Nolan Foote celebrating a goal at the World Juniors
Every year around this point of the season, teams start to make moves and improve ahead of the trade deadline. Every trade that goes down is broken down on numerous all-day broadcasts but the one area they seem to lack at times is breaking down the prospects that are involved in the trade. We often get short, simple descriptions of a players game such as “puck-moving defender” or “goal-scoring winger” but oftentimes these prospects are much more, or sometimes far less, than what the talking TV heads have to say in the matter. Today, we break down the prospects traded this past week in a few more words.
The Minnesota Wild acquire Calen Addison in the Jason Zucker deal
The Pittsburgh Penguins, in what’s become a regular occurrence, trade from the top of their prospect pool to acquire talent and this year’s departure from the system was none other than right-shot blueliner Calen Addison. Sent along with a first-round pick and the newest member of the NHL journeymen club, Alex Galchenyuk, who will be looking to jump-start his career after failed stops in Arizona and Pittsburgh. The first-round pick will be a solid addition to the Minnesota prospect pool in June but the big addition for the future comes in the young offensive-minded defenseman.
Addison’s strengths are obvious. He is a smooth-skating defender who likes to push the pace of play and be a catalyst in the offensive zone. Addison plays a high-risk, high-reward game that can drive coaches crazy and bring a smile to their faces all in one shift. Addison is a talented passer from the blueline but he doesn’t stop himself from vacating his position at the point to help create offense lower in the zone. He likes to pinch and knows that the closer to the net he can get the puck, the better the odds are that it ends up in the back of the opposition’s net.
The issue with Addison’s game is that while the offense is dialed up to ‘100’, his defense suffers a bit because he doesn’t play much of it. His defensive awareness is often subpar and he doesn’t have the size to defend along the boards or in front of the net unless he is giving full effort. He does have a good stick and when he makes a play in his own zone, he does an excellent job of turning the play around and quickly getting the puck up the ice. His transition game is outstanding thanks to his high-end skating. The young Lethbridge Hurricane’s defender has good puck skills and the ability to weave his way through the neutral zone, entering the attacking zone with control of the puck, making him and his team that much more dangerous.
The New Jersey Devils acquire David Quenneville in the Andy Greene deal
The New Jersey Devils came into this season with high hopes that have come crashing down to earth as the losses piled up and the offseason moves that brought that hope began to sour. While the big get here for the Devils as they send their team captain to the New York Islanders was the second-round pick, the Devils’ also collected another asset in diminutive blueliner David Quenneville.
While only 5’8″, Quenneville is built quite stalky. The 194lbs defender is known as a solid puck-mover who can contribute on the offensive end of the ice. Coming out of the draft he was one of the highest-scoring WHL defenders when it came to producing primary points and continued that the following year in the WHL. He shows the ability to move the puck in the offensive zone with crisp passing and well-above-average vision.
The short yet stout defender doesn’t shy away from physical contact but can often take himself out of the play when he tries to step-up and make a big hit. He certainly shows that he has the strength to lay the body but he doesn’t have the frame to withstand the blast himself sometimes. While he is still likely a long-shot, Quenneville gives the Devils a bit of organizational depth and replaces the Quenneville that the Devils traded this past summer.
The New Jersey Devils acquire Nolan Foote in the Blake Coleman deal
In what was the biggest move from last week, Blake Coleman was sent to the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning but it came at a big cost. Tampa Bay sends last year’s first-round pick, Nolan Foote, and the 2020 first-round pick that they acquired from Vancouver in the JT Miller trade at the draft. This deal saw the best prospect dealt so far this year go to an organization that will likely need him t play a bigger role sooner than he would have in Tampa.
Nolan Foote has been very good this year and last when healthy. He is a high-end goal scorer who has an above-average NHL shot already. He played a big role on the Canadian World Junior team, playing at times on the top-line. His skating has been the biggest improvement from last year, improving to the point where he can affect the game in more areas than just as a goal-scorer. His ability to stay mobile and become a better overall player makes him an even better asset than he was when he was drafted less than a year ago.
While he is an effective offensive player who can score goals and has underrated playmaking ability should have a much easier path to the NHL now that he won’t be in the Tampa Bay Lightning system. Foote should develop into a potential 30-goal scorer and powerplay driver at the NHL level, especially if he can find his way onto a line with Jack Hughes who could help turn him into an even more dangerous scorer.
As the trade deadline nears, more prospects will be dealt and all the focus will be on the NHL players that are on their way to a playoff team and the prospects will get a passing glance and a spare comment. The prospects dealt at the deadline are rarely given the love they deserve because the players they’re dealt for are on their way to help push a playoff run as far as they can. Check back here as the prospects get dealt and the deals go down for more from the Dobber Prospects team!
Thanks for joining me for my Monday Ramblings! This week I took a look at some of the prospects dealt recently. Feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Twitter @theTonyFerrari, my DMs are always open! Be sure to check out my Mid-Season Draft Rankings Breakdown for insight into my Top-100 and information on 60+ draft eligibles. The latest edition of ‘Shift Work‘ is out as well where I take a look at Swedish defender Helge Grans’ game!