In February, the Islanders traded Chris Campoli and Mike Comrie to Ottawa for the Senators’ first round pick in the 2009 draft and Dean McAmmond. Comrie and McAmmond, minor pieces to the deal, are gone from their respective teams. For this discussion, they are out of the equation.
This left the deal as Campoli for a first round pick – a nice price for Garth Snow and the Islanders, as we stated the day the trade was made. But then the final tally gets interesting.
The first round pick the Islanders acquired from Ottawa was San Jose’s. That pick was the 26th overall. On the night of the first round, the Islanders decided Oshawa defenseman Calvin de Haan was the player they had to draft at any cost. The Islanders moved from pick No. 26 to 16 by trading the following: overall picks 26, 37, 62 and 92. (They brought back pick 77 in the deal).
Not convinced they moved far enough to lock in de Haan, the Islanders traded from pick 16 to 12. They gave Minnesota the just-acquired 77 plus pick 82 to move to 12. (For the record, I was told by a Minnesota scout that the Wild wanted U.S. dman Nick Leddy – who they took at 16 – all along).
In summing up the dealings, let’s throw out picks 16, 26 and 77 since they were acquired and re-packaged. By my math – and anyone who saw my Regents scores will understand that I am very open to discussion on this – the final tally on the Chris Campoli trade looks like this:
Calvin de Haan
2nd round pick (37th overall)
3rd round pick (62nd overall)
3rd round pick (82nd overall)
4th round pick (92nd overall)
This morning, I checked my deductive reasoning and math with an assistant GM in the league, plus a statistician who’s brilliant at this sort of thing. Much to my surprise, the facts checked out clean. The assistant GM said I should also factor in that de Haan might have been there at least at pick 20. I can’t go for that, because no one can tell you they know for sure. I only know Minnesota was not taking him at 16.
Then he told me I should also weigh the de Haan pick against the many talented prospects the Islanders could have taken if they just stayed at 26. His point, of course, is that the deal could have been just Campoli straight up for Kyle Palmieri or Dylan Olsen or Carter Ashton or Simon Despres or Landon Ferraro or Ryan O’Reilly or Zach Budish. It also could have been Campoli straight up for de Haan. It’s probably not fair to go there because then you’re getting into mind-reading.
The bottom line is the Islanders traded Campoli for a first round pick and then their unique scouting system – with some big hits and big misses since it began in June of 2006 – led them to pay the additional price of 4 top-100 draft selections for de Haan.
Calvin is the odds-on favorite to emerge in five years as the best player in the trade. He certainly has the head and the hands, as Rangers personnel director Gordie Clark told me the other night about Michael Del Zotto. The major question about de Haan is whether he can add some strength and bulk to what is a very thin frame.
All that matters is that Snow, Ryan Jankowski and the big players at their draft table need to be right about Calvin de Haan eventually becoming a top-pair defenseman on a contending NHL team. At the very least, his career better blow away Chris Campoli’s.