Trade Targets: Pavel Kubina (ATL)

"Trade Targets" will be a recurring piece on Fear The Fin until the March 3rd deadline, in which Plank and TCY will explore trade possibilities for the San Jose Sharks. Previous pieces of this nature can be found here.

How does it end up that I'm always the one to talk about the offensive defensemen? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to add a motherfucker, like Plank has campaigned for all season. However, I'd also like to add some scoring on the back end. I'd sacrifice a little of one for some of the other.

The two of us do agree, though, that if this team is going to add one piece that piece, it has to be a top four defensemen. We've talked about it before, but limiting Rob Blake's minutes is a good idea going forward. Unless Doug Wilson thinks Niclas Wallin is the answer (I sure hope not), a piece is going to have to be added.

With Kaberle unwilling to waive his NTC, he's virtually off the block. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. We talked earlier about his defensive issues, and although he scores in bunches, he's not going to shut anyone down.

Hejda or Seidenberg, while both capable of shutting down an opponents top line, don't add much offensive pop. Although Seidenberg could probably be had without having to give up Ryane Clowe (which still makes him the best option, in my opinion), he's not the flashiest name out there.

The name "Pavel Kubina", on the other hand, is bound to get a few people excited.

2009 - Pavel Kubina 59 5 29 34 6 48 2 0 1 0 119 4.2

Kubina has had a solid year offensively, but that's as per the usual for him. The Czech Olympian doesn't have the offensive numbers that Kaberle does, but he does come with a bit more defensive acumen, which is an added bonus for a Sharks team that has issues from time to time in their own end.

We'll get to that in a second. First, the offense. The Thrashers score 3.47 goals per 60 minutes that Kubina is on the ice, as opposed to just 2.81 when he's not. Although those numbers are skewed slightly by Ilya Kovalchuck, you could say the same for Dan Boyle playing with the HTML. Kubina's rating (+/- relative to team) is third best on the Thrashers, which tells more of the same story.

Defensively, Kubina is better this year than I expected. 0.19 fewer goals per 60 minutes are scored against the Thrashers when Kubina is on ice, and while that number isn't too significant, it's more than you could say about Kaberle.

Also, unlike Kaberle, Kubina logs a large amount of minutes shorthanded, 2.63 per 60 to be exact. The differential between goals against when on ice is more significant here: 7.15 GA/60 when Kubina is off ice, as opposed to just 4.65 GA/60 when on. That's the largest differential on the team.

So, Kubina not only brings offense to the table, but also will help the Sharks defensively. Sounds pretty good, no?

Well, that production comes at a price, and Kubina's tag accounts for a cool $5 MM. Luckily, though, that contract expires at the end of this year. And, although Kubina has a NTC, he waived it when he was traded from Toronto, and would likely do the same in order to be moved to a contender.

What gets the deal done? Well, after moving Kovalchuck the Thrashers appear to be in full sell mode. Although they remain just two points out of the eight seed, they would need to leap frog three teams to jump into a playoff spot. Not impossible, but also not likely. After moving on from Kovalchuck because of the fear of not being able to resign the soon to be UFA, I'm thinking they'll do the same with Kubina.

That probably means that a first round pick wouldn't need to be included, as would be the case if the Sharks attempted to acquire Kaberle. Instead, Clowe and Huskins (and possibly a third or fourth round pick), would be enough to seal the deal.

This trade not only gives the Sharks an elite offensive, yet more well rounded, defenseman who relieves Dan Boyle of minutes in PP situations and leads to a more effective Rob Blake, but his impending UFA status gives the Sharks much more wiggle room to resign Pavelski, Setoguchi, Marleau and Nabokov. It hurts to lose Clowe, but in my opinion, losing one of the above four would be much more significant. It also rids the team of Huskins.

I'm all for this one.

Heatley - Thornton - Marleau

Malhotra - Pavelski - Setoguchi

McGinn - Nichol - Ortmeyer

Helminen - Mitchell - Staubitz/McLaren

Boyle - Murray

Kubina - Vlasic

Blake - Wallin

And the offer that gets it done is...

To Atlanta: Ryane Clowe, Kent Huskins, 5th Round Pick

To San Jose: Pavel Kubina

Contrarian's Corner (Mr. Plank): What's a San Jose Shark? USA! USA! USA!*

*Seriously though, Kubina is a pretty good trade possibility. I prefer my Hejda deal, as well as TCY's aforementioned Seidenberg piece-- they both return more of what I'm looking for and make the team stronger top to bottom (Torres replaces Clowe and you get Hejda, Seidenberg only burns Huskins-- not a fan of giving up Ferriero, but maybe DW can get Florida to bite on a lesser prospect). That being said, if this is the only possibility left on March 3rd, I pull the trigger. San Jose could use an upgrade.

Go Sharks.