Antoine Vermette

PHT List: Rating this year’s trade deadline acquisitions

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With just five teams left in the Stanley Cup playoffs — and if New York does the business tonight, that number will drop to four — now’s a good time to look back at the flurry of action on (and leading up to) February’s NHL trade deadline.

Which deals paid off most handsomely? Which didn’t?

The Good

To Phoenix: C Antoine Vermette
To Columbus: 2012 2nd-round pick, 2013 5th-round pick, G Curtis McElhinney (link)

Vermette leads Phoenix in playoff scoring (5G-4A-9PTS — 11th overall) and the Coyotes are in their first ever conference final. This one’s a no-brainer, probably the best deal made.

To Los Angeles: C Jeff Carter
To Columbus: D Jack Johnson, Cond. 1st-round pick (link)

Carter’s numbers hardly jump off the page (1G-3A-4PTS) but Los Angeles’ numbers since acquiring him sure do. Including the playoffs, the Kings are 21-6-3 since the Feb. 23 trade. Oh yeah, they’re also going to their first Western Conference finals since 1993.

To New Jersey: D Marek Zidlicky
To Minnesota: D Kurtis Foster, RW Nick Palmieri, LW Stephane Veilleux, 2012 2nd-round pick, Cond. 2013 3rd-round pick (link)

The Devils gave up plenty to land Zidlicky but, like Carter, you can’t argue with the numbers. New Jersey’s 21-11-2 since getting him; Zidlicky leads all Devils in postseason ice-time (24:39) and has six points in 12 games thus far.

To Philadelphia: D Nicklas Grossmann
To Dallas: 2012 2nd-round pick (link)

The Flyers really liked Grossmann and inked him to a four-year, $14 million deal. His postseason was abbreviated by a concussion but overall, he was solid on the Flyers blueline.

The Average

To Boston: RW Brian Rolston, D Mike Mottau
To New York Islanders: RW Yannick Riendeau, D Marc Cantin (link)

Rolston put up 15 points in 21 regular season games and started the postseason well, scoring a point in each of the first three games. He faded at the end, probably because he’s 39 years old, but considering they gave up nothing to get him and Mottau, the Bruins did okay.

To Chicago: D Johnny Oduya
To Winnipeg: 2013 2nd- and 3rd-round picks (link)

Chicago liked him and he played well, but Oduya didn’t change the ‘Hawks’ fortunes any. They were bounced in the opening round again, and now he’s a UFA that Chicago might not be able to retain.

The Bad

To Philadelphia: D Pavel Kubina
To Tampa Bay: LW Jon Kalinski, 2013 2nd-round pick, Cond. 2013 4th-round pick (link)

The Flyers realized Kubina was too slow to play regularly. He ended up a frequent healthy scratch.

To Detroit: D Kyle Quincey
To Tampa Bay: 2012 1st-round pick, D Sebastien Piche (link)

Quincey’s minutes decreased to the point where he was barely playing 16 per game in the first round. Detroit’s early exit also means the Lightning now get a pretty decent pick.

To Nashville: C Paul Gaustad, 2012 4th-round pick
To Buffalo: 2012 1st-round pick (link)

David Poile — recently named one of the three GM of the year finalists — dealt away a first-rounder for a guy that was often Nashville’s fourth-line center. In the Phoenix series, Gaustad averaged 10:33 per game.

To San Jose: C Dominic Moore, 2012 7th-round pick
To Tampa Bay: 2012 2nd-round pick (link)

To San Jose: C Daniel Winnik, C T.J. Galiardi, 2012 7th-round pick
To Colorado: LW Jamie McGinn (link)

Lumping these in together. Winnik, Galiardi and Moore combined for a measly 12 points in the regular season and one in the playoffs (Galiardi and Moore only dressed for three of the five games.)

Trade we can’t really evaluate yet

To Vancouver: RW Zack Kassian
To Buffalo: C Cody Hodgson (link)

Since this trade wasn’t a prototypical deadline deal — it’s safe to say Vancouver made this one with an eye on the future — it can’t be graded. If you did want to grade it as a trade deadline deal, though, it would be classified as “bad, very very bad” for Vancouver.

The Canucks shipped out an offensively talented player (then proceeded to score eight goals in five games against the Kings) in exchange for Kassian, who was supposed to bring physicality but ended up only playing four of five playoff games (4:51 of ice per) and recording exactly five hits.

Other trades I don’t feel especially compelled to analyze, but feel free to debate them thoroughly in the comments section

To Nashville: RW Andrei Kostitsyn
To Montreal: 2013 2nd-round pick, Cond. 2013 5th-round pick (link)

To Nashville: D Hal Gill, 2013 5th-round pick
To Montreal: C Blake Geoffrion, LW Robert Slaney, 2012 2nd-round pick (link)

To Florida: LW Wojtek Wolski
To New York Rangers: D Mike Vernace, 2013 3rd-round pick (link)

To Vancouver: C Samuel Pahlsson
To Columbus: D Taylor Ellinlgton, Two 2012 4th-round picks (link)

To Ottawa: G Ben Bishop
To St. Louis: 2013 2nd-round pick (link)

Sheary’s in for Penguins in Game 2; Kunitz is a game-time decision

Pittsburgh Penguins' Conor Sheary (43) is greeted by teammates Brian Dumoulin (8) and Chris Kunitz (14) after scoring his first NHL goal, in the first period of the Penguins' hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Pittsburgh. Bruins' Brad Marchand is at lower right. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might look a little different in Game 2 on Saturday after that blistering Game 1.

