As the trades start to trickle in prior to the NHL trade deadline on Mar. 1, we aren’t seeing the flurry of deals made pre-deadline like 2016.
The 2016 deadline was pretty anti-climactic, as teams got the jump on proceedings by making 27 deals from Jan. 3 to Feb. 28 against just 19 on the actual day (Feb. 29).
Columbus and Nashville made a high level deal on Jan. 6 (spoiler alert), with D Seth Jones going to Columbus in exchange for F Ryan Johansen.
Then the Toronto Maple Leafs, in full-on rebuild mode, broke things open in a monster swap with Ottawa Feb. 9 (again, spoiler alert), with Dion Phaneuf and spare parts going to the Sens for F Milan Michalek, a 2017 draft pick and minor league help.
With today’s eyebrow raising trade involving Ron Hainsey going to Pittsburgh, it bears looking back at the slower than average 2016 deadline to see what the impact was from 10 significant deals. In no particular order.
10. Anaheim Trades Patrick Maroon to Edmonton
In one of the 2016 deadline’s last deals, Anaheim decided they had seen enough of rugged forward Patrick Maroon, shipping him to Edmonton in exchange for minor league forward Martin Gernat and a 2016 4th round pick (Jack Kopacka). At the time, the Ducks were right on dealing Maroon, who had just four goals and nine assists in 56 games with a -13 rating. Funny how a change of scenery can change a player. In 16 games with Edmonton at the end of the 2015-16 campaign, Maroon beat his production in Anaheim, scoring eight goals and six assists with a +6. This season, given some valuable time on the wing with Connor McDavid, Maroon is having a career year, potting 20 goals and 10 assists and a +12 in 61 games. As for Gernat, he lasted five games with Anaheim’s AHL affiliate in San Diego, failed to record a point and is playing this season in Prague. Kopacka is in his third season with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and has 39 points in 54 games.
9. Calgary Deals Rental Kris Russell to Dallas
We are calling this one a big win for Calgary. Already out of the playoff picture by Feb. 29 last season, the Flames wanted to shed themselves of pending UFA Kris Russell and get a decent package (two players and a conditional draft pick) in return from the playoff-bound Stars. In demand for his shot-blocking and play-making skills, Russell skated in 11 games for Dallas over the rest of the 2015-16 season, recording four assists and 36 shot blocks. In the playoffs, he registered another four assists and 24 shot blocks as the Stars went to the second round (12 total games). But, the Stars couldn’t re-sign him prior to this campaign and he signed with Edmonton. Calgary, meanwhile, has gotten decent mileage out of the defenceman they got in return, Jyrki Jokipakka, who was the 195th overall pick in the 2011 draft. He has a goal and 11 assists in 56 total games and is even overall. As for the other players included, 20-year-old F Brett Pollock (45th overall in 2014) is in the ECHL and C Dillon Dube (the conditional 2nd round pick acquired who played with Canada at the World Juniors) has 33 points in 28 games with the Kelowna of the WHL.
8. Capitals Trade Laich To Leafs For Winnik
In terms of overall value, the Leafs won this pre-2016 deadline deal, by a nose. The Capitals, looking for some grit and penalty-killing ability, knew they had a willing partner in the Leafs, who were in full-on rebuild mode. Thus, they were willing to part with trade deadline fodder Daniel Winnik, receiving veteran Brooks Laich in return. They also got young defenceman Connor Carrick and a 2016 second round pick in return (Carl Grundstrom, 57th overall). Winnik posted five points and a +7 in 20 games with the Caps after the trade, but had zero points in 20 playoff games. He’s having a decent year with Washington (18 points +14) but could find himself on the block again. Laich has been pretty much a bust and was released after playing in the minors all season, but the two throw-ins are key to Toronto maximizing this swap. Carrick, before he was injured Tuesday, had played in a career high 55 games, along with seven points, a +8 and 70 blocked shots. Grundstrom, 19, had seven points in seven games with the Swedish Team at the World Juniors, also has 12 goals and 16 points in 38 games with Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League.
