NHL Trade Deadline winners, losers: East loads up, GM beefs

After all of the speculation and rumors the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is now in the rear view mirror. Now instead of talking about rumors and potential landing spots for players, we get to do the next fun thing: Analyze the winners and losers from all of the roster moves over the past couple of weeks. 

Here Adam Gretz and Sean Leahy take you through their winners and losers.

Winner: Colorado Avalanche. The rich get richer. The Avalanche already had one of the best, deepest teams in the league and they only added to it over the past couple of weeks by getting Josh Manson, Artturi Lehkonen, and Andrew Cogliano. All three players boost the team’s defensive presence, while Lehkonen can also chip in some offense on a newly formed third line with Alexander Newhook. -Adam Gretz

Winner: Ron Francis. The Kraken aren’t making the playoff this year so the future was the focus for this trade deadline. Francis shipped out Marcus Johansson, Mason Appleton, Jeremy Lauzon, Mark Giordano, Calle Järnkrok.

After all the moves the Seattle GM has made this season, the Kraken now have nine picks in the opening four rounds of the 2022 and 2023 NHL drafts. That includes four seconds and three fourths this season and three seconds and two thirds in 2023. As important, $8.5 million in cap space has been opened up. -Sean Leahy

Winner: Marc-Andre Fleury and the Minnesota Wild. Fleury gets to play in the playoffs again for a pretty good team, while the Wild address a position that was starting to become a concern -Adam Gretz

[Related: With Fleury trade Wild boldly aim to fix biggest weakness]

Loser: Trying to slide players through waivers. Harri Säteri signed for the Maple Leafs but will end up on the Coyotes. With Petr Mrzek struggling and Jack Campbell still out a little while longer, Toronto GM Kyle Dubas wanted to help his goaltending depth by bringing in the Finnish netminder, who most recently won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

But because Säteri played in Europe this season with Novosibirsk Sibir of the KHL, he needed to pass through waivers before fully joining the Maple Leafs. Well, with Scott Wedgewood on his way to Dallas, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong needed a backup for newly-signed Karel Vejmelka.

Säteri’s contract is only one year with a $750,000 cap hit. -Sean Leahy

Loser: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending. For the reason listed above, and because they still have some major, major question marks here. Better hope Jack Campbell returns soon and plays like he did in the first part of the season. -Adam Gretz

Loser: Hoping for unexpected blockbuster trades. Also even some expected trades not happening. Vancouver did not trade Brock Boeser, Conor Garland, or J.T. Miller. Detroit did not trade Tyler Bertuzzi. Arizona did not trade Jakob Chychrun or Phil Kessel. No P.K. Subban trade, Tomas Hertl re-signed, and Filip Forsberg stayed in Nashville. We should not be surprised because that is the nature of the trade deadline lately, but most rumored trades never happen. Or are close to happening. -Adam Gretz

Winner: Claude Giroux. Yeah, it stinks for a team when it has to trade one of its franchise icons like the Philadelphia Flyers had to do with Giroux, but now Giroux gets to go from a team that has been mired in mediocrity for the past decade to go to the Florida Panthers for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. He now has meaningful hockey to play for one of the league’s best teams and a pretty good chance to chase that championship. -Adam Gretz

Loser: Florida’s defense. The popular consensus is to make Florida big winners at the trade deadline because they added a lot, but I am going to play contrarian here and say I do not like what they did to their defense. They paid an extremely expensive price for Ben Chiarot and added Robert Hagg from Buffalo, all while Aaron Ekblad is sidelined for the foreseeable future. Are Chiarot and Hagg upgrades? They do not really fit Florida’s style of play, and they just seem like moves that are going to do more to slow them down than help put them over the top. -Adam Gretz

Winner: Jake DeBrusk suitors. His new two-year, $8 million extension means that any team that tries to trade for him will have some cost certainty going forward. DeBrusk has not rescinded his trade request and has been productive since news went public that he wanted out of Boston. -Sean Leahy

Winner: Ron Hextall. Hextall wanted to add some scoring depth to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup and he did not want to trade his first-round draft pick. He accomplished both things by acquiring Rickard Rakell from the Anaheim Ducks for Zach Aston-Reese, Dominik Simon, Calle Clang, and a 2022 second-round draft pick. Rakell should upgrade their second line, while they still have enough depth to be able to trade Aston-Reese and Simon. -Adam Gretz

[Related: Trade: Penguins get Rakell, add some scoring depth]

Indifferent feeling: Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders. Had they been active the Islanders would have been sellers. But the goods they had to offer weren’t very attractive. Zdeno Chara (45)? Andy Greene (39)? Zach Parise (8 goals, 24 points)? Cal Clutterbuck (6 goals, 15 points)?

Now Parise (1 year) and Clutterbuck (2 years) have extensions. GM Lou Lamoriello wants to improve his team through “hockey trades,” as he put it this afternoon.

