The talk of the trade deadline wasn’t so much the trades as it was the basement teams doing all they could to remain in the Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel sweepstakes. Arizona and Buffalo, the two biggest culprits, were either jibed or lauded for their moves.
For the Coyotes, a squad in the midst of a nine game losing streak, the deadline week moves included ridding themselves of Antoine Vermette, Keith Yandle and Zybnek Michalek while failing to add any players that can improve their lineup tomorrow. In Buffalo, talk was of a fiercer demolition of the roster in hopes locking up 30th in the standings was in the offing. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth was sent packing, as were Chris Stewart, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn. All this is to say if you could help Buffalo win games, you were gone.
But there’s strategy to the rebuild – or the tanking, if you so choose. By breaking up the roster and starting the youth movement a bit early, the two franchises are setting themselves up to rebuild as quickly as they can. As we’ve seen with Edmonton and Calgary, rebuilds can take many forms, but both Buffalo and Arizona seem content on using a similar strategy. That said, who stands to benefit most from icing awful entries this season? In five years, will we be talking about the brilliance of Coyotes GM Don Maloney or the shrewdness of Sabres GM Tim Murray? 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
As part of blowing up their roster on deadline day, the Buffalo Sabres traded away starting goaltender Michal Neuvirth to the New York Islanders for netminder Chad Johnson. But it was another, more famous Chad Johnson that was the first to make his love for the Sabres known.
Yes, we’re talking about the football player Chad Johnson. The former NFL wide receiver who last suited up for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes tweeted to the Sabres soon after news broke of the deal for his goaltending name-felllow. Read more
The NHL trade deadline is only hours away. With Antoine Vermette dealt to Chicago and Curtis Glencross shipped off to Washington, the pool of available trade talent is quickly drying up. Here’s a look at the notable players who could be on the move and the clubs they’re linked to.
Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey Devils. The 38-year-old blueliner has a no-trade clause which will limit where the Devils can ship him. He’s an experienced puck-moving defenseman with a right-handed shot, which could interest the Ducks and Red Wings. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty suggests the Bruins could also make a pitch. Read more
Mark Pysyk is, “doing well,” following a health scare early Saturday.
While taking part in a pick-up basketball game, Pysyk collapsed, reported Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. The health scare came one day after the Buffalo Sabres demoted him to the AHL’s Americans.
While the AHL does not make available ice time for individual skaters, Pysyk did skate in Friday night’s 4-3 loss to the Marlies. Read more
Let the wheelin’ and dealin’ begin! Here are the remaining 10 big-time players most likely to find new NHL homes by March 2:
Colorado Avalanche, center
Contract status: 1 year @ $6M
Good fit for…ARI, BUF, FLA, MTL, WPG
Although some think O’Reilly, 24, could make the jump to become a bona fide No. 1 center, many pro scouts view him more as a tremendous second-line pivot. He’s a solid two-way forward with exceptional discipline (he had just two penalty minutes in 80 games last season), and he’s not a rental, with one season left on a two-year, $12-million contract. The Avs need a young defenseman in return. It’s more a matter of when he’s traded, not if. Read more
Buffalo Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth became the NHL’s first goalie publicly fined for diving this season when the league levied a $2,000 penalty on him for diving and embellishment in a game against the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Neuvirth was fined after his second offense of the season. The first took place against Toronto on Nov. 15, and merited a warning; the second offense came Sunday when he drew a penalty on Preds right winger Mike Santorelli: Read more
The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a miserable season, their hopes dashed by injury after injury, but Brandon Dubinsky’s no-look, behind-the-back pass will give fans something to cheer about.
Less than two minutes into the second frame of Tuesday night’s contest with the Buffalo Sabres, Dubinsky collected a puck off the back boards following a chip into the corner by defenseman Jack Johnson. Then, facing the glass and with his eyes on the puck, Dubinsky made a backhand feed to Matt Calvert that he isn’t likely to replicate. Read more