‘Draft, schmaft’ lives again as picks, prospects sacrificed at deadline

Keith Yandle (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Since the calendar turned to 2015, the Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired four players – David Perron, Daniel Winnik, Ben Lovejoy and Ian Cole. And they’ve shipped out Simon Despres, Robert Bortozzo and Rob Klinkhammer and four draft picks – first- and fourth-rounders in 2015 and second- and seventh-rounders in 2016.

And they might lose in the first round of the playoffs.

The team they would play in the first round of the playoffs if the regular season were to end today would be the New York Rangers. They’ve added Keith Yandle, Karl Klingberg, James Sheppard, Chris Summers and a fourth-round pick in 2015. And they’ve surrendered Lee Stempniak, Anthony Duclair, John Moore, a first-round pick in 2016 and a second-rounder in 2015. Read more

THN Trade Deadline preview: Pacific Division

Jeff Petry (Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

The Anaheim Ducks may be running away with the division title, but it’s the recent surge by the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings that is the story right now. Following eight straight wins, Los Angeles has gone from the outside looking in to nipping at the heels of the Vancouver Canucks for second place in the Pacific.

And if the wild-card race wasn’t tight enough in the Western Conference with the play of the Minnesota and Winnipeg in the Central, San Jose and Calgary only a breath back of the Wild for the final wild-card berth.

At the bottom of the table sits Edmonton, set for yet another year of building for the future, and Arizona, shedding weight in favor of a youth movement in hopes the team can become a consistent contender in the near future. Both squads have players that are ready to move, and it could end up being they are dealt within the division. 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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Even with trial looming, Slava Voynov remains in limbo

Ken Campbell
Slava Voynov (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It’s still to be determined whether the domestic assault trial for Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov will begin as scheduled Monday or be delayed by a week, and even if Voynov is found guilty, nobody seems certain when he’ll be able to play again.

As GMs are scouring the league for the final available talent before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, Voynov is expected to be in court for the first day of what is expected to be a five-day trial on a felony count of corporal injury to a spouse with great bodily injury. But there may be a delay in the proceedings by a week, owing to the fact that deputy district attorney Frank Dunnick lobbied during a pre-trial conference this week to have the trial delayed by one week because he is working on another case. Read more

Erik Condra goes down hard after Jamie McBain slash to the groin

Jared Clinton
Jamie McBain slashed Erik Condra in a tender spot. (via YouTube)

Be warned: this is going to hurt to watch.

During Thursday evening’s game between the Kings and Senators, Los Angeles blueliner Jamie McBain was exiting the Ottawa zone with Erik Condra coming towards him. Condra, with no stick, was simply making room for Ottawa to exit the zone when he caught a slash to what color commentator Jamie McLennan called the, “center of gravity area.”

Suffice to say Condra went down in a heap after receiving the chop to the groin. Read more

Ovechkin & Green for Doughty & Carter? A trade that big happened almost 40 years ago

Jason Kay
Alex Ovechkin and Drew Doughty (Noah Graham/Getty Images)

The Wayne Gretzky shocker to L.A. will always be hockey’s pre-eminent swap. It is, after all, known simply as “The Trade.”

That said, the first seismic, earth-shattering, mind-blowing blockbuster to register on my Richter scale happened more than a decade earlier, on Nov. 7, 1975, when the Rangers sent Jean Ratelle, Brad Park and Joe Zanussi to Boston for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais. To borrow a line from Greg Kihn, they just don’t write ’em like that anymore. 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

Power Rankings: Kings back in black, back at No. 1

Ken Campbell
Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Now that outdoor game and the experiment with the white pants is behind them, the Los Angeles Kings can now concentrate on their annual romp through the stretch run. Backed by a suddenly white-hot (couldn’t help it) Jonathan Quick and a revived offense, the Kings are back and on the rise.

They’ve won seven in a row and are peaking at a very, very good time. That’s why they’re No. 1 in thn.com’s Power Rankings this week, followed closely by another team that is making a big playoff push. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more