NHL rosters set as another trade deadline comes and goes

NHL rosters are now set until the end of the season with the passing of the 2017/18 trade deadline. It wasn’t the busiest day in recent years, but several significant players were still on the move as teams gear up for the final playoff push. This is a recap of the biggest moves of the day as well as those made just prior to deadline day.
Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks acquired forward Jason Chimera from the New York Islanders for forward    Chris Wagner. The 38-year-old Chimera has two goals and nine assists while the 26-year-old Wagner has six goals and nine assists. Both players will be unrestricted free agents in the summer.
Boston Bruins: Boston acquired forward Tommy Wingels from Chicago for a fourth-round draft pick in 2019. The 29-year-old has seven goals and five assists and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. Boston also picked up forward Rick Nash from the Rangers for a first-rounder in 2018 along with forwards Matt Beleskey and Ryan Spooner, defenceman Ryan Lindgren and a seventh-round pick in 2019. The 33-year-old Nash has 18 goals and 10 assists and is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Spooner has nine goals and 18 assists
Calgary Flames: Calgary dealt a seventh-round draft choice in 2019 for forward Nick Shore from Ottawa. The 25-year-old has four goals and 12 assists.
Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets picked up defenceman Ian Cole from Ottawa for forward prospect Nick Moutrey and a third-round pick in 2020. The year-old Cole has three goals and 10 assists and is an unrestricted free agent this year. Forward Mark Letestu was also acquired from Edmonton for Pontus Aberg. Letestu has nine goals and 11 assists while Berg has two goals and six helpers.
Montreal Canadiens: The Habs acquired defenceman Mike Reilly from Minnesota for a fifth-round draft pick in 2019. Reilly has two goals and eight assists this season.
New Jersey Devils: The Devils traded J.D. Dudek and a third-round pick in 2019 for forward Pat Maroon. The 29-year-old Maroon is an unrestricted free agent this summer and has 14 goals and 16 assists. New Jersey also acquired forward Michael Grabner from the Rangers for a second-rounder in 2018 and defensive prospect prospect Yegor Rykov. The 30-year-old Grabner has 25 goals and six assists and is unrestricted this summer.
Nashville Predators: Nashville acquired forward Ryan Hartman from Chicago along with a fifth-round pick in 2018 for a first-round pick in 2018, a fourth-round pick in 2018 and forward prospect Victor Ejdsell. The 23-year-old Hartman has eight goals and 17 assists and will be a restricted free agent. The Preds also picked up forward Brandon Bollig and goaltender Troy Grosenick from San Jose for a sixth-round pick in 2018.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Pens traded forward Greg McKegg to Carolina for forward Josh Jooris. The 27-year-old Jooris has three goals and three assists and is an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
San Jose Sharks: The Sharks dealt prospect Daniel O’Regan to Buffalo along with a conditional first-round pick in 2019 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2020 for forward Evander Kane. The 26-year-old Kane has 20 goals and 20 assists and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. O’Regan had four assists in 19 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa acquired New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller for a first-round pick in 2018, a second-round pick in 2019 and forward Vladislav Namestnikov along with prospects Libor Hajek and Brett Howden. The defenceman McDonagh has two goals and 24 assists while Miller had 13 goals and 27 assists. Namestnikov has 20 goals and 24 assists
Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto acquired forwards Tomas Plekanec and Kyle Braun from Montreal for AHL forward Kerby Rychel, defenceman Rinat Valiev and a second-round pick in 2018. The 35-year-old Plekanec has six goals and 18 assists and is an unrestricted free agent this year.
Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks picked up forwards Jussi Jokinen and Tyler Motte from Columbus for 34-year-old pending free agent forward Thomas Vanek who had 17 goals and 24 assists. The 34-year-old Jokinen has a goal and six assists and the 22-year-old Motte has three goals and two assists.  Vancouver also acquired forward Brendan Leipsic from Vegas for defenceman Philip Holm. The 23-year-old Leipsic has two goals and 11 assists while the 26-year-old Holm has been playing in the AHL and will be a restricted free agent.
Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas acquired forward Tomas Tatar from Detroit for a first-round pick in 2018, a second-round pick in 2019 and a third-round pick in 2021. The 27-year-old Tatar has 16 goals and 12 assists this season. 
Winnipeg Jets: The Jets picked up Joe Morrow from Montreal for a fourth-round draft pick in 2018. The 25-year-old has five goals and six assists and is a restricted free agent in the summer. Winnipeg also acquired forward Paul Stastny from St. Louis for a conditional first-round pick in 2018, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2020 and 20-year-old forward prospect Erik Foley. The 32-year-old Stastny has 12 goals and 28 assists in is an unrestricted free agent this year.

