2019 NHL Trade Deadline comes and goes

There was a flurry of activity on NHL trade deadline day as usual as there were a total of 20 deals completed on Feb. 25th. These trades saw 32 players and 16 draft picks swap teams.

Let’ take a look at the day’s major deals and see how each team fared.

The Philadelphia Flyers sent forward Wayne Simmonds to Nashville Predators and in return they received forward Ryan Hartman as well as a conditional fourth-round draft choice in 2020.

Nashville then made a deal with the Minnesota Wild as they swapped forward Kevin Fiala for forward Mikael Granlund. The Predators also received future considerations from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Nicholas Baptiste. Granlund is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.

The St. Louis Blues added defensive depth by acquiring rearguard Michael Del Zotto from the Anaheim ducks. It cost the Blues just a  sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft.

Anaheim also traded forward Brian Gibbons as they shipped him to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for blue liner Patrick Sieloff. The Ducks also traded defenseman Brandon Montour as they received a first-round draft pick in 2019 from the Buffalo Sabres for him as well as defender Brendan Guhle.

The Winnipeg Jets were the busiest team on deadline day as they made half a dozen deals. They sent a seventh-round draft pick in 2020 to the Minnesota Wild for forward Matt Hendricks. They acquired forward Par Lindholm form the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Nic Petan and traded future considerations to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Alexander Broadhurst.

In addition, Winnipeg received defenceman Nathan Beaulieu from the Buffalo Sabres for a sixth-round draft choice this summer.  Defenceman Bogdan Kiselevich was acquired from the Florida Panthers for a seventh-rounder in 2021. Winnipeg’s biggest trade saw them land center Kevin Hayes, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. Hayes came over from the New York Rangers in exchange for Winnipeg’s first-round draft pick this year and a conditional fourth rounder in 2022. The Jets also gave up Brendan Lemieux in the deal.

The Rangers also traded another player who’s eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer as forward Mats Zuccarello was dealt to the Dallas Stars. In return, New York received a conditional 2019 second-round draft pick and a conditional third-round selection next year.

The Vegas Golden Knights landed forwards Tobias Lindberg and Mark Stone win a swap with the Ottawa Senators. Right-winger Stone is scheduled to become a free agent this summer and Vegas gave up defenceman Erik Brannstrom and forward Oscar Lindberg.

Ottawa also traded another pending free agent in forward Ryan Dzingel as he went to the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 2019 seventh-round draft choice. In return, the Senators picked up forward Anthony Duclair along with second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.

The Vancouver Canucks shipped rearguard Erik Gudbrandon over to the Pittsburgh Penguins in return for forward Tanner Pearson. Pittsburgh also traded forward Tanner Pearson to the Florida Panthers for defender Chris Wideman.

The Canucks also made a deal with the San Jose Sharks by swapping Jonathan Dahlen for fellow forward Linus Karlsson. San Jose also added pending free agent Gustav Nyquist to their roster by sending a 2019 second-round draft pick to the Detroit Red Wins along with a conditional third-rounder next year.

The Colorado Avalanche received centre Derick Brassard for a third-rounder in 2020 from the Florida Panthers. If the Avalanche re-sign Brassard, who’s an unrestricted free agent in July, the Panthers will also send along a conditional sixth-rounder next season. Florida also sent forward Tomas Juco to the Carolina Hurricanes and received future considerations. They then made another deal with Carolina by giving future considerations for forward prospect Cliff Pu.

The New Jersey Devils sent forward Marcus Johansson to the Boston Bruins for a 2019 second-round draft selection and a 2020 fourth-round pick.

The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up defenceman Adam McQuaid in a trade with the New York Rangers and gave up blue line prospect Julius Bergman along with a 2019 fourth and seventh-rounder. Columbus also acquired goaltender Keith Kinkaid as they sent the New Jersey Devils a 2022 fifth-round draft pick for him.

The Montreal Canadiens dealt Michael Chaput to the Arizona Coyotes for fellow forward Jordan Weal and the Dallas Stars added defenseman Ben Lovejoy to the team from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defender Connor Carrick and a 2019 third-round draft choice.

Philadelphia Flyers will soon set unwanted NHL goaltending record

Once Cam Talbot sorts out his visa issues, the Philadelphia Flyers will soon set an unwanted and dubious NHL record of using eight different netminders in a season. The Flyers traded for the 31-year-old on Feb. 16th when they sent fellow goaltender Anthony Stolarz to the Edmonton Oilers in return. Talbot is in the final year of his contract and is eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1st. Stolarz is also playing out his contract and the 25-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent in the summer.

