NHL Playoff Predictions: Ducks destined to hoist Stanley Cup

Reuters Teemu Selanne and the Anaheim Ducks last captured the Stanley Cup in 2007. With this spring's playoffs serving as Selanne's swan song, having announced his intention to retire after the season,  it seems fitting for the Finnish Flash to go out on top. That will be the case if guest blogger Jesse Gill's playoff predictions come to fruition.

Reuters
Teemu Selanne and the Anaheim Ducks last captured the Stanley Cup in 2007. With this spring’s playoffs serving as Selanne’s swan song, having announced his intention to retire after the season, it seems fitting for the Finnish Flash to go out on top. That will be the case if guest blogger Jesse Gill’s playoff predictions come to fruition.

Tis the season, to make playoff predictions before the puck drops on the NHL post-season.

Some will go bold and bank on a handful of upsets. Others will stick with the bookies and take the odds-on favourites in every round.

It is, however, a new season and anything can happen with a clean slate in a best-of-seven series. Of course, home-ice advantage is a factor and there are reasons why the 16 playoff-bound teams finished in the order they did during the regular season.

Picking the right teams in the right amount of games requires a combination of intelligence and luck. It might not be as daunting of a challenge as the recent March Madness brackets that mostly went bust, but it’s still far from a slam dunk.

Especially this spring, with parity as prevalent as ever in the NHL, a new playoff format in place and some peculiar circumstances that have resulted in marquee matchups for the opening round.

Chicago and St. Louis. San Jose and Los Angeles. Either of those pairings could easily have been the Western Conference final.

Ditto in the East, where the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are set to clash in the first round, along with an Original Six showdown between Boston and Detroit.

The other four series — Anaheim-Dallas and Colorado-Minnesota in the West, Pittsburgh-Columbus and Tampa Bay-Montreal in the East — should also provide quality entertainment and aren’t exactly shooting fish in a barrel when it comes to making predictions.

Without further ado, a few of us were up to the task, led by guest blogger Jesse Gill, who noted “There are lots of close matchups, so it should be interesting to see how many come true and which ones I look foolish on.”

Jesse Gill

Jesse Gill

Western Conference

Anaheim Ducks (1st Pacific, 54-20-8-116 PTS, 266 GF, 209 GA, +57)

vs. Dallas Stars (wild-card, 40-31-11-91 PTS, 235 GF, 228 GA, +7)

Prediction: Ducks in 4. OK, maybe the Stars will steal a game, but honestly the Ducks are going to roll through this one. They have way too strong of a team and will be rallying to win one for Teemu Selanne who is set to retire. As the top team in the West, Anaheim should be expected to make it to the final and potentially win the Stanley Cup.

Season Series: 2-1 Stars, 1-2 Ducks

Goaltending: Anaheim has the slight edge, but not by much. Having three solid options in John Gibson, Frederik Andersen and Jonas Hiller against two solid options for Dallas in Kari Lehtonen and Tim Thomas means both teams won’t have to worry about changing their netminder should any of them falter early. Gibson played three games for the Ducks near the end of the season, posting a perfect 3-0 record with a 1.33 goals-against average and .954 save percentage with one shutout. It might seem odd to use a 20-year-old goaltender in the playoffs when you have two other goalies with GAA under 2.5 and both with over 20 wins, but don’t be surprised if it happens.

Forwards: Anaheim because they have the more established Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry leading the way compared to Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn in Dallas. All four are elite NHLers and should provide much of the offence in the series. The aforementioned Selanne should also be motivated in his final NHL playoffs.

Defence: Anaheim again with Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm and Francois Beauchemin a step above a Dallas grouping that includes Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley and Sergei Gonchar.

Power play: Anaheim 16% (22nd) vs. Dallas 15.9% (23rd)

Penalty kill: Anaheim 82.2% (13th) vs. Dallas 81.4% (21st)

Colorado Avalanche (1st Central, 52-22-8-112 PTS, 250 GF, 220 GA, +30)

vs. Minnesota Wild (wild-card, 43-27-12-98 PTS, 207 GF, 206 GA, +1)

Prediction: Avalanche in 5. The Avs finished the regular season on a 7-1-2 run, and I don’t see them slowing down against the Wild. Minnesota has a good squad, but the Avs under Patrick Roy have been a force to be reckoned with this year — finishing first in arguably the league’s top division over contending teams like St. Louis and last year’s champs, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Season Series: 3-0-1 Avalanche, 1-3-1 Wild

Goaltending: Colorado has the edge in the battle of Russian netminders, Semyon Varlamov vs. Ilya Bryzgalov. Varlamov has been solid all year and Bryzgalov has been good since coming to the Wild, but I can’t see him taking them past the Avs in the first round. I don’t see Niklas Backstrom or Josh Harding coming off the injured reserve before this one is done, either. Darcy Kuemper offers the Wild another option should Bryzgalov falter.

Forwards: Colorado has a slight edge with Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly, Nathan MacKinnon and Paul Stastny vs. Jason Pominville, Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Matt Moulson, Mikael Granlund and Dany Heatley, who has been less than stellar this season with only 28 points in 76 games. Worth noting, Duchene is expected to miss the first two games due to injury.

Defence: Minnesota has a slight edge with Ryan Suter anchoring the D, but not by a lot. The Avs do have quality on the point and Erik Johnson will be relied upon heavily. Tyson Barrie is an Avs blue-liner that could also see increased ice time, having led their defence corps with a plus-17 rating in the regular season.

Power play: Colorado 19.8% (4th) vs. Minnesota 17.9% (15th)

Penalty kill: Colorado 80.7% (24th) vs. Minnesota 78.8% (27th)

St. Louis Blues (2nd Central, 52-23-7-111 PTS, 248 GF, 191 GA, +57)

vs. Chicago Blackhawks (3rd Central, 46-21-15-107 PTS, 267 GF, 220 GA, +47)

Prediction: Blackhawks in 7. This one could go either way — these teams are both contenders. I am giving the defending champs the edge, and with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews expected back, they will be tough to beat. St. Louis does have Ryan Miller between the pipes and he will have to be on his game for the Blues to win this series. The Blues also hold the special-teams advantage, so if the Hawks end up in the penalty box, the Blues could very well end up winning.

Season Series: 3-2-0 Blues, 2-1-2 Blackhawks

Goaltending: Advantage St. Louis — Miller is a little bit better than Corey Crawford, but not significantly.

Forwards: Chicago — Kane, Toews, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are a more established group and a definite step up from Alex Steen, T.J. Oshie, David Backes and Jaden Schwartz.

Defence: This one is a draw with Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy and Niklas Hjalmarsson leading the way for Chicago against Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jay Bouwmeester and Barret Jackman for St. Louis.

Power play: St. Louis 19.8% (7th) vs. Chicago 19.5% (9th)

Penalty kill: St. Louis 85.7% (2nd) vs. Chicago 81.5% (19th)

San Jose Sharks (2nd Pacific, 51-22-7-111 PTS, 249 GF, 200 GA, +49)

vs. Los Angeles Kings (3rd Pacific, 46-28-8-100 PTS, 206 GF, 174 GA, +32)

Prediction: Sharks in 6. Even though I am tipping my hat to the Kings for goaltending and defence, the Sharks are strong on special teams and put up a lot more offence than the team with the NHL’s lowest goals-against in the Kings. That gives the Sharks a slight edge, and I think they are due for a solid playoff run.

Season Series: 3-1-1 Kings, 2-2-1 Sharks

Goaltending: Kings — Antti Niemi is good, but Jonathan Quick is a bit better. They both have Stanley Cups to their credit.

Forwards: Sharks — but not by much. I’ll take Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Brent Burns over Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams, Mike Richards, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown. Some may disagree.

Defence: Kings — Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov, Robyn Regehr and the rest of the L.A. rearguards could make any goaltender look decent, so I give them the advantage over another solid group that includes Dan Boyle, Jason Demers and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Power play: Sharks 17.2% (19th) vs. Kings 15.1% (27th)

Penalty kill: Sharks 84.9% (7th) vs. Kings 83.1% (11th)

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins (1st Atlantic, 54-19-9-117 PTS, 261 GF, 177 GA +84)

vs. Detroit Red Wings (wild-card, 39-28-15-93 PTS, 222 GF, 230 GA, -8)

Prediction: Bruins in 5. I don’t see the Red Wings giving the Bruins a lot of trouble. The Bruins have a goal differential of 92 better this year, and despite there being a lot of people in the sports world who actually think the Red Wings have a chance, I think they will be terribly mistaken. The Bruins are the best team in the NHL this year and the odds-makers have them as the favourite to win the Cup. As much as I don’t like to say this being a Leafs fan, they are the team to beat this year. I could care less that the Red Wings won the season series, this is playoff time.

Season Series: 3-1 Red Wings, 1-3 Bruins

Goaltending: Bruins get this with Tukka Rask over Jimmy Howard in a landslide. Howard isn’t bad. Rask is just that damn good. Leafs fans can thank John Ferguson Jr. for trading the franchise goalie away for a season-and-a-half of Andrew Raycroft. It’s enough to make me want to cry myself to sleep.

Forwards: Bruins by a little bit. David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Jerome Iginla, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand are all proven playoff performers. Second-year players Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg have also been impressive this season. Reilly Smith should be pumped to play against his brother Brendan, a defenceman for Detroit. Loui Eriksson hasn’t produced as much as expected, but he could turn things up in the playoffs. The Red Wings still boast a pretty impressive squad up front, with Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and, of course, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, who have been very impressive since being called up from Grand Rapids. Nyquist so much so that he led the team in goals with 28 in only 57 games. Captain Henrik Zetterberg is still recovering from injury and is considered a long-shot to play in the first round.

Defence: Bruins get the edge here with Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Seidenberg, Andrej Meszaros, Matt Bartkoswki, Dougie Hamilton and the offensively gifted Torey Krug. The Red Wings are fairly solid as well with Niklas Kronwall, Danny DeKeyser, Jakub Kindl, Kyle Quincey and Brendan Smith, who, likewise, will be motivated to shut down his brother Reilly and the Bruins.

Power play: Bruins 21.7% (3rd) vs. Red Wings 17.7% (18th)

Penalty kill: Bruins 83.7% (8th) vs. Red Wings 83.1% (12th)

Pittsburgh Penguins (1st Metropolitan, 51-24-7-109 PTS, 249 GF, 207 GA, +42)

vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (wild-card, 43-32-7-93 PTS, 231 GF, 216 GA, +15)

Prediction: Penguins in 5. I can see the Blue Jackets stealing one game, even though they didn’t beat the Penguins once during the regular season.

Season Series: 5-0 Penguins, 0-5 Blue Jackets

Goaltending: Blue Jackets by a little bit. Sergei Bobrovsky was last year’s Vezina winner as the league’s top goalie and is a little better than Marc-Andre Fleury, but I wouldn’t say significantly.

Forwards: Penguins — With Sidney Crosby leading the way and Evgeni Malkin returning from a foot injury for the start of this series, plus their supporting cast of Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Jussi Jokinen and Lee Stempniak, Pittsburgh should prove too much to handle for the Blue Jackets. Columbus is led by Ryan Johansen and Brandon Dubinsky, while playoff veteran Nathan Horton is also sidelined with an abdominal injury after only skating in 36 games since returning from shoulder surgery in January.

Defence: The Penguins are a little more solid in this category again, with Kris Letang back in the lineup, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen and rookie standout Olli Maatta stacking up nicely against James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin and company from Columbus.

Power play: Penguins 23.4% (1st) vs. Blue Jackets 19.3% (11th)

Penalty kill: Penguins 85% (5th) vs. Blue Jackets 82.1% (15th)

Tampa Bay Lightning (2nd Atlantic, 46-27-9-101 PTS, 240 GF, 215 GA, +35)

vs. Montreal Canadiens (3rd Atlantic, 46-28-8, 100PTS, 215 GF, 204 GA, +11)

Prediction: Canadiens in 7. Really, this series is a toss up. I think Montreal will win on the strength of Carey Price and recently acquired Thomas Vanek. But I wouldn’t be shocked if Steven Stamkos and company came out on top, either. This is a series that should go at least 6 or 7 games.

Season Series: 3-0-1 Lightning, 1-1-2 Canadiens

Goaltending: Honestly, I want to give this one to Montreal because I think Price is without a doubt an elite goaltender, but if Ben Bishop comes back for the Lightning, it is a very even matchup — leaving me to call this one a draw. Both teams have decent secondary options with the Canadiens boasting Peter Budaj, Dustin Tokarski and even veteran Devan Dubnyk as depth. The Lightning counter with Anders Lindback, who is likely to start Wednesday’s opener, and Latvian Olympic standout Kristers Gudlevskis, who had an impressive 38-save win in his first and only NHL start to date.

Forwards: The Canadiens, by a small margin with Vanek, Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, Brian Gionta, Alex Galchenyuk, Lars Eller and solid playoff performer Daniel Briere stacking up nicely against the Lightning, who will rely on one of the league’s top snipers in Stamkos. Tampa Bay will look to Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson, Teddy Purcell, Alex Killorn and former Rangers captain Ryan Callahan to add secondary scoring as needed.

Defence: The Canadiens take this category as well, but not by much. It will be a battle of P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov against Victor Hedman, who had a breakout offensive year, and Matt Carle.

Power play: Lightning 18.5% (14th) vs. Canadiens 17.2% (20th)

Penalty kill: Lightning 80.7% (23rd) vs. Canadiens 85.1% (4th)

 New York Rangers (2nd Metropolitan, 45-31-6-96 PTS, 218 GF, 193 GA, +25)

vs. Philadelphia Flyers (3rd Metro, 42-30-10, 94 PTS, 236 GF, 235 GA, +1)

Prediction: Rangers in 7. This one should be close, but I don’t expect a strong defensive squad like the Rangers to drop a series to the Flyers.

Season Series: 2-2 Rangers, 2-2 Flyers

Goaltending: Rangers win this as Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot are a stronger tandem than Steve Mason and Ray Emery, and the Rangers allowed the league’s fourth-fewest goals against (193) compared to 235 by the Flyers this season.

Forwards: I’ll call this one a draw, with the Rangers bringing Marty St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, Brad Richards, Derick Brassard, Rick Nash, Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin to face off with Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell, Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Vincent Lecavalier. The most interesting story-line could be former linemates St. Louis and Lecavalier pitted against each other in the playoffs for the first time in their first season apart from a Tampa Bay Lightning team that they led to a Stanley Cup a decade ago.

Defence: The Rangers get the nod in this one as well, but not by a wide margin. Ryan McDonagh, Dan Giradi, Marc Staal and crew have been solid all year and should continue to provide excellent support for their goaltenders. The Flyers also have a solid group of defenders in Mark Streit, Kimmo Timonen, Andrew MacDonald, Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossman and Luke Schenn.

Power play: Rangers 18.2% (15th) vs. Flyers 19.7% (8th)

Penalty kill: Rangers 85.3% (3rd) vs. Flyers 84.8% (7th)

As for the rest of the way, here are my early predictions assuming my first-round picks all come true:

Second Round

West Semifinals

Avalanche vs. Blackhawks — Blackhawks in 7.

Ducks vs. Sharks ­— Ducks in 6.

East Semifinals

Bruins vs. Canadiens — Bruins in 6.

Penguins vs. Rangers — Penguins in 7.

Third Round

West Final

Ducks vs. Blackhawks — Ducks in 6.

East Final

Bruins vs. Penguins — Bruins in 6.

Fourth Round

Stanley Cup Final

Ducks vs. Bruins — Ducks in 7.

Jesse Gill is a former radio broadcaster and colour commentator who dreamed of anchoring TSN, but has since changed careers and now calls Medicine Hat, Alta., home. His passion for hockey has remained strong, as a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan who also enjoys the junior ranks and the rougher side of the sport. Follow him on Twitter: @JesseGill3.

Josh Aldrich

Josh Aldrich

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars

Prediction: Ducks in 7

I think the Stars will give the Ducks a heck of a run for their money. Dallas is just a solid, young team and if it can get good-to-great goaltending, the Stars will push it to the max. Plus, the Stars have basically been in playoff mode for the last month, while the Ducks have been able to coast to the finish line.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild

Prediction: Colorado in 6

There’s a lot to like about the Avalanche. They’re young, exciting, have a ton of firepower, a solid blue-line and Varlamov will be a finalist for the Vezina — or at least he should be. Minnesota has underwhelmed yet again this year. Six games might be generous. Raise your hand if you feel confident with Bryzgalov in net.

St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Prediction: St. Louis in 7

My heart says Blackhawks, but my mind says St. Louis. The Blues are as complete a team as there is in the league and are primed for a run to the Cup. The Blackhawks will give them a push, but between Crawford’s up-and-down play and injuries to Toews and Kane (they may be playing, but they are not near 100 per cent, don’t kid yourself), I don’t see Chicago coming out on top.

San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Prediction: Los Angeles in 7

The challenge for any team hitting the playoffs was not to play L.A. in the first round. The Kings are never a great regular-season team, but they are built for the playoffs and the addition of Gaborik has given them that extra game-breaking threat that they’ve seemingly been missing. It will be a fun series, but the Kings will advance.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings

Prediction: Boston in 6

The Bruins look more like a Stanley Cup champ right now than any other team (looks like a duck, quacks like a duck . . .) and though it is always tough to give the Red Wings the short end of the stick, I think their season of injuries finally catches up to them.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Prediction: Pittsburgh in 5

I like the Blue Jackets a lot, I really do, but the loss of Horton to injury will take a lot of the intrigue out of this series. Pens should roll.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens

Prediction: Montreal in 7

This will be the best series of the first round in the East, but I give the edge to the Canadiens for their overall depth and for better goaltending — particularly if Bishop is banged up.

