Well if you didn’t know any better, you would probably think that today was the NHL’s trade deadline based on the number of moves that have been made. However, the deadline isn’t until tomorrow afternoon. With so many teams currently in a possible or definite playoff spot, over half the league is looking to make themselves better heading into the home stretch of the season. At the same time, because so many teams are battling for a playoff spot, that lowers the number of “sellers” at this year’s deadline.
We all know by now that the Blues got Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from Buffalo in exchange for Christ Stewart and Jaroslav Halak. This trade basically lit the fuse for the rest of the NHL, and now that fuse is reaching, or has reached its end. Here are some of the more notable acquisitions that have been made in advance of tomorrow’s deadline:
- St. Louis: Ryan Miller and Steve Ott
- Buffalo: Chris Stewart and Jaroslav Halak
- Minnesota: Ilya Bryzgalov
- Washington: Dustin Penner
- Anaheim: Stephane Robidas
- Edmonton: Viktor Fasth
- Philadelphia: Andrew MacDonald
- Florida: Roberto Luongo
- Vancouver: Jacob Markstrom
- Chicago: David Rundblad
Lots of names already on the move, and some of them big names. One move that has me intrigued is Dustin Penner leaving the Ducks. In return from Washington, the Ducks got a 4th round pick that they in turn used to acquire Stephane Robidas. I am left wondering though if they are done making deals. Penner was a useful winger for Anaheim, and they traded him essentially for a defenseman. Are they in the process of trading for a winger to replace Penner? The name Thomas Vanek has been linked to Anaheim quite often today, so it will be interesting to see if anything transpires there. If the Ducks do get Vanek, then that may put them above and beyond the rest of the NHL.
Mike Gillis, Vancouver’s general manager, may be the biggest idiot in any NHL front office. Last year at this time, he had Corey Schneider and Roberto Luongo as the two goalies for the Canucks. After today’s deal with Florida, Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom are Vancouver’s number one and two goalies. Essentially, Gillis traded Schneider and Luongo, two number one goalies, for a first round pick, Jacob Markstrom, and a prospect. What is he trying to do? Why trade Schneider last summer if you weren’t going to keep Luongo as your number one? Now all Gillis has done is weaken his team substantially without really gaining much of an asset in return.
All eyes are now on players such as Vanek, Marian Gaborik, and Canucks’ center, Ryan Kesler. If Mike Gillis trades Kesler, I think its safe to say the Canucks are attempting a “rebuild.” If he doesn’t trade Kesler, well then I don’t know what Gillis is trying to do up there. The Penguins and Flyers are being mentioned as the two teams heavily pursuing Ryan Kesler, although some reports are indicating that Philadelphia is involved only to raise Kesler’s price for Pittsburgh.
The Blackhawks have also come up in rumors regarding Ryan Kesler. This one puzzles me. The Blackhawks have about $52,000 in cap space right now according to Capgeek. Ryan Kesler is getting paid $5 million/year all the way through the 2015-2016 season. Currently, the Blackhawks do not have anywhere near the amount of money they would need in order to get Kesler, unless they trade someone like Bryan Bickell and someone else with a smaller contract. Plus, you add in the fact that the Hawks will be looking to extend Kane and Toews this summer (those will be significant pay raises), and they simply will have very little money to play with. Unless of course they trade some of their bigger contracts, which I don’t see them doing. Everyone wants to say “Chicago is in on Kesler,” only because the Hawks could use a true number two center at the moment. People forget about the money situation and the fact that Teuvo Teravainen could very well enter the NHL next season and be that long-lost number two center for the Hawks.
As I began writing this, the Hawks traded this year’s second round pick to Phoenix for David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois. Both are defensemen. Rundblad (23 years old) will join the Blackhawks, giving them eight defensemen on the roster, and Brisebois will head to Rockford. David Rundblad was the Blues’ first round pick in 2009 before being dealt to Phoenix. He has only appeared in 50 NHL games. Rundblad is more of an offensive-defenseman and has some decent potential upside. The problem he has faced up to this point is lack of playing time. In Phoenix, Dave Tippett likes his d-men to be defensive-minded. That didn’t bode well for Rundblad. Also, he was never really given a good chance in the NHL. I don’t know what will happen now that Rundblad is in Chicago, but my guess is he will be given a better opportunity to prove himself. Just look at how the Hawks handled Nick Leddy.
A lot has happened over the last 12 hours or so, and a lot more may still happen. In fact, it was literally just announced that Thomas Vanek is not dressing for tonight’s game in Winnipeg. Clearly, the Islanders are trying to trade him. Whether or not a deal gets done, we shall see.
I’ll try to add more as it happens.