Trade Eric Staal? GM Ron Francis knows all about big swaps

Ron Francis (B Bennett/Getty Images)

Ron Francis ponders the question before offering a “safe” answer.

“Did the Hartford Whalers make a mistake trading you March 4, 1991?”

The correct answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Of course it was a mistake trading Francis along with defensemen Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forwards John Cullen and Jeff Parker and defenseman Zarley Zalapski. The Penguins immediately went on a two Stanley Cup run. Read more

Five NHL trade deadline deals that helped clinch the Stanley Cup

Bill Guerin (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

What are the chances your team will land a player on trade deadline day to help it win the Stanley Cup this year? It’s a long shot, but perhaps not as remote as you think.

Over the past 10 years, five teams have made swaps on D-day for a piece of the puzzle, guys who’ve helped, on various levels, to capture glory. Here they are, in order of significance:

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Top 10 big names likely to be traded before the deadline

Antoine Vermette  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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

Kings land blueliner Andrej Sekera from Canes as GMs continue pre-trade-deadline day deals

Adam Proteau
Andrej Sekera (Gregg Forwerck/National Hockey League)

The NHL’s GM community continued to move well in advance of the league’s March 2 trade deadline, with the third deal of Wednesday taking place between the L.A. Kings and Carolina Hurricanes: the former gets defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Canes; the latter gets a conditional first-round draft pick and prospect Roland McKeown from the Kings.

Sekera isn’t scoring anywhere close to the 11-goal, 44-point season he posted for Carolina last season, but on a horrendous Canes team, the blueliner was second in time-on-ice average (22:49) and carries no contractual commitment beyond this year. Sekera is an above-average puck-mover, and with former Maple Leafs blueliner Cody Franson off the market as of mid-February, the eight-year-veteran was hotly pursued enough by multiple teams to drive up the price Carolina GM Ron Francis got for him. He’s not the type of player who will be the final piece of the puzzle for the Kings, but the 28-year-old Slovakian can be an effective second-pairing defenseman who plays a consistently positionally sound game. Read more

Jets land Tlusty from Hurricanes, Maple Leafs deal Winnik to Penguins

Jiri Tlusty (Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images)

At this rate, there won’t be any trades left for deadline day.

The Winnipeg Jets announced Wednesday afternoon they have acquired Jiri Tlusty from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a third-round pick 2016 in and a conditional fifth-round selection – which could become a sixth-round pick – in 2015.

Minutes before the Jets announced their acquisition of Tlusty, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Daniel Winnik from the Toronto Maple Leafs. For Winnik, the Maple Leafs received a second-round selection in 2016, fourth-round pick in 2015 and winger Zach Sill. Read more

THN Trade Deadline preview: Metropolitan Division

(Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

With the Eastern Conference about as wide open as it gets in the parity-laden NHL, the trade deadline could be huge in the Metropolitan Division. Who knows if, come deadline day, a GM from one of the three main contenders swings a deal that changes their team’s fate.

The New York Islanders made their biggest splash in the off-season, trading for blueliners Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, the latter of whom was signed to a seven-year extension on Tuesday. The New York Rangers are right at the top of the standings thanks to a red hot Rich Nash. And the Pittsburgh Penguins… well, the Penguins have two guys by the name of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin who can be game breakers at any time. But don’t count out the Capitals.

Even the lowly Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets are making some noise heading into the deadline, which could make the Metropolitan extremely active come deadline day. Read more

Cam Ward’s five greatest moments, in honor of his 500th game


Tuesday night, when Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward took the ice, he became only the fifth active goaltender to appear in 500 games.

While his career has been tumultuous at times and it appears as though his days in Carolina are numbered, Ward will go down as the greatest goaltender in the history of the club formerly known as the Hartford Whalers. He has suited up in more games, has more wins (by more than 100), has made more saves and has posted more shutouts than any goaltender that has ever stepped between the pipes for the franchise.

It’s only fitting, then, that on this day we count down the five best moments of Ward’s career, all but one of which has come as a member of the club. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Columbus shopping Wisniewski, Carolina squashes Staal talk

James Wisniewski (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Columbus Blue Jackets made defenseman James Wisniewski a healthy scratch for Sunday’s game against the New York Rangers. At the time it was reportedly a coach’s decision. Of course, whenever a notable healthy player becomes a late scratch at this time of year, it’s assumed he’s about to be traded.

NBC Sports’ James O’Brien thought it was an odd move, citing the 31-year-old Wisniewski’s solid puck-possession stats. He pointed out the veteran blueliner has two years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $5.5 million. O’Brien also cited a tweet from TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie speculating Wisniewski could be traded. Read more