The Down the Frozen River crew takes a look at whether teams in the Eastern Conference should sell, sell, sell or buy, buy, buy this year at the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline. The bottom five teams in the conference as of mid-day Thursday are explored in depth, as well as some other potential buyers and sellers. Loui Eriksson’s future is also discussed.
This week’s episode got a little delayed by all the trades that happened between recording, editing and uploading this podcast, so sorry for being a little late. Stay tuned for next week’s show, but until then, hear what they have to say about the latest news and notes from around the NHL in this week’s #DTFRPodcast.
The St. Louis Blues began their Saturday by acquiring Edmonton Oilers goaltender, Anders Nilsson, in exchange for goaltender Niklas Lundstrom and a fifth round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Nilsson is a 25-year-old who has played in 26 games this season for the Oilers. His 10-12-2 record, along with a 3.14 GAA and .901 SV% provide a little depth for the Blues in net given their recent injury prone run in goal. Nilsson will be assigned to St. Louis’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.
The 6’5″, 229-pound goalie is a native of Lulea, Sweden and was drafted by the New York Islanders in the third round (62nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He has played in 49 career NHL games for the Islanders and Oilers, amassing a 19-21-4 record and a 3.10 career GAA, as well as a .900 career SV% and one shutout.
Lundstrom is a 23-year-old goalie who was drafted by St. Louis in the fifth round (132nd overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He split this season between the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals and the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. Lundstrom is a native of Varmdo, Sweden and is 6’1″, 194 pounds.
He has an 8-3-0 record in 13 games with Elmira and a 1-1-0 record in four games with the Wolves this season.
Late on Friday night/early Saturday morning (if you’re on the East coast), TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted that it was believed that the St. Louis Blues had acquired 25-year-old goaltender, Anders Nilsson, from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a mid-round draft pick.
It's believed EDM has traded Nilsson to STL in exchange for a mid-round draft pick. Possibly a 4th or 5th rounder.
The Blues, of course, just regained the health of their goalie, Jake Allen, but lost Brian Elliott due to injury in the span of about 24 hours apart from one another. St. Louis was just one of a few teams looking to add a goalie down the stretch (with San Jose having added James Reimer on Saturday and Buffalo in search of another net minder and/or trading partner for Chad Johnson).
Neither the Edmonton Oilers, nor the Blues, had officially announced a trade involving Nilsson following Friday night’s action.
Shortly before 3 AM on the East Coast, Anaheim tweeted some sort of cryptic message shown below just to cause anguish for those of us still up at the crazy hour of almost three in the morning (aside from the fact that the Ducks beat the Oilers 2-1 in overtime, of course).
The Chicago Blackhawks were quite busy on Friday, completing their third trade in 24 hours, when they sent forward Philip Danault and a second round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forwards Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise.
Fleischmann is a 31-year old forward who had 10-10-20 totals in 57 games with the Canadiens this season. The Koprivnice, Czech Republic native has 133-197-330 totals in 638 career NHL games.
He is in his 11th NHL season, having previously spent time wish Washington (2005-2010), Colorado (2010-2011), Florida (2011-2014) and Anaheim (2014-2015). Fleischmann was a product of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft having been selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round (63rd overall).
He signed a contract with Montreal this season as a free agent in early October and has played in 35 career Stanley Cup Playoffs games, in which he’s scored nine points (four goals, five assists).
Weise is a 27-year old forward who is in the midst of a career season, recording 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 56 games with the Canadiens before this trade. He ranked second on the Habs in hits (108) and had 117 shots on goal.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Weise has 85 points (37 goals, 48 assists) in 314 career NHL games spanning six seasons with the New York Rangers (2010-2011), Vancouver Canucks (2011-2014) and Montreal (2014-2016). Weise has 5-5-10 totals in 34 Stanley Cup Playoffs games. The Rangers originally selected Weise in the fourth round (111th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to this trade, he was acquired by Montreal in a deal with Vancouver that sent Raphael Diaz to the Canucks on February 3, 2014.
Both Fleischmann and Weise are pending UFA’s at the end of the season.
Danault is a 23-year old native of Victoriaville, Quebec who had 1-4-5 totals in 30 games with Chicago this season.
