Wolski and Mueller fitting in with new teams

It’s always interesting when two players traded for each other face off against their former teams, but when it happens just days after that trade goes down I pay attention even more closely. Maybe it’s just the human drama behind trades that I’m fascinated with, the psyche behind going against ex-teammates you were just sitting next to on the bench. Do you hold up on the big hit, or do you put some extra oomph into it to show that you’ve moved on and this is your new team now? Does it feel good to score on your old team, almost like a jab at the team that that traded you away? Of course, some moves are made purely for business, while other can be a bit more personal so each situation is different. It’s still fascinating.

Which brings us to the Wojtek Wolski and Peter Mueller swap between the Avalanche and Coyotes. Both players were a bit of a headache on their respective teams, and new starts with a new team could be good for both the players and the teams themselves. The potential and talent level is comparable, so it will be interesting to see how each ultimately fares with their new team.


On Wednesday night, the same day he was traded for, Mueller scored a
goal for the Avalanche and impressed his teammates with his skill and
hard work. Thursday night, Colorado traveled to Phoenix to take on the
Coyotes in an arena where the fans are finally starting to come alive.
Mueller was booed everytime he touched the puck (I guess his
outspokenness didn’t sit well with fans), but it was Wolski who got big
welcome.

With 23 seconds remaining in regulation in a tie game, Wolski scored the
game winning goal with a nifty one-timer from the slot. I doubt Mueller
was given a big welcome by his former team, but Wolski made it a point
to stick around after the game to shake the hand of his former
teammates. But his immediate desire to become a leader on the Coyotes
that’s most impressive.

“I think we got a lot of chances, and I think it’s only gonna get
better each game,” Wolski said. “We’re all excited about playing with
each other.

“(Friday) we’re gonna address some (power play) stuff and try and
work on some plays, and I think that’s the biggest thing. When you know
where guys are going, it’s much easier.”

Comparing Wolski and Mueller for the rest of their careers with their
new teams isn’t very fair, but that’s just the nature of when two
similar players are exchanged. But for now, the two are already fitting
in with their new teams and have moved on from the trade that swapped
them.

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    Trade: Wild and Coyotes pull off another, as Pulkkinen heads to Arizona

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23:  Teemu Pulkkinen #17 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on October 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Wild 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Chuck Fletcher and John Chayka might want to consider a friends and family phone plan.

    For the second time in as many days, the Minnesota and Arizona GMs have combined on a trade, as the Coyotes have acquired winger Teemu Pulkkinen from the Wild in exchange for future considerations.

    Yesterday, in a much more significant deal, the Wild acquired forwards Ryan White and Martin Hanzal in exchange for a package of draft picks.

    Pulkkinen, 25, has been a terrific scorer at the AHL level, but hasn’t seen that form carry over to the NHL. Detroit, the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, waived him just prior to the start of this season. He was claimed by the Wild, but only appeared in nine games before getting waived again, and then spent most of the year in Iowa.

    True to form, Pulkkinen played very well in the American League, and made this year’s All-Star team.

    With the Coyotes, Pulkkinen will get another look at the NHL level, as he’ll join the team in Boston rather than report to their AHL affiliate in Tucson. Chayka has tried to find similar reclamation projects this year — Peter Holland, Alex Burmistrov — and the Coyotes could end up needing bodies should they continue to sell off veterans.

    Radim Vrbata could be moved by Wednesday’s deadline, as could captain Shane Doan.

    Shattenkirk understands frustration of Blues fans, but he’s got to look out for himself

    ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the San Jose Sharks in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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    If the St. Louis Blues can’t turn Kevin Shattenkirk into something significant, don’t expect a warm reception whenever he returns to Scottrade Center as a member of a different team.

    The 28-year-old defenseman is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s not expected to re-sign with the Blues. He may be traded prior to Wednesday’s deadline. If not, he’ll likely walk away for nothing this offseason.

    Given the above, Shattenkirk understands why many Blues fans were upset that he nixed a trade with Tampa Bay by turning down the Bolts’ contract offer.