7. Chicago Obtains Fleischmann And Weise From Montreal For Danault And Draft Pick
As per usual at last year’s deadline, the Chicago Blackhawks were loading up for a long run. Too bad that in the end, Montreal wins this deal, based on the return. The Hawks got scoring plugger Dale Weise (who had a career high 14 goals in 56 games) and journeyman winger Tomas Fleischmann (20 points in 57 games) from Montreal for rookie forward Phillip Danault (five points in 30 games) and a 2018 2nd-round draft pick. Weise cooled off over the 15-16 stretch drive, with just an assist in 15 games, while Fleischmann was slightly better with four goals in 19 contests. In Chicago’s seven-game first round ouster to St. Louis, Weise scored a goal in four games and Fleischmann was held pointless. This season, Weise is in Philadelphia and Fleischmann is out of hockey. Danault, on the other hand, has blossomed into a beauty. The Victoriaville, QC native has 10 goals and 20 assists in 60 games and is skating on the first line. Stay tuned on that 2018 2nd round pick the Habs will have, too.
6. San Jose Acquires James Reimer From Toronto
This trade turned out to be a win-win for both San Jose and Toronto (sort of). Leafs fan favorite James Reimer faced an uncertain future in Toronto as he was a pending unrestricted free agent. Leafs management figured that he could fetch a decent return and shipped him to San Jose one day before the 2016 deadline along with minor league forward Jeremy Morin. Coming the other way were spare part goalie Alex Stalock, depth forward Ben Smith and a conditional 4th-round pick in 2018 (the Leafs seriously stocked the cupboard in 2016). Even though he would just be a rental, Reimer was vital to spelling Sharks’ no. 1 Martin Jones down the stretch, as Jones would be crucial to San Jose’s run to the Stanley Cup final. Reimer went 6-2 in eight games down the stretch, with a .938 save percentage and 1.62 goals against average. Toronto’s return has been pretty good. Stalock was gone after three games with the AHL Marlies, but Smith, who was actually signed with Colorado in the off-season and re-obtained on the waiver wire this year, has been a fairly efficient fourth-line center, winning 51.5 percent of his face-offs and blocking 39 shots in 34 games so far.
5. Blackhawks Pull Trigger On Deal To Land Ladd For Playoff Push
Consider 2016 the year the Chicago Blackhawks’ trade deadline moves were flops. Four days prior to the 2016 deadline, the Hawks figured they got the drop on the competition by acquiring Winnipeg star and playoff-hardened vet Andrew Ladd, along with veteran defenceman Jay Harrison and AHL F Matt Fraser. Going to the Jets were Chicago’s first pick (27th overall) in the 2013 draft, C Marko Dano, as well as Chicago’s 2016 first round pick (more on that later) and a conditional 2018 third rounder. After scoring eight goals and four assists in 19 regular season games with Chicago, Ladd was a bust in the playoffs, with a goal and an assist in seven games. A rental, he was gone in free agency to the Islanders. Harrison never played a game in the Windy City and is out of hockey this season, while Fraser is in Europe this season. Dano, the speedy Austrian, has 10 points in 28 games with the Jets, but has been injured a bit this season. Winnipeg’s first round pick from Chicago (22nd overall) was flipped for Philadelphia’s 18th overall selection, which turned out to be giant defenceman Logan Stanley, and the Flyers’ third round (79th overall) pick, who turned out to be D Luke Green of the Saint John Sea Dogs. Good haul.
