Category Archives: Wsh. Capitals
The 2017 NHL trade deadline has come and gone. Quite frankly, it was pretty boring this year. No big or surprising names were moved. However, there was certainly enough action to determine winners or losers of the past few days.
Winner: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning are practically out of playoff contention at this point, but they had a solid trade deadline nonetheless. They acquired a good defensive prospect, Erik Cernak, and a few picks from Los Angeles in exchange for Ben Bishop, a player who was not coming back next year. They also got a second rounder and a good depth player, Byron Froese, in exchange for Brian Boyle.
Steve Yzerman’s biggest pair of moves were preparations for the upcoming expansion draft. First, he dealt Valtteri Filppula and a fourth to Philadelphia for Mark Streit. Filppula has a no-movement clause, therefore Tampa Bay would have been required to protect him for the upcoming expansion draft. That is no longer an issue for them, plus Philadelphia does not have to worry about losing anyone significant up front.
Yzerman then flipped Streit to Pittsburgh for a fourth round pick, which is not a bad return for an aging defender especially with this market.
Although on the surface it may not look like much, Tampa Bay had a great trade deadline day.
Loser: New Jersey Devils
The Devils had a number of assets to sell on Wednesday and the days leading up to it, but they came out with virtually nothing to show for it.
Shero started off earlier than most, trading Vernon Fiddler to Nashville a few weeks prior to the deadline for a fourth round pick. Not a bad deal, but certainly nothing to write home about.
Today, however, was a disaster for New Jersey. They traded Kyle Quincey to Columbus for tough guy Dalton Prout, which is basically a wash. They also only got a sixth rounder for P-A Parenteau.
The Devils were unable to move Mike Cammalleri and Keith Kinkaid amongst others as well.
Winner: Vancouver Canucks
Although he has had some questionable moves in the past, Jim Benning was beyond successful at this year’s trade deadline.
He turned Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen, two aging forwards on close to expiring deals, into elite prospects Jonathan Dahlen and Nikolay Goldobin.
Dahlen, originally a Senators pick, is tearing it up in Sweden currently and put on a great showing at the World Juniors. Currently, he is out producing Filip Forsberg when he was the same age in the same league.
Goldobin was a first round pick a few years back for San Jose and is almost a point-per-game in the AHL this year. He is expected to play an immediate role in Vancouver.
Benning’s past has not been great — but there is no denying that he did fantastic work this week.
Loser: New York Islanders
The Islanders came into the deadline with a lot of chatter, but wound up exiting with nothing. They were the only team not to make a trade this NHL season.
Even if Garth Snow didn’t land Matt Duchene, it was expected that he would add a player to help a bubble team make the playoffs. There were multiple names, like Jordan Eberle, Anthony Duclair, and Tyler Ennis, thrown around but nothing came to fruition.
Garth Snow failed to act this trade deadline and New York’s playoff hopes are looking dim because of it.
Winner: Washington Capitals
Washington went for quality over quantity this trade deadline. They acquired big fish Kevin Shattenkirk from St. Louis prior to the deadline in exchange for Zach Sanford, a first round pick, and a conditional second round pick.
The Capitals understand that their window to win is now. Shattenkirk likely won’t stay with Washington next season, so it is imperative that they go for it all this year.
The move to get Shattenkirk was to bolster their defense, but keeping him away from Pittsburgh and New York may also have been on MacLellan’s mind. The fact that he was able to get Shattenkirk without giving up Vrana or Bowey is an immediate with for Washington.
Loser: Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens were certainly the busiest team this trade deadline, but that does not mean that they made out the best. Marc Bergevin opted to go for size and grit instead of skill.
Montreal wound up bringing in five players: Jordie Benn, Andreas Martinsen, Steve Ott, Dwight King, and Brandon Davidson.
The Davidson trade was good because it for Desharnais off the books. However, other than that it doesn’t look too great. Montreal needed skill and they failed to add that.
On to the playoff march we go.
In less than six months, the entire shape of the NHL will be shifted.
By that time, four major events will have passed: the trade deadline, the entry draft, free agency, and — most importantly — the expansion draft.
The expansion draft is going to have huge ramifications on trades. In fact, it already has. Trades are at an all time low currently in the league, with no general manager moving a muscle due to the uncertainty ahead.