The Flyers have already dressed seven goalies so far this season as Michal Neuvirth, Brian Elliott, Mike McKenna, Alex Lyon, Dustin Tokarski, Carter Hart and Stolarz have all spent time between the posts for the team. Elliott and Neuvirth started the season as the top two goaltenders, but then ran into injury problems. They’re both still under contract to the team for the remainder of the season and will then become unrestricted free agents.

Twenty-year-old Carter Hart of Sherwood Park, Alberta has emerged as the team’s top goaltender this year and is expected to hang onto his job even with the addition of Talbot. Hart, who was drafted 48th overall by the Flyers in 2016, had a 13-6-1 record after his first 20 games this season with a 2.55 goals-against average and a 92.4 save percentage. Talbot has appeared in 31 games with the Oilers with a mark of 10-15-3 with a 3.36 GAA and a save percentage of 89.3.

Talbot was expected to be dealt before the NHL’s trade deadline of Feb. 25th as Edmonton recently inked goaltender Mikko Koskinen to a new $13.5 million, three-year contract. Talbot, of Caledonia, Ontario, went undrafted and signed with the New York Rangers as a free agent in 2010. He played for the club in 2013/14 and 2014/15 before being traded to Edmonton. Talbot led the league in games played by a goalie in 2016/17 and again in 2017/18 when he guarded the crease 73 and 67 times respectively.

He’s played 284 regular-season games in his career with a mark of 137-110-24, a GAA of 2.59, a 91.5 save percentage and 20 shutouts. Talbot’s also 7-7 in 15 career playoff games with a 2.48 GAA, 92.2 save percentage and two shutouts. He led the league in wins in 2016/17 with 42 and his 31 victories in 2017/17 were ranked 10th. He also had a fine season in 2014/15 as he was ranked fourth in both goals-against average and save percentage at 2.21 and 92.6. However, he also led the NHL in losses in 2015/16 and 2017/18 with 27 and 31 respectively.

The 6-foot-6-inch Stolarz was drafted by the Flyers in 2012 with the 45th overall pick. He played in seven games with the team in 2016/17 and in 12 this season. He went 6-4-4 in Philadelphia with a GAA of 2.86 and a save percentage of 91.1 along with two shutouts. He’s now expected to give Koskinen a good battle for the top job in Edmonton. As for the Flyers, they will have given up a good young prospect for a rental player if Talbot decides to leave the team as a free agent at the end of the season.

However, club management may feel it was worth if if the squad makes the playoffs this season. As of Feb. 18th they had just won three games in a row and were 8-1-1 in their past 10 outings, but were still six points behind the final wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia also had three teams to overtake, but if they can extend their recent hot streak, anything’s possible.

The axe falls on Anaheim Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle

For the second time in his NHL head coaching career, Randy Carlyle has been fired by the Anaheim Ducks and general manager Bob Murray. With just two victories in the last 21 outings since December 18th and riding a seven-game losing skid, the move was inevitable. However, many fans and experts believe the axe should have fell long before it got to this point. The team is 2-15-4 over that time after they won 11 of their 13 previous games and occupied second place in the Pacific Division.

Despite the Ducks’ woeful record over the last 21 contests they are still somehow in the playoff race in the Western Conference. They have 51 points on the season and share last place in the conference with the Los Angeles Kings, but as of Feb. 10th they were only half a dozen points out of the final playoff position. Murray has announced that he’ll be taking over Carlyle’s coaching duties even though he has no experience behind the bench. He added that a new head coach will be hired in the offseason. One potential candidate is Dallas Eakins, who’s currently the bench boss with the Ducks’ AHL farm team the San Diego Gulls.

Carlyle becomes the sixth NHL head coach to lose his job this season after no coaches were let go in 2017/18. The 62-year-old Sudbury, Ontario native first took over behind the Anaheim bench in 2005 and led the team to a Stanley Cup triumph in 2006/07. He was fired from the Ducks the first time during the 2010/11 campaign and was replaced by Bruce Boudreau. Carlyle was then hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs and led the team to the playoffs once in three-and-a-half years before being dismissed from his job in January, 2015.