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Prediction: Rangers in 6

Very interesting matchup between two teams who had huge second-half turnarounds. Both fairly evenly matched, but again, it will come down to goaltending and Lundqvist >>>>>> Mason.

Josh Aldrich is an award-winning journalist for the Red Deer Advocate, who has more than a decade in the newspaper business, including stints as sports editor for the Nanaimo Daily News and Lloydminster Meridian Booster. Follow him on Twitter: @JoshAldrich03.

 

Larry Fisher

Larry Fisher

Western Conference

Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars

Prediction: Anaheim in 5

This will be a watch-and-learn lesson for the Stars as I fully expect Getzlaf and Perry to school Seguin and Benn. Beyond those key players, the Ducks have way more depth up front and on the back end. Kari Lehtonen is Dallas’ only hope and with Anaheim’s uncertainty in goal, I’ll give the Stars one win, but no more.

 Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild

Prediction: Colorado in 6

The Avs haven’t missed a beat without Duchene in their lineup and have exceeded everybody’s expectations this year. Patrick Roy has them firing on all cylinders and I don’t think Ilya Bryzgalov has any chance of stopping that momentum. I certainly wouldn’t bet on him being a difference-maker in this series, though stranger things have happened come playoff time.

St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Prediction: Chicago in 7

If Kane and Toews are actually healthy — or let’s say above 75 per cent healthy — then I’ll give the defending champs the benefit of doubt. The Blues were reeling to end the regular season and will need to hit the reset button sooner than later. Miller might be the better goalie, but I like Chicago’s winning experience from Crawford on out. If it comes down to a one-game-winner-takes-all situation, as I fully anticipate it could, then I think the Hawks find a way.

San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Prediction: San Jose in 7

This will be another lengthy, back-and-forth battle that could go either way. I like the Kings, but something tells me this is the Sharks’ year to win it all. San Jose GM Doug Wilson has been loyal to his core group and to his coach despite past playoff letdowns, and I think they will reward his stick-to-itiveness with a gritty series victory over a regional rival followed by a Cup ring.

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings

Prediction: Boston in 6

Detroit fought tooth and nail just to make the dance and prolong its incredible playoff streak (23 years and counting), but Boston is on another level from just about everybody else this season. The big, bad Bruins are going to impose their will on the Red Wings, pushing them around and intimidating their young forwards who overachieved in the regular season. Datsyuk, Franzen, Kronwall and Daniel Alfredsson will do their best to give Detroit a fighting chance, but I don’t think it will be nearly enough.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Prediction: Pittsburgh in 5

The Blue Jackets are just happy to be here, while the Penguins are motivated to make another deep playoff run this spring. Marc-Andre Fleury is determined to rebound between the pipes and I think this series will be a confidence-booster for him. Out of all the first-round series, this is as close as I came to predicting a sweep, but I think Columbus might split at home before Pittsburgh puts on the finishing touches back in Steel Town.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens

Prediction: Montreal in 6

Carey Price will be the difference in this series, stoning Steven Stamkos and Co. more often than not. Stamkos is hitting his stride again and should have lots left in the tank after missing a big chunk of the season with a broken leg. But I think his supporting cast is lacking a little in comparison to Montreal’s overall depth. If Ben Bishop was healthy, this might be a coin-flip, but he’s hurting and Tampa’s backups can’t hold a candle to Price.

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Prediction: N.Y. Rangers in 7

Much like Price, King Hank (aka Henrik Lundqvist) should reign supreme in this high-octane matchup. The Flyers might have a physical advantage in this series and may be able to push around the smaller Rangers, but over time, I think New York’s all-star goaltender will propel his team past Philly. I could see lots of bad blood developing in this series and special teams will certainly impact the outcome, but I’m going with the boys from Broadway.

For what it’s worth, I’m predicting a San Jose-Boston final, with the Sharks finally winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history to erase that underachieving, choke-artist label. Or both those teams will get bounced in the first round and I’ll be the real choker. Time will tell . . . now, let the games begin.

Larry Fisher is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier in Kelowna, B.C. Follow him on Twitter: @LarryFisher_KDC.

Categories: Uncategorized

NHL Trade Deadline: Predictions Go Bust, Blow Up In My Face

Getty Images Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler emerged worse for wear from this scrap with Andrew Ladd, then of the Chicago Blackhawks, during NHL action back on Jan. 23, 2010. Ladd has since been traded to the Winnipeg Jets, where he is now captain, while Kesler remains with Canucks despite reportedly requesting to be dealt out of Vancouver prior to Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline. I predicted Kesler to end up in Philadelphia as part of the deadline’s biggest blockbuster, but that was far from my only blunder.

Getty Images
Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler emerged worse for wear from this scrap with Andrew Ladd, then of the Chicago Blackhawks, during NHL action back on Jan. 23, 2010. Ladd has since been traded to the Winnipeg Jets, where he is now captain, while Kesler remains with the Canucks despite reportedly requesting to be dealt out of Vancouver prior to Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline. I predicted Kesler to end up in Philadelphia as part of the deadline’s biggest blockbuster, but that was far from my only blunder.

OK, here I am. Come throw your dung. I’m ready to wear it. Well, kinda ready . . .

Truth is, by and large, I missed the mark with my trade-deadline predictions. This comes as no surprise to most of you, who have been poking fun at my expense ever since I shared my proposed deals last Friday. In the fallout, I failed to predict even a single trade completely correct — that’s right, I went 0-for-24.

Larry Fisher
Larry Fisher

That’s your cue to snicker and publicly shame me again — go on, laugh it up, get it out of your system. . . .

Now, back on topic. My predictions weren’t without small victories when the dust settled.

I did call Ryan Miller to St. Louis and David Legwand to Detroit, though the latter was my one and only successful player-team combination on deadline day. I suggested a return of Riley Sheahan and a second-round pick to Nashville. It ended up being Patrick Eaves, Calle Jarnkrok and a third-round pick. So fairly close, not that far off anyway.

I also came agonizingly close to correctly predicting the total number of trades and players involved. I said 28 trades involving at least 64 players — 60 listed, plus the assumption that my four “minor” trades not detailed at the end would include at least one player each. In reality, there were 34 trades involving 68 players. So I’ll go ahead and give myself a slight pat on the back for that, maybe start a slow clap here all by lonesome. For the record, I’m not in my parents’ basement like you might be envisioning.

Further, to my credit, I declared this would be “a deadline to remember for deals involving goaltenders.” That proved prophetic . . . granted, I declared it as an opening statement to my reasoning behind a Cam Ward for Evander Kane proposal that drew more negative feedback than anything I’ve ever written in my decade-long career of sports reporting. That one clearly didn’t come to fruition, but there were a dozen trades involving goaltenders — 11 were dealt, including Jaroslav Halak twice. I’ll admit, my crystal ball gave no indication of a Roberto Luongo return to Florida, and Tim Thomas’ departure was an oversight on my part.

While I’m pumping my own tires — yes, Luongo that is possible, and no, you and Thomas don’t have to play nice after all — of the 60 players I predicted to be traded, 19 of them actually moved. The pessimists will point out that’s less than 1-in-3, but as an eternal optimistic, I’ll counter with the fact it’s a 32 per cent efficiency rating. Not too shabby, by Eklund standards.

Shhh! Quiet! What’s that sound, it appears to be something deflating — either my tires or my ego. Still, that’s pretty impressive stuff if you ask me — especially for somebody with “no inside knowledge on any negotiations.”

So where did it all go wrong? Why did I end up getting blanked in the big picture?

For starters, I way overvalued the rental types. That said, I’m sure some of the “seller” GMs can relate to my shock and disappointment that none of the rentals were able to fetch a first-rounder — not even Thomas Vanek. Garth Snow must be in utter disbelief (or a drunken stupor) right now. Strange times, this trade deadline. To that extent, I think I deserve to be cut some slack.

Secondly, I also anticipated — and predicted — more “hockey deals” that, in hindsight, rarely happen at the deadline and are better suited for summer. Indeed, we could still see that Ward-for-Kane swap in the future . . . or not (ducks and runs for cover).

As many of you so astutely brought to my attention, be it rudely or politely, that little thing called a salary cap also prevented a half-dozen (or more) of my trades from ever entering the equation — or even coming up in conversation amongst actual GMs.

My biggest fail was expecting St. Louis to stay in Tampa Bay — what’s that? Oh right, my second-biggest behind Ward-Kane, which I’ll never live down but will never let any of you hear the end of should it somehow still happen — even five years from now, I called that one, and don’t you forget it!

In all honestly, I didn’t put much stock in the speculated captain swap of St. Louis for Ryan Callahan of the Rangers. I just couldn’t see both teams bidding farewell to their leaders in the midst of playoff battles. But I guess that’s why Mr. McKenzie and that Dreger dude are the “insiders” and, well, I’m not — yet!

For what it’s worth — and that would be nothing, not even two cents — I had Callahan to Chicago, along with Sam Gagner, but the Blackhawks ignored my spidey senses and did sweet diddly-squat instead.

My intuition was mostly accurate — I use the term mostly rather loosely in this case — when predicting that four of my five “big fish” would be dealt. The lone miscue was I had Ryan Kesler on the move, not St. Louis, along with Ryan Miller, Callahan and Vanek. I don’t know who’s to blame for Kesler being “stuck” in Vancouver, but I do feel for the guy and hope he doesn’t have to endure the same two-year-long ordeal as Luongo now that he’s requested a trade. Or did he? Yes, Kesler did, and denial or not, the writing is on the wall there.

Switching gears again, of the 41 players that were traded in real life but not in my predictions, the most glaring omission has to be Marian Gaborik. For some reason, I felt Columbus would be keen on keeping him for its playoff push, but then again, the Blue Jackets have made it this far without the injury-prone winger. But boy does last year’s deadline deal that sent Gaborik from the Rangers to Columbus ever look like a steal for New York now, a clear win for certain. The Rangers have Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a pending sixth-round pick in this June’s draft to show for it. The Blue Jackets are left with Matt Frattin, prospects Steven Delisle and Carter Camper (via trade for Blake Parlett), plus a second-round pick either this year or next year and possibly an additional third-rounder that has conditions presumably tied to Gaborik staying healthy — fat chance of that — and the Kings making the playoffs or past the first round, which is much more likely.

All in all, it was another fun deadline and I’m glad I put my neck out there with that predictions blog despite all the backlash and limited success overall. It did net my website 4,732 hits to date, which is more than my annual average, so alas, I must take the good with the bad as it’s all part of the game.

Until next year’s deadline, good tidings to you and to all a good night!

EDIT: My colleague and occasional guest blogger here, Dave Cunning, was kind enough to have me as a guest on his podcast discussing the NHL trade deadline. Listen to my thoughts here.

Larry Fisher is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier in Kelowna, B.C. Follow him on Twitter: @LarryFisher_KDC.

Categories: Uncategorized

NHL Trade Deadline: Buyers’ Market, But No Great Big Spenders

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers takes the ice for warm-ups prior to making his Rangers debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. St. Louis was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan Callahan and two draft packs earlier Wednesday ahead of the NHL's trade deadline.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers takes the ice for warm-ups prior to making his Rangers debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York. St. Louis was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Ryan Callahan and two draft packs earlier Wednesday ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline.

Martin St. Louis got his wish. Ryan Kesler did not. And Thomas Vanek will be learning a new language this spring if he doesn’t already speak French.

Those were the three biggest storylines coming out of the NHL’s annual Trade Deadline Day on Wednesday.

Larry Fisher
Larry Fisher

St. Louis had asked for a trade out of Tampa Bay after being snubbed by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman in the initial selection process for Canada’s Olympic team. The reigning Art Ross winner as league scoring champion from last year’s lockout-shortened season was later added to Canada’s roster when Tampa teammate Steven Stamkos was ruled out in his attempted recovery from a broken leg. Despite the fact that Canada went on to win gold, St. Louis never forgave Yzerman and still wanted out. His preferred destination was the New York Rangers and he had a no-movement clause to make such demands.

Early Wednesday morning, with the very first trade of deadline day, Yzerman made that a reality by bidding farewell to St. Louis in a swap of captains that returned Rangers leader Ryan Callahan, a 2015 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2014 second-round draft pick to Tampa Bay. If the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference final this year, that 2014 pick is upgraded to a first-rounder.

Meanwhile, Kesler is staying put in Vancouver — at least for now. The powerful two-way centre was the biggest fish on the market after it was reported last week that Kesler had also asked to be traded. He vehemently denied those revelations at practice the following day, but the Canucks were very much shopping him or at least entertaining offers over the last seven days if not longer.

In the end, despite Pittsburgh’s best efforts and what the Penguins considered a “substantial offer”, Vancouver decided to keep Kesler. Who made that decision is now a matter of debate, with some speculation that Vancouver ownership blocked a blockbuster orchestrated by Canucks general manager Mike Gillis and Penguins counterpart Ray Shero. Another report had Kesler refusing to waive his no-trade clause on Tuesday, nixing a different deal to the Rangers.

Ultimately, Roberto Luongo was right when the now former (yes, former) Canucks goaltender said something to the effect of: “Whether he wants to go or he wants to stay, he’s not going anywhere. We all know how this ends.”

It’s true, everybody is familiar with these festering situations in Vancouver, and the finger-pointing has probably already commenced. Thing is, unlike Luongo, Kesler’s contract doesn’t suck — it’s actually quite the bargain — and he’s leading all NHL forwards in ice-time per game, so Gillis has no real excuse for not making the most of this opportunity. It will be very interesting to see how this one plays out — whether Kesler can help the Canucks make the playoffs and possibly smooth things over, or whether it will get worse before it gets better with an ugly ending full of hard feelings.

Then, there’s Vanek, who did get dealt but not until after the deadline — well past the 11th hour, anyway. File this one under better late than never for all parties — Vanek, his former team, the New York Islanders who had paid a ransom to pry him out of Buffalo earlier this season, and, most importantly, his new team. That being, Les Habitants — or the Montreal Canadiens for all the non-francophone, non-bilinguals out there, possibly including Vanek himself.

The well travelled Austrian winger, who came to Alberta as a teenager to develop his hockey skills and also spent time at the University of Minnesota en route to Buffalo and then Long Island, is now going to call Quebec home.

The Canadiens came out of left field for most tracking the Vanek sweepstakes, with the sniper’s destination fully expected to be California — any of the three teams within that state would have been less surprising than Montreal. And it’s not like the asking price was overly steep — essentially a quality prospect, with the Islanders taking back Sebastien Collberg from the Canadiens. Providing Montreal makes the playoffs, the teams will also then swap draft picks this June, with the Islanders getting a second for a fifth. That’s peanuts for a two-time 40-goal scorer, even if he comes with an expensive contract and is a pending unrestricted free agent.

Overall, there were 20 trades completed on deadline day involving 25 teams, 38 players and 23 draft picks. That followed 10 trades on the eve of the deadline involving 13 teams, 19 players and 10 draft picks. All total, including the week leading up to the deadline, which featured arguably the biggest deal of all with Ryan Miller moving from Buffalo to St. Louis, there were 34 trades involving 28 teams, 68 players and 36 draft picks — not to mention nearly $100 million in salaries.

Only the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets sat on their hands over the last seven days, seemingly content with their current rosters. Every other team made at least a minor tweak here or there — be it as sellers or buyers, or as tweeners, of which there are plenty with the standings as close as they are this season.

Goaltenders were the hottest commodity, with Miller and Luongo the biggest names among the dozen on the move — well, technically it was only 11 as Jaroslav Halak moved twice, first to Buffalo for Miller and then on to Washington at the deadline.

It was definitely a buyers’ market, yet some of the top contenders were merely window shopping and wound up standing pat for the most part — Chicago, Boston, Anaheim, San Jose and Pittsburgh specifically.

The rentals were valued much lower than usual — perhaps the lowest in history. From Vanek to Marian Gaborik, Matt Moulson to Ales Hemsky, none of them could fetch a first-rounder for their former teams. Mike Cammalleri and Ray Whitney, among others, didn’t even end up with new addresses.

That had to be surprising and more so disappointing to the sellers, when much lesser talents have brought much greater returns in recent years. Paul Gaustad went for a first-rounder just two deadlines ago, and going further back, Ryan Smyth netted Edmonton a first-rounder (15th overall) and two then-hyped prospects in Robert Nilsson and Ryan O’Marra at the 2007 deadline.

Nowadays, the aforementioned Hemsky could only land the Oilers a fifth-rounder this year and third-rounder next year. My, how the times have changed.

Past that, this year’s deadline was rather predictable with no real stunners or head-scratchers to speak of. Luongo’s trade back to Florida the previous day was the biggest shocker, but only because it finally happened after such a long time coming — 22 months to be exact. Kesler won’t likely have to wait that long for his ticket out of Vancouver, but time will tell on that front.

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As I did during the Olympics, I live tweeted Wednesday’s trade deadline and, for those interested, here is that mash-up of thoughts courtesy my Twitter feed (LarryFisher_KDC):

Feb. 28

1:15 p.m. = I’m a bit surprised we haven’t seen more #NHL trades immediately after the Olympic break, but it’s all about timing and, of course, money!

