One Year Later: The Ryan Garbutt Trade

Photo: MyToba Sports

Photo: MyToba Sports

By Thomas Harrington

One year ago today, the Anaheim Ducks traded Jiri Sekac to the Chicago Blackhawks for Ryan Garbutt. One year later, neither player is on their new team and neither is even in the NHL. Safe to say that this trade wasn’t a great one for either team, but Anaheim has come out a little ahead in the deal overall.

Sekac started his NHL career in Montreal, after signing a two-year deal there following three seasons in the KHL. In his rookie season in Montreal, he played in 50 games and scored seven goals and 16 points. He was never a consistent point producer for the Canadiens and found himself a healthy scratch throughout the season. When he was in the lineup, his ice time varied widely from 10 to 20 minutes. After less than a season in Montreal, the Canadiens were ready to move on from him and traded him to Anaheim for Devante Smith-Pelly. The hope was that Sekac would fit in Anaheim’s top six on the left side, a spot where the team used to be notoriously weak. If he didn’t fit in as a primary scoring role, hopefully, he would at least provide some depth scoring in the bottom six. However, he just never fit in and scored just two goals and seven points in 19 games for Anaheim. In the playoffs that year, he only played in seven games, only appearing in the series against Chicago. He was scratched through the first two rounds and went scoreless in the series against the Blackhawks.

Garbutt started his NHL career in the Dallas Stars organization, working his way up from the AHL to the NHL. After playing for the Stars for several years, he, along with Trevor Daley, were traded to Chicago for Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns in the offseason. In Chicago, Garbutt received primarily bottom six minutes and didn’t record his first point with his new team until the end of October. He finally got his first goal a few weeks later. Overall, Garbutt played in 43 games for Chicago and scored two goals and six points.

This deal is a classic example of two teams trading struggling wingers and trying to see if a change of scenery would benefit either player. Sekac wasn’t adding to Anaheim’s offense, so the Ducks were looking for veteran depth on their bottom six and a strong penalty killer. Garbutt wasn’t being an effective presence on the Chicago’s fourth line and the Blackhawks were hoping to up their skillset a little bit.

Garbutt played in 37 games for the Ducks and scored five goals and eight points. He wasn’t acquired to put up points, however. Garbutt was brought in to make the Ducks tougher and meaner to play against, and he did just that. He was one of the more physical players on the Ducks’ bottom six and helped out the team’s penalty kill as well. He even saw some time next to Ryan Getzlaf, as his forecheck helped create some space for Anaheim’s top center. This season, he only played in 21 games for the Ducks and scored two goals and three points. After those 21 games, he was placed on waivers and assigned to San Diego. Garbutt just wasn’t playing like he did last season, leading to his demotion. With the Gulls, he’s played in 14 games and scored two goals and three points. He’s helped stabilize San Diego’s penalty kill, a unit that was really struggling early in the season.

Sekac only played in six games for Chicago and recorded one assist. He was a healthy scratch most nights and a little more than a month after being traded to the Blackhawks, Sekac was placed on waivers and was claimed by Arizona. After the season ended, Sekac headed back to the KHL and it looks like his NHL career has already ended.

A year later, neither player in the trade is in the NHL, but Garbutt is at least helping out Anaheim’s affiliate and did some good for them last year. Combine that with how little Sekac did for Chicago, Anaheim came out on top in this deal of struggling wingers.

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January 21, 2017

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