As the days grow closer to March and then eventually June, trade chatter will be rampant. Due to protection lists being so limited this time around, some unusual names may pop up in trade rumors, including the following three.
Brent Seabrook, D, Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks signed Seabrook to a massive eight year contract not too long ago. The deal carries a $6.875 million cap hit until the defenseman is 39 years old.
There is a huge risk taken when signing a player, especially a defenseman, to a large contract that takes him that late in his career. Seabrook’s play is already declining which isn’t a good look for Chicago in the first year.
You have to wonder if Stan Bowman will gauge the market on this one. It frees up a lot of cap space for the team (potentially for Panarin in two years), as well as gives young players such as Ville Pokka, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Gustav Forsling a chance at more minutes.
Trading Seabrook would also allow the Blackhawks to protect one of Pokka, the main piece in the Nick Leddy trade, or van Riemsdyk from Las Vegas.
One hitch, however, is that Seabrook has a full no movement clause. The fit would have to be prefect for the team acquiring him as well as the player.
Stan Bowman would be wise to try to find a way to wiggle out of this deal before it is too late. Seabrook still has value in the league, but there is no saying how long that will last for due to his play style.
Nate Schmidt, D, Washington Capitals
Schmidt had an impressive first full year with Washington last season, boasting two goals and 16 points in 72 games. The smooth skating defenseman proved to be a reliable asset in both ends of the rink for the team.
This season, though, hasn’t been as great. Schmidt has found himself in Barry Trotz’s doghouse, being a healthy scratch on numerous occasions.
With the Capitals likely protecting John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, and Dmitri Orlov, Nate Schmidt would be exposed to Las Vegas. As a 25 year old defender, that could be very enticing for former Capitals general manager George McPhee.
Although his value may not be overly high, Schmidt would be a good acquisition for many teams. He has all the fundamental characteristics of being a good top-four NHL player, including being a good skater and having good instincts.
This’ll be an interesting one to keep an eye on. If Alzner is re-signed, Orlov will be as well.
Andreas Athanasiou, C, Detroit Red Wings
Like Schmidt, this is another player who had an impressive season last year but has seemingly fallen out of favor with his current club.
Athanasiou is one of the quickest players in the league and has amazing hands to go along with that. He is routinely scoring highlight level goals, albeit being a little streaky at times.
With the emergence of Anthony Mantha, the Red Wings have a glut of forwards to be protected for the expansion draft. Zetterberg, Nielsen, Tatar, Nyquist, Mantha, Abdelkader make up for six of the seven spots.
It’s entirely possible that Athanasiou could be the seventh player protected, but you cannot rule a trade out of the picture. Despite his tendencies to disappear at times, there would be a boatload of teams interested in Athanasiou’s services.
Riley Sheehan would be another name to keep an eye on depending how things progress.
As every new season rolls around, there are bound to be players that come in hot and players that come in cold. Most of the time these come as surprises, especially for teams paying big money for players that start the season slow.
1. Justin Williams, Washington
At 35 years old, Williams is at the tail end of his career. After seven seasons and two Stanley Cup wins in Los Angeles, he signed a two year, $3.25 million per deal with the Capitals in hopes to give them the extra push in the playoffs to make it past the second round.
So far this season, Williams has two goals and four points in 21 games. He is on pace for 16 points, which would be down 36 from 2015-2016. Washington needs Williams to start producing immediately. Currently playing on a line with Lars Eller and Zach Sanford, becoming an extra layer of scoring would help push the Capitals up the standings and win their second consecutive Metropolitan Division title.
2. Anthony Duclair, Arizona
After an impressive rookie campaign in 2015-2016, Duclair has fallen off a cliff early this season. Acquired in the Keith Yandle deal with the Rangers in the spring of 2015, the Coyotes envisioned Duclair as a future top-six mainstay, but now are reportedly listening to offers on him.
In 21 games this season, Duclair only has one goal. On pace for only a handful of goals, Duclair is not doing much to help Arizona improve after last season, as they are currently tied for last in the league.
The Coyotes forward core is primarily young, with the likes of Max Domi, Christian Dvorak, Lawson Crouse, and Laurent Dauphin making up a large majority of the group, so inconsistency is expected. But, Duclair has been here before and has a 20 goal season under his belt. Arizona needs him to turn his season around if they want to turn theirs around as well.
