Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

Trade: Detroit unloads Datsyuk’s contract on Coyotes, who move up to take Chychrun


BUFFALO — Pavel Datsyuk and Chris Pronger are now teammates.

In Arizona.

Well, sort of.

The Coyotes took on the remainder of Datsyuk’s contract — like they did with Pronger at last year’s draft — from Detroit on Friday night, which allowed them to move up to 16th overall and select OHL Sarnia defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who’d fallen down the draft board.

Chychrun, the No. 4-ranked North American skater, was at one point considered to be one of the top prospects in this year’s class, and one of the top defensemen. Yet a steady decline in his stock saw him go as the fifth blueliner off the board, behind the likes of Olli Juolevi, Mikhail Sergachev, Jake Bean and Charlie McAvoy.

The son of former NHLer Jeff Chychrun, Jakob was an alternate captain and point-per-game player for Sarnia last year. It’s unlikely he’s NHL-ready, but is a good pickup for an Arizona club that’s light on defensive prospects.

As for the Datsyuk deal, there’s one year left with a $7.5 million cap hit. The Coyotes have one of the lowest payrolls in the league and were more than capable of taking on the money, something they leveraged into getting Chychrun.

As for the Red Wings, they were in salary cap jail after Datsyuk announced he was leaving for Russia, and now they’re out. That should help them in free agency, should they choose to make a big offer for Steven Stamkos.

Detroit also received forward Joe Vitale — who missed almost all of last season with a concussion — the 20th overall pick (which the Coyotes got from the Rangers) and Arizona’s second-round pick, No. 53 overall.

PHT’s 2016 NHL Draft Tracker

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BUFFALO — It’s the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft from the First Niagara Center!

Click back here throughout the night for all the latest picks, complete with draft profiles, stories and video from tonight’s broadcast on NBCSN.

1. Toronto: Auston Matthews, C, Zurich Lions (draft profile | story | video)

2. Winnipeg: Patrik Laine, LW, Tappa Tampere (draft profile | story | video)

3. Columbus: Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, QMJHL Cape Breton (draft profile | story | video)

4. Edmonton: Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (draft profile | story | video)

5. Vancouver: Olli Juolevi, D, OHL London (draft profile | story | video)

6. Calgary: Matthew Tkachuk, LW, OHL London (draft profile | story)

7. Arizona: Clayton Keller, C, U.S. U-18 team (draft profile)

8. Buffalo: Alex Nylander, LW, OHL Mississauga (draft profile | story | video)

9. Montreal: Mikhail Sergachev, D, OHL Windsor (draft profile | video)

10. Colorado: Tyson Jost, C, BCHL Penticton (draft profile)

11. Ottawa (from NJ): Logan Brown, C, OHL Windsor (draft profile)

12. New Jersey (from OTT): Michael McLeod, OHL Mississauga (draft profile)

13. Carolina: Jake Bean, D, WHL Calgary

14. Boston: Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston University (draft profile)

15. Minnesota: Luke Kunin, C, Wisconsin University

16. Arizona (from DET): Jakob Chychrun, D, OHL Sarnia (draft profile | story)

17. Nashville: Dante Fabbro, D, BCHL Penticton (draft profile)

18. Winnipeg (from PHI): Logan Stanley, D, OHL Windsor

19. NY Islanders: Kieffer Bellows, LW, U.S. U-18 team (draft profile)

20. Detroit (from ARI): Dennis Cholowski, D, BCHL Chilliwack

21. Carolina (from LAK): Julien Gauthier, RW, QMJHL Val-D’or (draft profile)

22. Philadelphia (from WPG): German Rubtsov, C, Russia U-18 (story)

23. Florida: Henrik Borgstrom, C, HIFK Jr. Finland

24. Anaheim: Max Jones, LW, OHL London (draft profile)

25. Dallas: Riley Tufte, LW, Blaine High School (draft profile)

26. St. Louis (from WSH): Tage Thompson, C, UConn

27. Tampa Bay: Brett Howden, C, WHL Moose Jaw

28. Washington (from STL): Lucas Johansen, D, WHL Kelowna

29. Boston (from SJS): Trent Frederic, C, U.S. U-18.

30. Anaheim (from PIT via TOR): Sam Steel, C, WHL Regina

Trade: Flames get their goalie, acquire Elliott from Blues


BUFFALO — Calgary GM Brad Treliving made it clear he wanted to sort out his goalie situation this weekend.