The one real asset they had was goaltender Semyon Varlamov, but he has a 16-team no-trade clause, which could really hinder shopping around for a move. After two deep playoff runs and little upgrades, the Islanders need a roster refresh this summer. -Sean Leahy

Winner: Rangers depth. The Rangers were in a position to be major buyers at the trade deadline given their salary cap space, and while they did not swing for the fences or hit a clear home run, they did make a couple of really smart moves in Andrew Copp, Tyler Motte, and Justin Braun to add some much needed depth to their lineup. They still may not be on the same level as some of the other top contenders, and a lot of their success will still probably depend on their goaltending, but they did improve. -Adam Gretz

[Related: Copp, Braun make Rangers more balanced]

Winner: Kyle Davidson. His hands were tied a bit in trying to deal Marc-Andre Fleury. The goaltender would have to approve any trade following their agreement last summer. Only so many Stanley Cup contenders needed an upgrade in net, but the Wild wanted Fleury and they got him. Bill Guerin targeted Fleury two years ago and managed to negotiate a win-win move for the Blackhawks and Wild to send the goaltender to Minnesota. Now, while Chicago is without a first-round pick in 2022, they could have a second first-round pick in either 2023 or 2024 depending on how certain trade conditions go.

Davidson has already stated the franchise is going to go through a rebuild, so that could mean Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and maybe others move on this summer. That would only add assets to be used to turn the franchise around. -Sean Leahy

Losers: Connor McDavid and Leon DraisaitlJust because it is another season where the front office just does not seem willing or able to do something meaningful around them. Brett Kulak is a smart pickup from Montreal, but does he really move the needle much against the other top Stanley Cup contenders? No. This is still an extremely top heavy team with no goaltending, questionable depth, and problems on defense. -Adam Gretz

Winner: General manager beefs. Kyle Dubas did not like that word leaked out about his attempt to acquire Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Hagel and put the blame on Kyle Davidson in Chicago. Kyle Davidson quipped back that he would handle it in private with Dubas. This is the best general manager beef since the time Brian Burke and Kevin Lowe were going to fight in a barn. -Adam Gretz

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    LA Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers

    Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers, a surprising move for a player once considered the successor in net to two-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick.

    Petersen, 28, went on waivers the day after allowing four goals on 16 shots in relief of Quick during a 9-8 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken. Quick was pulled after giving up five goals on 14 shots.

    Only one NHL goalie has a save percentage lower than Petersen’s .868 this season, Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets with .864. Petersen is 5-3-2 in 10 games with a 3.75 goals-against average in his third full season with the Kings and fifth overall.

    L.A. signed Petersen to a three-year, $15 million contract in September 2021, and he figured to take the starting job from Quick, who turns 37 in January and is set to be a free agent after the season. Petersen has two years left on that deal after this one at an annual salary cap hit of $5 million.

    Penguins’ Kris Letang out indefinitely after 2nd stroke

    Kris Letang Penguins
    Getty Images

    PITTSBURGH — Kris Letang plays hockey with a grace and inexhaustible fluidity seemingly impervious to the rigors of spending nearly half his life in the NHL.

    For the second time in less than a decade, however, a major health scare has brought Letang’s career to a halt.

    The 35-year-old Letang is out indefinitely after suffering a stroke for a second time. Letang reported feeling ill and was taken to the hospital, where tests confirmed the stroke.

    While general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday this stroke doesn’t appear to be as serious as the one Letang sustained in 2014, the Penguins will have to find a way forward at least in the short term without one of their franchise pillars.

    “I am fortunate to know my body well enough to recognize when something isn’t right,” Letang said in a release. “While it is difficult to navigate this issue publicly, I am hopeful it can raise awareness. … I am optimistic that I will be back on the ice soon.”

    The three-time Stanley Cup champion missed more than two months in 2014 after a stroke, which doctors determined was caused by a small hole in the wall of his heart. He spent Monday feeling off and told team trainers he was dealing with what Hextall described as a migraine headache.

    Penguins team physician Dr. Dhamesh Vyas recommended Letang go to the hospital, where tests confirmed the stroke.

    “He didn’t know (he had a stroke),” Hextall said. “He just knew something wasn’t right.”

    Letang is continuing to undergo tests but felt well enough on Tuesday to be at the arena for Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina. He spent the second period chatting with Hextall then addressed his teammates in the locker room afterward in an effort to help allay their concerns.

    “I think it was important for Kris to be there because his teammates got to see him in good spirits and that he’s doing well,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

    Sullivan added initial test results on Letang have been “very encouraging.” Letang will continue to undergo testing throughout the week, though he felt good enough in the aftermath to ask Sullivan and Hextall if he could skate, an activity that is off the table for now.

    Hextall said he “couldn’t even guess” how long the Penguins may be without the married father of two, adding hockey is low on the team’s list of concerns about a player who, along with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, has helped the franchise to three Stanley Cups during his 17-year career.

    “First and foremost this is about the person and I told Tanger about that last night,” Hextall said. “This is Kris Letang, the father and family guy, the Pittsburgh Penguins, that’s second.”

