The Chicago Blackhawks have traded winger Ben Smith to the San Jose Sharks for forward Andrew Desjardins. The Buffalo Sabres dealt forward Brian Flynn to the Montreal Canadiens for a 2016 fifth-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Essentially this is a move between two teams swapping players who no longer fit into their respective systems. The Sharks continue their gradual rebuild, shipping out Desjardins (a pending UFA this summer) in exchange for Smith, who can play either wing as a check-line forward. Unlike Desjardins, Smith has a year left on his contract worth an annual cap hit of $1.5 million. Desjardins has a little more experience than Smith and brings a more physical style to the Blackhawks.
The Canadiens add more grit to their checking lines with Flynn, an energetic hard-working center. He’s also a restricted free agent so if he works out in Montreal over the remainder of this season they could qualify his rights and retain him beyond this season.