New York Rangers hit the jackpot with Michael Grabner

With 30-year-old Austrian winger Michael Grabner being eligible for free agency in July, there’s a good chance the New York Rangers will deal him by the Feb. 26thtrade deadline. If they do, Grabner should fetch a fine return since he’s been red hot on Broadway over the past two seasons. The Rangers signed him to a two-year contract as a free agent prior to the 2016/17 season at just $1.65 million a year. The club has already gotten its money’s worth out of the speedster and this could be greatly compounded if he’s traded by the deadline.

After scoring just nine goals and nine assists in 80 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015/16, Grabner’s signing in New York was seen as nothing more than a minor deal. However, his career’s now back on track after lighting up the lamp on a regular basis. The right winger was originally drafted 14thoverall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2006. He scored 11 points for the Canucks in 20 games in 2009/10 and also racked up 120 points in 180 appearances for the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. Yet for some reason Vancouver traded him to the Florida Panthers in June of 2010.

In another odd move, Florida then placed Grabner on waivers at the start of the 2010/11 season and unsurprisingly he was taken quickly by the New York Islanders. Grabner’s 34 goals and 52 points that season proved the Islanders had made a shrewd move by picking him up. He scored the eighth-most goals and even-strength markers in the NHL and was named to the All-Rookie Team. Grabner’s goal production dipped steadily after his first season on the island though as he scored 20, 16, 12 and eight times over the next four campaigns before being traded to Toronto.

Things didn’t improve with the Leafs either, but he suddenly caught fire when he signed with the Rangers. Grabner’s first season back in the Big Apple resulted in 27 goals and 13 assists in 76 contests and a plus-22 ranking. Twenty-six of his goals and 37 of his 40 points came with his team at even strength and he added four goals and six points in a dozen playoff outings. Grabner’s kept up the pace this season with 25 goals and six assists in his first 59 games, which ranked him 16th in goals scored. He’s also a plus-11 on the struggling team and has been a standout once again at even strength with all but one of his goals coming five-on-five.

This places Grabner in the top five for even-strength goals over the past two seasons as he placed ninth last year and is currently ranked third this season. His shooting percentage was 16.7 last season to rank sixth-best in the league and it’s improved to 19.1 this year, which is fourth-best for all players with at least 15 goals. With his explosive speed, Grabner is a breakaway threat every time he’s on the ice and he’s also become an excellent penalty killer because of it. He’s also a streak scorer as he’s been top 10 in the league three times for hat tricks in a season. In addition, he’s been top-five in shorthanded goals on two occasions.

It’s likely the Rangers will deal Grabner by the trade deadline since the club looks set to miss the playoffs and plans on entering a rebuilding stage. He should be worth quite a bit on the trade market due to his performance over the past two years, his age and his salary. When free agency rolls around next summer there’s a good chance Grabner’s fine play since 2016 will result in a considerable pay raise. And although he hasn’t picked up many assists with the Rangers, his goal tally has been quite impressive.  

