Patrick Eaves

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Ducks cement Pacific lead as Getzlaf continues his mammoth March

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By the end of Sunday night, the Anaheim Ducks removed all doubt: they’re on top of the Pacific Division.

Now, it’s not the sort of substantial lead that the sliding San Jose Sharks squandered; Anaheim merely leads the Sharks and Edmonton Oilers by two standings points after beating the New York Rangers 6-3.

With everyone at 75 games played, it’s kind of nice to enjoy the clarity that comes with a clear lead (though the Sharks and Oilers will disagree):

Pacific top four (all teams with 75 games played)

1. Ducks – 93 points (38 ROW, 41 W)
2. Sharks – 91 poitns (40 ROW, 42 W)
3. Oilers – 91 points (37 ROW, 41 W)

Flames – 88 points (38 ROW, 42 W)

The Ducks are now on a four-game winning streak and managed an 8-1-1 mark in their last 10 contests.

With all due respect to Patrick Eaves‘ two goals, it’s Ryan Getzlaf who’s really playing outstanding hockey. He generated four assists in this one, giving him eight helpers in his past four games. He now has a whopping 20 points in March.

Winners and losers of 2017 NHL trade deadline

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Ah, the trade deadline. A day where people make jokes about the lack of things happening while pundits get caught on camera with food on their faces. It is a glorious time of year for message boards but not so much for anyone taking the day off for the (in)action.

It should go without saying, but assessing the trade deadline so soon after it expires is about as calming as defusing a bomb.

Let’s get rolling with subjective opinions that will inevitably make people angry …

(For the full list of trades, click here.)

Winners

Capitals

The team on top of the NHL’s standings nabbed the top target of the trade deadline in Kevin Shattenkirk. Oh yeah, they did so without giving up an arm and a leg. You won’t find a richer example of the rich getting richer during this deadline.

Canucks

*cough*

*takes a breath, rubs eyes in bewilderment*

Prolific punching bag Jim Benning flips the script by getting great returns for Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows. It would have been even better if he did more, but moving Ryan Miller and similar dented cans is easier said than done.

Lightning

The Ben Bishop return was … not good. The wizard known as GM Steve Yzerman worked some magic overall, however, flipping Mark Streit to get rid of the last year of Valtteri Filppula‘s contract while amassing a war chest of mid-round draft picks.

Penguins

Look, the Capitals were bigger winners. People may only remember that considering Pittsburgh’s smaller victories, but the Penguins added potentially crucial defensive depth in Mark Streit, Ron Hainsey and Frank Carrado.

Also … your mileage may vary on this, but keeping Marc-Andre Fleury might be for the best. After all, what if Matt Murray gets hurt?

Struggling prospects like Frank Corrado and Curtis Lazar (and their former teams)

Uncomfortable situations turn into refreshing changes of venue. Meanwhile, the Leafs and Senators get some decent assets to part ways with struggling prospects. Everyone wins?

Coyotes

It’s a letdown not to move Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan, but goodness, that Martin Hanzal trade was deft. After surveying the assets moving during the deadline, the Michael Stone swap looks pretty nice, too.

Red Wings

Benning and Ken Holland are finally seeing the light about rebuilding. Detroit still has a ton of work to do, but this is a promising start.

Avalanche

They got something for Jarome Iginla and didn’t panic-move Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog. Sometimes the best move is standing pat.

Blackhawks

A lot of these winners are sort of like a struggling math student getting a sympathy pass from a teacher to graduate from high school. Chicago is a good example … they did OK, but Johnny Oduya‘s banged up and past his prime, so they didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

Losers

Deadline day

In other words, another year where you made a mistake if you took the day off just for the deadline. Honestly, at this point you don’t deserve much sympathy.

Sabres

Buffalo has been killing it at selling, but this year they couldn’t get anything for Dmitri Kulikov or Cody Franson. Before you post an angry comment, note that even Tim Murray seemed disappointed.

Kings

The good news is that Ben Bishop came cheaply. Still, Jarome Iginla has lost about a thousand steps (as painful as that is to admit), to the point where you wonder if he’s even an upgrade over Dwight King. Missing the playoffs would really hurt a team with an aging core … did they really improve their odds?

Blues

Then again, the team they’re chasing is in a dour state of mind. That Shattenkirk trade flat-out stings, and they did very little other than re-signing Patrik Berglund, so fans don’t even enjoy valuable distractions.

Ducks

Anaheim didn’t clear up its questions on defense and overpaid for Patrick Eaves. In an unusually wide-open West, the Ducks barely even waddled forward.

Rangers

Consider them “winners” if you’re sold on Brendan Smith. Otherwise, they lag behind other contenders.

Senators

Time will tell about Lazar, but the Burrows trade and immediate extension is a real head-scratcher.

Simplicity

Holy smokes, the conditional picks and salary retention details made certain trades tough to follow.

Some highlights:

(click the above tweet for deep confusion.)

/brain explodes

Teams dealing with the Canadiens

Montreal might not be clearly improved after the deadline, but few teams are going to be as annoying as this group. Steve Ott and Dwight Kings make an already cantankerous group borderline nuclear.

