By Thomas Harrington
Similar to this year, Bob Murray and the Ducks had a quiet trade deadline one year ago. In fact, the Ducks only made one trade: sending prospect Kenton Helgesen and a 2019 7th round draft to Chicago for Sam Carrick and Spencer Abbott. While this was a minor league deal, one year later, the Ducks are easily the clear winners in this one. Some were upset that the Ducks didn’t do more at this trade deadline, but keep in mind that Murray had acquired Patrick Eaves just days earlier and he was unlikely to give up any prime prospects after trading away a conditional second round pick that became a first rounder.
Carrick joined the Blackhawks as a free agent in July 2016. It was a two-way deal and he was assigned to Rockford for the entire time he was with Chicago. In Rockford, Carrick scored 11 goals and 28 points in 57 games. The IceHogs finished last in the Central Division that season, so Chicago opted to move Carrick and get something for him.
Abbott was drafted by Toronto but traded to Chicago in February 2015. Once joining the Blackhawks, he was also assigned to Rockford, where he finished out the season. He played in the SHL the next season but returned to Chicago for the 2016-2017 season. Before being traded to Anaheim, he played in only one game with the Blackhawks and went scoreless. He spent most of the season with Rockford, scoring 15 goals and 35 points in 53 games.
The Ducks had selected Helgesen in the seventh round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. After spending several years in the WHL, Helgesen turned pro in the 2015-2016 season; he played the entire year in the ECHL for the Utah Grizzlies, scoring two goals and five points in 31 games. The next season, he scored three goals and 13 points before being traded.
Clearly, none of these players were going to be part of their team’s long-term futures. Carrick and Abbott were added to San Diego, collectively scoring 25 points in 31 games. In the Calder Cup Playoffs, they collectively put up 13 points in 18 games. Helgesen stayed in the ECHL and scored 10 points in 12 games to close out the season. All three players were a free agent at season’s end; the Ducks opted to bring back both Abbott and Carrick for the Gulls, while Chicago let Helgesen go. However, Abbott was traded midseason and only played in 20 games for the Gulls this season. On the other hand, Carrick has become one of San Diego’s offensive leaders this season, scoring 12 goals and 34 points in 48 games and is second on the team in points, behind only Kalle Kossila.
Helgesen was never really what Chicago wanted out of this deal; instead, the prize for them was the seventh round pick. However, given that it won’t be used until 2019, the player that is selected won’t be helping them out anytime soon. Still, more picks is never a bad thing.
One year later, this is a deal that clearly benefited the Gulls and continues to do so. For Chicago, we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that seventh-round pick so it could be a very long time before we know the true impact of this trade. But for now, it’s safe to say that this deal is a win for Anaheim.
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March 1st, 2018