1:17 p.m. = It may seem like pinching pennies but with salary cap as tight as it is for teams this year, they have to wait til next Wednesday’s deadline.

1:18 p.m. = With every passing day and every game played, the player’s contract and cap hit goes down on pro-rated scale and they become more affordable.

1:19 p.m. = So especially for the pending UFA rental types, it makes sense for the buyers to wait until the last minute before signing off on deals.

1:20 p.m. = I’m sure there are plenty of handshake agreements behind the scenes already, and some players likely even know where they are moving to.

1:21 p.m. = But for fans, and even NHL “insiders”, the next five days or so will be a waiting game. Once the floodgates open though, it should be wild!

1:25 p.m. = I did a pre-deadline blog a few days ago and most my predictions/guesses seem to be gaining traction with insiders: Trade Deadline Targets.

March 1

5:20 a.m. = Brace for a busy #NHL trade deadline with 25+ deals and 60+ players moving. Here are my predictions.

March 2

12:19 p.m. = @EdmontonOilers damned if they do, damned if they don’t at #NHL trade deadline, according to @OdlawDeraj: Oilers at Deadline.

1:35 p.m. = Retweet Boring Sean Monahan ‏@boringmonahan: “The NHL trade deadline is next Wednesday. If a team wants to make a trade on Thursday they won’t be able to because it’s past the deadline.”

March 3

3:30 a.m. = Guest blogger @JesseGill3 looks back on last year’s #NHL trade deadline and analyzes the winners and losers: 2013 Deadline.

3:32 a.m. = Guest blogger @JesseGill3 also delivered a blast from the past by revisiting the 1980 #NHL trade deadline: 1980 Deadline.

March 4

11:07 a.m. = Wow, #NHL trade winds starting to blow today. Out with Ilya Bryzgalov (to Wild for 4th), in with Viktor Fasth (from Ducks) for Oilers.

11:08 a.m. = Retweet: Rob Tychkowski ‏@Sun_Tychkowski: “Oilers start season with Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera. Finish it with Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth. Big check mark for MacTavish.”

11:13 a.m. = Fasth has 1 year left on his contract so safe to assume the Oilers start next season with a Fasth-Scrivens platoon as 1a/1b. That order TBD.

11:15 a.m. = Still awaiting word on what the Ducks got in return for Fasth, but regardless one must tip the hat to Craig MacTavish for improving goalies!

11:17 a.m. = Looks like the Oilers gave up 2 picks for Fasth — a 5th this year and 3rd next year — so again I reiterate that this is solid work by MacT.

11:18 a.m. = That said, neither Fasth nor Scrivens is a “proven” starter — both have potential to be, but time will tell if either actually can be.

11:24 a.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Enjoy McDavid with that tandem!! Haha” — “time will tell, I’m not getting ahead of myself but I also don’t think this tandem is 2nd coming of Ty Conklin-Jussi Markkanen.”

11:29 a.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Fasth has 30 games of NHL experience, is 31 years old and has severe groin issues. And 2.9 mil. Better hope Scrivens works!” — “meh, Fasth only has 1 year left on his contract. I’m cautiously optimistic this platoon could work. … Plus only $5.2 million for both on short-term deals, so still cheaper than your team’s backup #Luongo … I think Oilers are very high on Laurent Brossoit and believe he could be backup/1b type in 2 years if Fasth doesn’t pan out. … that said I do personally wish they would have acquired a legit proven No. 1 starter for next season (Miller/Hiller/Halak//Ward).”

11:35 a.m. = Retweet @colinpriestner: “Obviously Oilers have upgraded from beginning of the year in net, but 88 combined total NHL games played for a “1a, 1b” duo scares me.”

12:20 p.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Idiotic move imo. Why spend 5.2mil on two backups when theres a lot of good starters available as UFAs. MacT is out of it.” — “Time will tell…for now, let’s turn our attention to the man, the myth, the legend Mike Gillis and see what he gets for Kesler! … Canucks could be one of the more interesting teams over the next 24 hours (deadline technically less than 24 hours away). … I still think my Nucks-Flyers prediction of Kesler+Edler for Couturier+B Schenn+Meszaros/L Schenn could come to fruition!”

2:33 p.m. = Back on the computer and I see there’s been a trade involving some guy named Roberto Luongo…wonder if he’s happy with the move? #obviously

2:35 p.m. = Very interesting deal nevertheless…Vancouver sends Luongo and prospect Steve Anthony to Florida for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias.

2:36 p.m. = On one hand, Canucks rid themselves of Luongo’s contract. On other hand, their goaltending is suddenly worse/more suspect than the Oilers!

2:37 p.m. = The Canucks might not be done and I doubt they are, but as of this second, I’d gladly take Fasth-Scrivens over Lack-Markstrom going forward!

2:38 p.m. = I predicted this would be a busy trade deadline for goaltenders, but Luongo wasn’t really on my radar. Thought he was “stuck” in Vancouver.

2:40 p.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Lack has been way better than luongo this year so far and we traded an immovable asset for two actual assets. Incredible.” — “that’s one way of looking at it, but you have two goaltenders even less proven than Edmonton and Matthias isn’t a big scorer. … to me, you just traded an Olympic-calibre goaltender in the prime of his career for a struggling prospect goalie and 3rd liner.”

2:59 p.m. = I wonder if Luongo and Thomas will pump each other’s tires now? … You know, as potential teammates if Thomas isn’t moved by deadline.

3:03 p.m. = Which Western Canadian team has best goalies? Flames with Ramo-Berra-Ortio; Oilers with Scrivens-Fasth; Canucks with Lack-Markstrom-Eriksson.

3:09 p.m. = Oilers tandem combines for 88 career games played; Flames trio has 82 and Canucks trio has 69. All have “potential” so time will tell!

3:24 p.m. = CORRECTION: Flames goalies have 93 career starts, Oilers 78 and Canucks 59. Still good debate which of 6 becomes the best. per @JasonGregor

5:10 p.m. = Retweet James Mirtle ‏@mirtle: “Here are the cap penalties from Roberto Luongo’s contract for the Canucks if he retires early. Could be really ugly (See the Evidence)

5:15 p.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “we traded a 35 year old goalie with eight years left on his contract. Shocking anyone gave us anything besides an anchor” — “true, but see my last retweet from Mirtle…this is still going to cost/haunt Vancouver for years to come! #notoffthebooks”

6:09 p.m. = What are the chances Eddie Lack turns up the SUCK starting tonight? Or suffers career-ending injury? #Canucks #karma

6:49 p.m. = In reply to: Randy MacMillan ‏@randymac83 “Oiler goalie controversy not over yet…maybe #camward” — “Oh…where you hearing that? I was envisioning Ward-Scrivens hometown tandem all along but figured that ship sailed with Fasth? … I can’t see Oilers getting as much for Fasth as what they gave up or see them risk losing him for nothing on waivers. #alldone” — ‏@randymac83 “only hoping man..only hoping” — “I can’t see it anymore. Here’s hoping Fasth pans out and Scrivens keeps this up because I was in favour of buying low on Ward!”

7:03 p.m. = Am I the only #Oilers enthusiast that is nervous about Hemsky tonight? Seeing him take that penalty hit from Ceci was scary. #tradewatch

7:07 p.m. = On second thought, maybe just maybe, Hemsky is increasing his trade value by playing and he’ll make it out of tonight healthy! #hereshoping

7:08 p.m. = Retweet Mark Spector ‏@SportsnetSpec: “That was vintage Hemsky. He’s made that move dozens of times in EDM. Still has the wheels — ask Chris Phillips.”

7:54 p.m. = Holy Ales! If this is his last Oilers game, it’s been a dandy! And Edmonton will certainly miss him, class act and fun to watch!

7:57 p.m. = PS: Sit Hemsky for the rest of this one, send him to the room, no need risking injury in hopes of a hat trick. He’s worth a 1st right now jk

8:08 p.m. = In reply to: Matt Gunn ‏@mattgunn18 “Kesler for Hemsky e5” — “maybe if Gillis throws in Edler..my sources are saying Hemsky for Weber and a 2nd right now. Or possibly straight up for Crosby!”

March 5

12:06 a.m. = With the #NHL trade deadline now just 12 hours away, here’s where we stand: 13 trades involving 15 teams, 27 players and 13 draft picks.

12:07 a.m. = That’s starting with Miller to St. Louis. On the eve of the deadline we saw 10 trades involving 13 teams, 19 players and 10 draft picks. Here are my thoughts on the deals so far.

12:13 a.m. = Ryan Miller is 2-0 already with the Blues, beating playoff contenders Phoenix and Tampa Bay, and Steve Ott is fitting in just fine there too.

12:14 a.m. = Time will tell on that deal once Buffalo’s return is finalized, but living in the here and now, St. Louis did very well. #muchclosertoCup

12:18 a.m. = No real comments on the 3 minor-leaguer swaps of Winchester(Min)-Connelly(Chi), Mancari(Fla)-Selleck(StL), Mullen(Ott)-Costello(Van).

12:21 a.m. = Florida getting last year’s AHL scoring champ Brandon Pirri from Chicago for 2 picks (3rd in 2014, 5th in 2016) could be a steal. #camecheap

12:25 a.m. = The Pirri deal really reminds me of when Chicago plucked Patrick Sharp from Philadephia for Matt Ellison and a 3rd-round pick in 2006.

12:28 a.m. = Montreal getting D Mike Weaver from Florida for a 5th round pick seems like a smart depth move. Could be under-rated pickup and came cheap.

12:34 a.m. = Washington dealing for Dustin Penner took me by surprise. Only cost a 4th (to Anaheim), so low-risk and could be high-reward. #couldbe

12:39 a.m. = Edmonton got a 4th from Minnesota for Ilya Bryzgalov. Nice return for a guy who couldn’t even get contract prior to season. #signingpaidoff

12:40 a.m. = From Minnesota perspective, Bryzgalov is nice insurance policy/partner for rookie Darcy Kuemper. Bryz has playoff experience and came cheap! … or at least cheaper than what the other goalies rumoured to be available likely would have cost — that being Halak+Brodeur+Thomas, etc.

12:43 a.m. = I already covered the bases on Edmonton acquiring Viktor Fasth from Anaheim for 2 picks, but I’m lukewarm to moderately warm on that move.

12:44 a.m. = Oilers didn’t need to make that move right now. Could’ve waited until off-season and weighed all options, with assumption Fasth still avail.

12:45 a.m. = Might have jumped the gun and are now going with 2 inexperienced tenders as tandem rather than signing proven starter via free agency.

12:46 a.m. = This was a good off-season to land a true No. 1 goalie as UFA: Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller, Jaroslav Halak, Martin Brodeur, Tim Thomas, etc.

12:47 a.m. = Cam Ward as another option with local (Sherwood Park) boy rumoured to be available via trade from Carolina. Those are all more “sure thing”.

12:50 a.m. = But they also all would cost a LOT more in terms of salary. Scrivens-Fasth only $5.2 mil combined cap hit and $5.7 salary. #bargainshopping

12:52 a.m. = Moving on, Anaheim (conditionally) flipped the 4th it got for Penner to Dallas for D Stephane Robidas. He’s been hurt but nice depth guy.

12:53 a.m. = Ducks also cleared a good chunk of salary by dealing Penner and Fasth, which allows them to take a run at Penner upgrade — perhaps Vanek.

12:56 a.m. = Anaheim also rumoured to be in on Kesler, Moulson, Gaborik, Cammalleri, Hemsky, among others. Ducks aren’t done. #plentytochoosefrom #buyers

12:59 a.m. = Philadelphia dealt a couple decent picks (3rd this year, 2nd next year) to the Islanders for D Andrew MacDonald. #deepgetdeeperonD

1:00 a.m. = That hashtag says it all, I felt Flyers were in good shape on back end with Luke Schenn and Meszaros both being healthy scratches at times.

1:02 a.m. = But by bringing in MacDonald, arguably a slight upgrade on those 2 and better option for 2nd PP, have to think at least 1 D leaving Philly.

1:03 a.m. = Meszaros is pending UFA rumoured on block, same dealio as MacDonald, so chances are Meszaros is sent packing to recoup one of those picks.

1:05 a.m. = That or Flyers have something bigger — MUCH bigger — brewing with multiple pieces moving, which wouldn’t shock me either. #tradewindsblowing

1:06 a.m. = Then there was the big one from Tuesday, with Vancouver sending Luongo back to Florida for Shawn Matthias and Jacob Markstrom. #finally

1:07 a.m. = Canucks fans seem split on that trade and the return — some love it, others hate it — and I’m on the fence. #byebyeBobbyLuo

1:09 a.m. = On one hand, Canucks ridded themselves of Luongo’s contract and drama, but Panthers definitely got the best (current) player in the deal.

1:10 a.m. = Worth noting, Markstrom was just named AHL goaltender of the month so he’s rebounding from rough start to season and has high potential.

1:11 a.m. = Matthias is a centre with size who likely needed change of scenery as well. Both are former 1st-round picks that are underachieving so far.

1:12 a.m. = The real strange thing is that in a matter of 7 months the Canucks got rid of Schneider and Luongo and are now left with Eddie Lack as No. 1.

1:14 a.m. = “Time will tell” applies to all trades, but especially this Luongo one. If Lack-Markstrom tandem pans out, Canucks can still be winners too.

1:16 a.m. = Chicago came out of left field to land D David Rundblad (and prospect D Mathieu Brisebois) from Phoenix for a 2nd this year. #anotherbuylow

1:17 a.m. = Rundblad was VERY hyped when he crossed the pond, drawing comparisons to Erik Karlsson, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations so far.

1:18 a.m. = Yet, for some reason, I wouldn’t bet against Rundblad finding a role with Blackhawks and developing into solid contributor sooner than later.

1:19 a.m. = Washington granted Martin Erat his trade request, sending him and John Mitchell to Phoenix for Chris Brown, Rostislav Klesla and a 2015 4th.

1:21 a.m. = I half expected the Coyotes to go bigger and try to land Vanek, but Erat seems like the typical Phoenix move that will pay decent dividends.

1:22 a.m. = Erat and Mitchell definitely make the Coyotes deeper up front, while Klesla had been related to minors this season and Brown is still AHLer.

1:24 a.m. = That said, I think it’s a fair trade and all 4 players could benefit/prosper with their new teams. Especially Erat, who should be motivated.

1:26 a.m. = For those wondering, my trade predictions aren’t exactly coming to fruition (yet) but I did predict 28 total trades and we’re halfway there!

1:29 a.m. = Player-wise, from the 24 trades I predicted: Miller, Ott, Rundblad, Pirri, Fasth, Bryzgalov, MacDonald, Erat and Weaver have all been dealt.

1:32 a.m. = So I correctly predicted 9 of the players moved so far, but only Miller went to team I proposed. MacDonald, Weaver went for similar value to different teams.

1:35 a.m. = I’ve also lost Brad Boyes (re-signed in Florida), David Jones (hurt 3+ weeks) and Anton Belov (hurt 2+ weeks) from my list. #notlookinggood

1:36 a.m. = A lot of my other “big” ones also seem doubtful. Halak not going to Minnesota now with Bryzgalov there. Vanek doubtful to Phoenix …

1:38 a.m. = Callahan sounding closer and closer to re-signing with Rangers, and my Cam Ward for Evander Kane swap has been shot down over and over.

1:40 a.m. = Past that, my list looks quite bleak — definitely not holding breath for Tyler Myers to Calgary or Sam Gagner to Chicago.

1:42 a.m. = That doesn’t leave much, but my top trade still possible: Nucks send Kesler+Edler to Flyers for B Schenn, Couturier and Meszaros/L Schenn.

1:45 a.m. = Maybe this one: Buffalo trades Ehrhoff and Moulson to San Jose for Matt Nieto, Daniil Tarasov, 2014 1st-rounder and 2015 3rd-rounder.

1:46 a.m. = Or this one has potential still: Buffalo trades Chris Stewart to Ottawa for Colin Greening and Matt Puempel. #soundsrealistic

1:47 a.m. = My proposed deal fell apart but I could still see Hemsky and Nick Schultz to Washington, maybe for Dmitry Orlov and a 2nd? #seemsfairenough

1:48 a.m. = If Legwand moves I still think Detroit is a front-runner and I suggested Riley Sheahan and 2nd as return. Wings fans hated it! #overpayment?

1:50 a.m. = I also had Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri to Pittsburgh for Simon Despres and 2014 1st. Dallas’ Ray Whitney to L.A. for Linden Vey and 2014 3rd.

1:51 a.m. = Then 2 more minor ones involving Calgary — Lee Stempniak to Montreal for Dalton Thrower; Chris Butler to Colorado for 2014 3rd-rounder.

1:52 a.m. = And I no longer like my initial proposal, but I could see Edmonton’s Ryan Smyth or Ryan Jones ending up in Toronto for a late/conditional pick.

1:53 a.m. = The “seller” GMs have voiced concerns that “rentals” are being “undervalued” and I likely “overvalued” them in my list so that backfired.

1:54 a.m. = But, hey, we still have 10 hours to go until the deadline and it’s going to be a wild morning with lots more activity in my opinion.

