Winners and losers of 2017 NHL trade deadline

22 Comments

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?)

Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

Andrei Kuzmenko
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.

Hurricanes top Stars in OT to win matchup of 1st-place teams

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

DALLAS – Martin Necas scored 1:34 into overtime to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars in a matchup of division leaders Wednesday night.

Sebastian Aho had a short-handed goal and Brent Burns also scored for the Hurricanes, who lead the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference. The game-winner was Necas’ 19th goal this season.

Dallas is still atop the Western Conference, and the Central Division, after its second consecutive 3-2 overtime loss at home. Jason Robertson scored his 33rd goal for the Stars, and 19-year-old rookie Wyatt Johnston got his 13th.

Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen didn’t return after the first intermission because of an upper-body injury, soon after a strange sequence that ended with Robertson scoring on a shot from what seemed to be an impossible angle.

The puck was bouncing on the ice behind Andersen and settled against the post after Tyler Seguin‘s shot before the goalie was able to swipe it away to his right. Robertson then shot from behind Andersen, and the puck apparently ricocheted off him and into the net for a 2-1 Dallas lead. Robertson’s 33rd goal matched his assists total.

Antti Raanta replaced Andersen and stopped all 15 shots he faced – none in overtime – after the starter had four saves. Raanta had to shake off getting struck in the head by Mason Marchment‘s stick when the Stars forward was behind the net fighting for the puck midway through the third period.

Stars goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 22 shots, including a glove save of Andrei Svechnikov‘s wrister with just more than five minutes left in regulation.

Aho’s 200th career goal put Carolina up 1-0 midway through the first period. The Stars got even just more than two minutes later when Johnston scored unassisted after a faceoff.

Johnston also had a shot ricochet off the post with just under six minutes left.

In between the first two goals, Oettinger went into a fully extended split, with his right skate against the post, to deny Paul Stastny‘s attempt to knock in a loose puck.

Burns tied the game at 2 in the second period, getting the puck after a faceoff, then skating over the top of the circle and scoring top shelf over Oettinger’s left shoulder.

NOTES: Marchment was coming out of the penalty box at the same time Carolina made an errant pass in the second period. He had a breakaway attempt, but couldn’t get enough control of the puck to get off a quality shot. … Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce and Stars center Luke Glendening both got five-minute penalties for fighting in the second period.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Will play San Jose on Friday night in the first of three consecutive home games.

Stars: Host the New Jersey Devils on Friday night in their last game before the All-Star break.

Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry out until after the All-Star break

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry‘s on-again, off-again season is now off again.

Coach Mike Sullivan said that the two-time All-Star will miss at least two games with an upper-body injury.

Jarry was scheduled to start against Florida but reported an upper-body issue when he arrived at PPG Paints Arena. Casey DeSmith got the last-second start as the Penguins pulled out a wild 7-6 victory over the Panthers.

Jarry is out through at least the All-Star break. Pittsburgh plays at Washington and then hosts San Jose before getting a full week off.

The 27-year-old Jarry has played well when he’s been in the lineup, posting a 16-5-5 record with a 2.65 goals-against average in 27 games. His availability, however, has been an issue of late. He missed more than two weeks earlier this month after being injured against Boston in the Winter Classic on Jan. 2.

The Penguins are not as sharp when Jarry is out. Pittsburgh is 8-10-3 with DeSmith or Dustin Tokarski in goal this season. The Penguins recalled Tokarski from their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to back up DeSmith during Jarry’s absence.

Letang scores twice in return, Penguins beat Panthers 7-6 in OT

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

PITTSBURGH – Amid a nightmarish season off the ice, Kris Letang has been searching for joy. A sense of normalcy.

He found a little of both.

The veteran Pittsburgh defenseman scored twice in his return from a lower-body injury, the second with 54 seconds left in overtime to give the Penguins a 7-6 victory over Florida.

“I was just happy to be out there,” Letang said. “Be in the atmosphere of the team.”

Letang’s 17th season with Pittsburgh has been pockmarked by health issues and a profound sense of loss. He missed two weeks after suffering the second stroke of his career shortly after Thanksgiving. He then tweaked something in a loss to Detroit on Dec. 28.

His father died unexpectedly a few days later, and Letang spent an extended amount of time with his family in his native Montreal, with his teammates making an unexpected stop to join Letang for his father’s wake at the end of a West Coast swing earlier this month.

The Penguins activated him off injured reserve on Tuesday afternoon. Letang responded with four points in a rollicking game that featured 13 goals, the last Letang’s one-timer from just above the left circle on the power play that gave Pittsburgh just its fourth win in 12 overtime games this season.

“It was kind of surreal, you know?” Letang said. “I didn’t know what to think or how it was going to go. These guys supported me for the last month… it’s just great to be back.”

The Penguins, currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, opened up a small bit of breathing room over the ninth-place Panthers by beating Florida for the 18th time in its last 21 trips to Pittsburgh.

Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Danton Heinen each had a goal and two assists for The Penguins. Rickard Rakell and Drew O'Connor also scored for the Penguins.

Casey DeSmith struggled in place of Tristan Jarry, a late scratch with an upper-body injury. DeSmith stopped 33 shots, including both he faced in overtime, to win for the third time in his last 10 starts.

“That was a huge two points for us,” DeSmith said. “Obviously we’re battling with them in the standings. Character win at home.”

Carter Verhaeghe scored twice for Florida, including a tying goal with 2:32 left in regulation. Aaron Ekblad had a goal and two assists. Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Reinhart each had a goal and an assist. Colin White‘s sixth goal of the season 4:10 into the third gave the Panthers the lead but Florida couldn’t hold it.

Alex Lyon made 42 saves after getting the start when Spencer Knight was unavailable for reasons head coach Paul Maurice would not disclose. The Panthers are 7-3-2 since January 1 to surge back into the fringe of contention.

“We’re so much more of a different hockey team than we were a month ago at this time,” Maurice said. “Rallied around each other, battled as hard as they could to get a point on the road in the circumstances that we’re in. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Neither Lyon or DeSmith – who got the heads up he was playing less than an hour before the opening faceoff – appeared quite ready to play on short notice. They gave up a six goals – three by each team – during a frantic first period that included Letang’s first goal since Dec. 15 and Tkachuk’s 25th of the season.

Things settled down in the second. Ekblad’s short-handed goal put the Panthers in front but Crosby knotted the game at 4-4 with a pretty backhand through Lyon’s legs with 40 seconds to go in the period to set up a hectic third in which both teams squandered one-goal leads.

“It wasn’t pretty but you need to find ways to win sometimes,” Crosby said. “We did a good job of that here today.”

UP NEXT

Panthers: Host Angeles on Friday night.

Penguins: At Washington on Thursday night.