    Letang, a six-time All-Star, has been one of the most durable players in the NHL. His 662 career points (145 goals, 517 assists) are a franchise record for a defenseman. He’s averaged well over 24 minutes of playing time over the course of his career, a number that’s ticked above 25 minutes per game seven times in eight-plus seasons since he returned from the initial stroke.

    The Penguins felt so confident in Letang’s durability that they signed him to a six-year contract over the summer rather than let him test free agency for the first time.

    “The level of hockey he’s played for as long as he’s played is absolutely incredible,” Hextall said. “The level he’s continued to play at at his age, the type of shape he’s in … he’s a warrior.”

    Letang has one goal and 11 assists in 21 games so far this season for Pittsburgh, which hosts Vegas on Thursday night. The Penguins are pretty deep along the blue line, but Sullivan knows he can’t try to replace Letang with any one player.

    “It’s not anything we haven’t been faced with in the past and the reality is we have what we have, and we’ll figure it out,” Sullivan said, adding “it’ll be by committee, as it usually is when you replace a player of that stature.”

    Ovechkin tops Gretzky for most road goals, Capitals beat Canucks

    Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alex Ovechkin scored twice, passing Wayne Gretzky for the most road goals in NHL history, and the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Tuesday night.

    Ovechkin has scored 403 of his 793 career goals away from home. Gretzky holds the overall record with 894.

    “It’s always nice when you beat the Great One,” Ovechkin said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of milestone it is. It’s history.”

    Anthony Mantha added a goal and an assist for the Capitals (10-11-3). John Carlson and Martin Fehervary also scored, and Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 shots.

    Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks (9-11-3), who had won three in a row. Spencer Martin made 23 saves.

    “Spencer’s been great for us. He’s probably a bit like the other players tonight. They weren’t ready to play and it showed on the scoreboard,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said.

    The 37-year-old Ovechkin nearly netted a hat trick when Vancouver pulled Martin for an extra skater with just over six minutes left, but his rocket of a shot skimmed the outside of the post.

    “I think he has 13 goals this year and I want to say like eight or nine have been like a new record. So it’s been cool,” Washington center Dylan Strome said. “Any time you pass Wayne Gretzky in anything, it deserves a standing ovation, which he got.”

    Fehervary was the one who sealed it, flipping the puck high into the Canucks zone and into the empty net at 15:57 of the third period.

    Ovechkin topped Gretzky 11:52 into the first, firing a one-timer from the left circle past Martin to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead with his 13th goal of the season.

    “On his second goal, it looks like, `Oh, maybe (Martin) should have had it.’ But I’ve seen (Ovechkin) score 100 goals like that,” said Boudreau, who coached the Capitals from 2007-11. “He’s got a shot that finds its way in.”

    The star forward from Russia got his first of the night 5:35 in, taking the puck off the stick of Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes near the net and batting in a quick shot.

    “It could have been 6-1 after the first period, quite frankly, with the amount of chances (Washington) had,” Boudreau said.

    It was Ovechkin’s 135th game-opening goal, tying Jaromir Jagr for the most in NHL history.

    “(Ovechkin) was really good in the first and I thought we were really good in the first so it was nice to get out and get a jump like that,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “He certainly led. We knew we needed to have a good first period, have a good game, and you need your best players to do that.”

    Carlson scored the lone goal of the second, chipping in a loose puck from the low hash marks at 18:47 to give Washington a 4-1 cushion.

    “It’s frustrating. Because when you lose games, it should never be about your compete level and battle level,” Canucks center J.T. Miller said. “It’s frustrating because they didn’t out-skill us today, they didn’t out-system us. They literally just outbattled us and created their own chances.”

    NOTES: Washington’s Lars Eller got his 200th career assist. … Miller had an assist, extending his point streak to nine games (four goals, seven assists). … The Capitals swept the two-game season series. … Vancouver assigned winger Vasily Podkolzin and defenseman Jack Rathbone to the Abbotsford Canucks on Monday, then recalled forward Phillip Di Giuseppe from the American Hockey League club on Tuesday.


    Washington: At Seattle on Thursday in the second of a five-game trip.

    Vancouver: Host Florida on Thursday in the second of a four-game homestand.

    Deal for Coyotes’ proposed arena approved by Tempe council

    David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
    1 Comment

    TEMPE, Ariz. — The Tempe City Council has unanimously approved a proposal for a new Arizona Coyotes arena and entertainment district, clearing the way for a public vote on the project next year.

    The City Council approved the proposal 7-0 after a lengthy meeting that included NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

    The $2.1 billion project would include a 16,000-seat arena, practice rink, 1,600 apartments, two hotels and a theater. Approval of the project was the final step before it goes to referendum on May 16.

    The team is currently playing at Arizona State’s 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, by far the NHL’s smallest arena.

    The Coyotes have been searching for a permanent home since the city of Glendale pulled out of a multimillion-dollar lease at Gila River Arena. Arizona had been playing on an annual lease until Glendale said it would not be renewed for the 2022-23 season.