The PHT NHL Trade Deadline Tracker is your one-stop shop for completed deals as the Feb. 26, 3 p.m. ET deadline approaches.
Feb. 24 — New York Islanders acquire Brandon Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a 2019 third-round draft pick. | PHT analysis
Feb. 23 – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Ryan Reaves and a 2018 fourth-round pick; Pittsburgh Penguins acquire Derick Brassard, Vincent Dunn, Tobias Lindberg and a 2018 third-round pick; Ottawa Senators acquire Ian Cole, Filip Gustavsson, a 2018 first-round pick and a 2019 third-round pick. | PHT analysis
Feb. 20 – Boston Bruins acquire Nick Holden from New York Rangers for Rob O’Gara and a 2018 third-round pick. | PHT analysis
Feb. 20 – San Jose Sharks acquire Eric Fehr from Toronto Maple Leafs for 2020 seventh-round pick.
Feb. 19 – Washington Capitals acquire Michal Kempny from Chicago Blackhawks for a conditional* 2018 third-round pick. (*Chicago will receive the higher of Washington’s own third-round draft choice or the third-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Washington acquired the Toronto draft pick from the New Jersey Devils as part of the Marcus Johansson trade on July 2, 2017.) | PHT analysis
Feb. 19 – Philadelphia Flyers acquire Petr Mrazek* from Detroit Red Wings for a conditional* 2nd round pick in 2018 or a 3rd round pick in 2018 or a 4th round pick in 2018 and a conditional* 3rd round pick in 2019 (*Red Wings retain half of Mrazek’s salary. *The 2018 fourth-round pick turns into a third-round pick if the Flyers make the playoffs and Mrazek wins five games during the regular season. That pick will become a second rounder if the Flyers win two playoff rounds and Mrazek wins six games. The 2019 third rounder becomes Red Wings property if Mrazek signs with the Flyers.) | PHT analysis
Feb. 15 – Chicago Blackhawks acquire Chris DiDomenico from Ottawa Senators for Ville Pokka.
Feb. 15 – St. Louis Blues acquire Nikita Soshnikov from Toronto Maple Leafs for 2019 fourth-round pick.
If Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee is to be believed, getting forward Ryan Reaves and a draft pick while not having to give up anything but some cap space was the meal ticket.
McPhee, who spoke to the media in Las Vegas during the first intermission of their game against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday, said they added grit to their lineup with Reaves after the Golden Knights were one of three teams involved in a wild trade that ultimately sent Derick Brassard from Ottawa to Pittsburgh.
Reaves, McPhee said, is a tough guy who can do more than just dole out physical punishment.
“Ryan is a big strong guy that brings some grit, some strong depth to our hockey club,” McPhee said. “He’s a unique player. These players, tough guys in this league, many of them have been rendered obsolete because they can’t play. (Reaves) can play.
The deal was convoluted, McPhee admitted, saying that it’s something that happens with three teams involved. He said it took four transactions to make it work.
“We gave up some cap space, we have a lot of cap space and a minor league player to do this, so we picked up two assets,” McPhee said. “I thought it was a good deal for our club.”
McPhee said he spoke with Pittsburgh a couple days ago, and the deal for Reaves came together quite quickly. He said the issues with the deal were more on the side of Ottawa and Pittsburgh and once those were worked out, the deal was made.
McPhee said he doesn’t necessarily believe the club needs to make moves.
“But if there are opportunities to make the club a little bit better, one percent, two percent, three percent, you do it if it’s not going to affect chemistry,” he said.
This may only be part of the story here for the Golden Knights.
Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported that Vegas may have got involved in the deal to block the Winnipeg Jets from getting Brassard.
So my question…why would Vegas take money on Brassard and help Pittsburgh? It appears otherwise, Brassard was heading to a western team, VGK got involved to keep him in the east. As I was told “Better to face him in round 4 than 2.”
Even though the Jets and Golden Knights wouldn’t meet until the third round of the playoffs — a lot would have to go right for that to happen — Vegas essentially made sure that if the scenario ever came to fruition, they wouldn’t have to deal with Brassard in the series.