This post, in June

Looking back over the years, deadline day analysis almost always looks dumb in retrospect. Maybe this will reverse-jinx it?

(Oh no, this post was just reverse-reverse-jinxed, wasn’t it?)

PHT’s 2017 Trade Deadline Tracker

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Here’s the full list of deals made prior to the Wednesday, March 1 3 p.m. EST trade deadline..

Mar. 1

To Chicago: F Kenton Helgesen, 2019 7th-round pick
To Anaheim: F Spencer Abbot, F Sam Carrick (link)

To Pittsburgh: D Mark Streit
To Tampa Bay: ’18 4th-round pick (link)

To Boston: F Drew Stafford
To Winnipeg: conditional 6th-round pick (link)

To Dallas: D Dillon Heatherington
To Columbus: F Lauri Korpikoski (link)

To Pittsburgh: D Frank Corrado
To Toronto: F Eric Fehr, D Steve Oleksy, ’17 4th-round pick (link)

To Calgary: F Curtis Lazar, D Mike Kostka
To Ottawa: D Jyrki Jokipakka, 2nd-round pick (link)

To Nashville: F P.A. Parenteau
To New Jersey: 6th-round draft pick (link)

To Tampa Bay: D Mark Streit
To Philadelphia: F Valtteri Filppula, ’17 4th-round pick, ’17 conditional 7th-round pick (link)

To Montreal: F Andreas Martinsen
To Colorado: F Sven Andrighetto (link)

To Columbus: D Kyle Quincey
To New Jersey: D Dalton Prout (link)

To New York Rangers: F Taylor Beck
To Edmonton Oilers: F Justin Fontaine (link)

To Tampa Bay: G Mike McKenna
To Florida: G Adam Wilcox (link)

To Los Angeles: F Jarome Iginla
To Colorado: ’18 conditional 4th-round pick (link)

To Montreal: F Dwight King
To Los Angeles: ’18 4th-round pick (link)

To Florida: F Thomas Vanek
To Detroit: ’17 3rd-round pick, D Dylan McIlrath (link)

To Colorado: G Joe Cannata
To Washington: D Cody Corbett (link)

To Colorado: F Brendan Ranford
To Arizona: F Joe Whitney (link)

Feb. 28

To Montreal: F Steve Ott
To Detroit: ’18 6th-round pick (link)

To San Jose: F Jannik Hansen
To Vancouver: F Nikolay Goldobin, ’17 conditional 4th-round pick (link)

To Edmonton: F David Desharnais
To Montreal: D Brandon Davidson (link)

To Chicago: D Johnny Oduya
To Dallas: F Mark McNeill, ’18 conditional 4th-round pick (link)

To New York Rangers: F Daniel Catenacci
To Buffalo: D Mat Bodie (link)

To Ottawa: F Viktor Stalberg
To Carolina: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

To New York Rangers: D Brendan Smith
To Detroit: ’17 3rd-round pick, ’18 2nd-round pick (link)

Feb. 27

To Washington: D Kevin Shattenkirk, G Pheonix Copley
To St. Louis: F Zach Sanford, F Brad Malone, ’17 1st-round pick, ’19 conditional 2nd-round pick (link)

To Ottawa: F Alex Burrows
To Vancouver: F Jonathan Dahlen (link)

To Montreal: D Jordie Benn
To Dallas: D Greg Pateryn, ’17 4th-round pick (link)

To Toronto: F Brian Boyle
To Tampa Bay: F Byron Froese, ’17 2nd-round pick (link)

To Arizona: F Teemu Pulkkinen
To Minnesota: Future considerations (link)

Feb. 26

To Minnesota: F Martin Hanzal, F Ryan White, ’17 4th-round pick
To Arizona: ’17 1st-round pick, ’18 2nd-round pick, ’19 conditional 4th-round pick, F Grayson Downing (link)

To Los Angeles: G Ben Bishop, ’17 5th-round pick
To Tampa Bay: G Peter Budaj, D Erik Cernak, ’17 7th-round pick, ’17 conditional pick (link)

Feb. 24

To Anaheim: F Patrick Eaves
To Dallas: ’17 conditional 2nd-round pick (link)

To Chicago: F Tomas Jurco
To Detroit: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

Feb. 23

To Pittsburgh: D Ron Hainsey
To Carolina: F Danny Kristo, ’17 2nd-round pick (link)

Feb. 20

To Calgary: D Michael Stone
To Arizona: ’18 3rd-round pick, ’18 conditional 5th-round pick (link)

Feb. 18

To Toronto: F Sergey Kalinin
To New Jersey: D Viktor Loov (link)

Feb. 15

To Washington: D Tom Gilbert
To Los Angeles: ’17 conditional 5th-round pick (link)

Feb. 4

To Nashville: F Vernon Fiddler
To New Jersey: ’17 4th-round pick (link)

Conditional trades ‘in vogue’ in the NHL

AP

The NHL trade deadline can make for some conflicting interests come playoff time.