He also had 1-1-2 totals in six games with the Rockford IceHogs this season. Danault made his NHL debut last season with the Blackhawks and appeared in one additional game last year.
The 6’0”, 201 pound forward has 68 points (20 goals, 48 assists) and 94 penalty minutes in 160 career AHL games. Danault was Chicago’s second pick in the first round (26th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He split time between the Victoriaville Tigres and Moncton Wildcats during his Junior career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), and recorded 251 points (74 goals, 177 assists) in 243 career QMJHL games.
As a result of the trade (and the recent injury to defenseman Nathan Beaulieu), Montreal has recalled forward Michael McCarron and defenseman Morgan Ellis from the St. John’s IceCaps (AHL).
Montreal retained 30 percent of Dale Weise’s salary in the deal.
The Canadiens are scheduled to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs from home ice at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday night, while the Blackhawks and their new additions will take on the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon on home ice at the United Center as part of NBC’s Game of the Week.
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings swapped defenseman late Friday afternoon exchanging Rob Scuderi for Christian Ehrhoff respectively.
Scuderi is a 37-year old defenseman making a return to the Kings for the second time in his career. He had previously won a Stanley Cup with Los Angeles in 2012.
He was traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Blackhawks prior to this trade this season. Scuderi had played in 17 games with Chicago this season, but produced no points. Prior to being dealt to the Blackhawks, he appeared in 25 games for Pittsburgh and registered four assists.
The 6’1″, 212 pound defenseman is a native of Syosset, New York and has 8-96-104 totals in 762 career NHL games for the Blackhawks (2015-2016), Penguins (2003-2009, 2013-2015) and Kings (2009-2013, 2016-). Scuderi is signed through next season and skated in three games for the Rockford IceHogs (AHL) after clearing waivers earlier this month.
He was also a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup championship.
The fifth round pick (134th overall) of the Penguins in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft has a plus-16 rating and 196 penalty minutes in his career and 1-13-14 totals in 117 playoff games.
The Kings sent D Kevin Gravel to the Ontario Reign (AHL) to make room for Scuderi on their 23 man roster.
Ehrhoff is a 33-year old defenseman who had two goals and eight assists in 40 games with Los Angeles this season before he was sent to Ontario earlier this month. Ehrhoff is a pending UFA at the end of this season and had three assists in five games with the Reign. He joined the Kings as an unrestricted free agent in September.
The native of Moers, Germany leads all German-born defensemen with 337 points (74 goals, 263 assists) in 781 career NHL games, spanning 12 seasons with San Jose (2003-2009), Vancouver (2009-2011), Buffalo (2011-2014), Pittsburgh (2014-2015) and Los Angeles (2015-2016). In 73 career Stanley Cup Playoffs games, Ehrhoff has 7-27-34 totals. He has also scored 52 points (16 goals, 36 assists) in 111 career AHL games and eight points (two goals, six assists) in nine Calder Cup Playoffs games.
Ehrhoff was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the fourth round (106th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. It is unclear if he will be sent to Rockford or join Chicago at this point in time.
Chicago retained 50 percent of Scuderi’s contract and Los Angeles retained 15 percent of Ehrhoff’s salary. Scuderi’s contract has now been retained in two separate transactions and cannot be retained anymore by any team, per the rules of the current CBA, should he be traded again in the remaining duration of his contract.
Scuderi and the Los Angeles Kings will host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at the Staples Center while the Chicago Blackhawks will be in action on Sunday at home versus the Washington Capitals as part of NBC’s Game of the Week.
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Winnipeg Jets provided a little trade action on Thursday night in a deal that involved quite a bit. Chicago sent forward Marko Dano, a first round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft to Winnipeg in exchange for forwards Andrew Ladd and Matt Fraser, as well as defenseman Jay Harrison. The conditional pick in the trade will be a third rounder if the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup this season.
Ladd is a 30-year old left-winger who served as the Jets’ captain since the franchise moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg prior to the 2011-2012 season.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion ranks 4th in franchise history for Winnipeg in goal scoring with 139 goals since being acquired from Chicago after winning his most recent Cup championship in 2010.
