After a Feb. 7 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Senators were 20-22-9 and well out of the Eastern Conference playoff race – and a little more than a week later, when both of their goaltenders were on the sidelines with injuries, Ottawa’s outlook for the remainder of the season looked bleak to say the least. But something unexpected happened after that: goaltender Andrew Hammond stepped up in the absence of veterans Robin Lehner and Craig Anderson, and the 27-year-old has led them to a 28-23-11 mark and almost singlehandedly pushed them back into contention for a post-season berth.
Christened with the tremendous nickname of “The Hamburglar”, Hammond has started Ottawa’s past seven games and his 35-save performance in a 3-1 Sens win over Winnipeg Wednesday bumped his numbers (including a 6-0-1 record, 1.35 goals-against average and .957 save percentage) to outstanding levels. One of those saves against the Jets was this spectacular pad stop on left winger Andrew Ladd: Read more
Another NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and whenever it passes, there’s the urge to judge which teams were winners and which ones were at the other end of the competitive spectrum. Of course, any hockey fan paying close attention from year-to-year understands that 99 percent of all trades have to be judged over the long-term to be judged fairly. So bear that in mind as we do our best to break down the teams that came away from this season’s deadline – including the days leading up to it, when many of the biggest deals took place – looking great, and which ones came away looking questionable or worse.
Arizona Coyotes: There were two types of winners on Deadline Day 2015 – the winners who are loading up for a long playoff run, and the winners who stripped down their roster as part of a long-term rebuild. The Coyotes are clearly part of the latter group, and GM Don Maloney did a ton of work that will quicken the franchise’s turnaround: he shook down Rangers counterpart Glen Sather for (among other things) a top prospect (Anthony Duclair) and first-round draft pick; he also landed Chicago’s first-rounder and a prospect for Antoine Vermette. Read more
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is known as one of the hardest-working GMs in the NHL, and in the wee hours of Monday morning, he showed why by pulling off two separate trades that address both his team’s present and future: the first sent blueliner Radko Gudas and Tampa’s first-and-third-round draft picks in 2015 to Philadelphia for veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn; the second moved out young right winger Brett Connolly to Boston for the Bruins’ second-round draft picks in both 2015 and 2016.
The Coburn/Gudas deal has the more immediate impact on the Bolts, as the 30-year-old Coburn comes in and adds depth, edge and post-season experience to a defense corps that already was formidable thanks to players such as Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman and Matt Carle. Coburn’s average ice time of 20:14 in 39 games for Philly this year is down more than two minutes from last season (22:27), but he’s a big body (6-foot-5) and he’s got enough snarl left in him to make up for the loss of Gudas, who had been lost for what was presumed to be the rest of the season after knee surgery in January. Coburn also is signed through next season at a manageable $4.5 million salary cap hit, and his 72 games of playoff experience are going to help Tampa once the regular-season ends. Read more
25 YEARS AGO
RANGERS ACQUIRE: Mike Gartner
NORTH STARS ACQUIRE: Ulf Dahlen; 1990 4th-rounder (Cal McCowan); 1991 4th-rounder (Alexei Zhitnik)
THE BREAKDOWN: After a decade in Washington, Gartner hadn’t played a full season with the North Stars before being traded on deadline day 1990 for a package that included then-23-year-old Dahlen and two draft picks – the better of which (Zhitnik) was flipped to L.A. for two years of Todd Elik. Dahlen blossomed, scoring 92 goals in three seasons. But Gartner peeled off three straight seasons of at least 40 goals, playing a big role in two playoff runs before he was dealt to Toronto for Glenn Anderson a few months before the Blueshirts’ 1994 Cup win.
LONG-TERM WINNER: RANGERS Read more
There is diving and then there is performance art. Friday night, Brad Marchand presented us with the latter.
In overtime of the Boston Bruins’ game against the New Jersey Devils, Marchand took one of the most hilarious dives there will likely ever be. After Reilly Smith put a puck on goal in the extra frame, Marchand followed the puck to the net and was chopped in the foot by Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas. And what was Marchand’s reaction? Flying, rolling and finally coming to a stop with his legs above his head, of course. Read more
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ dealing the supposedly untradeable David Clarkson to Columbus for Nathan Horton stunned the hockey world. It’s sparked considerable buzz over what other surprises Leafs GM Dave Nonis has in store leading up to the March 2 trade deadline.
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal notes a rumor making the rounds linked the Oilers to Leafs center Tyler Bozak. Staples doubts the Oilers would take on the 28-year-old Bozak’s $4.2-million annual cap hit without sending an expensive contract back to the Leafs. There’s also the little matter of Bozak’s modified no-trade clause.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul could be on the Washington Capitals radar. CSN Washington.com’s Chuck Gormley suggests players like Dallas’ Erik Cole or Vernon Fiddler might interest the Caps but made no mention of Lupul. Read more
Mobbed by reporters after the morning skate on Tuesday, Ryan Spooner walked into the spotlight. David Krejci would be missing at least a month of action due to an MCL tear in his knee and with the Bruins tenuously holding on to a playoff spot, wins were of the utmost importance.
Spooner, who has now appeared in 34 NHL games spread over three seasons, was well aware of the stakes.
As the NHL trade deadline draws nearer, expectation is growing over possible moves by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Their mid-February trading of Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators is considered the first of several significant moves as the Leafs begin a long-overdue rebuild.
The Toronto Sun’s Rob Longley reports “many players”, led by winger Daniel Winnik, center Tyler Bozak, defenseman Roman Polak and perhaps goaltender Jonathan Bernier, could be playing elsewhere soon. Read more