1:55 a.m. = We could totally see some more surprises, maybe even more Luongo-esque blockbusters. Should be a fun day! #holddownthecouchifyoucan

1:56 a.m. = In reply to: ‏@gregorhinterer “you think, that vanek will go to phoenix? not anaheim?” — “that was my original prediction but Phoenix cheaped/chickened out with Erat. Vanek is going to California, not sure on team.” — ‏@gregorhinterer “i hope it will be the ducks…great team: getzla, perry, hiller. runf for the cup.” — “They have cap space now, so Ducks will be getting somebody in the morning — Vanek/Kesler/Moulson/Gaborik/Cammalleri/Hemsky/Stafford”

1:57 a.m. = In reply to: ‏@gregorhinterer “this sounds good (Kesler to Philadelphia deal)” — “it’s funny, half Nucks fans love it and half hate it. Similar split reaction from Flyers fans. Tells me it must be fair!” — ‏@gregorhinterer “in my opinion: for kesler/edler – bring L. schenn/meszaro to vancouver. everybody will be happy.” — “be careful with the use of “everybody” because my feedback suggests a LOT of fans would “riot” over that kind of trade!”

1:59 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “Buffalo would keep Stewart before moving him for that package.” — “Makes sense and Bobby Mac says Ottawa-Buffalo talks have cooled on Stewart, so thinking that type of package already rejected.”

2:01 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “it was a risk for Chi. They develop 2nd rounders well. Obviously have faith in Rundblad.” — “I agree. Apparently Rundblad was 17th overall, one pick after Nick Leddy so they were probably debating between the 2 back then. … Chicago isn’t quite as good as Detroit when it comes to “rich get richer” but I think Stan Bowman and his henchmen are competent.”

2:03 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “Washington lightened themselves of gritless finesse players. Maybe Stewart fits best there. They need a Callahan type.” — “possibly, but can’t really see it with J Ward, Chimera, Brouwer, Laich, Fehr and your boy Tom Wilson, plus Penner now. #whoknows”

2:04 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “I think the return on Cammalleri will surprise most (low).” — “I think you might be right…same with Hemsky. I put those two very close with Moulson but seems like most teams prefer Moulson.”

2:05 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “Sheahan is big part of Wings future. Legwand probably stays. He’s rumored to go every year.” — “Also true, but Legwand is UFA this time around so that changes things. If no extension tomorrow, then anything is possible. … I didn’t realize the Wings (and their fans) were so high on Sheahan. Sounds like he’s a keeper there, even over other young guns.”

9:46 a.m. = Slept in, feeling shame, but ready to get this party started! #whatdidImiss? #ohboy #blockbuster

9:47 a.m. = Callahan wouldn’t meet Glenn Sather’s contract demands and that results in Rangers and Lightning swapping captains. St. Louis gets his wish!

9:50 a.m. = That deal was Ryan Callahan, NYR’s 2015 1st-rounder and a conditional 2nd rounder to Tampa for Martin St. Louis. Big shakeup for both teams.

9:53 a.m. = That’s a fair trade, Lightning got good value for St. Louis, who is a better offensive player than Callahan and has a year left on contract.

9:55 a.m. = For this year, as long as St. Louis fits in well with new linemates and Vigneault’s coaching system, it should be short-term win for NYR!

9:56 a.m. = Oilers didn’t wait until last minute to deal Ales Hemsky, getting a 3rd in 2015 and 5th in 2014 from Ottawa for pending UFA forward.

9:58 a.m. = My guess is the Senators were boarding a plane out of Edmonton and it was now or never for Hemsky to join them on the flight.

10:00 a.m. = Hemsky scored twice in a 3-2 win over Ottawa last night, so Bryan Murray and Paul MacLean had first-hand look at player they were getting.

10:00 a.m. = That said, if I’m MacT and that’s the best the Sens are offering, I tear up Hemsky’s plane ticket and tell him to catch a different flight!

10:01 a.m. = My bad, Ottawa is just down the QE2 in Calgary tonight…somebody flag down a cab for Hemsky! #hedeservesalimo #trooper

10:02 a.m. = Hemsky should have been worth more, but rentals have been going cheap so far. I think somebody would have blinked and gave a 2nd for him.

10:02 a.m. = MacT has never been the patient type — for better or worse — and he did get the picks back that he traded for Fasth but opposite years.

10:03 a.m. = Poor Hemsky tho, I don’t see Ottawa winning the Cup (or possibly even making playoffs) this year, so not the trade he was hoping for!

10:04 a.m. = And I thought MacT would do the guy a favour after all those losing years in Edmonton and trade him to a legit contender like Pittsburgh.

10:06 a.m. = Hemsky should be a nice fit on a line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, but is he enough to put the Sens over the top? Definitely not.

10:07 a.m. = You can probably call that a win for Otttawa as long as Hemsky stays healthy and relatively productive in nation’s capital. #mixedemotions

10:10 a.m. = In an intriguing trade, L.A. acquired D Brayden McNabb and 2 picks (both 2nds) from Buffalo for F Hudson Fasching and D Nicolas Deslauriers.

10:18 a.m. = Deslauriers and McNabb are the same age (23), Deslauriers is having the better AHL season statistically, but McNabb arguably better prospect.

10:20 a.m. = Hudson Fasching was really hyped when younger, now 18 and having good freshman year at University of Minnesota. Sabres had picks to spare!

10:21 a.m. = That’s a fair trade, but will be a fun one to follow going forward. Won’t be able to declare a winner for a few years!

10:22 a.m. = Montreal acquires G Devan Dubnyk from Nashville for future considerations. Dubnyk is an insurance policy with Carey Price currently hurt.

10:24 a.m. = Dubnyk will take some of the workload off Peter Budaj as an experienced NHLer, but I personally think Dustin Tokarski is every bit as good.

10:25 a.m. = Not sure what happened to Dubnyk this year, his game hit rock bottom and he’s pending UFA. He won’t likely be in Montreal for long either.

10:27 a.m. = Another big fish has just recently moved with Marian Gaborik landing in Los Angeles. No word on return for Columbus as of yet.

10:28 a.m. = Almost caught up here now…Gaborik should be good fit among LA’s top 9 forwards, likely to play alongside Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams!

10:30 a.m. = Columbus gets Matt Frattin and 2 draft picks for Gaborik. Decent return, I’m fan of Frattin but never fit in LA, was part of J Bernier deal.

10:32 a.m. = Hearing Hemsky will in fact make Sens debut tonight in Calgary. No rest for the wicked! Will be weird not having Hemsky in future Battle of Alberta!

10:33 a.m. = With an hour and a half to go before deadline, tons of speculation out there. Kesler and Vanek are still the biggest names that we know of!

10:34 a.m. = Of course several trades will trickle in after the deadline as they always do, but I fully expect business to pick up real soon now.

10:36 a.m. = Gaborik garnered a 2nd and 3rd (plus Frattin) so does that bring Vanek asking price down or drive it up? They are somewhat similar players.

10:39 a.m. = I’d personally prefer Vanek and pay more for him because Gaborik is injury prone. But rentals going cheaper than in past and than expected.

10:39 a.m. = Matt Moulson and Mike Cammalleri are two other rentals that are almost guaranteed to go somewhere and no shortage of buyers still shopping.

10:42 a.m. = Retweet ‏@JasonGregor: “Sam Gagner is now the only player on the #Oilers who was on the team at the end of the 2009/2010 season. Complete overhaul in 4 years.”

10:49 a.m. = In reply to: Landon Carriere ‏@agentfortyfour “great return (for Hemsky)” — “great return would have been 1st rounder and a prospect like other rentals have brought in years past. It’s a sell-low year! … rentals usually bring more. Remember pending UFA Ryan Smyth brought Edmonton a 1st+Nilsson+O’Marra! That package didn’t turn out to be much, pick was 15th overall (Alex Plante), but boy did it look good on paper at the time!”

10:50 a.m. = Pittsburgh just acquired Marcel Goc from Florida for picks (3rd and 5th) — yes, same value as Hemsky. #drawyourownconclusions

10:52 a.m. = Apparently Dubnyk has already been demoted to Hamilton (AHL) so Tokarski will get extended look with the Canadiens.

10:53 a.m. = Also lost in the shuffle today, Cory Conacher was claimed off waivers by the Buffalo Sabres from the Ottawa Senators. Little guy with skill.

10:54 a.m. = Back to Goc, he’s not nearly the offensive talent as Hemsky but could fit a different need for Pens, especially if they deal B Sutter today.

10:55 a.m. = Lots of talk that Pens are still hard after Kesler with B Sutter likely going to Vancouver. Philadelphia reportedly pulled out on Kesler.

10:56 a.m. = One report had Flyers offering Vincent Lecavalier and a 1st in 2015 for Kesler to which the Canucks (wisely) said “no thanks.”

10:57 a.m. = In reply to: Landon Carriere ‏@agentfortyfour “(Conacher claimed by Sabres) could be a steal” — “he’s upgrade on Omark, I’ll give him that, but don’t see Conacher repeating rookie season or becoming next Marty St. Louis!”

10:58 a.m. = Essentially an hour to go and still lots of so-called buyers sitting on their hands with no moves to mention. Expect that to change soon!

10:58 a.m. = New Jersey Devils are buyers! Well, they just “bought” pending UFA Tuomo Ruutu from Carolina. Return TBD.

10:59 a.m. = In reply to: ‏@DNefarious “(Tuomo Ruutu) not pending UFA Fish. Get your facts straight!” — “my bad and nice catch on your part…Tuomo Ruutu is NOT a pending UFA, he has 2 years left at $4.75 million cap hit. #notarental”

11:01 a.m. = In reply to: ‏@EricStansfield “Well here’s hoping the final hour and 11 minutes will bring some excitement (after sleeping in)” — “it typically does…I’m fully expecting 10-15 more moves, including Vanek and possibly Kesler #staytuned”

11:04 a.m. = In reply to: Tyson Gibbons ‏@TysGibbons “I wonder if it was the asking price or the NTC (keeping Kesler in Vancouver).” — “I’d think asking price but then again Kesler might be being picky…reportedly wouldn’t waive to Rangers last night, nixed deal!”

11:08 a.m. = Ruutu deal to Devils netted the Hurricanes centre Andrei Loktionov and a conditional 3rd rounder. To me, Ruutu is a keeper, but to each their own! #salarydump

11:23 a.m. = Tim Thomas to Dallas #DanEllisProblems

11:25 a.m. = Couple quick ones there: Tim Thomas to Dallas and Nick Schultz to Columbus, both for TBD pick(s). 2 fringe playoff teams buying #interesting

11:26 a.m. = Thomas and Luongo didn’t make sense together in Florida, and Thomas is upgrade over Ellis in case Lehtonen gets hurt in Dallas. Makes sense! #noneedtoplaynice

11:27 a.m. = I can’t imagine Dallas gave up more than a 7th or futures for Thomas given he’s a rental backup and Stars are outside playoff picture!

11:28 a.m. = Sounds like Nick Schultz returned a 3rd rounder for Edmonton, with the way rentals are going, that’s good value today!

11:32 a.m. = CORRECTION: Nick Schultz only netted a 5th not a 3rd…that sounds more like today’s market value #whysolow? #nogreatbigspenders

11:35 a.m. = I thought we’d see more “hockey deals” today or more Luongo-esque surprises. There’s still time, but it’s been pretty meh/bleh so far today!

11:37 a.m. = With all the talk of Boston wanting/needing a veteran defenceman, surprised the Bruins didn’t beat Columbus offer for Nick Schultz. #goodfit

11:38 a.m. = In reply to: Lauren Pullen @Lauren_Global’s Retweet: @BobMcKenzieeTSN “Ehrhoff and 2nd to Vancouver for Kesler” — “fake account #holdthepresses #notevenclose … Happens to the best of us!”

11:40 a.m. = Thomas to Dallas for Dan Ellis, who will become Roberto Luongo’s backup in Florida…not a #DanEllisProblem after all #welcometomiami #sunny

11:41 a.m. = 20 mins to go…any chance we still see 10+ trades? So many big names and rentals still in play, something has got to give #clockticking

11:46 a.m. = Retweet Ryan MacLeod ‏@RyanMacouver  “#BREAKING – Fake twitter account convinces all of Vancouver that Kesler has been traded.”

11:50 a.m. = Ahh, reason Bruins didn’t bite on Nick Schultz? They just got their man, Andrej Meszaros, from Philadelphia for a 3rd rounder.

11:51 a.m. = Meszaros is younger, more mobile and more offensive than Schultz. Should be a good fit for him in Boston.

11:52 a.m. = Flyers were able to get back one of the picks they gave Islanders for Andrew MacDonald yesterday, now got him for a 2nd+weak prospect.

11:55 a.m. = Is potential Kesler trade holding up Vanek, Moulson, Cammalleri etc deals? Have to think same buyers in on all of the above. #timerunningout

12:00 p.m. = Ding, ding, ding…trade deadline has officially passed. Unofficially, expect a dozen deals over next 2 hours. Well, not that many but some!

12:01 p.m. = Did Garth Snow’s antique fax machine break down or something? He absolutely had to deal Vanek for something/anything… #Ihearcrickets

12:02 p.m. = Retweet Jason Brough ‏@JasonPHT “Snow’s gonna trade Vanek for Uncle Rico’s time machine, isn’t he.”

12:03 p.m. = Canucks have made their move…wait for it…Raphael Diaz to New York Rangers for a 5th rounder. #notKesler #notyet

12:06 p.m. = Still sounds like Kesler to Pittsburgh is a possibility post-deadline. Gillis likes to leave stuff until last minute and Shero usually gets his man.

12:08 p.m. = Canucks maybe moved Diaz knowing they were getting a defenceman (Despres/Dumoulin) back from Penguins… #maybejustmaybe #graspingforstraws

12:09 p.m. = Aside from hearing Philadelphia bowed out of Kesler sweepstakes, I didn’t hear too many other teams seriously in running besides Pittsburgh.

12:10 p.m. = Sources say Sabres trade Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to Wild for picks and Torrey Mitchell. Better be some good picks. #poorsellers

12:12 p.m. = Sounding like Kesler is STAYING in Vancouver. Asking price was too high right now. #Luongowasright #freeKesler

12:14 p.m. = TSN now reporting Vanek is TRADED but nobody knows where he’s heading yet. Strangely Bobby Mac and Dreger haven’t broke much/anything today.

12:16 p.m. = Colorado acquires goaltender Reto Berra (pending UFA) from Calgary for TBD return. Not sure where he fits with Avs behind Varlamov-Giguere. … later informed Giguere is injured, out indefinitely.

12:16 p.m. = There will be late trades announced by the sounds of it, now hearing Detroit has landed David Legwand from Nashville, again return TBD.

12:18 p.m. = For the record, I predicted Legwand to Detroit…might have been my ONLY correct prediction out of 24 trades #betterlatethannever

12:21 p.m. = REPORT: Vancouver ownership might have nixed plans for trade that would have sent Kesler to Pens for “substantial offer” per @RobRossi_Trib

12:22 p.m. = Wowzers, that’s out of left field…Vanek to Montreal of all places! #offmyradar Now, we wait for return packages for Vanek and Legwand.

12:23 p.m. = Vanek will be a good fit in Montreal, should bolster Habs offence but I didn’t see that one coming at all. Not the usual buyers today.

12:24 p.m. = Vanek or not, I don’t see Montreal even making East final. Maybe that’s just me, but unless Price stands on his head, Habs in over heads.

12:26 p.m. = Return is believed to be a 2014 2nd rounder and prospect. Talk about buying low today. Steal of a deal for Montreal regardless of prospect.

12:31 p.m. = The prospect is supposedly Sebastien Collberg, he could be future stud, maybe even second-coming of Vanek BUT that’s definitely worth risk.

12:33 p.m. = If this is it, I can brag that I correctly predicted a total of 28 trade deadline (week) deals. Or is it 29 now? #closeenough #smallvictory

12:38 p.m. = Per @GMillerTSN, Red Wings gave up Patrick Eaves, a TBD prospect and a 3rd rounder to Predators for David Legwand.

12:39 p.m. = Here’s a late breaking one, Jaroslav Halak to Washington for TBD return. Nice pickup or insurance policy for Braden Holtby.

12:40 p.m. = Halak supplanted Carey Price in 2010, could he do the same to Braden Holtby in 2014? Does this make Halak the Caps starter/platoon/backup?

12:44 p.m. = Goalie Michal Neuvirth is heading back to Buffalo in the deal that sent Jaroslav Halak to Washington. Might be pick(s) included too.

12:45 p.m. = That goalie swap also makes sense for both teams considering where they are at in the present. Buffalo did decent at the deadline.

12:45 p.m. = Retweet Dan Murphy ‏@sportsnetmurph “I hope Ryan Kesler begins his media scrum today with…”My contract sucks”.”

12:49 p.m. = Sounding more and more like Mike Gillis is a puppet/yes-man/figurehead in Vancouver, with ownership calling most/all the shots for Canucks!

12:52 p.m. = I wonder what the Canucks roster would look like right now if Paul Holmgren was at helm with free reign on deadline day #forbetterorworse

12:53 p.m. = Retweet Dominic Abassi ‏@domplaybyplay “I don’t know what’s more confusing….Mike Gillis’ trading strategy or his neck-beard-goatee #Canucks #NHLTradeDeadline”

12:53 p.m. = Retweet ‏@coreylandsberg “Gillis making no new fans in Vancouver. Holding his crusty presser on a golf course after not making his team better today or ever.”

1:35 p.m. = Few more late updates on deals…Nashville gets C Calle Jarnkrok as prospect included in David Legwand deal. That’s a quality pick up.

1:36 p.m. = Predators got Filip Forsberg from Washington at last year’s deadline and now Calle Jarnkrok from Detroit this year, well played by them.

