— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 11, 2019
Lightning Trade Slater Koekkoek to Blackhawks For Jan Rutta
The Tampa Bay Lightning completed a trade Friday with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Lightning acquired defenseman Jan Rutta and a 2019 seventh-round draft pick in exchange for defenseman Slater Koekkoek and a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.
In Koekkoek, the Blackhawks get a former first-round draft pick who has yet to live up his potential. This season, he has scored one goal and has zero assists for one point, adding four minutes in penalties. His possession numbers are 44.8 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -11.7. Those totals are down compared to last season, where he scored four goals, four assists for eight points. Over his five-year NHL career, Koekkoek has only played for the Lightning. In that time, he has five goals and nine assists for 14 career points in 85 career games. He was originally drafted in the first–round, 10th overall of the 2012 NHL draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With Slater Koekkoek trade – which #TBLightning hasn’t officially announced yet – Tampa Bay will have dealt six of their last eight first round picks (Koekkoek, Howden, DeAngelo, Drouin, Namestnikov, Connolly). Only Foote + Vasilevskiy remain from 1st rnders picked in Yzerman era
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) January 11, 2019
In Rutta, the Blackhawks get an older player who has shown signs of being an offensive defenseman in the league. This season, he has scored two goals and four assists for six points, adding 12 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers are 49.8 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -3.1. Those totals are down compared to last season, where he scored six goals, 14 assists for 20 points. Over his two-year NHL career, Rutta has only played for the Blackhawks after spending his entire career in the Czech Republic. In that time, he has eight goals and 18 assists for 26 career points in 80 career NHL games. He was originally undrafted, signing a free agent contract with the Blackhawks on June 7th, 2017.
What This Means for the Future
The Lightning get a roster spot and even out the right- and left-shots on D. Slater Koekkoek gets a better shot at a NHL lineup. https://t.co/lx1vwjjgHp
— Diana C. Nearhos (@dianacnearhos) January 12, 2019
Both of these defensemen have spent time in the American Hockey League this season. Rutta has a higher cap hit ($2,250,000 to $865,000 for Koekkoek) so the Blackhawks are saving some money with the deal. A former first-round draft pick, Koekkoek never fit into coach Jon Cooper’s defense corps. He may be able to find his game and show why he was such a valued prospect on a struggling Blackhawk team.
For the Lightning, Rutta may also have trouble fitting into the top six and could find himself buried in the AHL for the rest of the season. Although Rutta has put up the better numbers of the two defensemen in the trade, he may have the hardest challenge to get back into an NHL lineup this season.