As the team down 1-0, it’s not too surprising that the Penguins boast the more significant lineup questions, although they lean toward health concerns rather than performance tweaks.

Conor Sheary was able to return during Game 1 after Tom Wilson‘s controversial knee-to-knee hit, and he appears to be in for tonight’s contest as well. Chris Kunitz isn’t quite a guarantee, as he’s currently labeled a game-time decision.

For what it’s worth, Kunitz himself believes he’ll be in. Whether he plays on Saturday or not, it sounds like Kunitz is taking extra safety measures going forward.

The Penguins stayed vague with Marc-Andre Fleury, merely claiming that he’s making “progress.”

Generally speaking, Matt Murray has been playing well for the Penguins. Of course, the scrutiny will rise if Pittsburgh loses Game 2 on Saturday.

The Capitals are also considering a tweak. CSN Mid-Atlantic reports that Barry Trotz is pondering replacing Dmitry Orlov with Taylor Chorney.

“They told me to be prepared as if I’m going to be playing,” Chorney said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”

As you may notice, Chorney isn’t the only one in wait-and-see mode heading into Game 2, which you can watch on NBC.

Hitchcock, Blues know they need to slow down the Stars … but can they?

The puck shot by Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel crosses the goal line as St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) attempt the stop during the second period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals, Friday, April 29, 2016, in Dallas. The Stars won 2-1. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
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The Dallas Stars only beat the St. Louis Blues by one goal (2-1) in Game 1, but the feeling is that the score was deceptively close.

Blame it on fatigue from that epic series against the Chicago Blackhawks or not; the Blues looked out of rhythm and out of breath against the hard-charging Stars.

At least they’re not in denial about that, though.

“We’re not going to beat anybody giving up 40 shots on goal,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after their Game 1 loss on Friday. “We’re not going to beat anybody giving up the scoring chances we did today.”

Hitchcock added “we’ve got to find the energy to play our game, and we’ve got to find it quickly in the next 48 hours.”

Allowing 40 shots on goal might not be that common for the Blues, yet they leaned heavily on Brian Elliott against the Blackhawks in that series.

Just look at the SOG comparison in that series and in Game 1 vs. Dallas:

Game 1: Blues – 18 SOG, Blackhawks – 35
Game 2: Blues – 31, Blackhawks – 29
Game 3: Blues – 36, Blackhawks – 46
Game 4: Blues – 20, Blackhawks – 42
Game 5: Blues – 46, Blackhawks – 35
Game 6: Blues – 28, Blachawks – 36
Game 7: Blues – 26, Blackhawks – 33

Game 1: Blues – 32, Stars – 42

Such shot comparisons make you wonder if Game 1 provided evidence of a rest advantage or if this might just be the state of affairs for the Blues (at least against two electric offenses).

One area to watch is the transition game. The Stars seemed to tear through the neutral zone while the Blues sometimes struggled to get things going.

“They’re a team that wants to play real fast up the ice and through the neutral zone,” Jay Bouwmeester said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Yeah, we didn’t do a very good job of slowing them down. A lot of their chances were off the rush. That’s what you want to take away from them.”

File that under “easier said than done.”

Gather your lucky charms, 2016 NHL Draft Lottery is tonight

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Honestly, it’s tough to blame people for making Edmonton Oilers jokes in regards to the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery.

Really it’s only human nature to drop one-liners about the perennial cellar-dweller that (seemingly) always lands the No. 1 pick.

Will it happen again this time around? We’ll find out soon enough, more precisely sometime around 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

As you can see, the Oilers do not have the best odds to land the top pick … but they’re close:

A reminder: this time around the lottery will determine the top three picks. The NHL discusses that tweak and other changes here:

For the first time, the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery will assign the top three slots in the first round of the NHL Draft – a change from prior years, when the Draft Lottery was used to determine the winner of the first overall selection exclusively.

Want the full lowdown on the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery? PHT has you covered here.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Saturday. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Pittsburgh at Washington (8:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will also be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Some reading to get you pumped up:

– The Penguins are keeping chatty Marc-Andre Fleury from speaking to the media (reportedly).

Tom Wilson received a fine, not a suspension, for that knee-to-knee hit.

T.J. Oshie was the difference-maker for Washington in Game 1.

– Don’t expect Steven Stamkos to face red-hot John Tavares anytime soon (or at all, maybe).

Read about the Isles’ Game 1 win.