His first Cup championship was with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
He had 17-17-34 totals in 59 games this season with the Jets and had a three game goal streak this month. Ladd had 143 shots on goal and 126 hits prior to the trade, as well. He tallied 37-62-99 totals in 184 career games in his first stint with the Blackhawks and amassed 6-4-10 totals in 36 playoff games with Chicago during that time. In 750 career NHL games, spanning 11 seasons with Carolina (2005-2008), Chicago (2008-2010), Atlanta (2010-2011) and Winnipeg (2011-2016), Ladd has 202-252-454 totals.
The native of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, was the Hurricane’s first round pick (4th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and had a career high in points (62) last season in 81 games with Winnipeg. He led the Jets in scoring in three seasons (2010-2011, 2012-2013 and 2014-2015). Ladd has 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists) in 57 career Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances.
Dano is a 21-year old forward who has played in 48 career NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks. He was a product of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft having been selected 27th overall by Columbus.
He had two points (one goal, one assist) in 13 games with the Blackhawks this season and 4-19-23 totals in 34 games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL).
The Blackhawks previously acquired the Eisenstadt, Austria native on June 30, 2015 in a trade that sent Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dano has 23 career points and 16 penalty minutes and was named one of the top three players on team Slovakia at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. In 83 career AHL games, he has 17-31-48 totals and 78 penalty minutes over the last three seasons.
Harrison is a 33-year old defenseman who spent 18 games with the Manitoba Moose in the American Hockey League this season, notching 3-2-5 totals. The Oshawa, Ontario native has 23-52-75 scoring totals in 372 career NHL games in nine career NHL seasons with Toronto (2005-2009), Carolina (2009-2015) and Winnipeg (2014-2015). Harrison has 37-80-117 totals in 426 career AHL games, with 20 points in 45 career Calder Cup Playoffs games.
Fraser is a 25-year old right-winger who has 5-9-14 totals in 44 games with the Moose this season. He has 11-6-17 totals in 87 career NHL games, spanning four seasons with the Dallas Stars (2011-2013), Boston Bruins (2013-2014) and Edmonton Oilers (2014-2015).
The native of Red Deer, Alberta has two points (one goal, one assist) in four career Stanley Cup Playoffs games from his 2014 playoff appearance with Boston. Fraser has 95-50-145 totals in 225 career AHL games and 5-2-7 totals in 14 Calder Cup Playoffs games.
Both Fraser and Harrison will report to the IceHogs.
The Jets retained 36% of Andrew Ladd’s salary in the deal. Ladd and Harrison are pending UFAs, while Fraser is a pending RFA. Dano has two years left on his entry-level deal.
The Blackhawks take on the Nashville Predators Thursday night at home and will see Ladd return to Chicago on Sunday when they take on the Washington Capitals at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois as part of NBC’s Game of the Week coverage.
Winnipeg travels to Dallas to play the Stars on Thursday night, but will move on with Dano in their system in time for Saturday’s matchup on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Granted, I’m always excited to watch a game and for new seasons to begin, but am I not the only one who is excited for this offseason? The high quality playing talent might not be on the market, but just about everything else will be and this is great for people like me that like to talk about all aspects of hockey. Plus it gives me something to write about and things to consider discussing in future podcasts, but that’s beside the point.
Second Round Bore
Yes last second goals are exciting; no 2-0 and 3-0 series leads for everyone are not. (Okay fine, I know that Calgary finally decided to make things interesting, for now and technically the Rangers and Capitals series is now going to a Game 6, but for the lack of a better part, things have been one sided across the Second Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs).
Anaheim has been a dominant force in the Ducks versus Flames series. The Capitals and Rangers have had low scoring games that have shown puck possession domination and lots of zone time for Washington. Tampa Bay nearly blew Montreal out of the water and for God’s sake, Chicago went all Chicago on the Minnesota Wild and swept them.
Calgary’s quick methods of scoring in Game 4 proved to be something that they might be able to maintain in the series against the Ducks considering how they came back to win Game 3 as well, it’s not crazy to think that if they can respond to Anaheim’s strong roster and presence in the playoffs so far in Game 5- there will at least be a Game 6.
