Hurricanes acquire Kevin Westgarth from Kings

Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford made his second trade of the morning by acquiring Kevin Westgarth from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Anthony Stewart, a 4th round pick in this year's draft and a 6th rounder next year.  Rutherford stated numerous times over the summer that he wanted to acquire an enforcer for the fourth line to "protect" some of the team's younger players and he got one in Westgarth. 

Calling this trade an overpayment on Carolina's part would be somewhat of an understatement, which sounds kind of silly at first because they didn't give up a lot. Stewart is a fourth liner who can't drive possession even with soft minutes. There was a good chance he could have been waived at the start of the year if one of the call-ups from Charlotte outperformed him in training camp. Late round picks aren't anything to lose sleep over either since they rarely turn into NHL-ers. So, if this is the case, then why is this trade an overpayment? Because the Hurricanes gave up assets for a player who they could have had for next to nothing.

Think about it. An enforcer is a player who skates less than 10 shifts a night, rarely plays every game in a year and doesn't contribute to any other area other than hitting and fighting opposing players. How much do you think that player should be worth? Better yet, would you give up roster players and draft picks to acquire him? If I were a GM, I probably wouldn't. The role of an enforcer has declined so much in today's NHL that it's hard to consider giving up assets to acquire one but that's exactly what the Hurricanes did here.

Westgarth was apparently big part of the CBA negotiations for the NHLPA, has a family in North Carolina and skated at the Canes' practice facility during the lockout so I guess I can understand why Rutherford wanted him instead of just signing a random goon off the scrap-heap. Still, he should have been able to get Westgarth for maybe 1/3 of the assets he gave up in this trade. I get that he is playing for the present but Westgarth didn't exactly play a big role in the Kings' success last year and I'm not sure how he makes the Hurricanes a better team than they were without him. Adding Westgarth while subtracting Stewart also does not open up any roster spaces for the players coming in from Charlotte, so we could see another move in the near future.

This is far from the worst trade in the world and Rutherford can probably re-acquire one of the picks he traded by dealing another player, but surrendering draft picks for a guy who isn't going to play every night isn't the smartest thing to do if you are trying to build a successful franchise.

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