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)

A ‘weird game’ and a tough loss, but Preds feel good about their chances

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PITTSBURGH — “It was a weird game,” said Pekka Rinne, pretty much nailing it.

The Nashville Predators had just lost, 5-3, after keeping the Pittsburgh Penguins without a shot for almost two full periods of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Rinne, the Conn Smythe Trophy favorite heading into the series, only saw 11 shots the whole night. Four of them beat him, including one that bounced off his own defenseman to put the Preds down, 3-0, in the first period.

Nashville eventually battled back to tie it at three, thanks to a couple of power-play snipes and an even-strength tally by Frederick Gaudreau. But Jake Guentzel‘s goal at 16:43 of the third, on a shot that broke the Penguins’ unfathomably long stretch without one, proved to be the winner. Minutes later, an empty-netter sealed it for the defending champs. 

“At the end of the day, my job is to make the save,” said Rinne, “and at the end of the game I’m disappointed I couldn’t help my team. We showed a lot of character. I thought that we played a great game. I think we have a lot of things that we can take away from this game, a lot of positives.”

Captain Mike Fisher had no idea that his Preds had held the Penguins shotless for 37 minutes, a stretch that went from 19:43 of the first when Nick Bonino‘s one-handed pass bounced off Mattias Ekholm‘s pads into the net, all the way to Guentzel’s winner.

“I knew they weren’t getting too many chances and we were playing pretty strong,” said Fisher. “We found a way to get back in it, but it wasn’t our night.”

Defenseman P.K. Subban, who had a goal called back in the first period after video review determined that Filip Forsberg was a hair offside, was characteristically positive afterwards.

“That’s hockey,” said Subban. “That’s just what it is. And if we just play the way we did, minus some of the mistakes that we made, I like our chances. We’ll be better next game, that’s for sure. I’m sure they’re going to be better. … This is going to be a long series.”

Penguins avoid collapse, beat Preds in crazy Stanley Cup Final opener

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PITTSBURGH — The game of hockey can be crazy at times.

Then you have nights like Monday, when it gets really crazy.

In a game that often made no sense at all, the Penguins built up a 3-0 lead, blew that lead, then rallied late to beat Nashville 5-3 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

So, uh, where to even begin with this?

Let’s start with the game-winner. Jake Guentzel, who was on the verge of being a healthy scratch for tonight’s affair, scored with less than four minutes remaining to snap an eight-game goalless drought.

Now, consider the circumstances under which this goal was scored.

Guentzel was facing tremendous pressure to get his offense going. And the shot he scored on was Pittsburgh’s first in 37 minutes of action. During that time, the Pens recorded the first zero-shot playoff period since NHL began tracking SOG in 1957-58.

Guentzel’s goal also came after Nashville had staged a furious, wild three-goal rally to even things up.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissions and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Preds, with Sissions and Gaudreau finding the back of the net less than four minutes apart in the final frame. Gaudreau, who up until a few weeks ago was playing in the Calder Cup playoffs, looked as though he was primed to become the next unlikely postseason hero.

But it wasn’t to be.

Because there were other equally unlikely developments on the night.

Heck, we haven’t discussed the first period yet. Evgeni Malkin, Conor Sheary and Nick Bonino scored in a span of 4:11 in the opening frame, a flurry filled with fortuitous bounces and breaks. Malkin’s tally came on a 5-on-3 man advantage, after Calle Jarnkrok and James Neal were whistled for simultaneous penalties. Bonino’s marker was an own goal, knocked in by Preds d-man Mattias Ekholm.

Oh, and there was that disallowed marker.

Perhaps you heard? It was an ignominious start for the NHL on its biggest stage. Seven minutes in, the Preds looked to have taken a 1-0 lead when P.K. Subban‘s blast beat Matt Murray. But hold on. Pens head coach Mike Sullivan quickly challenged and, upon review, it was deemed that Filip Forsberg entered the Pittsburgh zone illegally.

More, from the NHL’s situation room blog:

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Linesmen, NHL Hockey Operations staff determined that Forsberg preceded the puck into the attacking zone, nor did he have possession and control before crossing the blue line.

This ruling came just hours after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman defended offside challenges in his state-of-the-league address.

Crazy is right. And fitting, given what transpired tonight.

Video: Guentzel, Penguins regain lead after 37-minute shot drought

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Luck keeps going the Pittsburgh Penguins’ way in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Nashville Predators kept firing away at Matt Murray, holding the Penguins without a shot on goal for a whopping 37 minutes and managing to tie the contest 3-3 after falling behind 3-0.

It was a ridiculous display … and then Pittsburgh got its next shot.

Jake Guentzel scored on that attempt, roofing it past a struggling Pekka Rinne. It’s the sort of thing you can’t even dream up.

Pittsburgh also added an empty-net goal, so Nashville needs an epic final 30 seconds if they hope to avoid a crushing Game 1 loss.

Predators hold Penguins without a shot in second, now down 3-1 in Game 1

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There’s little sense denying the Pittsburgh Penguins’ luck through 40 minutes against the Nashville Predators in Game 1.

Through the first period, some favorable calls and a lucky bounce or two helped Pittsburgh generate a stunning 3-0 lead. Pittsburgh ended the opening frame with a burst of activity after a strong start to the Stanley Cup Final by Nashville.

The Predators regained their composure and confidence in the second, resulting in a dominant display on the ice (if not on the scoreboard).

The Penguins only managed couldn’t even manage a single, measly shot on goal against Pekka Rinne during the middle frame, but unfortunately for Nashville, some dominant puck possession only resulted in a goal by Ryan Ellis.

A 3-1 deficit is digestible, if frustrating, for Nashville. We’ll see if they can get back into Game 1 in the third period.

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