After a relatively quiet day in Rangerland, Glen Sather made a splash, sending defense prospect Tomas Kundratek to the Washington Capitals in exchange for RW Francois Bouchard. Kundratek, the Rangers third round pick in the 2008 draft, has two assists in seven games this year, with two PIMs and a -1 rating. In 79 career games with the CT Whale/Hartford Wolfpack, Kundratek had a line of 2-12-14, with 44 PIMs and a -1 rating.
Bouchard was a second round pick by the Caps in 2006, selected 19 spots ahead of Artem Anisimov. Bouchard, like Kundratek, has never made it to the NHL thus far in his short professional career. In nine games with the Hershey Bears, Bouchard has no points, eight PIMs and a -4 rating.
Last year, Kundratek was one of the more highly regarded Rangers prospects, and was even a dark horse to make this year’s club. However, after a lackluster camp, Kundratek’s struggles continued with the CT Whale. In some Twitter exchanges with Mitch Beck, it appears that Kundratek had fallen within the depth chart, and found himself as a healthy scratch in more than a few games with the Whale. Players like Stu Bickel, Tim Erixon, and Jyri Niemi appeared to have passed him on the depth chart.
As for Bouchard, from what is available on the internet, it does not appear that he is an NHL talent. He was Washington’s #17 ranked prospect, and has a good offensive skill set. His biggest flaws seem to be skating quickness, work ethic (although this seems to have resolved itself) and strength. At 6’1/195 lbs, Bouchard isn’t exactly weak, but it appears he is knocked off the puck too often.
This move was likely made to address the unbalanced nature of the Whale roster. Prior to this trade, the Whale had 12 forwards and 9 defensemen. Now, they will have 13 forwards and 8 defenseman.