Jonathan Drouin didn’t get traded.
Loui Eriksson didn’t get traded either.
Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata didn’t get traded.
Even P.A. Parenteau didn’t get traded.
Oh sure, there were a few deals today. Mikkel Boedker, Kris Russell, Brandon Pirri, and John-Michael Liles all moved.
But nothing of the blockbuster variety. Nothing that shook the hockey world to its core. Nothing…truly exciting.
So, what happened?
Well, first remember that Eric Staal and Andrew Ladd were traded over the weekend. Those are big names.
But today seemed to mirror July 1, when caution ruled the day for general managers in free agency. It’s no secret that next season’s salary cap is not expected to go up by much, if it goes up at all. And not only does that make it difficult to add players with term, it makes teams even more loath to surrender draft picks and/or prospects.
“The market correction started last summer in free agency with a lot of players getting squeezed by the flat cap and now you’re going to see teams protect their high picks and top prospects more than ever because that’s gold now, that’s the most important currency there is because of the new economic realities,” one Western Conference hockey executive told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun earlier this month.
On to the playoffs.
The first big trade of trade deadline day is in. The Arizona Coyotes have dealt winger Mikkel Boedker to the Colorado Avalanche, in return for veteran forward Alex Tanguay and prospects Kyle Wood (D) and Conner Bleackley (F).
Boedker, a 26-year-old pending unrestricted free agent, has 13 goals and 26 assists in 62 games this season. He’s also a team-worst minus-28.
The Avs are currently in a playoff spot, but are by no means guaranteed to qualify for the postseason. They are not considered strong Stanley Cup contenders, so chances are they see Boedker as a potential long-term piece, not simply a rental.
Minutes after learning of the trade, Boedker was asked by TSN about his contractual future.
“One thing at a time,” he said. “But it’s a good opportunity to be with the Avalanche, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Of note, both Bleackley, 20, and Wood, 19, are unsigned.
Tanguay, 36, is a pending UFA.
Related: For Bleackley, lack of contract is ‘in the back of my mind’
The Edmonton Oilers have claimed forward Adam Cracknell and defenseman Adam Pardy off waivers.
Cracknell, 30, has played 44 games for the Vancouver Canucks this season, scoring five times with five assists in a bottom-six role.
Pardy, 31, has played 14 games for the Winnipeg Jets, registering one assist while logging an average of 13:06 of ice time.
Both Cracknell and Pardy are pending unrestricted free agents. Their additions may signal more moves for the Oilers, be they trades or demotions.
On Saturday, Edmonton traded d-man Justin Schultz to Pittsburgh for a third-round draft pick. That left the Oilers with just six defensemen on their active roster. Hardy makes it seven.
Related: Where will Nail Yakupov end up? (Because he’s probably getting traded)
Alex Khokhlachev just wanted a chance.
A chance to prove he could play in the NHL, that his impressive AHL numbers could translate into success at the highest level.
Unfortunately for the 22-year-old Russian, he hasn’t really been granted one. At least, not the kind of chance he was hoping for. Khokhlachev has once again spent most of his season with the Providence Bruins, for whom he has 47 points in 42 games. He’s only played five games for the Boston Bruins, receiving limited ice time and failing to register a point.
And so it’s no surprise to see the following report on Twitter:
Khokhlachev is a pending restricted free agent.
One team that could be interested is the Vancouver Canucks. Their GM is Jim Benning, who used to be the Bruins’ assistant GM. And Benning said a lot of nice things about Khokhlachev back in 2011, after the B’s drafted him 40th overall.
“He’s a skilled player,” said Benning, per the Boston Globe. “Loves to score. For a Russian player, he’s real competitive. He’s strong on the puck. He’s an elusive skater. From the blue line in on the offensive end, that’s the strength of his game.”
Granted, almost five years have passed since Benning made those comments. But considering the Bruins are reportedly interested in Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis, and considering Khokhlachev seems to match the profile of player that the Canucks have acquired during Benning’s tenure (see: Sven Baertschi, Emerson Etem, Linden Vey, Markus Granlund), well, it’s only fair to speculate.
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that they’ve recalled forwards William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, Nikita Soshnikov, Zach Hyman, and Ben Smith from AHL Toronto.
Nylander, 19, was the eighth overall pick in the 2014 draft. He’s second in scoring on the Marlies with 18 goals and 27 assists in 37 games. TSN’s Craig Button recently called Nylander the top NHL-affiliated prospect in the league.
So there’s understandable excitement in Toronto that Nylander could make his NHL debut tonight versus the Lightning.
Kapenen, 19, came to Toronto as part of the Phil Kessel trade with Pittsburgh. The 22nd overall pick in 2014 has eight goals and 14 assists in 32 AHL games this season.
Soshnikov, 22, was signed as a free agent out of the KHL in March. He has 18 goals and 10 assists in 50 games for the Marlies this season.
Hyman, 23, was another free-agent signing. The former University of Michigan star has 13 goals and 20 assists in 50 games for the Marlies.
Smith, 27, came to the Leafs from San Jose in the James Reimer trade.
As of this writing, all five players remain on the Marlies roster. They’ll need to stay on it until 3 p.m. ET today in order to maintain their eligibility for the Calder Cup playoffs.
The Leafs also announced today that they’ve loaned forwards Mark Arcobello, Brendan Leipsic and Josh Leivo to the Marlies.