Editorials

NHL Trade Deadline: Central Division Breakdown

By Colin Likas
Feb 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Tomas Fleischmann (12) warms up prior to the first period against the Washington Capitals at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Tomas Fleischmann (12) warms up prior to the first period against the Washington Capitals at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Monday, February 29

nhl trade deadline
Sep 24, 2014; Uniondale, NY, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Drew MacIntyre (35) celebrates with left wing Nathan Gerbe (14) after defeating the New York Islanders 4-2 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Blackhawks trade D Dennis Robertson to Carolina Hurricanes for G Drew MacIntyre

Blackhawks’ grade: C-. I know the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, is going to need another goaltender for its playoff run when Michael Leighton joins the Blackhawks in the Antti Raanta role for the NHL postseason. But did Bowman really need to give up someone from the already-barren defensive prospects cabinet? Even if Robertson doesn’t project as an immediate NHLer, it kind of stings.

Hurricanes’ grade: B-. Eh, whatever.

nhl trade deadline
Feb 15, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) against the Montreal Canadiens at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Arizona Coyotes trade F Mikkel Boedker to Colorado Avalanche for F Alex Tanguay, C Connor Bleackley and D Kyle Wood

Coyotes’ grade: B. They knew they probably weren’t going to be able to re-sign Boedker in the offseason, so they got a small haul for him. Tanguay, who is amazingly still in the league (is he like 50?), will be a good teacher for young Coyotes like Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. Bleackley and Wood are young guys who haven’t surpassed the WHL and OHL, respectively, but who are putting up pretty solid offensive statistics so far in their careers. Depending on how those two develop, this move could get even better long-term for Arizona, which is smart to plan for the future instead of chasing the second wild card.

Avalanche’s grade: D. Twitter was abuzz with curiosity as to why it was Colorado who had landed Boedker. And also why Colorado is in buy mode. The Avs are easily the worst possession team in the league at 45.0 Corsi-for across all situations, and Boedker’s Corsi-for at evens is just above 45 percent. So … how’s he going to score when he never has the puck? Offense hasn’t necessarily been the problem for Colorado, either. It’s the Avs’ defense and, more so, their goaltending, paired with the puck possession problems. And now the Avs are going to have to try and re-sign the guy in the offseason, which probably won’t happen. The playoff run the Avs acquired Boedker for isn’t going to last long when one of Chicago, Dallas or St. Louis fries Colorado in the opening round, so what was the point of this?

nhl trade deadline
Feb 11, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell (4) moves the puck against the San Jose Sharks during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

Calgary Flames trade D Kris Russell to Dallas Stars for D Jyrki Jokipakka, F Brett Pollock and a conditional second-round pick (becomes a first-round pick if Dallas wins two 2016 playoff series)

Flames’ grade: A+

Stars’ grade: F

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For all the “amazing” things Dallas General Manager Jim Nill did in the offseason, he executed the dumbest trade of the week here, by a landslide. This trade is literally insane. Dallas’ defense, while not amazing, had improved from last season to this one. Jokipakka was part of that, playing a solid game on the Stars’ third pairing while carrying possession at just over 50 percent at evens. He’s young, too, at 24 years of age. So the Stars tossed him off a bridge — a move that reportedly stunned the kid — and intentionally made their defense worse for the stretch run. The defense that has to save the team’s abhorrent goaltending on a nightly basis. Yeah, Nill for GM of the Millennium.

Russell’s Corsi-for is 43.62 percent at evens with his zone starts slightly tilted to the offensive side. And the Stars sent away a promising young defenseman, a promising young forward (19-year-old Pollock has 67 points in 63 WHL games this season after posting 62 in 70 and 55 in 71 the previous two seasons) and a high draft pick to intentionally acquire Russell. At least Nill can be happy he won’t have to give up a first-rounder, because the Blackhawks or Blues will take care of this team in the playoffs. And for a team that has been known for a lot of stupid/untimely trades in recent years, the Flames made out like hogs on this one. Good work, Brad Treliving.

nhl trade deadline
Jan 21, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas (44) skates with the puck during the first period of their game against the Ottawa Senators at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

New Jersey Devils trade D Eric Gelinas to Colorado Avalanche for a 2017 third-round pick

Devils’ grade: C+. Gelinas’ stats had slid each season since he joined the team full time in 2013, so the Devils were probably just looking for a change of scenery for the 24-year-old. A decent draft pick is a fair return.

Avalanche’s grade: B-. Certainly not the biggest name on the defensive market, but they got him at a relatively low cost while actually addressing a need. Gelinas has carried play at 56.24 percent across all situations, though his zone starts have been heavily sheltered this season. Certainly worse moves a team could make looking to improve its defense (looking at you, Jim Nill).

Ottawa Senators trade D Conor Allen to Minnesota Wild for F Michael Keranen

Senators’ grade: C

Wild’s grade: C

This looks like an AHL depth for AHL depth move. Nothing to look at here.

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New York Islanders trade F Taylor Beck to Colorado Avalanche for F Marc-Andre Cliche

Islanders’ grade: C

Avalanche’s grade: B-

These guys have both spent time in the NHL before. Blackhawks fans might remember Beck as a member of the Nashville Predators’ bottom six, and they may also remember Cliche as a member of the Avalanche’s bottom six. Beck has more offensive upside, so the Avs get the edge. Both guys can be called up for emergency duty if necessary.

Los Angeles Kings trade F Scott Sabourin to Minnesota Wild for F Brett Sutter

Kings’ grade: C+

Wild’s grade: C

Only reasons the Kings get the edge are a) Sutter has seen far more NHL action than Sabourin to this point, and has actually made a minor impact, and b) he’s Kings coach Darryl Sutter‘s son.

Arizona Coyotes traded D Corey Potter to Nashville Predators for “future considerations”

I’m not grading this.

Anaheim Ducks trade F Tim Jackman and 2017 seventh-round pick to Chicago Blackhawks for F Corey Tropp

Ducks’ grade: C-. Why did they trade a draft pick for Tropp?

Blackhawks’ grade: B-. Did you guys even know this happened? Bowman snuck this one in while I was at work, although there wasn’t much to sneak. Jackman is a relatively useless fourth-line guy, and he won’t see NHL time unless the mumps makes a comeback in the Chicago locker room. The draft pick is a nice addition, even a late one.

nhl trade deadline
Feb 27, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames right wing David Jones (19) battle for position with Ottawa Senators left wing Nick Paul (13) and goalie Craig Anderson (41) at Scotiabank Saddledome. Senators won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports /

Calgary Flames trade D David Jones to Minnesota Wild for G Nicklas Backstrom

Flames’ grade: B+. They got rid of a blueliner who wasn’t helping their team in order to, theoretically, improve at a position of need. Makes enough sense.

Wild’s grade: C. Jones’ Corsi-for rate is 43.51 across all situations, so … that’s not a good start. His offensive totals have also dipped over the last several seasons. And he’s 31 years old. But at least they got something NHL-useful for Backstrom, who they obviously didn’t see being a meaningful contributor at the NHL level with Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper around.

Next: Final Central Division Grades

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