Then again, in keeping with the dominance trend of this round, the Ducks can’t be stopped on home ice. Thanks for trying Calgary, you were great to watch and will probably be making a long run in the playoffs within the next few seasons if you keep it up.
For a team that added so much talent around the trade deadline and went on a rampage to the top of the league standings, laying claim to this year’s President’s Trophy title, the New York Rangers have been pathetic in offensive production in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They should know from last year, you can’t win the Cup if you can’t score goals. Or defend 2-0 leads, but at least Los Angeles isn’t in the playoffs this year to ruin New York’s hopes and dreams.
Instead, Braden Holtby, and the Washington Capitals look to do that. In somewhat anticlimactic fashion, given the oddities of every game in that series so far, might I add.
The Lightning have manhandled the Canadiens, with the exception of Game 4. But for all intents and purposes, the Bolts look like they will wrap this up before a Game 7 becomes necessary.
Front Office Changes, Peter Chiarelli, Ray Shero, and the Boston Bruins possibilities
Peter Chiarelli instantly makes the Edmonton Oilers better. Drafting Connor McDavid makes them even better and actually provides a speck of hope for the future of that organization. Chiarelli’s familiarity with some of the guys on the Oilers roster, such as current Edmonton captain and former Bruin, Andrew Ference, as well as former Boston forwards, Matt Fraser and Benoit Pouliot, will at least provide Chiarelli an opportunity to ease into the organization with comfort.
Edmonton’s outlook is finally hopeful. While they might not make the playoffs again next season, there’s a good chance they’ll make it in 2017. McDavid will have had a little time in the league and the attractiveness of Chiarelli as a GM (and the front office he puts together) will bring talented players to the Oilers organization in free agency. Assuming Chiarelli keeps up his recent trend of drafting well, Edmonton will finally have a foundation to build on in their minor league affiliates.
As long as Chiarelli can operate his strategies and tactics that worked well in Boston with Edmonton in the Western Conference, where the style of hockey tends to be radically different from the Eastern Conference currently, then he will have great opportunities for freedom to do as he pleases with the Oilers reigns.
In New Jersey, Ray Shero brings quality expertise as a general manager for the New Jersey Devils. The architect of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup Championship is poised to make a quicker than expected turnaround out of the rebuilding Devils organization.
Shero understands that a team needs a mix of youth and veterans on a roster and will clearly have enough cap space to work with to attract the best that he can from free agency. Shero also has assets to trade, unlike Chiarelli in Edmonton, where other teams might be weary of what they’re getting in return.
A team looking for a veteran to complete their third line in an effort to make a deep playoff run, and successful regular season, would easily poke around at New Jersey’s roster for options. While he might be a shell of his former self, Michael Ryder comes to mind as someone that could use a fresh start in an organization that doesn’t expect that much from him, but just enough, and is looking for a long run.
Last but not least, the Boston Bruins are narrowing down their selection for their next general manager. It is rumored that Jeff Gorton and Don Sweeney are leading candidates for the position, especially after New Jersey hired Shero.
Gorton was a former assistant GM for the Bruins and had a stint as the interim GM in between the firing of Mike O’Connell and the hiring of Peter Chiarelli, in 2006. And yes, technically it was Gorton’s genius in the execution of the Andrew Raycroft for the rights to Tuukka Rask trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs (sorry Toronto).
While a return for Gorton to Boston would be pleasing for everyone involved with the organization, the New York Rangers have not let him speak to the Bruins for the open general manager position. Gorton is for now and likely will continue to be, the assistant GM for the Rangers.
So what’s realistically going to happen, unless an unnamed individual appears out of nowhere, is the promotion of current Bruins assistant GM Don Sweeney to the position. Sweeney already has an inside track of knowledge within the organization and is more than capable of taking control of the upper management decisions, having served as the assistant GM since July 2010.
It’s not a matter of who the Bruins hire to be their next general manager, but rather what do they do with their current roster that has clearly lost some of its touch. While the core of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, and David Pastrnak won’t be disturbed, questions remain around forwards Milan Lucic, Reilly Smith, Chris Kelly, and defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Kevan Miller.
The Bruins look to resign Carl Soderberg and should definitely pass on resigning Matt Bartkowski, but as to whether they need to move Lucic, Smith, Kelly, Seidenberg, or Miller for some asset remains to be unsolved.
