Today Canes GM Ron Francis closed out a busy trade deadline that mostly closed the book on the 2015-16 season and resumed work on his commitment to to build an organization that can not just make the playoffs but do it regularly. Sunday saw the emotional departure of Eric Staal along with Kris Versteeg. The last few minutes leading up to the deadline today saw the departure of John-Michael Liles.
Potential rationale for just keeping Liles
I had Liles pegged as roughly a 50/50 shot to be traded. For only a modest return, I would have considered just keeping Liles as an investment in finishing out the positive development for the young blue line. With Faulk out, my concern is that too much makeshift defense for still 18 games could undo some of the progress made this season. Noah Hanifin is already laboring in a third pairing with Michal Jordan. It will be interesting to see how patient the Canes are with Faulk’s nagging injury or if the team just shuts him down altogether at some point. I fear that the wheels coming off in March could negatively impact the kids on D who are more vital to the Canes future than a couple of mid-round picks who are not even in the system yet.
The return and grade
But today, Ron Francis pulled the trigger and received a third round pick, a fifth round pick and an AHL player in Anthony Camara in return for John-Michael Liles from the Boston Bruins. That is a good return and a credit to Ron Francis and also the season that John-Michael Liles has had as an unspectacular but steady veteran defenseman this season.
The return is a good 1 and gets an A in my book in that regard. It pushes Francis trade deadline haul to 2 second round picks, a third round pick, a fifth round pick and another conditional fifth round pick in addition to players who were recently drafted in the second and third rounds and rate as mid-tier NHL prospects with top half of the roster NHL potential. (I view Camara as simply being an AHL addition to help fill the Checkers and Canes rosters at forward with 2 traded and 2 injured over the past week.)