Sidney Crosby passes 400 NHL-goal plateau

After going 10 games without a goal, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby finally broke his slump on Feb. 11th with a pair of them in a 4-1 road win over the S. Louis Blues. They were just his fourth and fifth markers in the past 23 games, but were milestone tallies as they were the centre’s 400th and 401st goals of his illustrious career. Crosby notched his 400th at the 3:31 mark of the second period and then added another at the 17:12 mark of the third with an empty netter to seal the victory. With the goals, Crosby became the 95thplayer to score at least 400 times in NHL history and he’s also the seventh active player to reach the milestone.
Crosby said he was just happy to finally score a goal after his 10-game drought and it was a bonus since it was a milestone marker and his father was in the stands to witness it. He added that it seemed like he hadn’t scored forever and he was relieved when he saw the puck trickle over the goal line. Crosby now has 18 goals on the season and will undoubtedly reach the 20-goal mark again. He scored at least 20 times in 10 of his first 12 NHL campaigns, but his output is down considerably this year considering he led the league last season with 44 goals. His best goal-scoring output in the NHL has been 51 goals in the 2009/10 season.
As far as the other current 400-goal scorers go, Jaromir Jagr is leading the way for active players with 766. However, he recently left the Calgary Flames to join HC Kladno in his native Czech Republic. Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is next with 591 followed by Patrick Marleau of the Toronto Maple Leafs who has 526. The Chicago Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa has 525 goals, but is sitting out this season due to a skin condition. Rick Nash of the New York Rangers has netted 433 goals while Marian Gaborik of the Los Angeles Kings is the other active 400-goal scorer at 403.

Crosby’s 400th goal came in his 839thregular-season game. He now has 401 goals along with 688 assists for 1,089 points. However, he’s still quite a way behind Mario Lemieux as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer as Lemieux racked up 1,723 points during his career. Crosby was drafted first overall by Pittsburgh in 2005 and it’s interesting to note that he’s 190 goals behind Ovechkin, who was the top draft pick a year earlier. Ovechkin has 1,095 career points in 976 games, so he’s scores at a lower point-per-game rate and is yet to win a Stanley Cup while Crosby has three of them under his belt.

Still, both Crosby and Ovechkin have been a credit to the game and are surefire Hall of Famer’s as soon as they’re eligible. Crosby currently ranked sixth in scoring for active players as of Feb. 12Th, 2018 as Jagr was tops with 1,921 points followed by the injured Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks with 1,427. Hossa was next at 1,134 followed by Marleau with 1,111 and Ovechkin at 1,095.

Bruins’ Zdeno Chara plays 1,400th NHL game:

Boston Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara reached another impressive milestone in his illustrious NHL career on February 3rdwhen he appeared in his 1,400th regular-season NHL contest. The big blue liner from Slovakia made it count too as Boston downed Atlantic Division rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 at home. And although he’s going to turn 41 on his next birthday, Chara says he has no intention of retiring and would like to extend his career by a few more years if possible. The win against the Leafs proved Chara still has what it takes to be a leader in the NHL as he was on the ice for 24 minutes, finished the game a plus 2 and killed off five minutes worth of penalties. He also helped shut down the Leafs’ speedy forwards such as Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Auston Matthews.
The future Hall of Famer finished the game tied for first place in the league with a Plus 27 mark on the season, the same as forward William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights. Chara has been playing the same way ever since he broke into the league with the New York Islanders in 1997/98 when he was drafted 56th overall in 1996. He was then traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2001/02 and finally ending up with the Bruins in 2006/07 when he signed as a free agent. He’s played 870 of his 1,400 games with the Bruins and helped them win a Stanley Cup in the 2010/11 campaign. Chara has four goals and 10 assists this season with 192 goals and 426 assists for 618 points in his career. He’s a plus 245 in his 1,400 games and has added 59 points in 147 playoff outings. Fans should also remember he’s a seven-time All Star and won the Norris Trophy in 2008/09.

Chara said his longevity is due to the support he received from his parents when he was growing up as well as his wife and children in the past few years. He admitted that the milestone game was a special moment in his career and he also owes a lot to his current and former teammates as well as all of the coaches he’s played for and of course the fans. Currently, the 6-foot-9-inch defender ranks fourth on the all-time games played list for active players and ranks 39th in history. The only current players who have appeared in more contests than Chara are Jaromir Jagr at 1,733), Patrick Marleau with 1,547 Joe Thornton at 1,493 and Matt Cullen with 1,416 games under his belt.

Chara may soon find himself at number three on the current list though since it looks like Jagr and the Calgary Flames will be parting ways and his NHL career may finally be coming to an end. He said he still enjoys playing the game, competing and working hard on the ice every night and still believes he can improve and learn new things even at his age. He added that as long as he still feels great and can be an effective player then he won’t be thinking about hanging up his skates. Chara will turn 41 before the NHL season ends and the ways he’s performing it’s expected that the Bruins will try to re-sign him for another year or two once his contract expires in June.