We are just weeks away from the NHL Trade Deadline and for the most part things have been quiet on the trade front. The Islanders made the first big move by acquiring Bo Horvat from the Canucks in a move that surely should set the market for the bigger names available. Lets put a pin in those types of trades for the moment and lets take a look at two players on the Hawks that could pick up some interest as we get closer to March.
Defenseman Jake McCabe has been having a great season on a bad team; this has not gone unnoticed as there have been reports that teams such as the Kings, Leafs, and Oilers. While he has been playing himself on to a contender and getting the looks, there is another Hawks defenseman who you aren’t hearing much chatter about and you have to almost wonder why that is. I am of course, talking about Connor Murphy.
Now if you compare these two guys, its almost like you are looking at the same player. In a way you can say McCabe is the left handed Murphy and vice versa. They are both 29 years old and play a defensively focused game. Hell look at their stats this season so far:
McCabe +/- 2 Point Shares 2.9 SOG 51 TOI 19:20 Blocks 98 Hits 98 TK 22 GV 21
Murphy +/- -1 Point Shares 2.4 SOG 52 TOI 19:28 Blocks 104 Hits 99 TK 16 GV 22
Two players with almost identical defensive stats, however, you have to give McCabe the edge given the 14 points he has put up on the offensive side of the puck. However, Murphy gets some extra points himself as he has proven to be a leader and a locker room guy, which is extremely valuable. So, taking all of that into account, why is McCabe gaining more rumor interest than Murphy. Could that extra year and extra 400,000 on Murphys contract really scare off teams that much? That could be an extreme possibility, as playoff contenders are already pushing up against the cap ceiling and are going to need to get creative to make moves.
If I am Kyle Davidson, I am exploring every and all option to trade both of these players. They are built to be playing on playoff contenders and would be wasting their prime seasons in this rebuild. Now what type of return could you expect for these guys? That is the million dollar question and it’s difficult to answer. We as fans are always going to overvalue the players on our favorite teams. To me I think you can ask for a 2nd to mid round pick for both of these guys. I think KD can also use his cap space available to take on a bad contract to make the money work which will help land that 2nd or 3rd rounder. Remember, picks and prospects are amazing for the rebuild, but we still need guys to play and you can not throwout the young guys out there before they are ready. Also, this team will need to get to the cap floor next year, and what better way to take care of both of those issues than filling this team with rentals?
Come Trade Deadline Day, you have time to make one more move and its either McCabe or Murphy, who are you moving? Personally, as much as I like him and would love to keep him around longer, I think the move is McCabe. That one less year owed to him compared to Murphy makes him way more attractive and might be an easier pill for other GMs to swallow. The issue with moving McCabe is his 7-team No Trade list that includes all Canadian teams minus the Leafs. While the Leafs are interested They do not have a 2nd round pick in this upcoming draft. They do, however, have two 3rd rounders (although one has conditions on it with Arizona) this year and then their 2nd next year. It really comes down to what makes the most sense for the KD rebuild plan, which seems to be a mystery right now.
You’re the Hawks GM and you are tasked to move these guys, what are you telling teams you want from them and who are you looking to move?