Friday, February 3, 2012

Roster Moves Galore for Bears

Yesterday saw 4 separate transactions that impacted the Bears directly. 
  • Cody Eakin was reassigned to Hershey,
  • Danny Richmond was traded to Colorado for Mike Carman,
  • Matthew Ford was traded to Philadelphia for Kevin Marshall,
  • Keith Aucoin was recalled to Washington.
First of all...congratulations to Keith Aucoin.  The guy is flat destroying the AHL this season so this is obviously a very much deserved recall.  More than likely he isn't going to get 1st or 2nd line minutes and will more than likely return to Hershey in short order, but there is always hope that a guy just needs a chance.  With the weakness that is the Caps center situation right now and the willingness of Dale Hunter to play guys from Hershey (see: Joel Rechlicz) you never know. 

Welcome back young Eakin.  We all knew this would be an active season of recalls for the young centerman.  He is just a little way off from being a full time NHLer though so enjoy his presence in Hershey while you can.  Aucoin's departure will likely result in some big time minutes for him.

And before I get to the trade...Rechlicz in the NHL?  I understand he is serving a role and good for him, but seriously...Rechlicz in the NHL?  He is obviously a fan favorite in Hershey and you have to love the intensity he plays with, but this isn't pee-wee hockey anymore.  Guys don't typically (and for good reason most of the time) get rewarded just because they play a high intensity game and give it their best shot. 

I love watching Wrecker play.  But even in Hershey he rarely ever plays after the 1st period and almost never plays in the 3rd period.  And that's the AHL.  I am sure Hunter has a plan, but I (as well as many Caps fans) have to question the move.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest as I hadn't said much about it this week.  On to the trades...

I know these moves were both announced as Capitals trades, but I am pretty sure that was only because they were both on 2-way contracts and are technically Caps property.  But I would be shocked if Doug Yingst wasn't calling these shots.

The Bears had a veteran problem...they had too many.  Every game a good player, typically Graham Mink, had to sit in the stands and watch the game.

Trading Richmond alleviated that problem.  As much as I hate to see Danny go I think it will end up being for the best.  BUT, let us not forget the Richmond Effect.  The Bears since December 1, 2011 without Danny in the lineup are only 3-3-1-1.  On the season, without Danny Richmond in the lineup, the Bears are only 9-7-2-2.  That is below .500 folks.

Is it coincidence?  Maybe.  We will find out.

Either way Richmond is on his way to the Colorado organization where he will likely be playing for the Lake Erie Monsters.  And on his way to Hershey is...

Mike Carman.  A 23 yr old (almost 24) centerman from Minnesota.  Carman is not going to be mistaken for an offensive force and is surely destined for a 4th line role in Hershey.  In 107 career AHL games he has 14 goals and 11 assists.  Hockeys Future identifies him as a career minor leaguer who may see a recall to the NHL in times of many injuries.  My Andrew Joudrey like player that wins faceoffs and plays well in his own zone.  We shall see.

The other trade send Matt Ford to Philly/Adirondack and brings defenseman Kevin Marshall to Hershey.

First, lets talk about Ford.  This moves sucks as a Bears fan and is fantastic as a Caps fan.  Ford was 27 and was not going to be mistaken for a hot prospect any longer.  Sure he had some offensive talent, and was actually quite good on the penalty kill, but overall he was a 27 yr old AHLer with 0 games of NHL experience.  He had 28 points (10g, 18a) in Hershey this season and was on pace for a solid 51 point season, but the Caps had no need for him.

Marshall on the other hand was the 7th rated prospect in the Flyers organization according to Hockeys Future.  He is considered mainly a defensive player who can produce offensively given the opportunity. 

I have seen some posts from Bears fans on other sites that talk about a physical player with great defensive skills.  I can't speak to that as I hate the Flyers and don't care about their prospects.  His numbers wouldn't suggest that though.  He is only 6'0" and 200lbs...Collins is bigger.  In 185 AHL games he is a -23 in plus/minus.  Obviously that means crap considering he played on average to bad Adirondack teams, but it bears some watching.

Marshall has played in 10 games for the Flyers this season.  He has not recorded a point, was a -1, and averaged less than 9 minutes of ice time and about 13 shifts per game.  Which is about the same as Tomas Kundratek averaged in 5 games with the Caps.

It is my opinion that these trades were directly related to the Bears veteran "situation".  Had one of the veterans been injured or if the roster had one less veteran I don't think EITHER of these trades gets made.

What will the overall affect be?  Time will tell obviously.  The offensive depth obviously took a hit.  Carman is not Ford and won't be asked to replace him. 

Maybe Marshall is a better defenseman than can't judge that at this point.  But Richmond had something that made this team better.  They won 66.7% of their games and earned 72.9% of their points with Richmond in the lineup.  Without him they won only 45% and earned only 55% of the possible points.  And the competition (based on points percentage) was BETTER when Danny was in the lineup. 

I agree with trading a veteran...just not sure which one I would have traded.

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