So outside of last night's game, the big news yesterday was the Devils announcing a trade with the Anaheim Ducks- acquiring defenseman Kurtis Foster and Goalie Timo Pielmeier for Mark Fraser, Rod Pelley and a 7th round pick in 2012. From what the Devils gave up, they gave up very little- two players who are of little use to the team and a 7th round pick. Which makes the deal pretty good seeing as the Devils got assets they can use- a defenseman and a goaltending prospect. Here's a little more info on the two guys the Devils acquired.
Foster is most often remembered for suffering a broken femur a couple of years back. He's managed to make a full recovery and has proven to be a serviceable defenseman. This season he's only played 9 games for the Ducks due to injuries. His contract is expiring, likely meaning he won't be with the team after July 1st
What Can He Bring?
The first would be an NHL Defenseman- which is something the team needs right now with both Anton Volchenkov and Andy Greene on IR. This would likely mean Alex Urbom, who hasn't been great in the two games he's played in, will probably be the odd man out. When both Greene and Volchenkov are back, Foster will likely serve as a competent 7th defenseman- which is good because Mark Fraser wasn't able to provide much competition for the other defensemen.
Foster's biggest strength has to be his power-play ability. He has been relatively good at putting up points on the powerplay. 14 of his points last season came on the man advantage- on a pretty horrible Oilers powerplay. Foster is a right handed shot, meaning he can replace either Mark Fayne or Adam Larsson on the right point. Or alternatively, he could move to the point with one of Larsson or Fayne.
Foster's problem might be his physical play- despite being incredibly big, he's not very good at hitting people. He's also a black hole when it comes to possession- the team's corsi with him on the ice is -16.22: not exactly very stellar. Then again, his possession numbers may be the result of Anaheim's terrible possession numbers. Playing on a better possession team will probably mean he won't be absolutely horrendous in that regard.
Pielmeier was the other piece in the trade- a goaltending prospect who's being pushed out of the Ducks organization due to other goaltenders in the system. He has some potential- he was an ECHL all-star last season with Bakersfield, and had a short stint in the NHL with the Ducks after Jonas Hiller was hurt. Here's some more info on Pielmeier from noted goaltending expert Justin Goldman
As we clearly saw against the Blues last Saturday night, Timo Pielmeier is nowhere close to being ready for NHL duty. He’s still developing his skills as an AHL rookie in Syracuse and working on his consistency at that level. Last season was his first as a pro and he played extremely well in the ECHL for the Bakersfield Condors. He was not only an ECHL All-Star, but he also lit the lamp and scored a goal. He’s still a terrific prospect with excellent raw skills and quickness, but shouldn’t be expected to fight for an NHL job for at least another two years.
He's most likely going to stay in the ECHL with Kalamazoo, or be loaned to another ECHL team seeing as once Maxime Clermont is healthy, Pielmeier won't get consistent playing time.
As for his ultimate upside, you can't always know what you're getting with goaltenders. Pielmeier could either end up being a career AHLer or potentially an NHLer if he continues to develop and gets chances with Albany. He's not going to make an immediate impact, but having him around adds to the team's goaltending depth- which has improved significantly from last season.
What do You Think?
What do you think of the trade? Do you think Foster and Pielmeier are worth Fraser, Pelley and a 7th round pick? Do you like that the Devils got two useful pieces for a pair of bench warmers? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.