2016 NHL Trade Deadline blog
Here's an account of all the major action on an otherwise sleepy trade deadline day:
• 3:45 PM: In what may be the last deal of the day, F Jamie McGinn has been traded to the Ducks by Buffalo.
This is another high-value add by Anaheim GM Bob Murray. The big winger is exactly the sort of player who can make a difference in the Western Conference playoffs, a heavy body who is a handful in the corners and takes most of his shots from the high-value area directly in front of the net. He seems like a natural fit for a team that now looks to have enough depth to go all the way.
In exchange, the Sabres pick up a conditional 2017 third rounder that becomes a second if Anaheim wins two rounds in playoffs and he plays 50% of games in those first two rounds. There'll be some blowback from the team's fans wondering why GM Tim Murray would allow a player with McGinn's qualities to leave for yet another pick, but this was good asset management. He can bid for McGinn as a UFA this summer if he's so inclined, and bank that pick for the team's ongoing rebuild.
• 3:32 PM: The Canadiens have sent F Devante Smith-Pelly to New Jersey for F Stefan Matteau. Both are young, power forward-types who no longer fit into their organization's plans. Matteau, the 29th pick in the 2012 draft, might have a higher upside but there are concerns that he doesn't think the game well enough to succeed at this level. His quickness makes him a better fit in Montreal than Smith-Pelly, who is toolsy, but lacks footspeed. There's a chance that John Hynes' system might be a better fit for him, but really, both teams are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle here.
• 3:13 PM: Don Sweeney strikes another late blow:
The veteran winger was the Devils' leading scorer with 41 points (16-25) in 63 games this season. He brings a dependability and versatility that will allow him to move up and down the roster as needed.
Interesting angle to this: He skated with the Bruins prior to this season and expressed an interest in signing with the team. The B's passed and he went on sign a PTO with the Devils and later, a one-year deal that couldn't have worked out much better for New Jersey.
The B's surrendered a 2017 second and a 2016 fourth to the Devils for Stempniak, which seems more than a bit aggressive. That means for a few weeks of Stempniak and Liles, Sweeney gave away a second, a third, a fourth and a fifth. Sorry, Bruins fans. There's no way to put a positive spin on this. Unless the B's miraculously advance to the conference final, this was a total mismanagement of assets, probably spurred on by Sweeney's inability to get the return he wanted in exchange for Eriksson.
That said, it's an excellent return for Devils GM Ray Shero, who understood that his team was toast when Mike Cammalleri was ruled out for the season and did well selling off Stempniak and Eric Gelinas.
• 3:03 PM: The Bruins appear to have held on to Loui Eriksson. They've also added defenseman John-Michael Liles from Carolina in exchange for F Anthony Camara, a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick.
At 35, Liles can be a fairly productive second-pair defender. He's mobile, a reliable puck mover and a better-than-average possession player. That said, he's not going to be a difference maker now or a piece they can rely on in the future, which begs the question: why make this deal, especially at this price?
Camara is a heavy winger currently manning the fourth line in Providence. He has marginal NHL potential, but could eventually play a similar role for the 'Canes. And while the picks are of the mid-to-late variety, Sweeney's willingness to give them up suggests there's confusion in the plan. Someone rebuilding on the fly should be guarding those, not throwing them away for a few weeks of a low-impact veteran.
• 3:02 PM: Arthur Staple is reporting the Islanders have added depth F Shane Prince from Ottawa for a third-round pick. Not much to see here. Prince, 23, has three goals in 44 NHL games.
• 3:01 PM: The Lightning have not traded Jonathan Drouin.
• 3:00 PM: Pencils down, everyone. We've passed the deadline. The Stars and Hawks are both saying they're out on Hamhuis. We'll know if anyone else jumps in in the next few minutes.
• 2:50 PM: Ten minutes until the deadline. One name that's been on my radar all day has been Jamie McGinn. Nothing yet on the Buffalo winger, but there could be something brewing out west.
• 2:45 PM: This:
As Deadline closes in, San Jose's Doug Wilson giving up 2 2nd rd'ers for Roman Polack appears a gross overpayment.— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) February 29, 2016
• 2:35 PM: Lots of buzz on Hamhuis:
With LAK out on Hamhuis, Canucks' trade field has really thinned.— Iain MacIntyre (@imacVanSun) February 29, 2016
Tough situation for Canucks GM Jim Benning. He needs to turn Hamhuis into future assets, but is limited by the player's no-trade clause. Still think something happens here, likely with Dallas. Wouldn't be a surprise if the return is equal or less than what the Stars paid to acquire Russell.
