Tuesday, December 1, 2009

File Under: Inevitable

According to Bob McKenzie's Twitter feed, "Anaheim puts Erik Christensen on waivers. That's all, folks."

Thanks for Eric O'Dell, Anaheim. Wish we had something we could've given you in return.

In the interest of full disclosure, we here at the Chronicle should point out that during the 2008 offseason (after acquiring Christensen, Armstrong, and Esposito at the trade deadline), we were full of optimism for ole' EC. He appeared to have a lot of potential and visions of beautiful assists being doled out a bright star playing center for the Atlanta Thrashers danced in our heads. Our clairvoyance is sometimes more voyant than clair. Indeed it has come to pass, but it the Dispenser of Pevs, and not the Crusader who hath brought it to pass.

Sadly, I think most of us recognize that a second tear of the same ACL (ok, technically it's a new ACL in the same knee) for Angelo Esposito is probably a death knell for any hope he had of making an NHL squad. I hope I'm wrong, but that is probably the most realistic outcome. Now Eric Christensen is being waived by the Ducks. Maybe some hapless team will take a shot on him (hey there Burke) and maybe not.

Looking back at it now, we can evaluate the Hossa trade as Hossa+Dupuis for Colby Armstrong + Eric O'Dell and a first round pick which became Daultan Leveille. That first round pick was a make-up for the one DW gave away when he picked up Keith Tkachuk the year before. Hossa was on his way out the door, and any team looking long term just had to wait until the season was over to acquire him without giving anything up. The Pens needed a big piece to push them deep into the playoffs right away, so they were willing to give up a slew of young assets. Maybe Shero knew that Christensen and Esposito were going to be busts and maybe Waddell just got unlucky. DW was able to pawn EC off on the Ducks in exchange for Eric O'Dell, who is rated by Hockey's Future as Atlanta's #7 prospect behind Pavelic, Kane, Machacek, Klinberg, Holzapfel, and Boris Valabik. The other players involved in that trade, Leveille (through the draft pick Atlanta acquired from Pit) and Esposito (who is likely now finished) are listed as #8 and #10 respectively.

So in exchange for roughly the final two months of play that Hossa would have served in Atlanta (there was no hope for playoffs for the Thrashers that year), Waddell was able to bring in what has now panned out to be two legitimate prospects (Leveille is currently in the NCAA with the Spartans and O'Dell is playing Junior with Sudburry) and Colby Armstrong, who is valuable for every aspect of his game on the ice, and perhaps even more valuable for his locker room presence.

Looking at that ranking of Atlanta's prospects from Hockey's Future, we here at the Chronicle could do some tweaking. Without consulting my cohorts first, I would count Pavs and Kane as NHL regulars now and no longer prospects, then reorder them as such:

#1 Spencer Machacek, RW
#2 Jeremy Morin, C
#3 Carl Klingberg, LW
#4 Anssi Salmela, D
#5 Paul Postma, D
#6 Eric O'Dell, C
#7 Daultan Leveille, C
#8 Arturs Kulda, D
#9 Vinny Saponari, RW
#10 Riley Holzapfel, C

Keep in mind there wasn't a whole lot of in depth analysis that went into this particular ranking of mine. My methodology consisted of eyeballing the list and rearranging it until it felt right to me.

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