The trade deadline just passed, and teams are now gearing up for the homestrech, or at least the good teams.
The bad teams at this point are just waiting for the season to end. Some teams have been wanting the season to end for months now. so they can blow it up and start over (cough, Toronto, San Jose, cough).
Toronto didn’t get the head start we’d imagined they would, but they did send Olli Jokinen to St. Louis and Korbinian Holzer to the Ducks. Many expected Phil Kessel to get moved, and for some reason, Wild fans though that would happen (that’s a continuing theme throughout this column).
Dion Pharnuef was rumored to be headed to the Red Wings, but a major false report changed that.
Both players will likely get traded, but it will have to wait till Summer.
Calgary’s moves Monday were quite interesting at first, but a bit more sense when it was announced that captain Mark Giordano was going to miss the rest of the season with a torn bicep. The news was heartbreaking for a team that was in the playoff race.
Honestly, I’d liked what they did help out other teams than what they did for themselves. They sold Curtis Glencross to Washington, and sent Sven Baertschi to the Canucks. The Flames had to know of Giordano’s injury before Monday, and what impacts it would have.
The Flames currently sit in 3rd in the Pacific Division, but you have to expect them to fall. They might be toast, but I haven’t given up yet. Los Angeles sits behind them, being one of three teams who are competeing for the last wild card spot. It’s gonna be quite a task for the Flames if they want to make it to the postseason.
Boston and Arizona are two teams that are in completely different situations. One team sucks, and racked in a ton of picks at thed eadline. The other needed big time help and did absoluetly nothing.
Arizona sent Kieth Yandle, Zbneyk Michalek, and Mark Louis all out of town. For a bad team, it wasn’t unexpected. As high as prices were at the deadline, the Coyotes got a ton back, way more than expected.
I hated the Keith Yandle trade for the Rangers. He’s a great player, and scores points. However, he’s a hefty salary cap hit, and the exchange paid a hefty price. New York sent Anthony DuClair, agruably their best prospect, to Arizona in return, plus a bunch of picks.
It’s more about the Rangers helping out the Coyotes here. Arizona already has a surplus of really good prospects, and DuClair only adds to it. Arizona also racked up more picks with this trade.
Now look, I get that Yandle is gonna help the Rangers. He was the Coyotes leading point scorer. I like Yandle; he’s a great talent. I just wasn’t fond of what the Rangers had to give up for him. Arizona has a bright future, and while it might take a couple years, they’re obviously getting started now.
Who’s Gearing Up?
Wild: Minnesota got Chris Stewart and Jordan Leopold at the deadline, two moves that were a tad overrated, but will pan out. Stewart is a good talent, and is only 27, but has been around the league quite a bit for his age. While he was very promising, I’d hate to say it, but his best years might be behind him. The fact he’s been around quite a bit could hint at something.
Jordan Leopold’s trade was overshadowed by his daughter’s sweet letter to the Wild, asking the team to bring him home. They did, but he’s 34, and nearing the end of his career. Leopold’s presence will be key on this young Minnesota team. He’ll play a role in the defense, which is something the Wild could have used. This seems though, more like a locker room move than a hockey move.
The Wild are now first in the Wild Card race, and have a couple teams lurking behind them. I can’t say whether they’ll make the playoffs, but watching this team every night and going to school with Wild fans is making me lean towards the “Yes” side rather than the “No”.
Blackhawks: Patrick Kane’s injury was absolutely devastating for this team. Chicago was my Stanley Cup pick before the injury, and with Kane out until the Western Conference Finals (if they make it there), it changed the way I thought about that team.
Though, they acquired Andrew Desjardins, Antoine Vermette, and Kimmo Timonen before Monday’s deadline. The moves were big. Those are some great names within hockey. Now they have to work.
Timonen has been hurt all year, but has returned for Chicago. He’ll retire after the season, but will play to try and make a deep playoff push with the Blackhawks. This isn’t a team that needs a locker room presence, but Timonen can provide the small things. Things the stats don’t show. He’s kinda the chemistry guy for the rest of year.
Vermette is a huge addition for the Blackhawks, and the Coyotes were happy to deal him since 1) He would’ve gotten traded this Summer 2) They just get more picks!
Vermette is a great set up guy for Chicago. He’s a face-off winner, which is huge for a team that will have trouble scoring and getting attacks going. Chicago is going to have play well together if they still want to go deep in the playoffs. That’s going to be their key. They can do it, but it’s a team game, and they have to understand that.
Penguins: Pittsburgh traded for Ian Cole and Ben Lovejoy at Monday’s deadline. The two moves were a little confusing at first, giving they traded away two of their best defensive players, but they simply re-upped on guys.
Cole is definitely the bigger name of the two, and they expect a lot from him. He’s a very good defensemen, and his plus/minus is insane at +16. It’s another player for Pittsburgh, which is something they definitely needed.
If this team wants to go deep in the playoffs, they will have to stay healthy, and play the team game rather than the individual game. Chemistry is known for it’s importance in basketball, but it carries over in hockey too. I like this Penguins team heading down the stretch, but the East is full of surprises, and they might end up on the wrong up of that.
- The Stars aren’t ruling Tyler Seguin out for the year yet. So……
- Could Buffalo’s tank job be any more obvious?
- I thought the Sharks were gonna blow it up at the deadline. I guess they’re waiting a bit.
- Wild fans think they’re winning the Cup.
- Don’t rule out the Kings yet. They’re the defending champions.
- Colorado hung around, annnnddd then crashed and burned.
- Cup pick (Subject to change): Ducks-Canadiens