DESPITE RECENT MOVE TRADE RUMOURS STILL SWIRLING
Colorado GM Mike Smith made a minor move over the past week, shipping out top forward prospect Mike Ricci to the St. Louis Blues. Ricci, 22, has shown a real knack for taking care of things defensively and winning draws. Some have gone so far as comparing his game to Guy Carbonneau.
Also heading to St. Louis is minor league scoring leader Jari Torkki and another defensive-minded forward Bob Corkum. The return for the Rockies is questionable. The main prize is the Blues 1st round pick in a deep 1997 Entry Draft. Some already pencil the pick in as a lottery ball while others aren’t so quick to count the Blues out.
GM Smith said, “Moving Ricci was never in the cards. When Patty announced a full rebuild, we saw an opportunity. Sure it’s still a few years away. And even that player would be several seasons away from playing pro level hockey after that. My scouts tell me if we manage to get a top 6 pick that we will have someone that can lead the next wave. Mike is probably only a year out of a legit shot in camp. We had development plans for him. The offer from GM Blais made me reevaluate how we spend our 600 AP next offseason. This deal, I feel, sets us up down the line with a great asset. It also opens up a slot to develop a different forward”.
Smith also collected $500k in the deal and veteran defender Jamie Macoun. Smith added, “I’ve admired Jamie’s play over the years. I feel he has been fairly underrated throughout his career. We’ve had a talk already and we’ve clearly defined his role in Courtice”.
This is the second major piece moved by Smith in the return from the Theo Fleury trade. Adam Deadmarsh went to Pittsburgh where they have already shown a commitment to developing the budding forward.
It doesn’t sound like Colorado is done tinkering. Smith is rumoured to be searching for a 26-28 year old goalie with a touch more upside than Hackett or Rhodes. It’s believed that goalie would be eventually used to bridge the gap and allow Jocelyn Thibault the opportunity to hone his craft in the minors.