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).  

Los Angeles and Montreal Trade AHL Forwards

The Los Angeles Kings traded forward Robert Czarnik to the Montreal Canadiens in return for Steve Qualier.  The 24 year-old Czarnik, who was drafted by the Kings in 2008, has spent 29 games with the Manchester Monarchs this season, notching five points.  In 2010-11 while with the Plymouth Whalers, Czarnik amassed 77 points in 61 games.

Quailer, who was also drafted in 2008, has played in 12 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs this season, picking up 5 points, with a plus 7 on-ice.  

San Jose and Minnesota Trade AHL Players

The San Jose Sharks and the Minnesota Wild traded current AHL players on Wednesday, with Chad Rau going to San Jose and Curt Gogol coming east to Minnesota.

Gogol is an enforcer who has racked up 149 PIM in 40 games with the Worcester Sharks this season.  Rau is a goal-scorer and set-up man who has notched 7 points in 33 games with the Iowa Wild this season.   He had 16 goals and 11 assists last season for the Houston Aeros.   

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

NHL Trade Talk: Whitney, Coyotes, Seguin, Sabres, Bolland, Miller

Would Ray Whitney be a good fit with the Phoenix Coyotes? That's the suggestion in a recent USA Today article. Whitney came to the Dallas Stars after a couple years with the Coyotes.  The 41 year-old forward had 77 points in his most recent season in the desert, a mere season and a half ago.  Phoenix sits four points behind the Los Angeles Kings, fighting for that third playoff spot in the Pacific Division.  In further updated NHL movement news and notes:

  • Tyler Seguin was almost a Buffalo Sabre?  That was the case, per the Dallas Morning News.  There was apparently a deal on the table to swap Thomas Vanek to the Boston Bruins, in exchange for Seguin.  Obviously that deal fell through and Seguin wound up with the Dallas Stars, where he has produced successfully. 
  • A recent article in the Toronto Sun asks whether the Toronto Maple Leafs would consider trading Dave Bolland?  The 27 year-old center who was a member of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks last season, has been limited to 15 games in 2013-14 due to an injury suffered in early November.  He played well in those 15 games however, scoring 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists).  The question comes down to contract status, and the fact that he will become a UFA after this season.  If Toronto doesn't think they can sign him to an extension, do they trade him?  Then again, it would be very difficult to trade a player who is currently injured.   
  • There has been no contract or trade talk recently between Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres management team, according to a recent report by the Buffalo News.  Miller is set to face his Team USA coach on Wednesday evening taking to the net against Dan Bylsma and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He may also play against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday evening, the Sabres last game before the Olympic break.  

NHL Trade Notes: Oilers, Kings, Gagner, Predators, Legwand, Vanek and Diaz

It's been surprisingly quiet as we approach the roster freeze imposed by the 2014 Olympic break.  Will there be a flurry of trades and transactions prior to Friday at 3 p.m.?  In advance of any deal announcements, here is the hearsay going on around the NHL.

  • According to the Edmonton Journal, the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings have had very serious talks of a trade involving Sam Gagner.  The 24 year-old pivot has notched 23 points in 45 games this season, and has tallied more than 40 points in each full regular season (he had 38 in 2012-13) since joining the Oilers as an 18 year-old in 2007-08.  As noted in the Journal article, the Kings sit 29th in the NHL in goals-scored, so they could certainly use the offense that Gagner would provide.  Gagner is in the first year of a three year deal carrying a $4.8 million cap hit.  
  • Given the recent slump that the Kings have been in, the Los Angeles Daily News suggests that it's a matter of time before a trade is made by GM Dean Lombardi: "The Kings have so lacked offensive chemistry in recent weeks, it’s becoming less a question of if general manager Dean Lombardi will seek outside help but when. More specifically: Will the trade come before or after the Olympic-sized moratorium beginning at noon Friday and ending at 8:59 p.m. on Feb. 23?"  made Lombardi made some shrewd moves in recent years, acquiring Dustin Penner, and more famously, Jeff Carter in February of 2012, which led to the Kings hoisting the Stanley Cup.
  • If the Nashville Predators are indeed trying to acquire a first or second round pick for the services of David Legwand as has been suggsted, Legwand would need to sign off on the deal as he holds a no-movement clause, as noted by  The 33 year-old pivot is in the final year of a six-year contract, carrying a cap hit of $4.5 million.  He has been a strong set-up man for Nashville in 2013-14 with 29 assists in 57 games. 
  • While it was widely reported that Thomas Vanek had turned down a contract offer from the New York Islanders, there is much speculation that whether or not he is traded this season, he would like to end up with the Minnesota Wild.  Vanek played collegiately in Minnesota for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, as a key piece of the team that won the 2003 NCAA Championship.  
  • Raphael Diaz scored a goal in his first game with the Vancouver Canucks, after a trade from the Montreal Canadiens.  He will face his old team in Montreal on Thursday, Feb. 6.  

Opinion: Rangers Fans Don't Want Callahan To Go

The New York Rangers' fans don't want to see Ryan Callahn traded.  Not when he can produce like he did in last night's game at home against the Colorado Avalanche.  As reported by the Daily News, Rangers' fans chanted "Cally!" in the final minute of play, happy to have their captain in Manhattan.  Will the fans' desires be heard by GM Glen Sather and lead both player and team management to compromise on a deal?  Time will only tell.  One thing seems clear however.  Callahan can lead the Rangers, and the fans want him to do so.    