1:38 p.m. = The Halak-Neuvirth swap was expanded as Washington flipped D Rostislav Klesla to Buffalo for a 2014 3rd rounder. Looks real good for Caps.

1:39 p.m. = In a minor-league prospect swap, Anaheim acquired RW Andre Petersson from Ottawa for D Alex Grant. Both have potential to become NHLers.

1:40 p.m. = And last but not least, Pittsburgh acquired RW Lee Stempniak from Calgary for a 3rd rounder. Calgary also got 2nd rounder for Berra. #notbad

1:41 p.m. = Poor Pittsburgh if Stempniak is their consolation prize for Kesler but anything is better than nothing under the circumstances. #allshewrote

1:43 p.m. = FYI, the conditional 2nd in 2014 that went to Tampa Bay from the Rangers for Marty St. Louis turns into a 1st if Rangers make East final.

1:46 p.m. = There were also a couple trade-deadline acquisitions from within. The first is fact Steven Stamkos returns for Lightning on Thursday.

1:48 p.m. = The second has top forward prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov potentially joining the Washington Capitals real soon from the KHL. Could jump right in.

1:52 p.m. = In reply to: @shawn_w_smith “Going to be a long few years for Buffalo.” — “maybe, but they have great assets and awesome prospects coming up. If they do it right, they could be Cup contenders for sure”

1:53 p.m. = In reply to: Earl the Pearl ‏@WestmountWailer “well, (Halak’s) better than Holtby for sure. But I bet they go the “hot hand” approach until they find out for sure.” — “that’s kind of a slap in the face to Holtby…he was great in last year’s playoffs and even got audition for Olympic team. #healthycompetition”

3:05 p.m. = The draft picks in Vanek deal become official if Montreal makes playoffs — 2014 2nd to Islanders, 5th back to Canadiens. If not, no picks.

3:09 p.m. = Late trades just finalized: Tampa Bay sends C Dana Tyrell and D Matt Taormina to Columbus for LW Jonathan Marchessault and LW Dalton Smith.

3:13 p.m. = Potentially last and potentially least, Los Angeles acquires RW James Livingston from San Jose for conditional 2016 7th-rounder. #whocares

Trade Tracker

February 28

1) Minnesota acquires LW Brad Winchester from Chicago for D Brian Connelly.

2) St. Louis acquires G Ryan Miller and C Steve Ott from Buffalo for G Jaroslav Halak, RW Chris Stewart, LW William Carrier and a 2015 1st-round draft pick. Conditional picks are involved from both sides, presumably dependent on how far the Blues go in this year’s playoffs and whether Miller re-signs in St. Louis as an unrestricted free agent this off-season.

March 2

3) Florida acquires RW Mark Mancari from St. Louis for LW Eric Selleck.

4) Florida acquires C Brandon Pirri from Chicago for a 2014 3rd-round pick and a 2016 5th-round pick.

March 4

5) Montreal acquires D Mike Weaver from Florida for a 2015 5th-round pick.

6) Washington acquires LW Dustin Penner from Anaheim for a 2014 4th-round pick.

7) Minnesota acquires G Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton for a 2014 4th-round pick.

8) Edmonton acquires G Viktor Fasth from Anaheim for a 2014 5th-round pick and a 2015 3rd-round pick.

9) Anaheim acquires D Stephane Robidas from Dallas for a conditional 2014 4th-round pick.

10) Ottawa acquires D Patrick Mullen from Vancouver for LW Jeff Costello.

11) Philadelphia acquires D Andrew MacDonald from the New York Islanders for C Matt Mangene, a 2014 3rd-round pick and 2015 2nd-round pick.

12) Florida acquires G Roberto Luongo and LW Steven Anthony from Vancouver for G Jacob Markstrom and C Shawn Matthias.

13) Chicago acquires D David Rundblad and D Mathieu Brisebois from Phoenix for a 2014 2nd-round pick.

14) Phoenix acquires RW Martin Erat and C John Mitchell from Washington for RW Chris Brown, D Rostislav Klesla and a 2015 4th-round pick.

March 5

15) New York Rangers acquire RW Martin St. Louis from Tampa Bay for RW Ryan Callahan, a 2015 1st-round pick and a conditional 2014 2nd-round pick.

16) Ottawa acquires RW Ales Hemsky from Edmonton for a 2015 3rd-round pick and 2014 5th-round pick.

17) Los Angeles acquires D Brayden McNabb, RW Jonathan Parker, a 2014 2nd-round pick and 2015 2nd-round pick from Buffalo for RW Hudson Fasching and D Nicolas Deslauriers.

18) Montreal acquires G Devan Dubnyk from Nashville for future considerations.

19) Los Angeles acquires RW Marian Gaborik from Columbus for RW Matt Frattin, a 2nd-round pick and conditional 3rd-round pick.

20) Pittsburgh acquires C Marcel Goc from Florida for a 2015 3rd-round pick and 2014 5th-round pick.

21) New Jersey acquires C Tuomo Ruutu from Carolina for C Andrei Loktionov and a conditional 2017 3rd-round pick.

22) Dallas acquires G Tim Thomas from Florida for G Dan Ellis.

23) Columbus acquires D Nick Schultz from Edmonton for a 2014 5th-round pick.

24) Boston acquires D Andrej Meszaros from Philadelphia for a 3rd-round pick.

25) New York Rangers acquire D Raphael Diaz from Vancouver for a 5th-round pick.

26) Colorao acquires G Reto Berra from Calgary for a 2014 2nd-round draft pick.

27) Detroit acquires C David Legwand from Nashville for RW Patrick Eaves, C Calle Jarnkrok and a 3rd-round pick.

28) Montreal acquires LW Thomas Vanek and a conditional 2014 5th-round pick from New York Islanders for RW Sebastien Collberg and a conditional 2014 2nd-round pick.

29) Minnesota acquires LW Matt Moulson and C Cody McCormick from Buffalo for C Torrey Mitchell, a 2014 2nd-round pick and 2016 2nd-round pick.

30) Washington acquires G Jaroslav Halak and a 2014 3rd-round pick from Buffalo for G Michal Neuvirth and D Rostislav Klesla.

31) Anaheim acquires RW Andre Petersson from Ottawa for D Alex Grant.

32) Pittsburgh acquires RW Lee Stempniak from Calgary for a 3rd-round pick.

33) Columbus acquires C Dana Tyrell and D Matt Taormina from Tampa Bay for LW Jonathan Marchessault and LW Dalton Smith.

34) Los Angeles acquires RW James Livingston from San Jose for conditional 2016 7th-round pick.

Larry Fisher is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier in Kelowna, B.C. Follow him on Twitter: @LarryFisher_KDC.

Categories: Uncategorized

Blast from the Past: Revisiting the 1980 Trade Deadline

Photo from www.greatesthockeylegends.com Dubbed the trade that all deadline deals are measured against, the New York Islanders added a key piece to their budding dynasty by acquiring Butch Goring from the Los Angeles Kings for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis on March 10, 1980.

Photo from http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com
Dubbed the trade that all deadline deals are measured against, the New York Islanders added a key piece to their budding dynasty by acquiring Butch Goring from the Los Angeles Kings for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis on March 10, 1980.

Four years and 11 days before I was born, some interesting deals took place on the first trade deadline of the 1980s. There were few moves compared to today — only 5 total trades, involving 9 players and 3 draft picks — but there were certainly some big ones that greatly impacted the future of a few franchises.

Trading Deadline: March 11, 1980

Butch Goring

Butch Goring

March 10, 1980: Butch Goring traded from Los Angeles to the New York Islanders for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis.

ANALYSIS: After 11 years with the L.A. Kings, Butch Goring was dealt to the New York Islanders and became a key piece in their future dynasty of the early 1980s. Goring went on to score 11 points in 12 games that regular season and had 19 points in 21 playoff games, helping lead the Islanders to their first ever Stanley Cup, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4 games to 2. The Islanders won the Cup again in 1981, this time with Goring winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP as they beat the Minnesota North Stars 4 games to 1. In 1982, the Islanders captured their 3rd straight Cup, sweeping the Vancouver Canucks. And in 1983, they made it a four-peat as the Islanders swept Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers, who later got the better of the Islanders, 4 games to 1 in 1984 for the Oilers’ first of five championships through 1990. Goring went on to play 6 seasons with the Islanders before finishing his career with the Bruins, then becoming their coach the following season. Ironically enough, Goring’s ties with the Oilers can be linked as the last organization he played for, as he came out of retirement to suit up for the Nova Scotia Oilers in 1987.

Right-winger Billy Harris was a first overall pick of the Islanders back in 1972 and was in his 8th season with the team at the time of the deal. He was a solid point-producer, putting up 50 or more points every full season he played for the Islanders with at least 20 goals in 6 of those seasons — hitting 30 once. His production was decent during his time in L.A. with 7 points in the last 11 games that year and 49 points with 20 goals in 80 games the following season with the Kings. He only had 4 points in 16 games the next year before being dealt to his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, who he played for until the 1983-84 season when he was dealt back to the Kings and retired at the end of that season. That was the same year the Islanders won their fourth and final Cup, having been crowned champions every NHL season that Billy Harris didn’t play for them prior to his retirement.

Dave Lewis is a current assistant coach with the Carolina Hurricanes and former NHL coach of the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins. The Kindersley, Sask., native was the Islanders’ 3rd round pick, 33rd overall, in the 1973 entry draft. He was playing his 7th season on the Islanders’ blue-line before the trade. Lewis was on the down slope of this career when he was traded and spent the following 3 seasons with the Kings before 3 seasons with the New Jersey Devils and 2 years with the Red Wings.

VERDICT: The Kings made out OK in the trade, but it’s easy to see that the Islanders, with 4 straight Stanley Cups, were the real winners of this deal.

Phil Housley

Phil Housley

March 10, 1980: Jerry Korab traded from Buffalo to Los Angeles for Los Angeles’ 1st-round choice in the 1982 Entry Draft (Phil Housley).

ANALYSIS: The Kings picked up Jerry “King Kong” Korab that year, a big physical defenceman standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 220 pounds. Korab had started his NHL career playing 3 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks in the early 1970s. He played part of a season with the Vancouver Canucks before spending the next 7 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres where he never had less than 41 points in a full season and had less than 100 penalty minutes only once. The year he was traded to the Kings, they got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs with Korab getting an assist in 3 games, along 3 points in 11 regular-season games. The following year, Korab had 52 points in 78 games with 139 penalty minutes before his point totals started dropping off. He spent 3 more seasons with the Kings before returning to the Buffalo Sabres for the final 2 years of his career — finishing with 455 points and 1,629 penalty minutes in 975 career regular-season games.

Phil Housley, the player drafted with the 1st overall pick, was an offensive cornerstone on the Sabres’ blue-line for the next 8 seasons with 66 points in 78 games his rookie season, then a career-high 31 goals his second year with the team. He played 3 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, getting a career-high 97 points in the 1992-93 season, no doubt having several of his 79 assists going in off the stick of Teemu Selanne, who scored an NHL-record 76 goals in his rookie season. Housley spent the next season with the St. Louis Blues before spending 2 seasons with the Calgary Flames, who traded him to the New Jersey Devils to finish out another season. From there, Housley spent 2 seasons with the Washington Capitals before returning for another 3 with the Calgary Flames. He spent the next 2 years with the Chicago Blackhawks before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for draft picks at the 2003 trade deadline. Housley would only play 1 game for the Leafs and retired at the end of the season as the leading American-born point-producer with 1,232 points in 1,495 games. He has since been passed by Mike Modano, who has 1,374 points. Brett Hull, who represented the USA internationally, finished his career with 1,391 points, but was born in Canada. Housley still sits second in the all-time ranking for U.S.-born players in points — 37th on the all-time list and 4th for defencemen behind only Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and Al MacInnis.

VERDICT: Even though Kaleb had a solid year in L.A. the season following the trade, it is easy to see the Sabres won this deal.

Ron Low

Ron Low

March 11, 1980: Ron Chipperfield traded from Edmonton to Quebec for Ron Low.

ANALYSIS: Centreman Ron Chipperfield was a WHA standout with the Oilers after spending time with the Vancouver Blazers and Calgary Cowboys in the WHA. He scored 65 goals and 154 points in 135 WHA games with the Oilers. The shift to the NHL saw his production dip, with 37 points in 67 games the year he was traded to the Nordiques. He tallied 8 points in 12 games that year with the Nordiques, but would only play 4 more games, registering one point the following year, before finishing his career in Italy — racking up 128 points with 78 goals in 30 games during the 1981-82 season overseas.

Ron Low, a former teammate of Chipperfield in their junior days with Dauphin, had taken the NHL route and never played a game in the WHA. The goaltender was an 8th-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1970. He played one season for the Leafs in 1972-73 before taking another year to get back into the NHL with the Washington Capitals. He spent the next 3 years with the Capitals, then one with the Detroit Red Wings before again finding himself spending another year in the Central Hockey League. Low then landed with the Quebec Nordiques, who made the trade with the Oilers mid-season. Low was a backup with the Oilers over the next 3 seasons, spending some time in the minors every year but one. He was traded to the New Jersey Devils during his 4th year with the Oilers and spent 2 more seasons with the Devils following that, before finishing his career in the minors with the Nova Scotia Oilers in 1985-86. The following season Low became head coach of the same Oilers farm team for 2 seasons before becoming an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers in 1989-90 during their last Stanley Cup season. He held the assistant position until midway through the 1994-95 season when he became the head coach for the next 4 seasons following that. He then spent one year coaching the Houston Aeros in the IHL before landing a job with New York Rangers for 2 seasons. He last coached in the NHL as a goalie coach for the Ottawa Senators during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. Low is the only former NHL goalie to have been a head coach for two different NHL teams, according to his profile on Wikipedia. He won 2 Stanley Cups as an Edmonton Oiler — one as a player in 1987, and the other as an assistant coach in 1990.

VERDICT: The deal worked out better in the long-term, as Ron Low was a valuable member of Edmonton’s organization for years even after his playing days were done.

Don Murdoch

Don Murdoch

March 11, 1980: Cam Connor and Edmonton’s 3rd-round choice in the 1981 Entry Draft (Vesa Salo/Gord Walker) traded to the New York Rangers for Don Murdoch.

ANALYSIS: Right-winger Cam Connor was a tough customer who spent his first 4 pro seasons in the WHA, two with the Phoenix Roadrunners starting in 1974-75 and then 2 with the Houston Aeros, playing with Gordie Howe during his first season there. Connor finished his WHA career with 904 penalty in 274 games with 171 points. In his first NHL season with the Montreal Canadiens in 1978-79, Connor won a Stanley Cup. He was more of a role player in the NHL, having his best season that following year with the Oilers with 20 points and 136 penalty minutes in 38 games before being traded to the Rangers where he finished the season with another 3 points and 37 penalty minutes in 12 games. Connor was a standout in the AHL the following year with 61 points in 61 games and 243 penalty minutes, but only had 4 points to go with 44 penalty minutes in 15 games with the Rangers that season. The following year was again spent in the AHL before the Rangers brought him up for 10 playoffs games where he scored 4 goals. The 1 game he played in the 1982-83 season with the Rangers was his last NHL game as Connor played the rest of that and the following year in the Central Hockey League. He played only 89 NHL regular-season games, registering 9 goals, 31 points and 256 penalty minutes. He was an assistant coach with the AHL’s New Haven Nighthawks for one season following his retirement.

The 3rd-round choice was used by the Rangers to draft either Vesa Salo, a defenceman form Finland who never played in the NHL, or forward Gord Walker, who played 31 games and tallied 7 points over his career with the Rangers and L.A. Kings. Draft records in the early 1980s made it difficult to tell which pick was owned by the Oilers.

Right-winger Don Murdoch was a junior standout with the Medicine Hat Tigers, where he put up 306 points, including 170 goals, and 285 penalty minutes in 140 games. Murdoch was the 4th overall pick by the New York Rangers in the 1976 draft and had a standout season with the team with 56 points in 59 games during his rookie campaign before tearing his Achilles tendon. Over the next 3 years, Murdoch continued to rack up points for the Rangers before the trade to the Oilers, where he put up 7 points in 10 games before seeing his point totals drop to 19 in 40 games the following year. He spent the next season with the Detroit Red Wings, splitting time in the minors where he would spend the rest of his career over the following 5 years. Murdoch’s NHL totals were 237 points in 320 games.

VERDICT: This deal ended up being a swap of 2 players that were no longer productive in the NHL.

Jim Corsi

Jim Corsi

March 11, 1980: Jim Corsi traded from Edmonton to Minnesota for future consideration.

Goaltender Jim Corsi is the current and longtime goaltending coach with the Buffalo Sabres, having held that position since the 2000-01 season, with the exception of the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns. Corsi played all of his 26 NHL games in net for the Edmonton Oilers the season of the trade. He was sent to the minors by the North Stars after being acquired. He had spent 2 seasons previously with the WHA’s Quebec Nordiques.

VERDICT: Seems like this was more of a deal to make room for Ron Low.

Jesse Gill

Jesse Gill

Jesse Gill is a former radio broadcaster and colour commentator who dreamed of anchoring TSN, but has since changed careers and now calls Medicine Hat, Alta., home. His passion for hockey has remained strong, as a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan who also enjoys the junior ranks and the rougher side of the sport. Follow him on Twitter: @JesseGill3.

