I admit I had to do a double take when I saw what the T-birds got back in the deal that sent Marcel Noebels to Portland. I thought it must have been a typo or that something was missing. Let's see, Noebels to Portland for Swenson. Okay. Then two first round draft picks for....no, wait...that was it. The two first round draft picks were part of the Noebels deal! Seriously, I thought part of the headline was missing from the press release. Wasn't Christmas last month? I guess the Winterhawks gift to the T-birds just got hung up in the chimney!
You might ask why would Portland pay such a steep price? Well, the Winterhawks have done a very good job of recruiting players. They list some good players and convince them to come play for their organization. So they probably feel they can afford to send two high picks our way. That is what winning does for your organization. Well, if the T-birds can turn these picks into gold, and gold into winning, they can do the same in the future. Winning breeds success throughout your organization.
I know what you're gonna say. Portland's first round draft picks are going to be at the tail end of the first round so they are really like second round draft picks. Uh, no, if they were second round draft picks they would be in the second round. These are first round draft picks and I don't care where in that first round they fall. It's two EXTRA high picks you didn't have two days ago. And if they were second round picks, I'd still be giddy getting two of them for a player who won't be in the WHL next season.
But, you say, Seattle hasn't done well with first round picks lately. Yes, there were a few down years but I think their last three first round picks (Troock, Hauf and Gropp)are going to turn out just fine. I realize Gropp hasn't committed to the team yet but I think this move will help convince him that the team is focused on building a strong team around him.
Additionally you now have that extra 2013 first round pick in your back pocket. You now have some bait for next season's trade deadline if you so choose. You'll have the ability to acquire established young WHL talent if you're in a position of need. Or you keep the pick and select another top prospect.
Don't forget too, you should be able to replace Noebels with a fairly high pick in this spring's CHL Import Draft. A chance to add yet another young talent as you build this roster for the next 2-3 years.
This was an absolute home run of a deal by GM Russ Farwell. This should go along way in putting this team in position to compete in the Western Conference in the coming years.
Obviously Portland really wanted Noebels to pay that price. Sad to see him go. I really like him and his no nonsense attitude. But to paraphrase The Godfather, they made an offer Russ couldn't refuse.
I don't know what to expect from Seth Swenson. He's always seemed like a hard working player. Difficult to tell from his stat line what the T-birds are getting but Portland is so deep in forwards this will give him a chance to become a more int regal part of a team's offense.