Like most Friday nights, Friday’s are reserved for Family Dinner Night at whatever local restaurant we can all agree on. Unlike most Friday nights, however, this night out came with a text and several Twitter and Facebook notifications. Drew Shore, the Rampage’s top player and all star, had been traded. I didn’t know the details, at first. When I found them, I was furious.
After a good night’s sleep and some reflection, I’m still not thrilled with the trade. That said, 1) I get it, and 2) It could have been much much worse.
As to number one, this was a trade I saw coming. I never expected Drew Shore to be in a Rampage uniform all season. Sure, I had hopes that he would be. But he was buried down the depth chart, is two games from no longer being waiver exempt, and was possibly the Panther’s best trade chip. I DID expect that Shore would part of a bigger deal. A deal that would land the Panthers a winger that could score. But the bottom line is this: those guys don’t grow on trees and when they do, teams just don’t go trading them away.
On the flip side, Shore deserves this chance to go to Calgary and contribute. He’s been a true professional and has produced his entire time in San Antonio. I have no firsthand knowledge, but based on comments from Panthers GM Dale Tallon, it appears, to me, that Shore may have approached the Panthers about finding him an opportunity to play in the NHL via a trade. Shore, for the time being, will report to the Flames AHL team in Adirondack, but I expect he won’t stay there very long.
On to number two mentioned above. Despite his production and ability, Shore alone wasn’t going to get much in return that would help the Rampage this season. He possibly could’ve fetched a 2nd rounder in return, but how does that help the Rampage in any way, shape, or form? It doesn’t. The Panthers, like in the Robak deal, made a deal that they felt was necessary, but not one that crippled the Rampage in the process.
Corban Knight is no slouch. The Panthers made the University of North Dakota center their 5th round draft pick way back in 2009. After spending all four seasons at UND, Knight and the Panthers were unable to agree on a contract, which led to the Panthers dealing him to Calgary for their 2013 4th round pick. The Panthers used that pick to draft Michael Downing, a defenseman out of the University of Michigan.
Knight, meanwhile, put up very good numbers–18g-27a-44pts in 70GP–as a rookie with Abbotsford. He’s struggled to produce at that level this season in Adirondack. In his defense, however, this year’s version of the Flames affiliate doesn’t have anywhere near the offensive firepower they had last season. He’ll immediately slot into the 2C spot in San Antonio. Most importantly, as Dan Weiss noted on Twitter last night, Knight will likely spend the rest of the season in San Antonio. Something that probably couldn’t be said for Shore.
One final thought, and one that I made on Twitter last night, is the “Grimaldi Factor”. Rampage rookie forward Rocco Grimaldi was a teammate of Knight at UND for two seasons. There is familiarity there. And while they won’t likely line up on the same line, there’s a lot to be said about having a familiar face in a new locker room.
While it’s easy to look at this trade, especially those of us in San Antonio, with skepticism and anger. Once you look below the surface, it’s a deal that, while hard to swallow, one that could’ve ended up so much worse for the Rampage. Drew Shore is closer to being an NHL player, thus his production will outperform that of Knight’s. But Corban Knight is a quality player and will contribute to the Rampage for this season and possibly beyond.