4. Florida Acquires Jiri Hudler From Calgary For Playoff Drive
The Florida Panthers ought to be a little quieter at this year’s deadline, considering the ill-fated moves they made for a short run in the playoffs last year. Of the players acquired in 2016, Jiri Hudler had minimal impact once inserted into the roster. They picked the Calgary Flames pocket, or so they thought, getting the productive forward for second round picks in 2016 (Tyler Parsons) and 2017 (TBD). Hudler was his usual self in the 19 regular season contests he skated in with the Cats, scoring six goals and five assists to push his season totals to 16-30-46 in 72 games. However, in Florida’s six-game loss to the New York Islanders in the first round, Hudler managed just an assist. He left for Dallas in free agency soon after. The 2016 second round pick (45th) could be big for Calgary, as the Flames selected London Knights star goalie Tyler Parsons. He was the starter for the U.S. at the World Juniors this season and owns a 17-4-3 record for the Knights this year, along with a .926 save percentage, 2.25 goals against average and four shutouts. A win for Calgary.
3. Nashville Swaps Seth Jones To Columbus For Ryan Johansen
Nearly two months before the 2016 deadline, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators completed the kind of trade seldom seen in hockey anymore: the good player for good player swap. And in this case, two promising youngsters were dealt for each other. Jones, now 22, who was picked fourth overall in the 2013 entry draft by Nashville, was on the last year of his entry level contract and with a possible big windfall coming his way (and expensive defencemen like Shea Weber in the fold), was deemed expendable. GM David Poile wanted to maximize his return and Columbus came along dangling Johansen, who could possibly help the Preds come playoff time. As it turns out, Johansen did play a key role, scoring 34 points in 42 regular season games and then four goals and four assists in 14 playoff tilts. The 24-year-old pivot has 43 points in 60 games this season. Jones was a minus player in 41 games for Columbus (-9, 20 points), but is having a stellar 2016-17 campaign, firing 10 goals and 24 assists in 52 games and sporting a +11. A win for both clubs.
2. Leafs And Senators Complete Monster Deal
There were a few multi-player trades at the 2016 deadline, but the blockbuster of them all was the 10-player swap orchestrated by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators (who hadn’t made a trade in 18 years). With Sweet Lou Lamoriello at the helm for the 2015-16 season, the Leafs mandate was clear — clean house of high-priced help and change the face of the team. So, on Feb. 9, 2016, Lamoriello made the biggest of his six deals, sending NHLers, D Dion Phaneuf and F Matt Frattin, along with minor leaguers F Casey Bailey, F Ryan Rupert, D Cody Donaghey to Ottawa for D Jared Cowen, F Milan Michalek, F Colin Greening, F Tobias Lindberg and a 2017 second round pick. The key to the swap was ridding the Leafs of Phaneuf’s untenable seven-year, $49 million contract (just like most of the money-shedding deals Lamoriello made). After the dust settled, the only the only player still employed in the NHL is Phaneuf. The saving grace for Toronto is Lindberg’s promise as a Toronto Marlie and that second round pick this year.
1. Penguins Acquire Jeff Schultz from Edmonton For a Third Round Pick
The Oilers are playoff bound this season after many campaigns in the wilderness. Even still, giving up on D Justin Schultz last year looks bad in hindsight. Schultz was drafted 43rd overall by the Oilers in 2008 and the playmaking defenceman had three good offensive seasons between 2012-13 and 2014-15, scoring 25 goals and 66 assists in 203 games. Playing on a bad defensive squad, he was also a collective -56 while playing an average 22 minutes per game. In 2015-16, with the Oilers floundering in the Western Conference’s basement, Schultz was having a mediocre season, scoring 10 point in 45 games and logging a -22. Pittsburgh, looking for depth for the post-season, offered a 2016 third round pick to the Oilers and they bit. Schultz game turned around in Pittsburgh and he scored eight points in 18 games and was +7. He contributed another four points in 15 playoff games and got to sip from the Stanley Cup. This season he has been a revelation (though he is injured right now), accumulating a career best 39 points (nine goals) and a +31 in 56 games. The Oilers third round pick, 90th overall, was 6’3″ Swedish defenceman Filip Berglund.