He returned to the Ducks in 2016/17 after Boudreau was let go. As for Murray, he’s been with the Ducks organization since 2005 in various capacities. He pulled the trigger on several trades earlier in the season in an attempt to change the team’s struggling fortunes, but they failed to make a positive impact. Anaheim missed the playoffs just once previously under Carlyle and he posted a record of 384-256-96 with the club  in 736 regular-season games, going 46-37 in the playoffs. He is ranked number one all-time for franchise coaching wins in Anaheim, but was just 21-26-9 this season.

Carlyle was relieved of his duties on Feb. 10th after the Ducks were beaten 6-2 in Philadelphia. It was their seventh consecutive defeat and they had been outscored 29-7 in the past five games as well as 14-0 during the first periods of that stretch. The Ducks endured a 12-game losing skid in January, but at the time Murray announced to the press that he wasn’t going to change head coaches. The Ducks then won a pair of games, but entered another extended losing streak immediately after.

The Ducks lost several key players to injuries at times during the current season and that definitely didn’t help their cause. However, some of them have returned, including high-scoring-winger Corey Perry, but they still haven’t been to snap their losing streak. Goaltender John Gibson has also been struggling and a coaching move certainly made sense. Murray may decide to shake up the roster with more moves between now and the February 25th NHL trade deadline, but the Ducks still have to pass seven teams in the standings to reach the last wild card playoff spot.

Detroit Red Wings slowly improving

As expected, the ageing Detroit Red Wings didn’t look like a playoff contender to start the NHL season. However, things looked up after they posted 11 wins in a 15-game stretch a few weeks later. The light at the end of the tunnel soon disappeared though as the team then won just seven of its next 25 games and lost several players to injuries. The Red Wings were enjoying a three-game winning streak as of Feb. 4Th, but it looks like it’s a case of too little too late as far as the playoffs are concerned.

Detroit still sat 10 points behind the last wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and had half a dozen teams to pass in the standings to reach it. If they miss the postseason again this season it’ll be the third straight year they’ve failed to make the playoffs. Of course, this is a shock to the fan base in Detroit since the club made the playoffs for 25 consecutive seasons before the streak was halted in 2016/17.

The future isn’t too dark in the Motor City though as 22-year-old Dylan Larkin looks destined to become a legitimate NHL star. Larkin has produced 22 goals and 27 assists for 49 points after 51 games  and is on pace for a 34-goal, 76-point campaign. The speedy youngster was taken 15th overall in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft and impressed as a rookie with 23 goals and 45 points in 2015/16 and was a plus-11.

The organization and its fans were left scratching their heads the next season though when Larkin dipped to just 17 goals and 15 assists in his second year for 32 points and was a minus-28. The native of Waterford, Michigan bounced back last season with 63 points in 82 games, but still found the back of the net just 16 times for a career low. It now looks like he’s back on track for good and will set new highs in goals and points this year.

Larkin is maturing at a steady rate and has led the squad by example. He’s a tireless worker who combines skill and determination and it’s certainly paid off. In fact, he’s impressed head coach Jeff Blashill and general manager Ken Holland so much that he’s likely to be named the team’s next captain. Larkin has been averaging 21:54 of ice time per game this season to rank eighth in the league for forwards and is depended on in all game situations. He’s also proven to be a timely scorer with four game-winning goals so far this year and is one of the best faceoff men in the league at just over 54 per cent.

It’s true that Larkin doesn’t really excel in one specific area of the game, other than perhaps his speed, but he does do everything well, which makes him a very complete two-way player. If he can keep developing at the same pace Red Wings’ fans may be comparing him to their former captain and current Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman. But while Larkin is the team’s brightest star there are also some other fine young prospects in the organization to help him out.

The future success of the organization also lies in the hands of young forwards Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jacob De La Rose, Christopher Ehn, Filip Zadina, Evgeny Svechnikov, Michael Rasmussen and Anthony Mantha. There’s also some promise on the blue line with the emergence of Dennis Chowlowski, Joe Hicketts and Filip Hronek.

With the NHL trade deadline approaching on Feb. 25Th, the Red Wings could have some big decisions to make regarding veterans such as defencemen Nick Jensen and Niklas Kronwall as well as forwards Thomas Vanek and Gustav Nyquist and goaltender Jimmy Howard. Holland may move some of his veterans if possible to make room for younger prospects next season. Either way, the Red Wings should have a good shot at returning to the playoffs in 2019/20.