Categories: Uncategorized

Looking back on last year’s trade deadline: Winners and Losers

March 4, 2014 2 comments
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images Jarome Iginla was one of the biggest names on the move at last year's trade deadline, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Calgary Flames for two forward prospects and a first-round pick that turned into Morgan Klimchuk.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Jarome Iginla was one of the biggest names on the move at last year’s trade deadline, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Calgary Flames for two forward prospects and a first-round pick that turned into Morgan Klimchuk of the WHL’s Regina Pats.

Almost immediately after the annual NHL trade deadline passes, fans start declaring the winners and losers of the many deals that went down. In reality, judgment shouldn’t be passed until at least a year later.

With that said, the 2013 trade deadline, and the week leading up to it, saw a total of 27 deals involving 38 pro players, 10 prospects and 32 draft picks. Now, with a year’s worth of evaluation and the help of hindsight, we can take a closer look at the real winners and losers.

Brenden Morrow

Brenden Morrow

March 24, 2013: The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Brenden Morrow and a conditional 2013 3rd-round draft pick (Jake Guentzel) from the Dallas Stars for prospect Joe Morrow and a 2013 5th-round draft pick (Matej Paulovic).

ANALYSIS:  For the Penguins, Brenden Morrow put up a solid 14 points in 15 games in the regular season and then fizzled out in the playoffs with 4 points in 14 games as the Pens were swept in the Eastern Conference final by the Bruins. Morrow signed with the St. Louis Blues in the summer. The Penguins drafted centre Jake Guentzel out of the USHL with the 3rd-round pick, 77th overall. Guentzel has put up 27 points in 31 NCAA games this year at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

For the Stars, Joe Morrow was a top-end defensive prospect that never played a game for them, finishing out the season in the AHL before being traded away to Boston that summer as part of the package for Tyler Seguin. With the 5th-round pick, Dallas drafted left-winger Matej Paulovic, a Slovakian playing in the Sweden junior system who has split this past season between the OHL and USHL with limited offensive success.

VERDICT: In the end, it was a draw. Brenden Morrow was great during the regular season and the Penguins got the better long-term prospect in Guentzel. However, the Stars pulling off a later trade to land Seguin in a multi-player deal with Joe Morrow heading the other way as a key prospect levels things out as Seguin has been lights-out for the Stars.

Douglas Murray

Douglas Murray

March 25, 2013: The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Douglas Murray from the San Jose Sharks for a 2013 2nd-round draft pick (traded) and a conditional 2014 2nd-round draft pick.

ANALYSIS: For the Penguins, Douglas Murray was a solid D-man for the rest of the season and the playoffs as a rental, before leaving Pittsburgh to sign with the Montreal Canadiens in the summer. Like mentioned earlier, the Pens didn’t make it out of the East.

The Sharks used the 2013 2nd-rounder to move up from 20th to 18th in the first round in a trade with the Red Wings and selected WHL defenceman Mirco Mueller (Everett Silvertips), a solid up-and-comer from Switzerland with good size at 6-foot-4 and putting up about a point every second game over his WHL career. The Conditional 2nd rounder is also owned by the Sharks, as the Penguins got through 2 rounds of the playoffs.

VERDICT: This was a definite win for the Sharks.

Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla

March 28, 2013: The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames for prospects Kenny Agostino, Ben Hanowski and a 2013 1st-round draft pick (Morgan Klimchuk).

ANALYSIS/ VERDICT: Iginla blocked a deal to the Bruins and then signed with them for the following season. Let’s face it, the Flames won this deal because they got something back for Iginla instead of losing him for nothing via free agency. He did play solid for the Penguins, with 11 points in 13 regular-season games and 12 points in 15 playoff games, and is also currently having a solid campaign with the Bruins.

A look at the prospects coming back to the Flames has forward Kenny Agostino keeping up a point-a-game pace playing NCAA with Yale. He should be a future NHLer, even if it’s more of a role player. Right-winger Ben Hanowski played 5 games lasts year with the Flames and tallied a goal. He is at about a point every second game pace in his first full AHL season and should fill a role with the Flames in the future. The most potential came out of the 1st-round pick, as left-winger Morgan Klimchuk of the Regina Pats is one of the best snipers in the WHL. After putting up 76 points with 36 goals in 72 games last season, Klimchuk is on pace for similar numbers this season. Needless to say, the hometown (Calgary) kid could be a future star performer for the Flames if he keeps developing.

Kent Huskins

Kent Huskins

March 30, 2013: The Philadelphia Flyers acquired Kent Huskins from the Detroit Red Wings for a conditional 2014 7th-round draft pick.

ANALYSIS/VERDICT: Philly won this, as an NHLer for nothing is always a win even if Huskins only played 8 games with the Flyers and is now an AHLer. The conditions for the 7th rounder weren’t met.

Jordan Leopold

Jordan Leopold

March 30, 2013: The St. Louis Blues acquired Jordan Leopold from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2013 2nd-round draft pick (Justin Bailey) and a conditional 2013 5th-round draft pick (Anthony Florentino).

ANALYSIS: Leopold is still playing with the Blues after re-signing for 2 years and has been battling injuries this season but has been a serviceable D-man when healthy.

The Sabres drafted right-winger Justin Bailey of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers with the 52nd pick in the 2nd round, and U.S. high school defenceman Anthony Florentino with the 143rd pick in the 5th round. So far this season, Bailey leads the Rangers in points (43) and goals (25) through 54 games and continues to show signs of improvement. Florentino is playing his freshmen year at Providence College and appears to have adjusted well to the NCAA game.

VERDICT: In the long-term, this could be a huge win for the Sabres. Right now, it’s looking pretty even.

Michal Handzus

Michal Handzus

April 1, 2013: The Chicago Blackhawks acquired Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks for a 2013 4th-round draft pick (traded).

ANALYSIS: Handzus provided a solid veteran lower-line option at centre for the Blackhawks during the playoffs on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. Handzus had 11 points in 23 post-season games after also putting up 6 points in the final 11 games of the regular season. He’s still on the Hawks this year, and although his offensive production has dipped to about half of last year, Handzus has still shown to be a good lower-line option.

The well travelled 4th rounder that was San Jose’s to start ended up getting dealt back to the Blackhawks with a 5th rounder in 2014, while the Sharks got a 4th rounder and a 5th rounder in 2013. The Blackhawks used the 111th overall pick to select Swedish defender Robin Norell, a long-term prospect who plays with Djurgardens in the Swedish league. The Sharks used the 4th rounder, 117th overall, on Swedish goaltender Fredrik Bergvik, and the 5th rounder, 151st overall, on American defenceman Gage Ausmus. Bergvik is another long-term prospect still playing junior hockey in Sweden. Ausmus is playing NCAA at the University of North Dakota and, according to his hockeysfuture.com profile, is a defensive D-man with some grit and a good first pass.

VERDICT: Time will tell how the prospects pan out, but it looks like the Hawks won this deal since they won the Cup and still have Handzus.

Robyn Regehr

Robyn Regehr

April 1, 2013: The Los Angeles Kings acquired Robyn Regehr from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2014 2nd-round draft pick and a 2015 2nd-round draft pick.

ANALYSIS/VERDICT: Regehr has always been an elite NHL defender and although he doesn’t put up a lot of points, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound rearguard is not easy to play against. With the way the Kings have shut down teams this year, I believe Regehr has been a big part of it, and 10 points in 62 games this season isn’t bad for him. He also played in 18 playoff games last year for the Kings and 12 regular-season games. Without either of these picks being used, the Kings have won the deal so far, but it was the right deal to do for a rebuilding Sabres team and a pair of 2nd-round picks is good value that could have them fleecing the Kings in the long run.

Jay Bouwmeester

Jay Bouwmeester

April 1, 2013: The St. Louis Blues acquired Jay Bouwmeester from the Calgary Flames for Mark Cundari, prospect Reto Berra and a conditional 2013 1st-round draft (Emile Poirier).

ANALYSIS: Jay Bouwmeester has been a star player with the Blues this season and was even good enough to make Canada’s Olympic team that brought home gold. He is one of the game’s best at logging shutdown minutes, and with his offence back at about a point every second game since he’s been with the Blues, he’s been more productive in that aspect than his lower offensive numbers in 4 seasons in Calgary. The Flames didn’t get bad value back. Cundari had 3 points in 4 games to close out last season, but has been stuck in the AHL this year putting up less impressive numbers. With Kipper retiring, Berra has been an alright addition, splitting the goaltending load with Karri Ramo. Poirier has put up 80 points on 42 goals and 38 assists to lead the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques in every offensive category. He’s also shown a bit of a mean steak with 123 minutes in the sin bin.

VERDICT: If Poirier continues to develop, the Flames may win this deal. At this point, the Blues still hold the edge.

Marc-Andre Bergeron

Marc-Andre Bergeron

April 2, 2013: The Carolina Hurricanes acquired Marc-Andre Bergeron from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Adam Hall and a 2013 7th-round draft pick (Joel Vermin).

ANALYSIS: Bergeron played 13 games with the Hurricanes and had 4 assists from the back end. He’s now in Switzerland putting up decent offensive numbers there. Adam Hall was put on waivers by the Lightning and claimed by the Flyers, where he is still filling a depth forward role. Tampa bay drafted Swiss right-winger Joel Vermin in the 7th round, 186th overall. The 22-year-old Vermin put up 35 points in 47 games for Bern in the NLA last season, but has taken a big step back to 18 points in 47 games this season. He had 4 goals and 5 points in 6 world-junior games in 2012.

VERDICT: Vermin is a better prospect than his 7th-round draft position and the only player either team has the rights to anymore, so I give the Lightning the win in this deal.

Derek Roy

Derek Roy

April 2, 2013: The Vancouver Canucks acquired Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars for prospect Kevin Connauton and a 2013 2nd-round draft pick (Philippe Desrosiers).

ANALYSIS: Derek Roy wasn’t the second/third-line centre the Canucks hoped he would be when they traded for him. He only put up 6 points in 12 regular-season games and one assist in the 4 playoff games he played. Roy signed with St. Louis last summer and has fit in well there, with 36 points in 57 games for the Blues this season. Defenceman Kevin Connauton has played in 26 games with the Stars this season and should have a bright future on their back end — no pun intended. The Stars also picked up QMJHL goaltender Philippe Desrosiers with the 2nd rounder, 54th overall. He’s the starting netminder for the Rimouski Oceanic, who has put up solid numbers in the crease and even set the QMJHL’s shutout streak record this season.

VERDICT: Looks like the Stars won this one, but it might have been a different story if the Canucks could have retained Roy as an unrestricted free agent.

Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr

April 2, 2013: The Boston Bruins acquired Jaromir Jagr from the Dallas Stars for Lane MacDermid, prospect Cody Payne and a conditional 2013 1st-round draft pick (Jason Dickinson).

ANALYSIS: Jagr helped the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup Final and has been a solid performer for the New Jersey Devils this season after leaving the Bruins in the off-season. He had 11 points in 9 regular-season games with the Bruins plus 10 assists in 22 playoff games. Jagr leads the Devils in points this season with 50 in 60 games and would be a guy lots of teams would like to have for the playoff push if the Devils decide to be sellers at this year’s deadline. MacDermid has played 21 NHL games, but is more likely a career AHLer with the occasional call-up. Payne is a 20-year-old from Florida who’s playing in the OHL with the Saginaw Spirit and has put up over 20 goals the past 2 seasons, but doesn’t appear to be a top-end prospect by any means. The 1st rounder ended up being Jason Dickinson, selected 29th overall, a centre for the OHL’s Guelph Storm who had 47 points in 62 games last season, but has smashed those numbers with 71 in 62 games this season — 5th in points on a very strong Storm squad. He has definite offensive upside, but time will tell.

VERDICT: If the Bruins won the Cup, I would give them the win, but since they didn’t, the Stars hold a small advantage with a couple decent prospects to show for this deal.

Davis Drewiske

Davis Drewiske

April 2, 2013: The Montreal Canadiens acquired Davis Drewiske from the Los Angeles Kings for a 2013 5th-round draft pick (Patrik Bartosak).

ANALYSIS: Drewiske is a decent Dman and put up 3 points in 9 games for the Canadiens last season. He’s been on the IR all season with a shoulder injury after signing a 2-year deal with Montreal in the summer, and was just recently assigned to the AHL for a conditioning stint. The Kings used the 5th rounder (146th overall) to pick goaltender Patrik Bartosak who played well for the Czech Republic at the 2013 world juniors and is having a solid season with the Red Deer Rebels.

VERDICT: For now, this one looks to be a draw as a decent goaltending prospect is worth an average NHL defender, especially one who’s been injured for most of his time with the team.

Ryane Clowe

Ryane Clowe

April 2, 2013: The New York Rangers acquired Ryane Clowe from the San Jose Sharks for a 2013 2nd-round draft pick (Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau), 2013 3rd-round draft pick (traded) and a conditional 2014 2nd round draft pick.

ANALYSIS: Ryan Clowe put up 8 points in 12 games to finish out the regular season with the Rangers, then only played 2 games in the playoffs with an assist before suffering a head injury. He signed a 5-year deal with the Devils in the off-season and had put up 14 points in 28 games before suffering another head injury that has kept him out for most of the season so far. The Sharks used the 2nd-round pick on left-winger Gabryel Paquin- Boudreau of the QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar, who after putting up 63 points in 67 games prior to the draft has had a poor offensive campaign with only 29 points in 61 games so far this season. The 3rd rounder was later traded to Phoenix for Raffi Torres. Phoenix drafted centre Yan-Pavel Laplante of the QMJHL’s PEI Rockets. Conditions weren’t met on the additional 2nd rounder, so it will instead be a 5th rounder in 2014.

VERDICT: Basically the Sharks got Raffi Torres, Gabryel Paquin-Bourque and a 2014 5th Rounder for 14 games of Ryane Clowe. The Sharks definitely won this one.

Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

April 3, 2013: The San Jose Sharks acquired Raffi Torres from the Phoenix Coyotes for a 2013 3rd-round draft pick (Yan-Pavel Laplante).

ANALYSIS: Raffi Torres had 6 points in the final 11 regular-season games and 1 goal in 5 playoff games last season and was decent for the Sharks despite the 6-game playoff suspension. Torres signed a 3-year deal with the Sharks in the off-season and had 2 goals in his only game this season, but has been out since with a right knee injury. He recently returned to the lineup and has continued to chip in offensively. Phoenix drafted centre Yan-Pavel Laplante of the QMJHL’s PEI Rockets with the 3rd rounder, 62nd overall, and he’s put up 38 points in 56 games between the renamed Charlottetown Islanders and the Victoriaville Tigres this season.

VERDICT: Looks like the Sharks are winning this deal even though Torres has been hurt or suspended for lengthy stretches.

Scott Hannan

Scott Hannan

April 3, 2013: The San Jose Sharks acquired Scott Hannan from the Nashville Predators for a conditional 2013 6th-round draft pick (Tommy Veilleux).

ANALYSIS: Hannan played 4 regular-season games and 11 playoff games with the Sharks last season, getting 4 assists in the playoffs. This season, he has played in 40 games and put up 12 points after re-signing to a one-year deal with the Sharks. Nashville used the 6th rounder, 171st overall, to pick QMJHL left-winger Tommy Veilleux of the Victoriaville Tigres who has only 5 points in 10 games this season after 28 in 66 last year. Veilleux also racked up 129 penalty minutes, showing a bit of a mean streak with 9 regular-season fights and one playoff scrap last year. Assumedly, he’s been injured most of this season.

VERDICT: I look at this deal as another win for the Sharks for now.

Jussi Jokinen

Jussi Jokinen

April 3, 2013: The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Jussi Jokinen from the Carolina Hurricanes for a conditional 2013 7th-round draft pick. Carolina retained some of Jokinen’s salary and cap hit in this trade.

ANALYSIS/VERDICT: Pittsburgh without a doubt won this deal, as Jokinen has found new life in a Penguins uniform with 11 points in 10 regular-season games last year before 3 assists in 8 playoff games, then 43 points in 59 games so far this season. Not bad for a guy who Carolina is paying part of his salary to play for their conference rivals. Jokinen’s 5 points in 6 games for Finland to help them win a bronze medal at the Olympics isn’t too shabby, either. I am pretty sure the rest of the league’s general managers are envious of this brilliant Ray Shero deal, especially since none of the conditions were met for Carolina to get any picks or compensation. Carolina GM Jim Rutherford pulled a Mike Milbury type deal on this one. Just plain foolish.

Ben Bishop

Ben Bishop

April 3, 2013: The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired Ben Bishop from the Ottawa Senators for Cory Conacher and a 2013 4th-round draft pick (Tobias Lindberg).

ANALYSIS: Tampa Bay’s 6-foot-7 netminder Ben Bishop has been Vezina calibre so far this season and looks to be their long-term solution in goal after playing decent in 9 games with the Lightning last season. It was quite a shock he didn’t crack Team USA for the Olympics over Detroit’s Jimmy Howard. Cory Conacher has been just OK, with 20 points in 58 games after 5 in 12 regular-season games and 3 goals in 8 playoff games last season. The 4th rounder, 102nd overall, was used on Swedish right-winger Tobias Lindberg, a long-term project who split time between the Djurgarden junior and Swedish Elite League teams this season, with no points in 3 games for the big club.

VERDICT: Looks to be a steal for Tampa Bay.

Steve Mason

Steve Mason

April 3, 2013: The Philadelphia Flyers acquired Steve Mason from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Michael Leighton and a 2015 3rd-round draft pick.

