I touched on earlier about how apparently Marc Bergevin was trying to add a big forward to the team before the trade deadline but couldn't make a deal. The names floated were Mike Rupp and Kyle Clifford, both of whom I'm somewhat familiar with, and Bryan Bickell, who I'd never really heard of.
Well Bryan Bickell just scored for the Blackhawks against Brian Elliot, in not a great display of skill, since it was just a tap-in, but he still was in the right position while going to the net.
Going to hockeydb.com, we see the guy is 6'4" and 225, so he would have added a size dimension sorely missing from our roster, and our immediate prospects. He scored 20 goals and racked up 76 PIM in his draft year in 2004 for the 67's, and was picked up in the second round by Chicago. His final year of junior he potted 45 goals and 83 points, but never broke the 20 goal mark in the pros.
Not sure how much a player like this is worth, but I would guess that the 'Hawks value him highly, the broadcast crew on NBC have touched on how they are not as big as the Blues, how they have more skill with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, but can be worn down by physical play. They wouldn't have just given him away, unless there were problems.
I guess the trick is to identify a team that has a lot of big tough wingers in their system, and need something that we have too much of, say a slick puck-moving defenceman, but that will have to wait until the offseason at the earliest. To accomplish a trade like this, you need to know not only your own roster well, but have good pro scouting and knowledge of other teams. This is where the stronger management team we have in place, with prior experience with various teams and in other divisions, can be put to good use.
The gold standard in such matters is the trade Calgary pulled off for Mikka Kiprusoff, when he was stuck behind Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala on the depth chart of the Sharks. Darryl Sutter had just come over to Calgary from the Sharks organization, and he knew the talent the young goalie had, and how the Sharks might feel set in goal and be willing to trade him. They got him for a second-round pick, outright robbery.
What we need to do is identify the player in the league or AHL who isn't getting the opportunity to prove himself because of a logjam ahead of him, but who would thrive with the Canadiens, playing a role that is currently vacant, the Mario Tremblay/Yvon Lambert/Mike McPhee role. We would then match up that team's needs with what we have a surplus of.
These deals will get easier to make as our farm team gets better. While we still have a ways to go, already we're seeing such a situation with our defencemen, with Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, Greg Pateryn, Morgan Ellis already in Hamilton and developing, and Magnus Nygren and Darren Dietz and more on the way. At some point, we'll have a wealth of NHL-ready defencemen, and be able to trade some of those pieces for others we need.