Sunday, June 28, 2015

Trade Recap: 2015 NHL Draft, Who Went Where

The trades came, as expected, around the start of the 2015 NHL entry draft.  The Boston Bruins took the lead making three significant trades to stock up on draft picks.

Boston General Manager Don Sweeney got things started the day before the draft began by trading the negotiating rights to forward Carl Soderberg to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick.  Soderberg was coming off a three-year deal with the Bruins, paying him $1 million in his final season, and was set to become a free agent on July 1.  Soderberg subsequently signed a five-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche at an average annual value of $4.75 million.  His deal with Colorado includes a full no-trade clause for the first two seasons, and a limited no-trade clause for the final three seasons.

Two more trades were made quickly by the Bruins and Sweeney.  First, they traded defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames in exchange for the number 15, 45 and 52 overall picks in the 2015 NHL draft.  Although Hamilton (who was the number nine overall draft pick in 2011) can become a free agent on July 1, Flames' GM Brad Treliving is confident that they will work out a contract with Hamilton.  With the 15th overall draft pick they received the Flames, the Bruins wound up selecting forward Zachary Senyshyn.

The Bruins then continued to make a splash in the 2015 NHL draft pool by trading scoring forward Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for the number 13 overall draft pick in 2015, goaltender Martin Jones and defenseman Colin Miller.  The Bruins re-loaded on defense with the 13th pick by selecting blueliner Jakub Zboril.

The Buffalo Sabres made waves of their own in the trade market by picking up goaltender Robin Lehner and forward David Legwand from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the 21st overall draft pick in 2015.  It was almost inevitable that the Senators would trade a goaltender, and Legwand was necessary to sweeten the pot and pry the first round draft pick from Buffalo.  With that 21st overall draft pick, Ottawa wound up selecting forward Colin White.

If that trade didn't make big enough headlines for the Sabres, their next deal certainly did.  Buffalo traded for forwards Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn from the Colorado Avalanche by sending forwards J.T. Compher, Mikhail Grigorenko and defenseman Nikita Zadorov as well as the 31st overall draft pick in 2015 west.  Joe Sakic didn't seem to think that the Avalanche would be able to get to where the numbers were for O'Reilly when he becomes a free agent in 2016.  The Sabres, who are in re-building mode, get a player in O'Reilly who other NHLers admire, and who can help lead their young core and in particular, number two overall draft pick Jack Eichel.

The New York Islanders, who had a dearth of draft picks in 2015, decided to gain some picks by trading defenseman Griffin Reinhart to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for the 16th and 33rd overall draft picks in 2015.  Reinhart played mostly in the AHL this past season, but proved he can set his teammates up by notching 15 assists in 59 games, to go with 7 goals for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  So the Oilers shored up the defensive corps for the future, and the Islanders were able to select some young prospects.  With the 16th pick, the Islanders selected centerman Mathew Barzal , who notched 57 points in 44 games for Seattle of the WHL last season.  After adding a playmaker, the Islanders once again moved up on the draft board by flipping the 33rd overall pick as well as their 72nd overall pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 28th overall selection spot.  The Isles used that 28th pick to take forward Anthony Beauvillier who most recently played with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL.  The left-shooting winger scored a whopping 42 goals in 67 games last season, which gives the New York Islanders further offensive hope.  Tampa Bay used the 33rd pick they received from New York to take centerman Mitchell Stephens from the OHL.

The New Jersey Devils certainly need to strengthen their offense and many think they did just that by trading for Kyle Palmieri from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the 41st overall pick in 2015 and a third-round pick in 2016.  The former 26th overall selection in 2009, Palmieri played in 57 games for Anaheim last season, picking up 29 points, 14 of which were goals.  That goals-scored total would have been good enough for 4th on the Devils last season.

The Ducks would wind up flipping the 41st overall pick they received from the Devils to the New York Rangers along with left-winger Emerson Etem in a trade for left-winger Carl Hagelin, the 59th and 179th overall draft picks.  That 41st pick, which at one point belonged to New Jersey, was used by New York to select forward Ryan Gropp, who was a teammate of Mathew Barzal (the Islanders' selection at 16th overall) Newith Seattle in the WHL.  Gropp is a big player who scored 30 goals in 67 games for Seattle last season.  Hagelin had 35 points in a full sked of 82 games for the Rangers last season, at 26 years-old, and is coming off a two-year deal with a $2.25 million cap cost and is slated to become an RFA on July 1.  The 23 year-old Etem, a native of California, had 10 points in 45 games for Anaheim last season, while also playing in 22 contests for the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL and notching 21 points.  Etem's cap hit was well under $1 million last season, and he is also slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1 of this year.  With pick number 59, Anaheim selected forward Julius Nattinen from Finland who was a member of his nation's U-18 World Championship squad which won the silver medal.   At pick number 179, Anaheim took goaltender Garrett Metcalf, who most recently played in the USHL.

