Nikita Alexeev has been traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for
DefensivemanLeft Wing Karl Stewart and a sixth round pick. Details to follow as well as linkage.
UPDATE #1: Stewart is another younger player (23) with only 50+ NHL games to his credit. He has 5 points and 45 PIM this season in 37 games with the Blackhawks. He's an enforcer for sure with some scoring knack from his junior days but not a huge offensive threat. He is not a huge guy (5'11", 185 Lbs) but he is willing to drop them and I assume throw his weight around.
Credited as one of Rick Dudley's "Soft Euro" draft picks, Nikita has never utilized his size (6'5", 227 Lbs) to his advantage to drive to the net. I always figured that was the role the Lightning anticipated Alexeev to grow into -- sort of a Fredrik Modin with more.
But it didn't work out that way. Though Alexeev has registered a career high in goals and assists this season (10 / 11) he hasn't used his size to his advantage and that has hurt the Lightning at times.
2ND UPDATE Jason Ward has been acquired from the Los Angeles Kings for a fifth round pick. He's a former first round pick from the Montreal Canadiens. I'm actually at a loss to figure this one out. Ward's a right wing and I am unfamiliar with his career. He's not a goal scorer (28 points is his career high), he's not an enforcer. Someone please do me a favor and enlighten me on this move -- why Ward?
3RD UPDATE: I get the Alexeev deal. I initially wrote some shocked remarks about the trade (because I was misreading TSN.CA's draft tracker) but I understand this move. Alexeev is a big price to pay but a I said above, he never lived up to expectations. Stewart comes in with more NHL experience than minor league tough guys like Mitch Fritz. He is the gritty winger that Jay was after. He is also able to be a part of the organization for a while if he earns his keep.
That's the one thing in the O'Brien and Stewart deals that makes me very happy -- both additions are not going for veteran grit, veteran costs and what not. They were long term acquisitions. They're technically still kids. While you see other teams adding veterans in a traditional push -- we're adding young role players to round out the veterans we already have.
It's almost as if Jay Feaster read me loud and clear.
4th UPDATE: TSN.ca's player profile for Ward sheds more light on why Feaster would have picked him up:
Assets Works hard every shift and knows how to take care of his own end. Doesn't mind playing a crash-and-bang style. Is a quality teammate.
Flaws Doesn't own top-end skating ability, which hurts his level of production. Has had trouble finding his niche in the NHL. Is too inconsistent.
Career potential Checking line forward.
Rob Dimaio anyone?