ANALYSIS: Steve Mason has held down the starting job in Philly over Ray Emery and is regaining some of the form he had in a breakout rookie season with the Blue Jackets. He was great in his 7 games with the Flyers last season following the trade, posting a 1.90 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage. After getting a 1-year deal in the summer, Mason has since signed a 3-year extension with the Flyers in January. Leighton, on the other hand, didn’t see a game in net at all for the Blue Jackets and is now in the KHL with Donbass HC, sporting a 1.81 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in 40 games. We might see him back in the NHL next year as a backup.

VERDICT: The 2015 3rd rounder better turn out good, because Columbus didn’t do very good in this deal, definitely losing it. But in the long run, the Blue Jackets might have had the last laugh as getting Sergei Bobrovsky — last year’s Vezina winner — from the Flyers for some picks allowed them to get rid of Mason, and why not send him back to the team you fleeced in the first place.

Marian Gaborik

Marian Gaborik

April 3, 2013: The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Marian Gaborik and prospects Steven Delisle and Blake Parlett from the New York Rangers for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a 2014 6th-round draft pick.

ANALYSIS: Marian “Band-Aid” Gaborik is one of the game’s elite offensive players when he’s not hurt. Since the trade, he has played 32 games total with the Blue Jackets — 12 last year, putting up 8 points, and 20 this year with 13 points. Steven Delisle is a tough 6-foot-6 shutdown Dman but has little offensive upside with 1 assist in 31 AHL games this season. Dman Blake Parlett has spent the season in the AHL and was traded to the Bruins before the Olympic break for a decent AHL scorer in Carter Camper.

Derick Brassard had quite the playoffs last year with 12 points in 12 games and 11 points in the final 13 regular-season games after the trade. He’s got 36 points in 60 games so far this season, actually making him more productive than Gaborik since the deal. Derek Dorsett is the ultimate super-pest and both myself and Larry Fisher can attest to having played minor hockey against the Kindersley, Sask., product. Even at 6-foot-nothing and 192 pounds, he is also tough as nails from many years of roughhousing with his older brothers. Dorsett does get injured a decent amount with his rough style of play and didn’t suit up until the playoffs last year with the Rangers when he tallied an assist and 28 penalty minutes in 11 games. This season, Dorsett has played 38 games and racked up 105 penalty minutes to go with 5 points despite some missing significant time with a broken leg. Dman John Moore has been solid on the Rangers’ back end this season, producing 10 points in 59 games.

VERDICT: At first, most looked at this trade as a steal for the Blue Jackets, but so far it has been a steal for the Rangers.

Jason Pominville

Jason Pominville

April 3, 2013: The Minnesota Wild acquired Jason Pominville and a 2014 4th-round draft pick from the Buffalo Sabres for Matt Hackett, prospect Johan Larsson, a 2013 1st-round draft pick (Nikita Zadorov) and a 2014 2nd-round draft pick.

ANALYSIS: Pominville has been good for the Wild since coming over, getting 9 points in the final 10 regular-season games before getting a concussion that saw him get no points in 2 playoff games. He signed a 5-year extension with the Wild in the summer and this season has put up 41 points in 62 games. Goaltender Matt Hackett played limited amounts in Minnesota before being dealt and has been starting in the AHL for the Sabres since the deal. Right-winger Johan Larsson has only tallied one assist in 21 games with the Sabres this season, but he’s got 33 points in 33 AHL games in Rochester, and at only 21 years old, the Swede should become a solid NHLer over time. The Sabres used the 1st rounder, 16th overall, on Russian defenceman Nikita Zadorov who, at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, is an intimidating presence in the OHL with the London Knights. He was a big part of Russia’s bronze-medal team at this year’s world juniors with 4 goals and 5 points in 7 games. He also has 28 points in 30 OHL games to go with a goal in 7 games with the Sabres to start this season. The 2014 pick could be a good one also.

VERDICT: The Wild might have won the short-term deal, but long-term I think this deal will be a steal for the Sabres.

Blake Comeau

Blake Comeau

April 3, 2013: The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Blake Comeau from the Calgary Flames for a 2013 5th-round draft pick (Eric Roy).

ANALYSIS: Comeau had 5 points in 9 games to finish last season with the Blue Jackets. He has 11 points in 44 games so far this season after re-signing with Columbus in the off-season and has been a solid role player for the team. The Flames drafted WHL defenceman Eric Roy with the 5th rounder, 135th overall. Roy wears an ‘A’ for the Brandon Wheat Kings and has good size at 6-foot-3 and 194 pounds, to go with 34 points in 55 games this season. He has lots of offensive skill with 131 points in 190 career WHL games over 3-plus seasons.

VERDICT: This deal is fairly even for now, but could be a steal for the Flames in the long run.

Ryan O'Byrne

Ryan O’Byrne

April 3, 2013: The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Ryan O’Byrne from the Colorado Avalanche for 2014 4th-round draft pick.

ANALYSIS: O’Byrne had 2 points in 8 regular-season games with the Maple Leafs before playing 6 games in the playoffs with no points. He was OK for the Leafs but not good enough to stick around and is now playing for Prague Lev in the KHL.

VERDICT: It really doesn’t matter who the 2014 4th rounder ends up being, the Leafs are likely to lose this deal as a 6th rounder is all they should have had to give up to acquire O’Byrne.

Wade Redden

Wade Redden

April 3, 2013: The Boston Bruins acquired Wade Redden from the St. Louis Blues for a conditional 2014 7th-round draft pick.

ANALYSIS/VERDICT: Huge win for the Bruins as Redden was a solid performer for them before getting hurt on their run to the Stanley Cup Final. He had 2 points in the final 6 regular-season games and 2 points in 5 playoff games. It was great to see a guy like this get back in the NHL after having his contract buried in the minors for a few years, allowing him to crack the 1,000 career NHL regular-season game mark before recently announcing his retirement after being unable to secure a contract for this season. The Bruins ended up giving up nothing as the conditions weren’t met for the draft pick.

Matthew Lombardi

Matthew Lombardi

April 3, 2013: The Anaheim Ducks acquired Matthew Lombardi from the Phoenix Coyotes for Brandon McMillan.

ANALYSIS: Lombardi played games for the Ducks with no points, and is now over in Switzerland racking up 39 points in 43 games playing for Geneve Servette. McMillan, a 23-year-old left-winger, played the rest of last season and most of this one in the AHL, and has suited up for only 2 games with the Coyotes this season with no points.

VERDICT: I still see this as a win for Phoenix, as Lombardi really didn’t pan out in Anaheim.

Steve Sullivan

Steve Sullivan

April 3, 2013: The New Jersey Devils acquired Steve Sullivan from the Phoenix Coyotes for a 2014 7th-round draft pick.

ANALYSIS/VERDICT: Devils win this one, as a 2014 7th-round pick for a decent rental player is always a win. Sullivan had 5 points in 9 games to finish out his career a New Jersey Devil. It was a productive career with 747 points in 1,011 regular-season games for the Devils, Maple Leafs, Blackhawks, Predators, Penguins and Coyotes.

Jeff Deslauriers

Jeff Deslauriers

April 3, 2013: The Minnesota Wild acquired Jeff Deslauriers from the Anaheim Ducks for future considerations.

ANALYSIS/VERDICT: This was a very minor deal, and Deslauriers is now playing net for the Penguins’ farm team.

Martin Erat

Martin Erat

April 3, 2013: The Washington Capitals acquired Martin Erat and Michael Latta from the Nashville Predators for prospect Filip Forsberg.

ANALYSIS: Right-winger Martin Erat had 3 points in 9 regular-season games and none in 4 playoff games last season with the Capitals. This year, Erat has 23 points in 52 games with only 1 goal, and has wanted out of Washington for a while. Latta, a 22-year-old centre, has 4 points in 17 games with the Capitals and 24 in 31 games with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. As much as most feel this was a steal for the Predators in landing the 19-year-old Forsberg, it’s not decisive yet. He had 1 assist in 5 games last season and has 5 points in 12 games this season, to go with 18 points in 28 AHL games — not a huge variance from Latta’s numbers. Latta is 3 years older, however, and it is yet to be seen what Erat could net the Capitals if anything.

VERDICT: So far, it looks to be a small edge for the Predators, but time will tell.

Jesse Gill

Jesse Gill

Jesse Gill is a former radio broadcaster and colour commentator who dreamed of anchoring TSN, but has since changed careers and now calls Medicine Hat, Alta., home. His passion for hockey has remained strong, as a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan who also enjoys the junior ranks and the rougher side of the sport. Follow him on Twitter: @JesseGill3.

Categories: Uncategorized

Oilers’ damned if they do, damned if they don’t at trade deadline

JASON FRANSON/The Associated Press Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish could be a busy man leading up to Wednesday’s trade deadline with the potential to move a handful of players, including Ales Hemsky, Nick Schultz, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones and Ilya Bryzgalov, among others.

JASON FRANSON/The Associated Press
Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish could be a busy man leading up to Wednesday’s trade deadline with the potential to move a handful of players, including Ales Hemsky, Nick Schultz, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones and Ilya Bryzgalov, among others.

Based on the track record, things don’t look to be getting better in Edmonton any time soon.

With the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday, armchair GMs are compiling their ‘trade trackers’ and many have a handful of deals in place that would (in theory) make life that much easier for Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish and his supporting cast.

Jared Waldo
Jared Waldo

However, there’s two problems with most scenarios involving trades that include any member of Edmonton’s personnel:

1) No return will actually HELP the team in the short-term.

2) Most trades proposed by fantasy GMs are wishful thinking.

Addressing my first problem, MacTavish doesn’t have a lot of selling power if you believe most of the players rumoured to be available are ACTUALLY on the market. The Oilers need three CRITICAL elements if they want to improve. A starting goaltender, an elite-level VETERAN forward with size and a top-pairing defenceman. They’re not getting that at the deadline, so the team won’t be improved following the events of Wednesday.

Best-case scenario? The Oilers add some assets to make a move at the draft, because improvement won’t come from the deadline, or via free agency.

Here’s who may be available for pickup, should a GM feel like making a call to MacT:

Ales Hemsky

Ales Hemsky

ALES HEMSKY: The 30-year-old Czech has been available for the past three trade deadlines, so it should be quite telling that no one has acquired the right-winger yet, and he’s not exactly getting any younger. There’s no denying Hemsky’s skill, but as Oilers’ fans will tell you, he always leaves you wanting more. And that is likely part of the reason no team has plucked him from the roster thus far.

Hemsky has elite passing and vision, and though his health has been a concern in recent years, he’s been relatively healthy for the better part of this season. It’s believable to assume that Hemsky could fetch the Oilers a second-round pick, but does that do anything for MacTavish?

Yes, the Oilers are looking to add a second-round pick to this year’s draft as they currently lack a second- and third-round selection, but even if a team like Detroit or Pittsburgh decides to part with a pick for Hemsky, what exactly does that do for Edmonton?

Getting younger is not the direction the Oilers need to go, but the only return for Hemsky would be a draft pick or (at best) a meddling prospect. It’s clear they have no appetite to re-sign him, and it’s probably safe to assume they’re not moving towards improvement with him in the lineup.

Nick Schultz

Nick Schultz

NICK SHULTZ: The Oilers’ top shot blocker, Schultz is a pending UFA and likely an intriguing commodity for a team with blue-line depth, looking to add another capable body to their D-corps. He’s playing a larger role and more minutes than he probably should in Edmonton, but the 31-year-old would slot nicely on a 5-6 pairing on a deep team.

The Boston Bruins may be a potential trade partner, as Schultz would provide nice insurance on an already solid back end. Would the Bruins be willing to offer the Oilers a third-round pick for Schultz? I’d guess the Bruins may turn to Schultz if they can’t secure another potential UFA rental like Chris Phillips. Schultz is a ‘B’ option to many teams, so I would suspect that if Schultz does move, it’ll be later in the day and after some other potential ‘A’ options get shipped out.

Ryan Smyth

Ryan Smyth

RYAN SMYTH: There won’t be many tears if Smyth is on the move this time around. While a nice, sentimental story, Smyth’s second stint in Edmonton hasn’t been overly strong since returning to the team a couple of seasons ago. The bloom has definitely fallen off the rose with fans, and at 38, this may be Smyth’s final season in the NHL.

He’s currently playing on the fourth line of the 29th-ranked team in the league. And he’s playing out of position, no less (C as opposed to LW). While some teams may see value in Smyth’s experience and leadership, he doesn’t offer much in the way of 5-on-5 depth and therefore wouldn’t fetch much of a return. If the Oilers got anything more than a late-round pick for Smyth (should they decide to move him), they should consider themselves lucky. Personally, I don’t see too many calls for Smyth’s services, and he’ll likely retire an Oiler.

Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones

RYAN JONES: What appeared to be a potential third-line winger with 15-20 goal potential, Ryan Jones’ fall from grace has put him out of favour in Edmonton. After back-to-back seasons of 18 and 17 goals, respectively, between 2010 and 2012, Jones took a step backwards last season and has just four goals in his last 67 games.

To be fair, Jones took a long time coming back from an eye injury suffered during the lockout last season, but he hasn’t been able to escape the fourth line much this season. Jones can still bring a small level of grit and tenacity to a team’s bottom six. And while there may be a market for a player of Jones’ calibre, the return likely won’t be much.

Keep in mind, this is a player who has spent time as a healthy scratch and started the year in the AHL. Those players don’t traditionally hold much value.

Ilya Bryzgalov

Ilya Bryzgalov

ILYA BRYZGALOV: It’s hard to say whether or not a team may come calling on ‘Bryz’ by Wednesday, but he’s a potential option for teams looking to land a goaltender with experience. It’s hard to put any value on a goalie who is currently sporting a 3.08 goals-against average and a save percentage barely above the .900 mark. However, given the goaltending carousel in Edmonton this season, it’s almost unfair to judge how telling stats are to a netminder’s abilities. For a  team like the Minnesota Wild, Bryzgalov may be an attractive option. Despite Darcy Kuemper carrying the team on his back recently, the Wild don’t appear to be comfortable resting their playoff hopes on the rookie’s shoulders. With Niklas Backstrom injured and questions surrounding the health of Josh Harding, Bryzgalov could provide a nice safety net for the Wild, all things considered.

What would Minnesota be willing to give up? Hard to imagine a large return, but a fourth-round pick may appear to be the going rate.

Anton Belov

Anton Belov

Past that, the Oilers have a few more pending UFA defencemen but none of which would likely be claimed on waivers, let alone garner any type of return from another NHL club. Mark Fraser, Corey Potter and Anton Belov are all trying to secure a regular shift with the Oilers right now. And if you can’t do that on a blue-line lacking THAT much talent . . . draw your own conclusions!

The bottom line is that the Oilers could trade all of the aforementioned players for the return that I suggested and they would be no further ahead than they are right now. It could be argued that it doesn’t matter for a team that is going to miss the playoffs for an eighth straight season, and that’s understandable.

However, whatever assets Craig MacTavish receives in return at the deadline, if he’s not looking to flip those into improved, capable bodies during the off-season, then there’s not much reason for optimism in Edmonton as we look ahead to 2014-15.

Jared (Wally) Waldo is former sports anchor/reporter turned radio marketing professional for Newcap Radio in Red Deer, Alta., but his passion for sports still exists. His experience covering local sports in Central Alberta includes the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels as a reporter for the online hockey program Rebels This Week. Follow him on Twitter: @OdlawDeraj.

Categories: Uncategorized

Trade Deadline Predictions: No Fewer Than 60 Players Moving

March 1, 2014 8 comments
TSN.ca The TSN hockey insiders, from left, Bob McKenzie, Gord Miller and Darren Dreger will be a busy bunch over the next five days as their team will be counted on to break trades as they happen leading up to Wednesday's noon PT deadline.

TSN.ca
The TSN hockey insiders, from left, Bob McKenzie, Gord Miller and Darren Dreger will be a busy bunch over the next five days as their team will be counted on to break trades as they happen leading up to Wednesday’s noon PT deadline.

The calm continues, but I can sense the storm coming on . . . or maybe I’m just sensing the deep-freeze forecast for Saturday night in Saskatchewan. As much as I miss home at times, this isn’t one of those times.

Of course, the storm I was actually referring to revolves around the NHL trade deadline, which is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday, March 5 at noon PT. I say tentatively because every year a handful of deals trickle in after the deadline and there’s always a flurry right around that time as league officials give their stamp of approval on all the paperwork.

Earlier this week, I posted somewhat of a trade deadline preview, discussing the top five targets and where they might end up. That being Ryan Kesler, Martin St. Louis, Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Callahan — in that order as far as I’m concerned.

Larry Fisher
Larry Fisher

I also went out on a limb in predicting there would be 28 total trades between now and Wednesday afternoon, with 22 of them occurring on deadline day.

So far, there has been only one — a minor-league deal that sent journeyman forward Brad Winchester from Chicago to Minnesota for defenceman Brian Connelly, who has yet to make his NHL debut.

That means, according to my prediction, there are 27 more trades still to come, with five of them to be announced by Tuesday night.

That still sounds about right to me. It should be noted that I have no inside knowledge on any negotiations, but I like to think I have decent insight on what teams might be looking for and what other teams could be wanting in return.

Essentially, I like to think I’m capable of making educated guesses at times like these. Realistically, I’m throwing turds at the wall and hoping a few of them stick.