No one outside Minnesota is cheering harder for the Wild than the Arizona Coyotes because they get a second-round pick if Martin Hanzal helps Minnesota reach the third round. The Tampa Bay Lightning would love nothing more than Ben Bishop leading the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup Final.

Conditional trades based on a team’s playoff success, and a player’s part in it, are all the rage right now in the NHL.

Already, four pre-deadline deals include draft picks contingent on how far a team goes in the playoffs. There were 13 such trades combined at the past four deadlines.

“It’s in vogue,” Florida Panthers president of hockey operations Dale Tallon said. “It’s a creative way of doing things. If you have success, you don’t mind paying more. If you’re successful and go deeper, you don’t mind giving up an extra asset or more of an asset.”

Trades conditional on playoff success sometimes happen in the NFL, like when the Minnesota Vikings acquired quarterback Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles last year, but they’re virtually nonexistent in other North American professional sports leagues outside of protected picks in the NBA. They’ve become commonplace in the NHL, in part because they’ve worked out swimmingly a few times.

When the Chicago Blackhawks won it all in 2015, they didn’t mind sending an extra second-round pick to the Flyers for Kimmo Timonen for reaching the Cup Final and the defenseman playing in at least half their games. A year earlier, the Kings gave the Columbus Blue Jackets an extra third-round pick to complete a trade for Marian Gaborik after the winger helped them win their second title in three seasons.

The Kings could give up as high as a second-round pick if Bishop wins them the Cup this season but wouldn’t surrender much of anything if they miss the playoffs. GM Dean Lombardi, who also made the 2014 Gaborik trade, called it a “common sense” way of getting a deal done.

“If I was making a deal here or something and (someone) says, `I’m giving five first-rounders and you’ll win the Cup,’ you’ll do it,” Lombardi said. “You don’t mind paying if your team has success.”

The same is true of the Anaheim Ducks, who would give the Dallas Stars a first-round pick instead of a second for Patrick Eaves if they reach the Western Conference final and the winger plays 50 percent or more of their games. After some haggling, Dallas GM Jim Nill said that was the final piece of getting the trade done.

The idea of contenders gambling on themselves makes all the sense in the world. But trade deadline sellers also like the concept.

The Coyotes were looking to get the best deal for Hanzal , so they bet on him contributing to the Wild’s success.

“We believe strongly that with Martin, Minnesota has a chance to do some things that could be pretty special, and we want to share in some of that upside,” Arizona GM John Chayka said. “We share in the risk, we share in the upside. It’s just a creative way to try and bridge the gap and get a deal done.”

Lombardi would love to make salaries and salary-cap hits contingent on playoff success because if a team goes further it’s also making more money along the way. But the league doesn’t allow that.

Maybe that’s for the best because these kinds of trades make things complicated. Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee, who sent a conditional pick to Florida in 1998 for Esa Tikkanen the year his Washington Capitals made the Cup Final, pointed out that those trades freeze a lot of potential draft picks that could be pieces of other trades.

“The difficulty in doing that is it ties up a lot of picks,” McPhee said. “If they’re encumbered you can’t use them.”

That hasn’t stopped the trend, though, with teams hedging their bets and playing it safe.

“You give yourself a little bit of a protection, too, if you don’t quite go as far as you think you will,” Tallon said.

 

NHL On NBC: Bruins look to stay hot against desperate Stars

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The NBC networks are airing two games on Sunday, with the first one being a big matchup in Dallas featuring two teams desperately fighting for a playoff spot when the Stars host the Boston Bruins.

It’s another Star Sunday on NBC with the focus for this game falling on Stars forward (and former Bruins) Tyler Seguin and Bruins forward David Pastrnak.

Seguin has been one of the NHL’s elite offensive players since arriving in Dallas in a trade four years ago, while Pastrnak is having a breakout season in Boston that has already seen him score 26 goals in 54 games.

Faceoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET, and all of the action can be seen on NBC or via our Live Stream.

As for the game itself, it’s a pretty huge — as they all will be from now on — for both teams. The Bruins enter the game having won four of their first five games under new coach Bruce Cassidy as their offense continues its second half resurgence. They have already scored 23 goals in the five games under Cassidy, and have averaged more than 3.18 goals per game in their past 22 under both him and former coach Claude Julien. Now that Tuukka Rask has started to get back on track, wins are starting to come a little more frequently.

The Bruins enter play on Sunday barely holding on to the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 68 points, currently owning a tiebreaker over the New York Islanders and sitting two points ahead of the Florida Panthers. A win on Sunday would move them into a tie for second place in the Atlantic Division with the Ottawa Senators.

For the Stars, meanwhile, things are a little more dire.

Even with wins in back-to-back games entering Sunday their playoff chances should probably be described as a complete long shot at this point, sitting nine points back of the St. Louis Blues for a wild card spot.

They are looking to win three games in a row for just the third time this season.

They get a little bit of help on the blue line on Sunday with the likely return of defenseman Johnny Oduya as he was activated from injured reserve Sunday morning.

On Friday, they already started selling assets by trading Patrick Eaves to the Anaheim Ducks for a draft pick.