Todd McLellan, Mike Babcock, Craig Berube, Dan Bylsma, Guy Boucher, and possibly Claude Julien all could be actively in the market for a new head-coaching gig. And hey, Paul MacLean and his glorious mustache is still out there too.
McLellan has been interviewing with the Edmonton Oilers, who have in fact, have even spoken with the coach they just fired. While Edmonton is a prime fit for McLellan if he is looking to remain in the Western Conference, he might be better suited for an Eastern Conference team in need of something to anchor the development of their players for even a few seasons, say the Buffalo Sabres or the Philadelphia Flyers for example.
Babcock is free to speak with anyone, given he’s at the end of his contract with the Detroit Red Wings. There is high speculation that he will end up in Toronto, and quite frankly, that might be the best fit for him. If the Maple Leafs can’t move Dion Phaneuf or Phil Kessel and continue to have disgruntled players on their roster, maybe Babcock can calm things down.
He can’t turn them into Cup winners in one season, but he can make a methodical procedure work for even the annual laughingstock of the NHL. If not, expect Edmonton, Buffalo, and other bottom feeders to be all over him. Realistically, he could deny them all and go to Philadelphia where things are just enough in shape to get better a lot sooner, if he doesn’t have the patience for Toronto.
The now ex-Flyers head coach, Craig Berube, is destined to end up with a team. San Jose, Buffalo, or Edmonton seem like he might make a good fit behind the bench and in the locker room. The Sharks could be Berube’s best fit, given their similarity to Philadelphia in that both teams have an array of youth and veterans that are capable of making the playoffs, but missed out this year.
Two coaches that might be making returns (and thereby playing spoiler this offseason) are Dan Bylsma and Guy Boucher. Bylsma has previously worked with Ray Shero in Pittsburgh and could end up back under his authority in New Jersey, however the Devils look to be set on keeping Adam Oates or Scott Stevens on board. Boucher on the other hand, is looking for a fresh start after having last been fired by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013. He most recently served as the head coach of SC Bern of the Swiss National League A and is signed on through their 2015-2016 season- pending the terms of that deal, he could attempt to jump ship.
Finally, as the Bruins near a decision on their next GM, it looks as though Claude Julien’s job is safe. Although there are a few names floating around for Boston’s next general manager, all signs are pointing towards Don Sweeney landing a promotion and Julien remaining in charge on the bench. But to think, the Bruins could have participated in the roulette of talented coaches if they wanted to- not that Julien isn’t already highly talented at what he does.
When others were on the witch-hunt for Chiarelli and Julien after the Bruins missed the playoffs this year, I sat back with a realistic view on things. You can get rid of one and that’ll be okay. It’ll hurt, but it’s manageable. Again, what really needs a second look is Boston’s roster and I’m sure they know that.
And oh yeah, this year’s draft is still one of the most hyped up Entry Drafts in a long time, so there’s always that to look forward to.
With the dawn of the New Year upon us I decided to explore the possibilities of relocation and expansion. In this excessively informal post, I’ve taken a look at what some of the best concept jerseys are for teams that no longer exist, but should (or possible expansion teams). In each case, I’ve looked at numerous designs, courtesy of Icethetics.co and the forums over at Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net, and highlighted the ones that I would pick if I were the owner of a new franchise looking to establish its identity.
First and foremost I would like to address the idea of a National Hockey League team in Las Vegas. Ready? Pffffffffffffffft.
Okay, now that that’s settled, I’ll be honest in saying that I have yet to see a concept jersey that I even remotely like for a potential NHL team in Las Vegas. I am, however, a fan of these logos designed by a potential Las Vegas Aces fan. Notice the stick inside the spade, notice the playing card disguised as the state of Nevada, or the state of Nevada disguised as a playing card (you decide). Either way, I like these logos, but not the subsequent jersey ideas that followed. Perhaps that is because plenty of time has passed since the days of the ugly introduction of the RBK Edge jerseys. Or maybe I’m just thinking that they look too much like the Milwaukee Admirals. Anyway, these logos would be the start of something unique in professional sports history- fan of the idea of an NHL team in Las Vegas or not.