Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wild Trade with Blackhawks: Swap Defenseman for Forward

The Minnesota Wild have traded for forward Brad Winchester from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Brian Connelly, according to NBC Sports.  This is the first NHL trade since the Olympic roster freeze went into place in early February.

Winchester, a Wisconsin native who played four years in college for the Badgers, was most recently with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, where he had a strong 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists) in 55 games.  His last NHL ice time was with the San Jose Sharks, where he scored 6 goals to go with 4 assists in 67 regular season appearances.

He has also spent NHL-time with the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, and Edmonton Oilers. All-told he has recorded 37 goals and 31 assists in regular season NHL ice-time.  He is a scrappy player as well, having racked up 552 penalty minutes in the NHL.  He carries a $550K cap hit on a one-year deal ending in 2014.

Connelly is a left-shooting defenseman who played for Colorado College.  The 27 year-old Minnesota native has spent the past few seasons playing the blueline in the AHL where he has been quite adept at connecting with his teammates to set up goals.  He is finishing up a two-year deal carrying an annual cap hit of $612,500 which ends in 2014, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

NHL Trade Notes: Flyers, O'Brien

Although the Philadelphia Flyers need to strengthen their defensive corps, Tim Panaccio reports on that he is not aware of any significant upgrades the Flyers could make prior to the trade deadline on March 5, based on the players who are available or likely to be dealt.  At the Olympic break, the Flyers currently sit 17th overall in goals-against-per-game with a 2.75 mark, and they are 20th overall in plus/minus with a -8 mark.

Veteran Shane O'Brien is awaiting a trade from the Calgary Flames organization according to the Calgary Herald.  The 30 year-old blue liner has suited up in 528 regular season NHL games, racking up 91 points and 911 penalty minutes.  He was recently sent to the Flames' AHL affiliate in Abbotsford.  O'Brien still wants to compete at the NHL level, and according to the Herald article, interim-GM Brian Burke has indicated that he will try to conduct a trade of O'Brien to a team where he might be able to provide his services at the NHL level.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

No Major NHL Trades and Roster Freeze In Place; What's Next?

So, in the end, it wasn't much of an artificial trade deadline, as far as the volume and impact of the NHL trades which were made prior to the roster freeze going into place at 3 p.m. ET.  The NHL will be taking a break from play after this weekend, as some of their elite players head over to Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

But no huge trades occured prior to the roster freeze.  Ryan Miller is still a Buffalo Sabre.  So is Matt Moulson.  Sam Gagner is still wearing blue and orange, as is Thomas Vanek (although for a separate team).  And Ray Whitney is still on the Dallas Stars.

This could all very well change once the roster freeze is lifted on February 23 at 11:59 p.m. ET.  There will be just about ten days for trades to happen before the NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET on March 5.  It would be far from surprising if there was a flurry of trade activity in that ten day time span.

Here are more details on some of the names mentioned as being in play for major trades once that roster freeze is lifted:
  • Ryan Miller - Although new Buffalo Sabres' GM Tim Murray has indicated that it is more a matter of if, than when, Miller will be traded, he has confirmed that there have been trade talks involving the American goaltender, but Murray hasn't found the right trade deal yet.  The teams who have been speculated to have the most interest in Miller and his services include the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and Minnesota Wild.
  • Thomas Vanek - He's already stated that he wants to test free agency.  It has been confirmed that Vanek turned down a substantial offer from the New York Islanders and GM Garth Snow.  It was widely rumored that the offer was for 7 years at $50 million total.  Will Vanek get more than that in the free agent market?  We will see when he tests it in July.  But prior to that timeframe, he is likely to be traded by the Islanders.  They are not a playoff contender at this stage of the season, and with a public statement that Vanek is going to test free agency, there is really no strong reason to keep him on the roster.  One team in particular which needs scoring help, and has been speculated to be very interested in Vanek, is the Los Angeles Kings.  Don't be surprised if Vanek is wearing black and silver before the trade deadline passes, and if the Islanders land a defenseman, prospects or draft picks in return.  
  • Matt Moulson - The Sabres are another team that is not in playoff contention, with upcoming UFA's to be traded.  It just so happens that Moulson was traded once this season, for the aforementioned Thomas Vanek.  And they are both likely to be traded again.  Moulson, who has 15 goals and 18 assists this season between Buffalo and New York, has sparked interest from at least a dozen NHL teams.  The catch here is that Moulson was on the injured reserve prior to the roster freeze, but he is expected to be back on the ice after the Olympic break.  
  • Sam Gagner - The Los Angeles Kings need scoring help.  Sam Gagner can provide that help.  And the Edmonton Oilers probably need to shake things up a bit to get going.  Gagner, who is signed through the 2015-16 season at a $4.8 million cap hit, has 24 points in 47 games for Edmonton this season.  Kyle Clifford has been mentioned as a possible player to be involved in any trade between the Kings and Oilers.  Clifford would give the Oilers some toughness and size, without a huge cap hit.  The deal seems to make sense for both teams.  
  • Dave Bolland - He was a member of the Chicago Blackhawks for several seasons, winning two Stanley Cups with the team that drafted him.  But he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs not long after hoisting the most recent Stanley Cup in 2013.  There has been speculation recently that the Maple Leafs, knowing that Bolland could explore the free agent market in July of this year, might be willing to trade him.  Bolland, like Moulson, is coming back from an injury, which makes the trade possibilities here a little cloudy.  
  • Ryan Callahan - Callahan, a Rochester, NY native, will be representing Team USA in Sochi for two weeks in February.  There was vast speculation that if the New York Rangers and their current captain couldn't come to an agreement on a contract extension before the Olympic roster freeze, that Callahan would be playing in the Olympics while a member of an NHL team other than the Rangers.  But it didn't happen.  That doesn't mean a trade won't happen after the Olympics are over.  Rangers' fans, and I would think Rangers' team management also, want Callahan to remain a blueshirt.  It seems that a sticking point in contract negotiations has been the length of contract that Callahan is seeking.  He reportedly wants seven years with above $6.5 million annually, while the Rangers' management would like to see a shorter-term contract.  This situation, and the potential for a trade, is made even more interesting by the fact that the Rangers are playing well and are squarely in the playoff hunt as the standings currently sit.  