And on Friday, he did exactly that.

Treliving picked up veteran goalie Brian Elliott from St. Louis on the opening night of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, in exchange for a second round pick (No. 35) at this year’s draft, and a conditional third-rounder in ’18 (contingent upon Elliott re-signing in Calgary).

Elliott, 31, comes to the Flames heading into the last of his three-year, $7.5 million deal, one that carries a $2.5M average annual cap hit. He’s a good, veteran presence that played very well for St. Louis last year, winning 23 games while posting a .930 save percentage and 2.07 GAA.

Elliott also (mostly) backstopped the Blues to the Western Conference Final, where they were eventually eliminated by the Sharks.

The “mostly” bit in that last sentence is important because, like in previous playoffs, Jake Allen cut into Elliott’s playing time. The two have battled back and forth for the No. 1 gig in St. Louis for some time, and now it finally appears to be Allen’s net.

As for Calgary, this move all but confirms the club’s desire to get a placeholder-type goalie, rather than a longer-term solution. The Flames do have two good young goalie prospects in Jon Gilles and Mason McDonald, but neither project to be in the NHL soon.

Elliott will — presumably — be the Flames’ go-to guy next season, and is a pretty inexpensive solution for Treliving and company.

Calgary adds to talented forward crop, takes Tkachuk at No. 6


BUFFALO — Johnny Gaudreau. Sean Monahan. Sam Bennett.

And now, Matthew Tkachuk.

Calgary bolstered what was already a deeply talented — and young — group of forwards on Friday night, taking Tkachuk sixth overall at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

One of the key members of the Memorial Cup-winning London Knights, Tkachuk is the son of longtime NHLer Keith Tkachuk and considered to be a very strong prospect. He racked up 30 goals and a whopping 107 points in just 57 games this year, then piled up another 40 in 18 playoff games.

The move was a really nice turn of events for Calgary. Some thought Tkachuk would be off the board at No. 6, but he fell into the Flames’ lap after Vancouver went with d-man Olli Juolevi at No. 5.

In Calgary, Tkachuk should be a near-perfect fit.

The No. 2-ranked North American skater, he has good size — 6-foot-2, 200 pounds — and, like his dad, is a strong net-front presence with a knack for tipping home pucks. He’ll have plenty of talented playmakers to skate alongside in Calgary, and will bring a little more size and a little more sandpaper to the group.

Looking ahead, the Flames are pretty well-positioned for the future.

They’ve got good depth at forward and good depth on defense, which is why new head coach Glen Gulutzan said he saw great promise in the Flames, a “team that’s on the cusp.”

Trade: Habs get Shaw from ‘Hawks, send Eller to Caps


BUFFALO — Didn’t take long for the trades to start at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Just moments after Toronto made Auston Matthews the No. 1 pick, Montreal pulled off a pair of deals — first sending Lars Eller to Washington for a pair of second-round picks, then acquiring Andrew Shaw from Chicago for a pair of second-round picks.

It was a lot to digest in a short period of time.

For Montreal, they move on from Eller, the oft-criticized center. Halfway through a four-year, $14 million deal with a $3.5M cap hit, Eller had a down year production-wise — just 13 goals and 26 points — but will give the Caps some extra depth down the middle, behind Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeni Kuznetsov.

Shaw, meanwhile, will certainly give the Canadiens some more bite.

A grinding, hard-nosed forward that was a fan favorite in Chicago, Shaw is a pending RFA that — based on reports from earlier today — was seeking $4.5 million annually on his new deal. Though he’s definitely in line for a raise — he’s a two-time Cup winner with at least 14 goals in each of the last three seasons — it was difficult for the cap-strapped ‘Hawks to pay that kind of money.

With Shaw off the books, and Marcus Kruger possibly on the move as well, Chicago could have the available cap space to bring home former defenseman Brian Campbell, who is reportedly keen on going back to the Windy City.