Some of these deals I’m about to toss out will seem absurd and outlandish, others will appear possible or perhaps even probable, and maybe — just maybe — a couple will come to fruition.

Off the top, in regards to those aforementioned targets, the only one I don’t see moving before the deadline is St. Louis. He’s apparently determined to go to the New York Rangers — and has a no-movement clause to make such demands — but I don’t see that deal happening now. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I doubt it makes much sense to Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, either, to trade his captain and leading scorer — albeit a disgruntled one — in the midst of a playoff push. So I have St. Louis staying put, at least until the draft or sometime in the summer if cooler heads still haven’t prevailed over his (initial) Olympic snub.

Now for the trades that I do see going down. Here’s my fictional trade tracker, listed by significance rather than in timeline format . . .

Ryan Kesler

Ryan Kesler

1) Vancouver trades Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler to Philadelphia for Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Andrej Meszaros.

Reasoning: Can you say blockbuster? This one would take the cake. It’s probably a stretch, and the more likely scenario is a simple 1-for-1 swap of Kesler for either Schenn or Couturier (my money would be on Couturier, for what it’s worth). But Edler is also reportedly being shopped and I could totally see Paul Holmgren trying to land both in a package, and he certainly has the assets to make it happen. The Flyers have long been enamoured with Kesler and even signed him to an offer sheet way back when. Edler could also be a good fit there as a successor to Kimmo Timonen in the coming years. Schenn and Couturier would combine to replace Kesler’s presence in Vancouver’s lineup — it will take two of them to eat up Kesler’s league-leading ice time among forwards — and also give the Canucks more depth up front. Meszaros is rumoured to be available as a pending UFA who has been playing (and producing) much better as of late. He played his junior for the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, so there’s some familiarity there as well. If not Meszaros, or if Mike Gillis gets to playing hard-ball, maybe both the Schenn brothers come to Vancouver, with defenceman Luke Schenn replacing Meszaros in this package. Call me crazy, but I see potential for this type of trade shaking down.

Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller

2) Buffalo trades Ryan Miller and Drew Stafford to St. Louis for Jake Allen and Ty Rattie.

Reasoning: Make no mistake, the Sabres are blowing it up and new GM Tim Murray is going to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves at this trade deadline — and I suspect there will be many. St. Louis is a Cup contender with Jaroslav Halak between the pipes, but if the Blues can upgrade their goaltending and ink Miller to a contract extension in the process, then that would be money well spent and could pay huge dividends. Stafford is a big body with goal-scoring upside who I think would also thrive in St. Louis, possibly on the opposite wing of last year’s deadline addition Brenden Morrow. I fully expect the Blues to be buyers again and, like the Flyers, they have a ton of quality assets to make any additions they see fit. On the flip side, this deal has home-run potential for the Sabres, with Allen a blue-chip goaltending prospect and Rattie a scoring forward that projects to be a big improvement on Stafford, possibly as early as next season. It could be a win-win, though, especially if St. Louis wins a Stanley Cup with Miller and Stafford as key contributors.

UPDATE: As I was putting the finishing touches on this blog post, Miller was indeed traded to the Blues, along with centre Steve Ott (rather than Stafford) in exchange for Halak, power winger Chris Stewart, forward prospect William Carrier, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a third-round draft pick in 2016.

ANALYSIS: Fair trade, and somewhat similar to what I had in mind, although Buffalo took back more proven talents in Halak and Stewart as opposed to elite prospects like Allen and Rattie. Not sure if that was by choice, or if St. Louis was refusing to part with those two in particular, but that was a decent haul for Murray’s first move as Buffalo’s roster architect. Now the question becomes, are Halak and Stewart staying Sabres or will they be on the move again sooner than later?

Jaroslav Halak

Jaroslav Halak

3) Buffalo trades Jaroslav Halak to Minnesota for Jason Zucker, Brett Bulmer and a second-round draft pick in 2015.

Reasoning: Unless Chuck Fletcher and Mike Yeo know something the general public doesn’t regarding Josh Harding’s health, the Wild will most definitely be in the market for a goaltending upgrade — or at least an insurance policy. Not that Darcy Kuemper hasn’t performed admirably in the absence of Harding (illness) and longtime starter Nicklas Backstrom (injury), but Kuemper’s a 23-year-old rookie and I can’t see Minnesota hinging their playoff hopes on the kid. Halak, on the other hand, has a proven track record in the post-season, carrying the Montreal Canadiens on an improbable run to the Eastern Conference final in 2010. Halak is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, so the Wild could play it by ear in determining whether to keep him or to cut bait and stick with the Harding-Backstrom tandem going forward. That would obviously depend on Halak’s playoff performance, but this would be a low-risk, potentially high-reward trade. Zucker and Bulmer are on the outside looking in among Minnesota’s young forwards, but could certainly find roles in Buffalo. The second-round pick is what it is, and these two teams have a history of trading together as evidenced by last year’s deadline deal that sent Jason Pominville to Minnesota. This leaves the Sabres without a starting goaltender — unless you consider Jhonas Enroth an emerging starter — but they may still be able to address that on deadline day as well. Stay tuned . . .

Thomas Vanek

Thomas Vanek

4) New York Islanders trade Thomas Vanek to Phoenix for David Rundblad and a first-round pick in 2014 and a second-round pick in 2015.

Reasoning: It doesn’t sound like Vanek is re-signing in Long Island — at least not before the trade deadline — and with the Islanders’ playoff hopes on ice, I fully expect Garth Snow to trade him and try to recoup the assets he sent to Buffalo for Vanek earlier this season. Mission accomplished, to some extent, with this move as the Islanders get back a first this year and a second next year — which they had given the Sabres — albeit not a lottery pick from Phoenix. That initial deal would now look like Matt Moulson for Rundblad and a move down about eight spots in the first round — give or take a few. That’s a salvageable trade-off. From Phoenix’s perspective, the new ownership group will want to be buyers and Vanek’s scoring ability is something the Coyotes will surely covet. With age catching up to Shane Doan, Vanek could bring some much-needed finish around the net if he’s motivated — that’s a sizeable IF, however. But Phoenix can afford to make a move like this, literally and figuratively, with a solid defensive core and Brandon Gormley still waiting in the wings. The Islanders are very likely to move Andrew MacDonald and less likely to move Lubomir Visnovsky, so Rundblad should get an opportunity to make his mark in the NHL again there and grow alongside Calvin de Haan and Matt Donovan.

Ryan Callahan

Ryan Callahan

5) New York Rangers trade Ryan Callahan to Chicago for Bryan Bickell.

Reasoning: Long story short, Chicago feels it is getting an upgrade (assuming Callahan can switch from right to left wing), while the Rangers feel they are getting a comparable player with more size and three years left on his contract. Bickell was a big-time scorer in last year’s playoffs, helping the Blackhawks capture the Stanley Cup, but I think most GMs would take Callahan in a 1-for-1 swap if offered and Stan Bowman probably shares that opinion. Call it a gut feeling, but I could totally see Callahan ending up in Chicago, although the return might be somebody other than Bickell yet still somebody off Chicago’s active roster, as the Rangers also have high playoff hopes and will want to make a hockey deal for the present, not the future.

Cam Ward

Cam Ward

6) Carolina trades Cam Ward to Winnipeg for Evander Kane.

Reasoning: This could be a deadline to remember for deals involving goaltenders. The Jets would like to improve at that position and Ward, if/when he returns to form, is an improvement over Ondrej Pavelec. Al Montoya is an unrestricted free agent after this season and with the salary cap going up, Winnipeg could afford to run with a Ward-Pavelec tandem until another team has a need for — or interest in — the latter netminder. Ward has a no-trade clause but might be willing to waive it for Winnipeg, considering he’s best friends with Jets captain Andrew Ladd (ditto for their wives). From Carolina’s standpoint, Kane has a very intriguing skill-set and brings the size, scoring and feistiness that their current forward group lacks. Kane had apparently worn out his welcome with former Jets coach Claude Noel and it’s unknown whether that extends to his teammates under new bench boss Paul Maurice. Either way, this deal makes sense for both sides, especially with Dustin Byfuglien a converted forward in Winnipeg. And the Hurricanes would be salivating at the prospect of a future line featuring Kane with Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm.

Tyler Myers

Tyler Myers

7) Buffalo trades Tyler Myers to Calgary for Sven Baertschi, David Jones and a third-round pick in 2015.

Reasoning: Myers is playing like a man possessed since the Olympic break, he was raised in Calgary and Brian Burke would no doubt like to put his stamp on Calgary’s roster with a blockbuster trade. Burke likes to build around the blue-line and Myers is an almost 7-foot beast with Zdeno Chara-type potential minus the booming shot. Burke is absolutely in on these sweepstakes and even though both teams are considered sellers, this would go down as a hockey move. Baertschi and Jones, for whatever reasons, haven’t excelled in Calgary this season. Sure, Baertschi is young with huge upside, but Burke has already questioned his character and if he could move him for Myers, I think that’s a move Burke makes in a heartbeat — for better or worse. Jones is essentially a throw-in as Buffalo will need bodies back with all the moves the Sabres are expected to make (at least according to my personal predictions). The pick helps balance things out, and will be necessary to land Myers among the many competing offers.

Sam Gagner

Sam Gagner

8) Edmonton trades Sam Gagner to Chicago for Mark McNeill, Brandon Pirri and a second-round pick in 2014.

Reasoning: Craig MacTavish has played it pretty coy leading up to the deadline, tempering expectations by suggesting Edmonton’s main goal is to replenish the picks — second- and third-rounders — that it traded away for David Perron and Ben Scrivens. Behind the scenes, I bet MacT is working the phones like a mad-man and doing everything in his power to finally deliver on the promise of “bold” moves from last summer. This one would fit that bill, even if Gagner’s name has been making rounds in the rumour mill and long been linked to Chicago because of his junior connection with Patrick Kane. That plays a part in it from Chicago’s perspective, but more than anything, the Blackhawks could simply use an upgrade at second-line centre with their youngsters not stepping into that role, while Peter Regin and Michal Handzus are better suited further down the depth chart. Gagner has a no-trade clause that kicks in on July 1, and speculation has the Oilers wanting to move him prior to that and spend that money on a replacement with more size to complement Ryan Nugent-Hopkins down the middle. Pirri is a similar player to Gagner who has put up points at every level except the NHL, having led the AHL in scoring just last season. He’ll turn 23 in April and has good potential going forward. McNeill is an Edmonton native and brings more size than Gagner or Pirri, though he’ll likely need more seasoning in the minors. He’s a former first-round pick, but it’s uncertain what his offensive upside will be. The second-rounder appeases MacT’s appetite for picks.

Christian Ehrhoff

Christian Ehrhoff

9) Buffalo trades Christian Ehrhoff and Matt Moulson to San Jose for Matt Nieto, Daniil Tarasov, a first-round pick in 2014 and a third-round pick in 2015.

Reasoning: Ehrhoff started his career in San Jose and it seems like a good fit for him to continue his career, taking a run at a Stanley Cup this spring, then replacing Dan Boyle (pending UFA) as the key veteran going forward. Moulson would be a rental for the Sharks and round out their top nine forwards. Nieto and Tarasov both have good upside as scoring forwards in the future and the picks act as a further equalizer in terms of value.

Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart

10) Buffalo trades Chris Stewart to Ottawa for Colin Greening and Matt Puempel.

Reasoning: Uncle Bryan Murray comes calling, having already expressed interest in Stewart while with St. Louis. Stewart seems like a good fit for the Senators, bringing size to their top nine forwards. Greening is a speedy, grinding depth guy for the Sabres, while Puempel has some serious sniper potential as a former first-round pick.

Drew Stafford

Drew Stafford

11) Buffalo trades Drew Stafford and Henrik Tallinder to Anaheim for Viktor Fasth and Devante Smith-Pelly.

Reasoning: Last but not necessarily least, the Sabres attempt to shore up their goaltending void. Fasth is signed through next year and can battle Enroth for starting duties or serve as a platoon for a rebuilding Buffalo squad. Smith-Pelly is a physical presence with a bit of offensive upside. The Ducks can afford to deal a goalie and a forward prospect in order to solidify their depth up front and on the back end, which this deal accomplishes. Do I actually anticipate the Sabres moving as many as nine bodies — all NHL regulars — at the deadline? That seems steep for sure — half a roster essentially — but if it meant adding the aforementioned 17 assets, I can’t see Tim Murray saying “no” to many (if any) of these proposals. Time will tell just how many trades Buffalo ends up making, but I could certainly see that total exceeding five.

Ales Hemsky

Ales Hemsky

12) Edmonton trades Ales Hemsky, Nick Schultz and Ilya Bryzgalov to Washington for Michal Neuvirth, Dmitry Orlov and a first-round pick in 2014.

Reasoning: MacT is at it again, packaging three pending UFAs for younger replacements and a first-round pick — outdoing himself based on the standards set in his recent press conference. The Capitals are still in that Cup-or-bust mode it seems, and Bryzgalov could be a nice insurance policy for Braden Holtby should he falter. Hemsky and Schultz are two veterans reportedly garnering quite a bit of interest and I could see George McPhee inquiring about both. Much like with Buffalo’s goaltending, Neuvirth and Scrivens could form a promising tandem for the Oilers going forward, while Orlov has top-four potential with size, skill and a hard shot. The first-rounder might look like an overpayment, but there are always overpayments at the deadline and Hemsky is an upgrade on Martin Erat, who wants to be moved out of Washington.

David Legwand

David Legwand

13) Nashville trades David Legwand to Detroit for Riley Sheahan and a second-round pick in 2014.

Reasoning: Detroit misses out on Kesler, and to a lesser extent Gagner, so the Red Wings wind up settling for a consolation prize in Legwand. It costs them Sheahan, who has exceeded expectations this season, but Detroit is always producing talented young forwards and would probably rather add experience for their pending playoff run. Legwand is from Detroit, so it’s safe to assume he’d waive his no-move clause to head home and he’d likely re-sign with the Red Wings as well.

Mike Cammalleri

Mike Cammalleri

14) Calgary trades Mike Cammalleri to Pittsburgh for Simon Despres and a first-round pick in 2014.

Reasoning: Last year, it was Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh. This year, it’ll be Cammalleri. The Penguins could use another top-six forward and Cammalleri could be a nice fit with Crosby in the absence of the injured Pascal Dupuis as they seem like similar players. The Flames add another first-rounder plus a former first-round pick in Despres,  a skilled defenceman who should step right into Calgary’s lineup.

Ray Whitney

Ray Whitney

15) Dallas trades Ray Whitney to Los Angeles for Linden Vey and Edmonton’s third-round pick in 2014.

Reasoning: The Kings will make a move, especially with all of their closest competitors loading up. Whitney could be a nice fit on left wing in L.A.’s top nine, alongside either Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards or Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown. Vey is expendable with Jordan Weal a similar prospect, and the pick seals the deal. Vey is a Western Canadian kid and former WHLer, something the Stars seem to be building around, so that could be a good fit.

Andrew MacDonald

Andrew MacDonald

16) New York Islanders trade Andrew MacDonald to Boston for Jordan Caron and a second-round pick in 2014.

Reasoning: MacDonald is a pending UFA and there doesn’t seem to be a future for him on Long Island. He’s likely a rental for the Bruins, but they are in need of defensive depth and don’t really have a place for Caron. As usual, the pick evens out the compensation.

Lee Stempniak

Lee Stempniak

17) Calgary trades Lee Stempniak to Montreal for Dalton Thrower.

Reasoning: Burke adds his third defenceman of the deadline, following Myers and Despres, while the Canadiens add a depth winger with size.

Martin Erat

Martin Erat

18) Washington trades Martin Erat to the New York Rangers for Pavel Buchnevich.

Reasoning: Erat wants out and I can see Glenn Sather testing those waters if he misses out on Hemsky. The Rangers have plenty of forward prospects, including Buchnevich, a third-round pick from last year’s draft who is having a decent sophomore campaign in the KHL.

Mike Weaver

Mike Weaver

19) Florida trades Mike Weaver to Columbus for David Savard.

Reasoning: The Blue Jackets add an under-rated shutdown defender, while the Panthers get a younger blue-liner with offensive upside.

Brad Boyes

Brad Boyes

20) Florida trades Brad Boyes to Pittsburgh for a second-round pick in 2015.

Reasoning: The Penguins add some more offensive depth to their top nine at a relatively low cost.

Ryan Smyth

Ryan Smyth

21) Edmonton trades Ryan Smyth and Ryan Jones to Toronto for Carter Ashton and a fifth-round pick in 2014.

Reasoning: The Maple Leafs need some offensive depth and put a premium on Smyth’s leadership skills. The Oilers like Ashton’s size and potential.

Chris Butler

Chris Butler

22) Calgary trades Chris Butler to Colorado for a third-round pick in 2014.

Reasoning: The Avalanche need some defensive depth, while the Flames can spare one — especially if they land Myers and Despres.

Anton Belov

Anton Belov

23) Edmonton trades Anton Belov to Montreal for a third-round pick in 2014.

Reasoning: The Canadiens could use a bit more defensive depth too, and have had good luck with Russian rearguards in Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin. The Oilers recoup another pick as planned.

24-27) These final four trades will be similar to the Winchester-Connelly swap — exchanges of minor-leaguers or unheralded prospects.

Well, that’s a wrap. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the storm because when it rains, it pours.

Larry Fisher is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier in Kelowna, B.C. Follow him on Twitter: @LarryFisher_KDC.

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