• 2:25 PM: Despite interest from the Bruins, Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis has indicated he will not waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a deal with Boston. Hamhuis reportedly is only willing to go to a Cup contender, and would prefer to remain in the Western Conference.
• 2:19 PM: The Anaheim Ducks have acquired F Brandon Pirri in exchange for a 2016 sixth-round pick.
One year after finishing second on the Panthers with 22 goals in just 49 games, Pirri was the odd man out in Florida. He got off to a slow start, struggled with some injuries, and never quite found that old groove. Once he's healthy again (currently rehabbing an ankle injury), he'll slide into a middle-six/power play role for the Ducks, who gave up almost nothing to get him...so little, you have to wonder why Florida was so anxious to get rid of him...and why no other team was willing to give as much as a fifth.
Pirri is an arbitration-eligible RFA this summer, so he'll be looking for a strong finish to bolster his value.
• 1:39 PM: Dallas has acquired D Kris Russell from Calgary. Return appears to be D Jyrki Jokipakka, LW Brett Pollock and a conditional second-round pick (if Stars make Western Conference Final, pick becomes a first rounder, per Elliotte Friedman).
Quick react: Who did the Stars just pick up: a gritty warrior who'll do anything to win or a defensive black hole who only blocks as many shots as he does because he can't help get the puck out of his own zone? Russell is a polarizing presence for sure, and this is sure to be the most closely watched deal of the deadline. Can he be more than the fair-to-spare bottom pairing defender that his fancystats suggest he is? Or will he energize a unit in desperate need of reinforcements? Push comes to shove, it's probably safer to bet on Jim Nill's ability to judge talent than someone's algorithm.
From Calgary's perspective, this looks like a huge win. Jokipakka is probably maxxed out as a third-pairing D, but he's young (24) and cheap ($900,000 through 2016-17), a perfect fit for their roster. Pollock, the 45th pick in 2014, has good size (6-2, 195) and excellent offensive instincts (25-42-67 in 64 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings). He needs to work on his skating, but could mature into a middle-six forward for the Flames
• 1:38 PM: Colorado has acquired D Eric Gelinas for a 2017 third-round pick.
The Avs had questions on D, but it's hard to see Gelinas as the answer. He's big (6-4, 215) and moves the puck effectively, but at 24 his play appears to be regressing offensively without showing improvement in his own zone. The fact that the Devils were willing to move him for a third show how far he's fallen in their estimation over the past two years. Could be a change of scenery gets him back on track, but Avs fans might want to temper their excitement here.
• 1:09 PM: Has one of the big chips finally moved?
Lots of buzz Boedker has been traded. Working on confirmation.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 29, 2016
Confirmed: Boedker to Colorado for Alex Tanguay and prospects Conner Bleackley and Kyle Wood.
Quick react: Boedker brings game-breaking speed and some finishing touch (13-26-39 this year, 213 points in 445 career games) and could be a nice fit with either Nathan MacKinnon or Matt Duchene. Even though there's some knock on his five-on-five play (just 21 points this year at evens), he's an upgrade over Tanguay. Have to wonder though if this was the deal the Avs needed to make? Does Joe Sakic have something else in the works to address his team's 22nd-rated defense (2.83 goals-against per game)?
The 'Yotes didn't get the first-round pick they were hoping for, but they did acquire a couple of intriguing prospects. Bleackley is a former first rounder (23rd, 2014) who has become the hockey equivalent of a toxic asset. He reported to Avs camp last year badly out of shape and was immediately returned to junior. Then, in October, the Red Deer Rebels stripped him of his captaincy. He hasn't impressed with his play this season (13 goals and 41 points in 47 games, about half of what was expected of him) and has yet to sign an NHL deal. While it's a good bet that Arizona obtained him with an eye on getting that deal done, there's a possibility that he could return to this year's draft if not signed by May 1. If that happens, Arizona will receive a compensatory draft pick...which may be exactly why he was included in this deal.
Wood is a big (6-5, 217) defenseman with above-average physical tools but not much of an edge to his game. The 84th pick in the 2014 draft is a long-term project with a chance to mature into a bottom-pair option at the NHL level.
Tanguay, a UFA after this season, will be an asset on the power play, but at 36 his value is limited.
• 1:03 PM: In just the second deal of the day, the Chicago Blackhawks acquired minor-league goaltender Drew MacIntyre from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Dennis Robertson. MacIntyre will report to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.The Hurricanes traded Robertson to Chicago on Sept. 11, 2015, along with Jake Massie and a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for Kris Versteeg, Joakim Nordstrom and a third-round pick in 2017.
