Now the trade-deadline is officially kicked off. We’ve had some minor moves for depth defenseman, but now things are getting interesting.
LAK Receives: Ben Bishop (G), 2017 5th Round Pick
Tampa: Peter Budaj (G), D Erik Cernak, 2017 7th round pick, 2017 conidtional pick
Interesting trade all around highlight by Bishop going to the Kings of all places. The Kings have one of the best goalies in the world, when he’s healthy, in Jonathan Quick. Quick recently returned from an injury suffered in game 1 of the regular season and was as good as he’s ever been. Quick stopped 32 of 33 shots against the Ducks on Saturday which makes the move even more puzzling.
Why the Kings did it: I think LAK is realizing that their window is closing and they want to give it one more run of things this year. They sit 3 points out of the 2nd wild-card and 6 out of the first (but they do have 2 games in hand on the first wild card place Flames).Bishop is going to act like Quick insurance and that’s why the haul isn’t that substantial. If Quick struggles at all the Kings can easily go to Bishop to try and right the ship. To get into the playoffs they are going to have to rattle off something like 8 wins out of 10 games. They play the Flames twice in March and the Blues once, the teams ahead of the Kings in the wild-card race.
Why Tampa Bay did it: Tampa was not going to resign Bishop this year so they wanted to get a decent haul for him. I like that they did a deal now instead of waiting till Wednesday and risking a deal falling apart at the last minute. They receive Budaj who has had a pretty good year, but he is no more than a backup for this year and is a UFA next. They may extend him by a year so they can be compliant with the expansion rules.
The 7th round pick is inconsequential but the defenseman Cernak and the 2017 conditional pick is a fair price. Cernak is a big-bodied defenseman with a right handed shot who was originally selected in the 2nd round by the kings in the 2015 Draft. He has the talent and size that he combines with fluid skating ability. Here is a scouting report from his draft day.
ESPN isn’t so bullish on Cernak as stated here:
“ESPN Insider Corey Pronman was a little more hesitant on Cernak: “Cernak was a touted prospect heading into his draft season, but he hasn’t developed as hoped in his two seasons in North America playing for Erie. On a tools level, there’s a lot to like. He’s an athletic 6-foot-3 defenseman with skill and can win puck battles. However, he’s struggled with the elevated pace of the CHL and is looking like a long-term type of prospect.””
The conditions on the pick are based on how well the Kings do this year. Not all the information is out there on the conditions but it will be based on both Kings playoff performance and Bishop . It could be a nothing but it could also be as high as a 2nd round pick. Overall a fine trade for Tampa.
Final Grades: LAK B-/TampaB