Grossman was drafted by the Dallas Stars in second round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and made his full-season debut in 2007-08, the same year that Mark Fistric and Matt Niskanen made theirs as well. Playing mostly with Stephane Robidas for his first three seasons, Grossman became known for solid defense and limited mistakes -- without much offense or physicality.
Grossman has just three goals and 41 points in 333 career games with the Stars and the past few seasons has seemingly hit a bit of a stumbling block. Despite his size, Grossman never embraced his physical side and was limited in the overall effectiveness he had during games. While he has been one of the Stars best penalty-killing defensemen the past few seasons (and perhaps the best this year), Grossman's struggles with the puck likely meant he would not be re-signed as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
We've discussed the possibilities of Grossman's future with the franchise and whether his limited upside would lead to him becoming expendable this season. GM Joe Nieuwendyk came to the decision that with the pending and likely departure by the defenseman it was time to get what the team could by sending him to a team that needs him for a playoff run, and Philadelphia has made the most sense -- and has been mentioned as the potential destination for over a month now.
More thoughts on the trade after the jump, including why Nieuwendyk worked some magic to get a good return for Grossman.
Grossman has been a hard working, quiet and intense player during his time with Dallas and it's going to be tough to see him go. Like the departure of Niskanen last season, it's tough to see a defenseman that was developed by the team move on after showing such promise early in his career -- but Grossman's future with this team was likely coming to an end this summer.
It's unlikely the Stars would be willing to spend the money that Grossman could get on the open market and with a number of defensemen nearing the NHL level, he became expendable as a pending UFA. Philadelphia, in need of defensive depth after the loss of Chris Pronger, are likely headed to the playoffs and need a solid, stay-at-home blueliner like Grossman on the team.
What is impressive is what Joe Nieuwendyk was able to get in return. While it was thought that Grossman might be part of a package deal for perhaps an NHL ready player or prospect, it was unlikely that Grossman alone would be able to get much.
That Nieuwendyk was able to pull a 2nd and a 3rd rounder for Grossman is incredibly impressive. It's not a "fleecing" or anything of that sort, but it certainly is more value that one would reasonably have expected. While the Stars are unlikely to be going into a full "sale" mode (at least, I don't believe so), it's good to see Nieuwendyk addressing the likely departure of a player and getting some very good value in return.
The Stars are still attempting to build for the future and for the first time in a while have the chance to build up a stock of draft picks, that can be used for future trades or to attempt to get as many prospects into the system as possible. With two second-round picks this summer, the Stars have the chance to move up in the 1st if needed, or use two high picks on two promising players -- adding to a growing list of decent prospects in the system.
There's also the chance that these picks could be used as additional assets for another trade over the next 11 days, something the Stars didn't have before with their limited assets. Nieuwendyk wasn't willing to let go of the picks he had, but with additional picks gained by this trade he now has some extra firepower in a potential move at the deadline that would add something significant to this team this season and beyond.
Could the Stars still be looking at moving other pending UFA veterans? I have to think so, but I doubt it's the absolute signal of a firesale. What this does show is that Nieuwendyk is smart enough to see that in this situation, getting good value for players likely to depart this summer is something this franchise desperately needs -- especially if it adds valuable assets like the Stars received for Grossman.
Two draft picks, not earth-shattering, but something that is more than we could have expected. Overall, I say it's a good trade for the Stars and we wish Grossman well in Philadelphia, and wherever he may end up this summer.
Here's the press release:
Frisco, TX. - Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the club has traded defenseman Nicklas Grossman to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft (originally Los Angeles' pick) and a third-round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (originally Minnesota's pick).
Grossman, 27, has skated in 52 games for the Stars this season, earning five assists and 26 penalty minutes. The 6-4, 230-pound defenseman has played in 333 NHL games scoring three goals and 38 assists for 41 points.
The Dallas Stars play the Calgary Flames tonight at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. CT (TV: FOX Sports Southwest, Radio: 1310 The Ticket).