The Vancouver Canucks, with Ryan Miller as their number one netminder, traded Eddie Lack to the Carolina Hurricanes for the 66th overall pick in 2015 and a seventh-round pick in 2016.  The 27 year-old lack did play in 41 games for Vancouver last season, with a .921 save percentage and 2.45 GAA.  The net is Miller's now in Vancouver and they obviously wanted to free up some salary space while gaining prospects.  Lack is under contract through 2015-16 at $1.3 million and a $1.15 million cap hit.  The Hurricanes net will now consist of Lack sharing time with starter Cam Ward who is under contract through 2015-16 as well, at a salary of $6.8 million and a cap hit of $6.3 million.  Ward played in a hefty 51 games for Carolina last season, notching a 2.40 GAA and .910 save percentage.  With the 66th selection in the 2015 draft, the Canucks took defenseman Guillaume Briseois who had 24 assists in 68 games for Acadie-Bathurst of the QMJHL last season.

In a somewhat minor trade, the Dallas Stars sent a seventh-round pick in 2015 to the San Jose Sharks for the negotiating rights to former Stanley Cup winning netminder Antti Niemi.  The Stars have Kari Lehtonen in goal and under contract through 2017-18 at a $5.9 million cap cost.  Lehtonen played in 65 regular-season games each of the past two seasons for Dallas, so maybe Niemi will give him some relief and add to his future durability.  Niemi, who made $4 million last season with a $3.8 million cap hit is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.  That seventh-round pick, the 193rd overall was used by the Sharks to select tall goaltender John Kupsky.

A draft day largely filled with goaltender trades continued as the New York Rangers traded their stellar back-up Cam Talbot to the Edmonton Oilers along with a seventh-round draft pick in exchange for draft picks 57, 79 and 184.  The Rangers knew that Talbot's services would be in demand and with all-world netminder Henrik "The King" Lundqvist on their squad, they could afford to part with Talbot for draft picks.  Talbot, who is set to earn $1.45 million in 2015-16, is slated to compete with Ben Scrivens in net for the Oilers this season.  The Rangers, who some thought mortgaged their future by trading away so many draft picks in their recent push to the Cup, have quickly started to re-tool by acquiring draft picks.  New York turned draft pick number 57 into two picks by trading that selection to the Washington Capitals in return for picks 62 and 113.  While the Caps used number 57 to select physical blueliner Jonas Siegenthaler, the Rangers used the first pick in the third round (number 62) to select forward Robin Kovacs out of Sweden.  Kovacs had 17 goals in 52 games in the Sweden-2 league this past season.   With pick 113, the Rangers selected forward Brad Morrison who hails from a family of NHL athletes.  Going back to the second draft pick they received from the Oilers for Talbot, pick number 79 overall, the Rangers took hulking defenseman Sergey Zborovskiy from Russia, who most recently played with Regina in the WHL.  New York would use pick 184 to try and re-load at their backup goaltender position, at least for now, by selecting Adam Huska who most recently tended net for Green Bay of the USHL.

The goalie trades weren't quite done yet.  The Carolina Hurricanes, who you'll recall acquired Eddie Lack earlier, traded Anton Khudobin to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman James Wisniewski.  Khudobin who is under contract through 2015-16 is slated to be counted at $2.25 million against the salary cap for next season.  He played in 34 games for the Hurricanes this past season, spelling Cam Ward.  While that role will now be filled by Eddie Lack, the Hurricanes bolster their blueline with Wisniewski who had eight goals and 26 assists with time spent on both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks last season.

The Edmonton Oilers, who selected phenom Conor McDavid with the number one overall draft pick, continued to remain active in the trade market throughout the draft.  The Oilers sent defenseman Martin Marincin to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Brad Ross and the 107th overall draft pick. The Oilers then took that draft pick and along with prospect Travis Ewanyk and traded both to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Eric Gryba. Gryba, who had 12 points in 75 games for Ottawa last season, is set to earn $1.3 million this coming season with a $1.25 million cap hit, after which he will become a free agent. And with pick number 107, Ottawa selected defenseman Christian Wolanin from the USHL.

Although it seemed like the goaltender trades wouldn't stop during the draft, the last goaltender to be traded was Antti Raanta who was sent to the New York Rangers, presumably to fill the void left by trading Cam Talbot, by the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Ryan Haggerty.  One of the Finnish crop of quality netminders, Raanta is set to earn $800,000 with a $750,000 cap hit for this coming season, after which he will become a free agent.  Raanta got into 14 regular season games for Chicago this past season, logging 792 minutes and putting up a 1.89 GAA and .936 save percentage.  Haggerty, a native of Connecticut, played in 76 AHL regular season games for the Hartford Wolf Pack last season, notching 33 points.  Haggerty is under contract through next season at a cap hit of $925,000 after which he will become a free agent.

With the final official trade of the draft weekend, the Phoenix Coyotes traded center Sam Gagner and a conditional draft pick in either 2016 or 2017 to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, and if you believe it, the contract of defenseman Chris Pronger.  Gagner, the former number six overall draft pick in 2007, garnered 41 points in 81 regular season games for the Coyotes last season.  The 24 year-old pivot will earn $3.4 million next season with a $3.2 million cap charge, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent.  The 30 year-old Grossmann had 14 points in 68 games for the Flyers most recently, and will carry a $3 million cap hit for 2015-16 after which he becomes a UFA.  Chris Pronger's contract carries a ~ $4.9 million cap hit through 2016-17, of which only $525,000 is salary for the next two seasons.  Since the Coyotes were struggling to get to the cap floor, this trade is a win-win for both teams.

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