After the Philadelphia Flyers traded young defenceman Ryan Parent to the Nashville Predators in exchange for unsigned pending UFA Dan Hamhuis, I'm quite certain one thing popped into the minds of most Ottawa Senators fans: Does this set the asking price for any trade of Anton Volchenkov's free agent rights?
Certainly, most fans would prefer Volchenkov stay in a Senators uniform for next season (and the rest of his career), but an acceptance that his asking price is higher than the team will be able to commit has settled into most of the fanbase. Without getting too excited about his seemingly imminent exit, fans have also suggested trading away Volchenkov's rights to make sure we don't lose another star player for nothing. Initially, I was skeptical; Jay Bouwmeester got the Florida Panthers a conditional draft pick last season, sure, but Bouwmeester is a much different player than Volchenkov.
But with the Hamhuis/Parent swap (read more on From The Rink, On the Forecheck, and Broadstreet Hockey) this past weekend, that may have changed. Hamhuis is the same age as Volchenkov, with a similar skill set (slightly better offence, significantly lower defensive statistics), and he garnered a decent prospect for the Preds. What might Ottawa get for Volchenkov, a more sought-after asset who, according to Yahoo!, is the third-ranked UFA in this year's draft class?
Comparing Volchenkov to Bouwmeester would be folly--the two play a completely contrasting style, with the only real similarity being the position they're listed as on the roster. Comparing the former to Hamhuis, however, is a different story.
|2009 - Dan Hamhuis||78||5||19||24||4||49||148||95||1,657:55||21:15||115||4.3|
|2009 - Anton Volchenkov||64||4||10||14||2||38||153||172||1,324:10||20:41||69||5.8|
The two are virtually the same age, the same height, and a negligible difference in hitting proficiency. Hamhuis has slightly more offence to offer, while Volchenkov has significantly more shot-blocking. Hamhuis plays more ice time, but also takes more penalties. Volchenkov has a better shooting percentage (ha!).
Basing an assumption on the two notable UFA defenceman trades in recent history, Bouwmeester and Hamhuis, it's pretty tough to draw a conclusion. Bouwmeester brought Florida a third-round pick (Josh Birkholz) and the rights to Jordan Leopold, while Hamhuis' asking price was a decent defensive prospect. As is always the case, this will depend on how desperately a team wants Volchenkov, and how much competition they believe there will be for the free agent's services. Plenty of signs are pointing to a number of teams getting in on the bidding, which would only bring up Volchenkov's eventual salary; how much would it be worth for a possible suitor to try and avoid that bidding war--if anything?