2012 NHL Trade Deadline: The Supporting Cast

The annual NHL Trade Deadline is one of my favorite days of the year. Yes, I take the day off, switch on NHL Network, turn the cell phone off and just let the day happen. I tried to get my wife to believe that it's really a holiday, but she isn't buying it.

Mike MacLean recently updated the organizational depth charts which got me to thinking - what about the Falcons? Last year at the deadline, Dane Byers and Tom Sestito were dealt at the deadline, effectively crushing the Falcons playoff chances.

The throw-in, or the sweetener to a deal while often overlooked can sometimes be the jackpot in any trade. A personal favorite throw-in that comes to mind was a couple years ago when the New York Rangers offloaded Scott Gomez to the Montreal Canadiens. The main names in the deal were Gomez for Chris Higgins. Among the five throw-ins was current Ranger defensive stalwart Ryan McDonagh. It's rumored that Glen Sather is still being pursued in the province of Quebec for grand larceny.

Looking at the current Falcons roster, there are some potential deal sweeteners. Guys that might not be the perceived big name in a deal, but guys who might pay a dividend, either for another AHL club or maybe further down the line for the parent NHL team. I'll take a look at Jackets prospects in Springfield after the jump:
Mimicking the Blue Jackets season full of injuries, the Falcons have suffered a double whammy so far: injuries and the call-ups associated when they need to provide backup for the Jackets. Currently, the Falcons have 12 healthy skaters who are under contract to the Jackets. Injured and under contract to Columbus are Nick Drazenovic, Nick Holden and Anton Blomqvist. Holden, despite four years with the Jackets organization is completing a one year deal. Drazenovic when healthy was a top six forward for Springfield. He is also on a one year deal.

The "Rent-a-Player" Syndrome

Some of Scott Howson and Chris MacFarland's biggest signings from last summer were one year acquisitions designed to bolster the Falcons, but also afford some depth to the Jackets. With the season winding down though, there may be an opportunity in shuffling players like Alexandre Giroux or Martin St. Pierre. Those two, with Cam Atkinson have provided most of the Falcons scoring punch this season. Falcons President and GM Bruce Landon has said that MacFarland told him that any deadline deals would benefit the Falcons, not hurt them. So if either top line forward is dealt, expect some bang for the buck.

In the last year of his entry level deal, Maksim Mayorov could fetch a decent return. Maks' game has taken a great upward turn over the last month or so. Typically used on a third line, he isn't always surrounded by high scoring mates.

Captain Dane Byers is closing out a one year deal with the organization. Byers was dealt to the Phoenix Coyotes at last year's trade deadline. Could lightning strike twice? It's entirely possible, given the gritty approach Byers takes to the game. Mixed with some decent scoring punch, Byers might be one player who can help another club get over the top come playoff time.

More Forwards

Matt Calvert - Calvert is in the second year of a three year entry level contract. Calvert's NHL cap hit is $891K, which can make Mr. Hustle affordable, especially to a team that doesn't feel the need to rush him to an NHL Top 6. Even on the roller coaster that is the Falcons, Calvert truly gives 100% every time out.

Tomas Kubalik - Like Calvert, Kubalik is in the second year of a three year entry level contract. Offering a completely different style of play, Kubalik led the Falcons in scoring last season. In comparison, he's had an off season this year. Starting the season with the undermanned Jackets, then injury, it may be a sophomore jinx. Looking beyond that, when he's on, Kubie is money.

Andrew Joudrey - In the first year of a two year deal, Joudrey has brought to the Falcons exactly what was expected of him. Leadership on and off the ice blended with some scoring ability, the former Hershey Bears captain has continued as a valued member of the Falcons.

Cody Bass - Due to callup and injury, Bass has only played 17 games for the Falcons this season. He won't add to that total this weekend, as he's suspended for three games due to a foul in the Connecticut game last weekend. When Bass is healthy, he adds a tremendous amount of character to the lineup.

Defense

After the acquisition of Jack Johnson, it appears that there is actually some depth on D with the Jackets. Enough depth in fact, that the Jackets may offer some of the Falcons blueliners as part of a package deal.

Since the halfway mark of the season, I would say that Dalton Prout has become the Falcons best d-man. Surprising, because fresh out of juniors, his learning curve for the pro game has been a short one. Prout is listed at 6'2" and 222 lbs. and is capable of playing a physically punishing game. Offensively, January was his best month when he contributed six of his seven total points. Prout is in the first year of a three year entry level contract with Columbus.

Brent Regner has become steady and reliable this season. Brent is in the last year of his entry level contract, leaving him as a restricted free agent this summer. Given the potential of an RFA, he might not be highly sought after at the deadline.

Cody Goloubef was out of the lineup for about two months while recuperating from a serious hand injury. Up to that point, Cody was one of the better defenders on the Falcons. Since his return three weeks ago, he is getting his game back, but it's not where it was prior to his injury. In the second year of his entry level deal, there might be interest in his ability to shore up another club's blueline corps.

Theo Ruth, himself a throw-in in the Sergei Fedorov deal, is in the second year of a three year entry level contract. Ruth could find himself thrown into a deal again. While you can look at the Jackets burgeoning blueline, and like the current depth, Jackets management is also responsible for fortifying the Falcons defense. My observation tells me that Ruth will be staying with the organization.

The NHL trade deadline is Monday at 3PM. The AHL trade deadline (for deals exclusively among AHL teams) is March 6th, ahead of Clear Day roster submission. I'll be camped out here at The Cannon for most of the day on Monday. Stop by and bring a friend!



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