• 12:57 PM: Well, this didn't take long:
• 12:55 PM: Are the Capitals looking to bolster their blueline? There was talk last week that Washington was in on Dan Hamhuis, but cap room was an issue. Now that Brooks Laich has been shipped to Toronto and John Carlson is on IR, the Caps have just over $6 million to work with. That's more than enough to land the veteran D.
• 12:40 PM: Connect the dots time: The New Jersey Devils have claimed defenseman David Warsofsky off waivers (Pittsburgh), which suggests that they may be ready to move one of their own defensemen ahead of the deadline. Best bet: UFA-to-be David Schlemko or little-used Eric Gelinas.
• 12:10 PM: Are the Dallas Stars poised to win the deadline?
Stars remain dialed in on Russell and Hamhuis. Highly unlikely, but is it possible to land both? Too early to rule anything out.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 29, 2016
We've seen general manager Jim Nill don the cloak of wizardry when he spirited Tyler Seguin out of Boston and Jason Spezza away from Ottawa. No one should be surprised then if he accomplishes a complete blueline retool ahead of the deadline. He definitely has the pieces to make a deal happen, including 13 picks over the next two years and a wealth of defensive prospects, including Jokipakka, Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth and Stephen Johns.
• 12:10 PM: Montreal newspaper La Presse is reporting that the Canadiens will not trade forward Lars Eller ahead of today's deadline. The third-line center has been the subject of several trade rumors in recent weeks with the idea that prospect Jacob de la Rose was ready to step into the role. Appears that won't be the case now.
• 11:50 AM: The Arizona Coyotes appear to be holding the line on Mikkel Boedker. A team looking to acquire the top-six winger will have to part with a package that includes a first-round pick.
• 11:40 AM: No one missing from Stars practice this morning:
All accounted for at morning skate. Ales Hemsky (illness) skating well, looks good.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) February 29, 2016
Dallas is thought to be among the teams most interested in acquiring Vancouver's Dan Hamhuis or Calgary's Kris Russell. Keep an eye on depth defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka. The 24-year-old could be dangled to acquire either veteran.
• 11:30 AM: Another name to keep an eye on: Bruins prospect Alex Khokhlachev. The 40th pick in the 2011 draft has established himself as a reliable scorer in the AHL (15-32-47 in 42 games with Providence this season), but with David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Spooner in place there's no path for him to make the jump to Boston. He's almost been traded before (the botched Jarome Iginla deadline deal in 2013) and will be an RFA this summer. Might be time for a change of scenery.
• 11:16 AM: Is something going on with Columbus?
Rychel, the 19th draft pick in the 2013 draft, requested a trade prior to the season. According to an earlier report from Portzline, the Rangers, Flames, Maple Leafs, Ducks, Bruins and Red Wings have all shown interest in the gritty forward, but keep an eye on Nashville. The Preds need to add some scoring depth up front and are said to be interested in re-acquiring Columbus winger Scott Hartnell. Packaging the veteran winger with Rychel might grease the wheels for another major deal between these two teams.
• 11:10 AM: Lots of buzz about potential landing spots for suspended Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin. I mentionEdmonton as an option last week, but there's a growing sense that Colorado is emerging as the favorite. Junior linemate Nathan MacKinnon reportedly has lobbied to bring Drouin in, and the Avs have a long-term need on the left side.
• 10:45 AM: The latest on Loui Eriksson:
As I said this morning on Boston's Toucher and Rich show, the B's are in a tough spot here. Eriksson is a terrific player, one who can play a valuable complementary role on a contending team. But the Bruins aren't contenders, and they won't become one any time soon if they invest $6 million-plus over six years to a player on the wrong side of 30. Selling Eriksson now is GM Don Sweeney's only real option, even if it doesn't provide the immediate return of a much-needed top-four defenseman.
Eriksson just took the ice for practice.— Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin) February 29, 2016
• 10:35 AM: Wild beat writer Mike Russo offers this insight:
The quotes around shopping are telling. Minnesota isn't floating the 22-year-old defenseman, but if the offer is too good to refuse...
Brodin has been out of action since Feb.7 with a broken foot, but could return to action later this week. With a top-four of Ryan Suter, Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon settling in nicely in his absence and prospect Gustav Olofsson biding his time in Iowa, it makes sense for GM Chuck Fletcher to weigh his options.
