Welcome to the Bench: Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg
Born: 1/25/1991 (25 years old) Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Drafted: 1st round (9th overall) in 2009 by Ottawa Senators
Teams: Ottawa Senators (2009-2016)
Weight: 238 lbs
Born: 3/9/1986 (29 years old) St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
Drafted: 7th round (204th overall) in 2005 by Ottawa Senators
Teams: Ottawa Senators (2010-2016)
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 212 lbs
Born: 12/7/1984 (31 years old) Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech Republic
Drafted: 1st round (6th overall) in 2003 by San Jose Sharks
Teams: San Jose Sharks (2003-2009), Ottawa Senators (2009-2016)
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 220 lbs
Born: 7/22/1995 (20 years old) Stockholm, Sweden
Drafted: 4th round (102nd overall) in 2013 by Ottawa Senators
Teams: No NHL Experience
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 215 lbs
Toronto Maple Leafs trade captain Dion Phaneuf, as well as Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghy to the Ottawa Senators for Jared Cowen, Milan Michalek, Colin Greening, Tobias Lindberg and a 2017 second round pick. No salary is retained by either team (!!!).
What’s going on?
It all boils down to the salary cap. If you had told me last season that within the next year the Leafs would trade Kessel and Phaneuf, but have to retain salary on Kessel and not Phaneuf, I’d call you crazy! I realize the haul for Phaneuf wasn’t as good as Kessel’s trade… But come on! The Leafs have officially hit the reset button by trading Clarkson, Kessel and Phaneuf in less than a year. Wow.
Now Cowen, Greening and Michalek aren’t great contacts in their own right. Greening’s average cap hit of $2.65 mil has left him toiling in the minors to stay off of the Senators’ books. The injury prone Michalek is owed an annual $4 mil. And Jared Cowen–arguably the most notable name in this trade–can actually save the Leafs money if they buy him out. Luckily all three are off of the books after next season, giving the Leafs some major cap flexibility.
Now these guys aren’t completely dead weight. Greening’s contract might be ugly, and he hasn’t exactly lit up the AHL. But his possession stats, shown below, would suggest that he could be a solid bottom 6 guy. With the Leafs positioned to sell of some of their forward “depth”, Greening could give the Leafs a decent, warm body until his contract expires. His contract won’t be as big of a deal with the Leafs already comfortably under the cap ceiling, and no plans to contend anytime soon.
Michalek could easily be this year’s Olli Jokinen. I would not be shocked if the Leafs retained a bit of salary and shipped him to a contender for a pick. He still has value as a gritty forward with good hands. If he is actually healthy he will play in the Leafs top six–although that probably isn’t the honour it used to be.
I’m going to spare you all and not share any of Cowen’s advanced stats. It’s not pretty.
When I think of Jared Cowen, I remember him as the consolation prize of Burkie punking Bryan Murray on the draft floor in ’09.
What an ass hole!
That isn’t to say Kadri has been a stud, but I’m quite sure the Sens would have taken Nazem at his cap hit than pay for Cowen’s wasted potential. The Senators have finally waived the white flag and gave up on the hulking ninth overall pick. Injuries have stunted his development and he is known to be a very slow skater. So more likely than not he will be competing for minutes with Frankie Corado and not Morgan Reilly. It would be nice for a reclamation player to break Toronto’s way after years of watching it go the other way with Anton Stralman, Jiri Tlusty and Alex Steen. I’m not ready to give up on him yet.
The main return of this deal was the draft pick and under-the-radar prospect Tobias Lindberg. Lindberg profiles as a big forward with some skill and has turned some heads with his play over the last year. He had 78 points in 67 games with the Oshawa Generals last season, and was a huge part of their Memorial Cup win. Don’t undervalue the scouting report that his coach in Oshawa and current Leafs assistant coach, D.J. Smith, must have given Lou. Everything I’ve read about him projects him as a future NHLer. It isn’t a bad sign that he is already slotted on the Marlies top line with Nylander and Kapanen.
Now I’ve said before that I’m actually a fan of Dion Phaneuf. I thought he was a real professional despite being surrounded by a complete circus. I just hope that when he returns to Toronto that he will get nothing but a positive response. But let’s be honest… The ACC boo birds will be singing loudly on March 5th.