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Trade: Diaz to Vancouver, Weise to Montreal

The Vancouver Canucks have acquired defenseman Raphael Diaz from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Dale Weise as reported by With the Canucks facing a bevy of injuries recently, the 28 year-old veteran blueliner should bolster Vancouver's defensive corps. Diaz will be finishing up a two year deal this season which carries a $1.225 million cap hit for 2013-14. He has 11 assists in 46 games for Montreal this season.  Dale Weise has a $750K cap hit on a one year deal, after which he becomes an RFA.  The winger has 12 points in 44 games with the Canucks this season.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blue Jackets Involved in Trade Talks with Rangers?

As reported by Reuters, the Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen declined to comment on whether his team is involved in trade talks with the New York Rangers, with respect to Ryan Callahan.  The Blue Jackets of course, made a blockbuster trade with the Rangers in 2012, sending Rick Nash, Steve Delisle and a conditional third round pick in 2013 to the Big Apple for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon, as well as the first round draft pick in 2013.  Kekalainen was not the GM for Columbus at the time of that deal, so the history of the previous deal is not extremely relevant here.

The draft pick which Columbus received from New York was used to draft Kerby Rychel with the 14th overall selection in the 2013 draft.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Fraser Traded by Leafs to Oilers: Details

Mark Fraser was traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs, as announced on Friday, January 31, to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Cameron Abney and the rights to RFA Teemu Hartikainen.

Fraser, a 27 year-old left-shooting defenseman, had played in 19 games for the Leafs this season, notching one point.  He is a scrappy defender, who was originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2005.  While with the Lowell Devils of the AHL in 2008-09, he racked up a hefty 152 penalty minutes in 74 games.

Fraser will give the Oilers a toughness that their coach and management may feel they have been lacking.  He is currently counted as a $600K salary hit against the cap, and will become a restricted free agent after this season.

Cameron Abney is a 22 year-old winger taken in the third round of the 2009 NHL draft by the Oilers.  He has most recently been playing with the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL, registering 5 points and 64 penalty minutes in 24 contests. Abney is also a tough young player who will certainly not avoid a scrap.  Abney's contract carries a cap hit of $588,333 for 2013-14 after which he becomes an RFA.

Teemu Hartikainen is a 23 year-old Finnish-born winger, selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2008 draft.  He has seen 52 regular season games with Edmonton, picking up 13 points.  Currently, he is in the KHL, playing for Ufa Salavat Yulayev where he has registered 27 points in 43 games.  You can see a bit of Hartikainen's time with the Oilers here.


NHL Trade News, Notes and Just Plain Rumors

USA Today recently looked at the ten most intriguing players approaching the trade deadline this season (they also note the artificial trade deadline of Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. ET, which starts the NHL roster freeze for the 2014 Olympics).  They specifically note the "rental" players, or those who are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2014.  On the list are two New York Rangers, two Buffalo Sabres and two Florida Panthers.  

In other NHL trade news and rumors:

  • Matt Moulson, who has been traded once this season, will be out through the Olympic break according to the Buffalo News.  So any trade prior to the February 7 roster freeze is most likely ruled out, due to a recent upper body injury.  With the Sabres likely out of the playoff race, and Moulson becoming a UFA on July 1, he was certainly one of the offensive players to consider when assessing the trade market for Buffalo.  
  • Trade talk continues to swirl around Ryan Callahan and the New York Rangers.  According to TSN and Darren Dreger, at least one team was given permission to speak with Callahan's agent recently.  The St. Louis Blues are rumored to have interest in Callahan.  But there is also a camp of thought that believe Rangers' GM Glenn Sather, while keeping his options open, wants to sign Callahan sooner rather than later, but not necessarily at the asking price of $42 million over seven years.  
  • The Ryan Miller trade talk continues to swirl as we approach the Olympic break and the trade deadline.  Teams that are in playoff contention, who have also been mentioned as serious suitors for Miller's services include:  the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and the Minnesota Wild.  The Blues have been going with Jaroslav Halak as their number one netminder, and they have been performing very well, closing in on Chicago for the Central division lead.  Halak currently sits tenth overall in GAA at 2.22, while Miller is 25th at 2.59.  But the Blues are known to have one of the best defensive corps around, and the GAA is not purely indicative of each netminders skills, particularly in high stakes contests.  The Washington Capitals have played three goaltenders this season (Holtby, Neuvirth and Grubauer), but could be looking for a netminder with Miller's resume to solidify their chances at a playoff spot this season.  And the Wild have two fairly strong netminders, but neither have been in net on a consistent enough basis to call them a bona fide number one.  
  • As noted on the ECHL website, New York Islanders' defenseman Andrew MacDonald could be a coveted asset as the NHL trade deadline approaches.  The 27 year-old left-handed defenseman has a strong 23 points in 57 games for New York this season.  His skill in setting up teammates to score, as well as his very affordable (by NHL standards) contract will have several cup contending teams looking for his services.   

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