Trade: Boston and Columbus, Parlett, Camper

The Boston Bruins traded with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, acquiring defenseman Blake Parlett and sending pivot Carter Camper west to Columbus, as reported by the Providence Journal.

Parlett was most recently playing on the blue line for the Springfield Falcons of the AHL.  He was formerly a part of the New York Rangers' farm system and was traded to Columbus as part of the deal for Marian Gaborik.  The 24 year-old is an offensive blueliner, racking up 18 points in 37 games for Springfield this season.

Camper, who played his college hockey at Miami University (Ohio), is a 25 year-old forward who has seen a few games in the NHL with the Bruins (during the 2011-12 season).  He can certainly put the puck in the net, but his forte is as a set-up man.  Camper was most recently with the Providence Bruins where he amassed 31 points in 41 games.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Islanders Trade Bouchard and Regin to Blackhawks

The New York Islanders have traded Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin to the Chicago Blackhawks in return for a 4th round draft pick in 2014, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday.

Bouchard, a 29 year-old forward, carries a $2 million cap hit for 2013-14.  The former number 8 overall draft pick has played in 28 games with the Islanders this season, scoring nine points.  Over his NHL career, which began in 2002-03 with the Minnesota Wild, he has notched 356 points in 593 games.  

The 27 year-old Regin, a pivot from Denmark, was playing in his first season with the Islanders, where he appeared in 44 games, scoring seven points.  Regin carries a $750K cap hit for this season.  

Where Will Thomas Vanek Be Traded? Los Angeles Kings?

A few teams are reportedly looking at Thomas Vanek for scoring help down the stretch.  The New York Islanders know that Vanek will be exploring the free agent market come July.  With playoff potential slim for the Isles, they would be best suited to deal the Austrian goal-scorer for draft picks or prospects.  The teams which have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Vanek include the Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild.  There has been particular speculation that the Kings have interest in Vanek to boost their scoring.  The Kings currently sit near the bottom of the pack in the NHL in the goals-per-game category.  Would the Kings benefit from an offensive producer like Vanek?  Certainly.  But do they have the cap room to take on his salary?  Not yet.  They'd need to move some current players, as well as throw in a draft pick or prospect to make the deal happen.  Don't be surprised if they figure out a trade to satisfy both the Kings and Islanders though.

Trade: Pittsburgh and Columbus Swap AHL Forwards

The Pittsburgh Penguins traded forward Paul Thompson, who had been playing with their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre Scranton, to the Columbus Blue Jackets in return for forward Spencer Machacek.

Thompson has been assigned to Columbus' AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons according to the team's website.  In 39 games with the Penguins AHL affiliate, he notched seven points this season.  Thompson is a goal-scorer who outpaced his assists last season.

Machacek, who has been assigned to Wilkes-Barre Scranton, is a set-up man who can also put the puck in the net.  He has spent 25 games in the NHL between the Winnipeg Jets and the Atlanta Thrashers, who drafted him.  In that time span, he has notched nine points (2 goals, 7 assists).  

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