Just some notes to cover.
-We never did get around to analyzing the Smith-for-Desjardins trade, mostly because most of us here think it doesn’t matter in the long run. At least hopefully it doesn’t. If Ben Smith becomes the difference between winning a Cup and not, then there were probably bigger issues at play.
By now, everyone’s realized this is a cap move. Smith was signed for one more year, and there are alternatives for his 4th line/PK role next year. While Nordstrom’s past few strong games are hardly sample size enough to have convinced the front office to do away with Smith, it does at least offer hope that any gap will be made up pretty quickly. Looking ahead to next year, Nordstrom, Hartman, and/or Danault could all find themselves on the 4th line. If Garret Ross gains 30 pounds, he might even get a look too. (I also have this sneaking suspicion that if Tyler Motte were to leave Michigan after this season he’s going to be the kid who surprises everyone at training camp. But I doubt he leaves Michigan this year).