If true, that’s some next level stuff by McPhee and Co.
McPhee played down those reports in his presser, saying it wasn’t a “material” part of the deal.
“We saw an opportunity to pick up Ryan Reaves and a draft pick in what was a simple transaction for us,” he said.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that the Jets were disappointed not to land Brassard after going “hard” after him. The move would have solidified Winnipeg’s spine, with Mark Scheifele, Bryan Little, Brassard and Adam Lowry down the middle. Winnipeg’s already a scary team without Brassard’s services. The fear factor would only have improved with him.
The Jets, reportedly, offered three pieces for Brassard, in what was a “solid” package. Given what Pittsburgh sent Ottawa’s way, that likely means a first-round pick, a roster player and a high-level prospect.
The Jets are now forced to look elsewhere, and perhaps they have the league’s newest team to blame for it.
A Jets-Golden Knights series would have a little more on the line if it comes to be this spring.
There likely won’t be a more wild trade before the deadline than the one that took the better part of Friday to finally be completed.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had Ottawa Senators forward Derick Brassard in their grasp, then lost him, and then snatched him up again.
Penguins defenseman Ian Cole was headed to a bad team, then he wasn’t, and then he was again.
And somehow Ryan Reaves is now with the Vegas Golden Knights and the NHL’s newest team is retaining a bunch of salary.
The first trade: Penguins receive Derick Brassard; Senators get a first-round pick, Ian Cole and intriguing goalie prospect Filip Gustavsson.
This deal was rejected by the NHL for “improper use of salary retention,” so it was back to the drawing board for all involved.
The second (and actual) trade: Penguins receive Derick Brassard; Senators get a first-round pick, Ian Cole and intriguing goalie prospect Filip Gustavsson. This didn’t change.
Penguins also acquire a 2018 third round draft pick and prospect forward Vincent Dunn from the Senators; and they also get prospect forward Tobias Lindberg from the Golden Knights.
Vegas receives Ryan Reaves and a 2018 fourth-rounder (Vancouver’s) from the Penguins and also retains 40 percent of Brassard’s salary.
Why the Penguins made the trade: It’s been no secret that the Penguins have been looking for center help since losing Matt Cullen and Nick Bonino. Brassard fits that bill, and honestly, stands as a nice upgrade.
At 30, Brassard is still at or near his prime. The Penguins get Brassard for two playoff runs, as his $5 million cap hit runs through 2018-19.
Brassard’s quietly enjoyed a strong season in Ottawa, as he has 18 goals and 38 points in 58 games. He’s just one point shy of tying his 2016-17 total, even though that came in 81 contests. The former Rangers forward is battle-tested in the postseason, too.
Derick Brassard has 55 points on 22 goals and 33 assists in 78 career playoff games. He has scored 4 game-winning goals. He has played into the Conference Final three times, once into the Cup Final.
Why the Senators made the trade: The Senators are in liquidation mode, and to start, this trade helps Ottawa get a first-rounder back after giving one up in the Matt Duchene trade. Granted, the Penguins’ first-rounder could be very low – they’d love it to be the 31st selection – but it’s a key return for the rebuilding Sens.
Gustavsson, 19, isn’t just a throw-in, either. He was a second-round pick (55th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft. With Craig Anderson already 36, the Senators need to look to the future, and Gustavsson has a chance to be a part of the picture in net.
Filip Gustavsson led Sweden to a silver medal at the World Junior last month, and was named the tournament’s top goalie with a 1.81 GAA and a .924 save % in 6 games. #Sens
This is also worth noting from a Senators perspective:
With what might still be on the horizon, not retaining any of Brassard’s salary is worth noting (Vegas is on the hook for 40%). Teams are only allowed to retain the salaries of 3 players in any given season. The Sens have already done it once (Phaneuf).
Vegas gets some grit in Reaves and a pick, but get roped into 40 percent of Brassard’s salary for some reason or another.
Who won the trade?
