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One Year Later: The Trade Deadline
By Thomas Harrington
One year ago today was the NHL trade deadline, and the Anaheim Ducks made one minor move: trading Michael Del Zotto to the St. Louis Blues for a 2019 6th round draft pick. Essentially, the Ducks traded Luke Schenn and a 7th round pick for a 6th round pick and 12 games of Del Zotto since they had acquired Del Zotto for Schenn and a 7th round pick in mid-January.
Given how much better Del Zotto was than Schenn, I’m pretty happy with the deal. The only real problem with it is that the Blues ended up winning the Cup, so the 6th round pick was at the very end of the round, and was pretty close to the 7th round pick that Anaheim had traded away. The pick ended up being 186th overall, and the Ducks selected defenseman Mathew Hill.
In 12 games with the Ducks, Del Zotto recorded three assists and played in Anaheim’s top four, often alongside Cam Fowler. At this point in his career, Del Zotto wasn’t a great offensive defenseman, but he was solid enough in his own end. The Ducks liked his play so much that after he left the Blues as a free agent over the summer, they decided to bring him back. He’s played primarily on Anaheim’s bottom pair this season.
The Ducks were looking to get as many picks as possible before the deadline, and with Del Zotto on an expiring contract, he was the ideal player to move, while also making space for the recently acquired Brendan Guhle. For the Blues, they wanted to pick up the extra defensive depth in what they were hoping was a long playoff run. Giving up a 6th round pick was an easy price to pay for an extra NHL body on their blueline.
Hill plays for the Barrie Colts in the OHL. He’s a defensive defenseman who doesn’t have much offensive upside. He has two goals and nine points in 56 games this season. He’s big, standing at 6’3”, so the hope is he can turn into a physical force on Anaheim’s bottom pair someday.
With the Blues, Del Zotto found himself a healthy scratch more often than not, but he did play in seven games to end the season and picked up three assists with them. He didn’t play in any of St. Louis’ playoff games; their defense ended up being largely healthy in the postseason and his services weren’t needed. However, even though Del Zotto didn’t play, the Blues were more than happy to have him in case something went wrong.
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A year later, both teams can be relatively happy with the deals made. For the Blues, they won the Stanley Cup, and even though Del Zotto didn’t play in any games, you can never have too many NHL defensemen during the playoffs. Giving up a 6th round pick for that kind of insurance was a price they were happy to pay. Hill is still several years away from having a chance to crack Anaheim’s lineup, but getting a 6th round pick for a bottom-pairing player certainly isn’t a bad deal. Also, opening up a roster spot for Guhle and other young defensemen in Anaheim’s system to give them NHL experience at the end of the season could end up being very valuable for them.
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February 25th, 2020