3. Andrew Ladd, New York (I)
Signed to be John Tavares’ left winger for he next half-decade, things have not gotten off on the correct foot for Andrew Ladd and the New York Islanders.
Ladd has bounced around on all four lines and subsequently only has two goals in 21 games. He played with John Tavares for around ten games and had no goals, but it may be time for another trial run, seeing that he is going to be wearing blue and orange for a long time.
If Ladd can find his groove next to Tavares, Nelson, or Cizikas, it would be a huge plus for the Islanders. Currently in last place with Arizona, they’ve taken a huge step back after two straight 100 point seasons.
4. Jimmy Hayes, Boston
Hayes has struggled since being traded to Boston from Florida, but this season has been far worse than the previous. He has one goal and no assists in 21 games and has been a healthy scratch on occasion.
Hayes has one year left after this year at $2.3 million, but his future with Boston appears uncertain. A trade does not seem out of the question at this point in time. Hayes is 6’5 and a good skater for his size, and at his current contract there may be a few takers. A scenario change may be good for him to get back on track.
5. Jiri Hudler, Dallas
Hudler signed a one year, $2 million deal with the Stars this offseason, which appeared to be a very team-friendly deal at the time. However, in the four games Hudler has played when he has not been injured, he has zero points and zero shots on goal.
Hudler has been regressing since being almost point-per-game with Calgary in 2014-2015. If he can return to that form, he would become a very valuable asset for the Stars, either on the roster or on the trade market.
The 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs have provided a number of teams with a chance to change their past. The Sharks, Islanders, Panthers, and Capitals all have a shot at a redemption of sorts, but the road getting there won’t be easy.
The Sharks have gotten a chance to face bitter foe Los Angeles in the playoffs once again, and more importantly for the first time since the historic 2014 collapse. In that series, as we all know, the Sharks were up 3-0 before the Kings stormed back on their road to their second Stanley Cup in three years. The Sharks yet again are up 2-0 this year with a chance to make it 3-0 tonight.
Both rosters have changed and evolved since the 2014 bout, especially San Jose’s. Players like Joel Ward and Joonas Donskoi are new to the mix as well as head coach Peter DeBoer behind the bench.
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau don’t have much time left in the NHL unfortunately. The Sharks have a chance to do something special this year and erase the 2014 meltdown from memory and finally move on.
The Islanders and Panthers are two teams going head to head that have some disappointing history within their respective franchises. The Panthers haven’t won a playoff series since 1996, however they are outdone by the Islanders who haven’t won one since 1993. Both are young, hungry teams looking to make the leap to legitimate contenders.
Garth Snow and the Islanders are certainly closer to the threshold for change than the Panthers are, despite Dale Tallon’s trade deadline extravaganza. One team will undoubtedly go home empty handed and disappointed, but one will head back to their home city with a changed history.
The Capitals have some ugly history to vex also. They had the most points in the league again this year, a feat they also accomplished in 2009-2010 when the Montreal Canadiens eliminated them in round one. The Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup and have only advanced to the finals once in their history. That year, 1998, was also the last year the Capitals made it past the second round.
Ovechkin and company have their best chance at making a run at the Cup this year for the first time in far too long. The first step is getting to the third round, though.
Plenty of teams have the chance to re-write history in the first round (or beyond) this year. The playoffs are a new animal and there’s never any rhyme or rhythm with how things will shake out. The fate of these four teams can only and will only be decided on a game to game basis.
It’s no secret that the Islanders are irate over Tom Wilson’s hit on Lubomir Visnovsky in Game 4 of their series with Washington, and that hit will help dictate the pace of how Game 5 goes tonight. Whether the hit was clean or not is a matter of opinion, but either way, Visnovsky has a concussion and his season, and more importantly career, is in jeopardy.
Although just turning 43 years old on February 15th, Jaromir Jagr still has a lot of hockey left in the tank. Jagr, much like he did with the Bruins in 2013, can provide a lot both on the ice and off the ice for a team looking to make a deep run in the playoffs. Jagr has 29 points in 53 games this season, averaging 17:58 time on ice per game. His stats this season, per 60 minutes played, are still good enough to be a second liner in the league, and he also has the advanced statistics to back it up.
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