Senators fans are unlikely to be happy with the team cleaning house, particularly with players who helped them make a deep playoff run remarkably recently. Still, they’re diving in with a reset, if not a rebuild, and this is a decent return. Getting a bit more for Cole could help, and Gustavsson’s development will play a significant role in how this move is viewed in hindsight.
The Penguins are going for it, as they have been for some time. Brassard fills a serious need, and while defense is an issue for Pittsburgh, Cole found himself as a healthy scratch and obviously on the way out at times.
This is all about the present for Pittsburgh, and it’s easy to justify such a thought process. Let’s not forget that Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Phil Kessel are 30 while Evgeni Malkin is 31. You never know when the championship window might slam shut.
Since Jan. 5, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions are 15-3-1, the best record in the NHL in terms of point percentage (.815). Evgeni Malkin (32 points) and Sidney Crosby (30) are Nos. 1 and 2 in scoring. Yeah, you go for it aggressively.
PITTSBURGH — Willie O’Ree is one of the NHL’s pioneers having broken the league’s color barrier during the 1957-58 season when he first suited up for the Boston Bruins.
The 82-year-old O’Ree, who still looks like he could take a shift in the NHL if he wanted to, was in Pittsburgh on Thursday night to take in the Penguins’ game against the Los Angeles Kings and received a pre-game promise from Ryan Reaves, one of the current players he helped open the door for in the NHL several decades earlier.
In a meeting before the game, Reaves told O’Ree that he was going to try and have a big game for him and then proceeded to go out and score the game’s opening goal in the Penguins’ 3-1 win.
O’Ree was interviewed in the arena during a TV timeout and said that he spoke to Reaves before the game and that he actually promised him a goal. At that point Reaves stood at the Penguins’ bench and tapped his stick on the boards.
He had a chance to keep the promise early in the game only to be stopped on a breakaway by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. He would finally get that goal in the second period when he unleashed a pretty wicked shot from just above the right circle to beat Quick and give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
After the game there was some confusion as to whether or not Reaves had actually promised O’Ree a goal.
“I don’t promise goals,” laughed Reaves. “I can not promise goals. I do not know if you have seen my scoring touch, but I said I was going to have a good game for him, hopefully get him one. Then I did.”
Reaves, one of the NHL’s current black players, said it was a huge honor and a thrill to play in front of O’Ree.
“Coming off the last game, I don’t know if you guys watch too much hockey, but I was absolutely horrendous in our last game and I needed a bounce back,” said Reaves when asked what that moment was like. “Obviously with Willie O’Ree in the house it was pretty special. He was a pioneer for players like me and it was nice to get him one.”
“That is somebody you look up to. He was big in the NHL, big in all sports for players like me.”
Given what O’Ree was able to accomplish it is fairly stunning that he has not yet been honored with a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Even though his career lasted just 45 games over two seasons and resulted in only 14 points, his impact can not be measured in games played or points. It is bigger than that, and the NHL has a specific category for people like him that have advanced the game. It’s called the Builders category, and it absolutely applies to people like O’Ree.
Here is what the NHL says about the basis of selection for builders.
Coaching, managerial or executive ability, or ability in another significant off-ice role, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her organization or organizations and to the game of hockey in general.
That is pretty open for interpretation, but breaking the NHL’s color barrier seems to be a significant contribution to the game of hockey in general.
I asked Reaves after the game if it was long overdue for O’Ree to get a spot.
“Absolutely,” said Reaves. “I think it should have been done once he retired. A guy that has the balls to do something like that and jump into the NHL, he was the first black player to do that, it is a special thing.”
Indeed it is. Other sports seem to agree as almost all of the players that have broken the color barrier in the other three major North American sports have a spot in their sports respective Hall of Fame.
Jackie Robinson, having broken the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Three years later Earl Lloyd broke the NBA’s color barrier and was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame in 2003 as a contributor.
Marion Motley and Bill Willis broke professional football’s color barrier in 1946 when they played for the Cleveland Browns in the old All America Football Conference. Both are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (it is worth pointing out that Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, who would go on to be the first black players in the NFL several weeks later when they played for the Los Angeles Rams, are not currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame).