As Devils fans, you've had about 24 hours to digest the news that Alexander Urbom was picked up off waivers by the Washington Capitals. Nate had a post about the events yesterday. Adam Oates saw that Lou had to make a move and that move was to put a prospect on waivers. After moving to the Caps, I'm sure Oates was watching the Devils.
I've noticed a few different viewpoints from fans and wanted to point them out to those who still can't decide how to feel about Urbom becoming a Capital and the Devils receiving nothing in return.
First, a little history on Urbom. The Devils drafted him in the 2009 draft with their 3rd round pick (#73 overall). He had two stints with the big team. He played eight games in 2010 and five in 2011. Both times he picked up a goal, but he didn't do much else. The community here at ILWT believed that he was the team's 7th best player under 25. This means that many people are somewhat worried about losing Urbom to the Caps for nothing. However, Urbom's production has dropped each season in the AHL. Below are Urbom's stats.
Where Does Urbom Belong?
Alex Urbom has been in the Devils system for awhile and many fans have been watching him develop. Therefore, fans may have a somewhat emotional connection to certain prospects as they remember the hype surrounding the prospect when he was drafted / made a sick play at some point.
If we look at the elite prospects profile on Urbom, they say that his "Offensive smarts and technical skills are fairly average." That statement right there says that he will not be a top pairing defenseman. Along with this point, Hockey's Future gives Urbom a talent score of 7/10. In their analysis, Hockey's future states that he is potentially a second pairing defenseman. Corey Pronman at Hockey Prospectus believes "[Urbom] could be a fringe second pairing/good third pairing defenseman".
So, at best, Urbom would be a decent second pairing defenseman. While this is somewhat rare in a third round pick, The Devils clearly had an NHL caliber prospect in Urbom. However, his ceiling was as an average second line pairing.
The Devil's Prospects
It is well known that the Devils have great depth at defense. Urbom wasn't even close to the best prospect the Devils have. Of those who have yet to make the big club, several are projected to be better than Urbom. That list includes Jon Merrill, Damon Severson, Steve Santini, and Eric Gelinas. These are all players the Devils would like to keep over Urbom.
Did Lou Mess Up?
I think Lou made the best possible move given the situation. Perhaps Lou should have proactively shopped a few of the Devils' defenseman in order to get a more streamlined path to the NHL for some of the prospects. Yes, it sucks the Devils lost Urbom. Yes, it hurts right now. In a few years when there is room for Merrill, Severson, and/or Eric Gelinas, fans will be happy.