 assists.
As a second-line winger, he certainly didn’t provide the scoring depth that the Maple Leafs brass was hoping for. What they should have done is let his contract expire and sign a new winger to replace him.
Andrei Kostitsyn would have been a nice replacement for Kulemin.
While he hasn’t matched the 53 points he posted in 2007-08 with the Montreal Canadiens, he’s young enough to take the risk. At only 27 years old, Kostitsyn has plenty of years left in him to bounce back.
Calgary Flames Sign Dennis Wideman
The Washington Capitals decided not to renew Dennis Wideman’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Flames already had offensive defenseman Jay Bouwmeester under contract, so why bother pursuing Wideman and the price tag that came with him?
The plan is to pair Wideman with stay-at-home defenseman Chris Butler. Wideman and Butler’s differing styles should make for an interesting defensive line.
However, Butler would probably mesh better with a two-way defenseman. To really get the most out of a line with Butler, the Flames should pair him with someone more defensive minded than Wideman.
A more physical defenseman would fit nicely on the second line with Butler, too. Wideman isn’t the most physical defenseman and won’t do much to really shut down the opposition’s offense.
Carlo Colaiacovo to the Detroit Red Wings
Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement left a huge void in the Red Wings’ defense. Seemingly in an effort to reinforce their defense, the Red Wings signed unrestricted free agent Carlo Colaiacovo to a two- ear contract.
If he can stay healthy, Colaiacovo will have value to the Wings as a veteran defenseman. But what the Wings really needed was to fill the gap left by Lidstrom.
Lidstrom’s offensive play from the blue line will especially be missed. No defender on the Wings’ roster can match the numbers Lidstrom put up. Even though he’s a pretty well-rounded defender, Colaiacovo’s offensive skills are limited.
The Wings missed out when Ryan Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild. Suter was one of the few defenders in the free agency that could have made up for Lidstrom’s retirement.
Red Wings Trade Brad Stuart
As mentioned in the last slide, the 2012 offseason has dealt a huge blow to Detroit’s defense. In addition to Lidstrom’s retirement, the Wings shipped off another great defenseman to the San Jose Sharks.
Brad Stuart isn’t the go-to defenseman for scoring. He’s the go-to defenseman for reliability. In 81 games last season, Stuart averaged over 21 minutes on ice per game. He’s a great two-way defender that knows how to block passes and break up plays. His veteran knowledge makes him a hockey-savvy defenseman any team would be lucky to have.
Also, Stuart’s physical game is very sound. He knows how to use his body without being a liability to his team.
Stuart was one huge factor in the Wings ranking seventh for least goals against last season. Stuart, who was a plus-16 last season, was a major contributor to this.
The Flames didn’t need another offensive defenseman. They could have taken the money they’re shilling out to Wideman and addressed other problems this offseason.
Columbus Blue Jackets Trading Marc Methot for Nick Foligno
The Columbus Blue Jackets are in an interesting position. They need help in both ends. In the 2011-12 season, the Jackets had the fifth fewest goals for and the third most goals against in the NHL.
When the Blue Jackets traded away Marc Methot, they lost a great stay-at-home defenseman. In 275 games with Columbus, Methot was only rated a minus-six. Considering how bad the Jackets have been, that’s a pretty decent rating.
The Jackets’ loss was the Senators’ gain. Playing for his hometown Ottawa Senators, Methot might have the chance to play on a line with Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson.
In return, Columbus received left winger Nick Foligno. Foligno’s scoring numbers have been steadily increasing over the last few seasons. He should be able to give the Blue Jackets a boost in the scoring department.
But at what cost?
Foligno is a forward that is willing to grind and will record decent scoring numbers. He can sometimes be inconsistent, though. In addition, he still has some work to do on his defensive play.
The Senators are the clear-cut winners of this trade. Columbus gave up one of their best stay-at-home defenders for a winger that may prove to be more of a defensive liability than an offensive benefit. The Blue Jackets pointlessly gave away Methot if Foligno can’t fine-tune the defensive aspects of his game.
Michael Prunka is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist and Sports Writing Intern. To stay up to date with his WWE and NHL commentary, you can like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter and follow him on Tout.
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