    That being said, this is a big decision for the high-scoring d-man. He’s in line for a huge payday, and he wants to make the right call for the sake of his future.

    “It’s not trying to hold things up or hold anything back from these guys,” Shattenirk told the Post-Dispatch, “but that’s where the tough part of this decision comes, doing what’s best for yourself and what could be your only chance with this opportunity in your entire career.”

    The Blues, of course, lost two players to free agency this past summer when David Backes signed with Boston and Troy Brouwer with Calgary.

    Earlier this month, after Ken Hitchcock was fired as head coach, GM Doug Armstrong said he felt the Blues had turned into a group of “independent contractors.”

    “One of the things I’ve learned about being around St. Louis is the Cardinals,” Armstrong said. “They don’t have independent contractors. When they do, they get rid of them.”

    It’s hard now not to see a relation between that comment and Shattenkirk’s situation, given the nixing of the trade with the Lightning apparently came a couple of weeks before Armstrong made the remark.

    Trade coming? Devils healthy scratch Quincey

    NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 21:  Kyle Quincey #22 of the New Jersey Devils skates during an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators at Prudential Center on February 21, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. Senators won 2-1.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
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    The writing’s on the wall for Kyle Quincey.

    Quincey, the veteran defenseman on a one-year deal in New Jersey, will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against Montreal.

    As is often the case for healthy scratches around the trade deadline, many are assuming this is a safety precaution and precursor to a move. You can count Quincey among those thinking it.

    “It’s not done yet, that’s kind of where we’re at right now,” said Quincey, per NorthJersey.com. “Whatever happens, it’s out of my control. I’ve been through it. It’s another day.

    “I’ve had a great year with these guys. It’s not over yet but, if it is, I’m very thankful for the opportunity with the boys here.”

    Quincey, 31, carries a modest $1.25 million cap hit — that comes off the books this summer — and has been good value for the Devils this year. He’s scored four goals and 12 points through 53 contests, averaging 18:38 TOI per night, and is an ideal defensive depth addition for playoff-bound clubs.

    What’s more, Quincey’s appeared in 54 career postseason contests.

    Among the teams rumored to be looking at defensive help? Edmonton, and it’s worth noting that head coach Todd McLellan was an assistant in Detroit when Quincey broke in during the 2005-06 campaign, and the pair spent three seasons together.

    What’s more, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has a history from his Boston days of adding depth d-men at the deadline — Andrej Meszaros in ’14, Wade Redden in ’13, Greg Zanon/Mike Mottau in ’12 and Tomas Kaberle in ’11 — and McLellan did say the club could use another body on the blueline.

    Don’t forget Chiarelli has history with Devils GM Ray Shero, as the two pulled off the Taylor Hall-for-Adam Larsson trade last summer.

     

    Sens announce Hammond will undergo season-ending hip surgery

    OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 5: Andrew Hammond #30 of the Ottawa Senators looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Canadian Tire Centre on April 5, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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    It’s been one development after another in goal for Ottawa this season, and that narrative continued on Monday.

    The Sens announced that third-stringer Andrew Hammond, who’s only appeared in six games this year, will require surgery to fix a torn labrum in his hip and miss the next three months of action. It’ll be a season-ending procedure.

    It’s been a tumultuous season for Hammond, to say the least.

    Two years removed from being the darling of Ottawa’s miraculous playoff push, Hammond was soundly beaten out for the No. 2 gig by Mike Condon, who arrived via trade from Pittsburgh early in the season. There were minutes up for grabs after No. 1 Craig Anderson took a leave while his wife went through cancer treatment, but Hammond was unable to provide consistent netminding and, as a result, Condon got a lion’s share of the playing time.

    At that point, Hammond’s future with the organization seemed in doubt. There were rumblings Ottawa was trying to trade him before waiving him in November (and again in February).

    Around the same time of that second waiving, it was learned the Sens had began contract extension talks with Condon.

    Hammond, 29, has one year left on the three-year, $4.05 million extension signed back in ’15. He carries a $1.35M cap hit.