It was a less than thrilling Trade Deadline yesterday, but we will review some of the moves teams made that may impact the playoff race.
Dammit. Dammit. Dammit. The Blackhawks got better. They sent prospect Mark McNeil and a conditional fourth round pick to Dallas for Johny Oduya. The veteran defenseman won a Cup with Chicago back in 2015. After that, he signed with the Stars and is currently in the final year of his contract there. He hasn’t had a great season, but I’m sure he’ll play like an all-star as soon as he puts on a Hawks sweater. He helps solidify ChicagoThe Blackhawks win cups, lose guys to free agency, then get those guys back via trades because they love winning so much. I hate them.
To the Stars I say, “what the hell?” Stop it, you idiots. They are in our division. Stop making them better.
On Tuesday, per Craig Custance of ESPN, the Wild shipped a 2017 first round pick, a 2018 second round pick, a conditional 2019 fourth round pick, and prospect Grayson Downing to the Coyotes in exchange for Martin Hanzal and Ryan White. The veteran Hanzal adds more center depth for the already very good Wild offense. The consensus is that Minnesota overpaid, and I’m inclined to believe them. Hanzal was having a good year in Arizona with 16 goals on a bad team, but that’s quite a bit to give up for a veteran rental. Despite the price, Hanzal no doubt makes the Wild a better team, which is bad news for Nashville since they appear to be heading for a clash with either Minnesota or Chicago in the 1st round of the playoffs.
For the first time in my lifetime, the Detroit Red Wings were sellers. They knew they weren’t playoff bound and prepared for the future. In the first big news on the actual NHL trade deadline, Elliotte Friedman announced that Thomas Vanek was about to trade in the parkas for speedos as he was being shipped to the Florida Panthers from the Detroit Red Wings. In exchange, Detroit got a conditional 3rd round pick and prospect Dylan McIlrath.
The much maligned Vanek was having a bounce back year in Detroit as he had ammassed 38 points in 48 games. Florida, who is currently one point out of playoff contention, was looking to upgrade their offense to get into the dance. They did that, but they certainly took a risk in banking on an unpredictable player like Vanek.
Los Angeles Kings
Today in moves that make you go “huh?”: the offensively struggling Kings pick up veteran Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla. He has eight goals on the year and is nowhere NEAR where he was five years ago. LA needs goals and this was a real curious move. The Avs got a conditional fourth round pick in return, but I’m not sure what Los Angeles was thinking. Unless they have the fountain of youth out there (a decent possibility), Iggy ain’t fixing their issues.
Much like the Kings, they need help up front to put pucks in the net. So naturally, they went out and got “meh” defenseman Jordie Benn, veteran jerk and cement feet Steve Ott, grinder Dwight King, and another grinding bruiser in Andreas Martinsen. In the hockey world, they are now “harder to play against” and have a lot of “sandpaper”. Did they solve any of their issues? Not at all. Will they hit you slightly harder? Maybe, if the other team’s scorers aren’t blowing by them. I anxiously await seeing how “hard to play against” these guys are when your red hot Nashville Predators roll into town.
The rich get richer. The defending Stanley Cups champs wanted depth on the blue line, and they got it. Last weekend, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford went out and got Ron Hainsey from the Carolina Hurricanes, then yesterday he picked up veteran blue liner Mark Streit from the Flyers by way of the Lightning. The difference between a winning franchise like Pittsburgh and losers like the Habs is that the Penguins see a specific need and fill it. Montreal decides they can’t fill that need and make moves just to make moves. The Penguins were already a force to be reckoned with and improved on that in the past seven days.
This was the biggest disappointment of the day for all those Canadian shows that start at 8am and analyze every trade that comes across the ticker. Everyone was holding their breath to see of they would move star forward Matt Duchene or captain Gabriel Landeskog. They ended up not doing much of anything. Sure they made some smaller moves like the Andreas Martinsen and Jarome Iginla deals, but nothing of the magnitude some anticipated. In my opinion that is based solely on wild speculation, I’d say not too many GMs were willing to pay the price for Landeskog or Duchene. The expansion draft this summer probably complicated that situation quite a bit too. I, along with just about everyone else on hockey Twitter, expect them to get moved this offseason.
On Monday, the Washington Capitals made the biggest splash of the deadline by acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues for a 1st round pick, a conditional 2nd round pick, 2013 2nd rounder Zach Sanford, and veteran Brad Malone. Shattenkirk, long rumored to be headed to New York to play for the blue shirts, fills a need for the Capitals in a massive way. The blue line would probably be the one small knock on Washington, but not any more. He’s the best defenseman they’ve had since Ovechkin arrived in DC in my opinion. He can play well in all three zones and gives them yet another dangerous option on the power play. Despite this move and the Caps’ great season, I still can’t pick them to come out of the East. I know that’s hypocritical coming from a guy who picked the Preds to take the West, but the combo of that franchise and Trotzy screams 2nd round exit.
Under the Radar Move That’s Actually On The Radar Due To Its Under The Radarness
Brian Boyle to the Maple Leafs: Veteran winger Brian Boyle has loads of playoff experience, which the young Leafs will need if/when they get into the postseason. Somebody has to show Matthews, Marner, and Co. how it’s done.
That’s all for this week! Your regularly scheduled Free Skate will return next week! Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for PK’s return to Montreal.