• 10:30 AM: No real surprise here, but worth a mention:
The Isles were expected to hold on to Okposo and Frans Nielsen, both of whom are eligible to go UFA this summer, in order to ice their best possible roster for a playoff run. They're believed to be interested in adding Toronto forward P-A Parenteau.
• 10:20 AM: Interesting development out of Ottawa:
Makes perfect sense to shut Turris down. A high-ankle sprain isn't something a player can gut out. But by shutting down their top forward today, you have to wonder if this signals the For Sale sign is going up or if they'll be looking to reinforce the roster in hopes of making another late-season run. My gut? Although they might sell Alex Chiasson, I think they'll look to buy.
• 9:52 AM: The Maple Leafs could offer their long-suffering fans a glimpse of a brighter future Monday night with the recall of top prospects William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen and Nikita Soshnikov from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. All three are expected to be in action for the home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
• 9:50 AM: Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago says she believes the Blackhawks are done dealing. The Hawks have a little over $1 million in cap space available so there's enough wiggle room to make another move, but Myers is likely right. The roster would benefit from one more veteran blueliner, but if the right fit isn't there, there's no reason to make a deal.
• 9:40 AM: Are the Bruins dangling one of the top scorers in the American Hockey League?
Some talk around BOS F Seth Griffith. 60 pts in 46 games at AHL Providence. 23 years old.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 29, 2016
Griffith sits second in league scoring, one point behind Chris Bourque. He's small (5-9, 190) and not a particularly strong skater, but he has high-end offensive instincts and his motor's always going. A fresh start might be what he needs to make the jump to the big leagues.
• 9:30 AM Sportsnet is reporting that the Penguins have traded winger Sergei Plotnikov to the Arizona Coyotes. It won't be much of a return (early word is a conditional pick), but getting anything for the 25-year-old at this point is a bonus. Plotnikov was brought in as a top-six option from the KHL, but couldn't find a groove with either former coach Mike Johnston or current coach Mike Sullivan. He tallied just two assists through 32 games, but hadn't dressed since Jan. 6, a strong of 19 straight scratches. A fresh start might be exactly what he needs to prove he can play at this level. The 'Yotes play the Pens tonight at Consol, so he might make his Arizona debut against his former club.
UPDATE: The Coyotes have sent LW Matthias Plachta and a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick to complete this deal. Plachta is a 24-year-old right wing who has spent most of his career in various German leagues. He's a minor-league roster filler at best, but the moving him was important to the Coyotes as it clears a contract off their books.
Some notables from Sunday:
• The Trade
Capitals acquire: F Daniel Winnik, 2015 fifth-round pick (originally Anaheim’s)
Maple Leafs acquire: F Brooks Laich, D Connor Carrick, 2016 second rounder
The React: Hard not to feel a little heartbroken here for Laich. The veteran winger has been a warrior for 11 seasons in Washington, but leaves just as the Caps embark on a playoff journey that could well end with a Stanley Cup. Sentiment aside, this was the right move by GM Brian MacLellan, who gained valuable cap space by dumping Laich's overweight contract ($4.5 million hit this year and next) on the Leafs.
He also gained a more effective asset in Winnik, a big-bodied bottom-six forward/penalty killer whose value will become more pronounced the deeper the Caps roll this spring.
The Leafs continue to sell cap space in order to stockpile picks—they now have 12 in hand for 2016, with two in each of the first four rounds. They also add Carrick, a small (5' 11", 185 pounds) blueliner in the Torey Krug mold. He's a capable puck mover with excellent offensive instincts who could become a solid power play asset at the NHL level.
• The Trade
Kings acquire: RW Kris Versteeg
Hurricanes acquire: LW Valentin Zykov, conditional fifth round pick
The React: The Kings go bargain shopping here, settling for an off-brand option for added depth rather than going all-in for an impact player like Boston’s Loui Eriksson. That suggests supreme confidence in their current lineup, or an unwillingness to pay the going rate—either way, probably not the deal the team's fans were hoping for. Versteeg has plenty of playoff experience and brings a feisty, versatile game but he's ideally slotted on the third line. More of a complementary piece than a difference maker.
L.A.'s fans were unhappy to see the highly touted Zykov go in return, but they shouldn't be too concerned. The 20-year-old left winger is still a solid prospect, but his production has flatlined since he was drafted 37th in 2013 after a 40-goal season with Baie-Comeau of the QMJHL. He has just seven goals and 14 points in 43 games as an AHL rookie this season, and hasn't shown the same jump or perseverance. His long-term potential is up in the air.