The trade deadline and the day before the trade deadline ended up being much busier and way more full of big names than it has been in years. This year, finally, was not a let down as far as entertainment goes.
Martin St-Louis, Roberto Luongo, Thomas Vanek and Matt Moulson were just some of the front-line players moved before 3:00 p.m. on March 5. Some teams made significant upgrades, others not to much. So what does it mean heading down the stretch towards the playoffs?
Here are our five winners and five losers of the 2014 NHL trade deadline. Read more
The NHL trade deadline is nearly upon us. Here’s the latest on the notable names in the rumor mill.
Ryan Kesler: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports Kesler gave the Canucks a short list of preferred trade destinations. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers are believed among them. Kypreos notes the Canucks are reluctant to move the 29-year-old center to a Western Conference team.
Various reports claim the Canucks seek a 20- to 25-year-old center to replace Kesler, along with a first-round pick and a top prospect. The Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma reports the Penguins, Flyers and Detroit Red Wings are among the front-runners. Kesler apparently won’t waive his no-trade clause for the Columbus Blue Jackets, possibly because of an old feud with former college teammate R.J. Umberger. Kuzma believes the Flyers can address the Canucks’ need for a young center by offering either Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier.
The Penguins and Flyers have reportedly made offers for Kesler. It’s also believed the Flyers have interest in Canucks defenseman Alex Edler. Given the limited cap space of the Flyers and Canucks, salaried players would have to be exchanged to make the dollars fit. One wonders what effect the Canucks shipping Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers will have on the Kesler trade talks.
The St. Louis Blues’ acquisition of goaltender Ryan Miller and winger Steve Ott from the Buffalo Sabres has sparked speculation over how their Western Conference rivals will respond.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal wonders if the Los Angeles Kings will pursue Thomas Vanek or the more affordable Matt Moulson, or if the Anaheim Ducks will make a pitch for Buffalo’s Tyler Myers. Matheson also wonders if the Sharks have interest in the Sabres’ Christian Ehrhoff or the Islanders’ Andrew MacDonald, and mused about the Blackhawks pursuing Nashville center David Legwand or Oilers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov as a backup for Corey Crawford. Read more
It’s an all-Olympian highlight today: Anze Kopitar with the neat dish to Los Angeles teammate Jeff Carter, who puts a quick one past Peter Budaj of the Canadiens.
The trade status of New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and defenseman Dan Girardi continues to attract considerable interest around the NHL. New York Post columnist Larry Brooks reports there were no contract talks between Rangers GM Glen Sather and the pair’s representatives during the Olympic break. He claims Sather is willing to move the pair before the trade deadline rather than risk losing them for nothing to free agency.
TSN’s Darren Dreger said he was told it’s “99 percent guaranteed” Callahan will be traded, noting rumors have linked him to the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning. Dreger claims there’s still some discussion between Sather and the Girardi camp, but if he’s unsigned by March 5 he’s also all but certain to be dealt.
It’s believed Callahan seeks a seven-year deal worth $6.75-million per season, while Girardi wants around $6-million per season. Dreger’s colleague Bob McKenzie claims there’s a difference of $500,000 per season in what Girardi seeks and what the Rangers are offering.
With the NHL trade deadline a week away, Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly is concerned the Philadelphia Flyers defense isn’t strong enough to get them into the playoffs. He feels they lack an impact defenseman, but acknowledges the difficulty of landing one by the trade deadline.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said he likes how his blueline has played this season. He admits “it’s not a sexy defense,” but praised their performance. Holmgren adds he’s on the lookout for anything that could help his team, but he doesn’t foresee making a major trade. When it comes to trades, Holmgren has a history of saying one thing and doing another. One shouldn’t dismiss the possibility he’s looking around for blueline depth.
Panaccio suggests New York Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald would be “a very nice upgrade for any club,” noting his $550,000 salary is very affordable. Other options are Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Dallas’ Trevor Daley, Edmonton’s Nick Schultz and Calgary’s Dennis Wideman, though Panaccio observes they all carry substantially higher cap hits.
One of the great unknowns of this season is how teams will rebound from the Olympic break. Some franchises had many players go over to Sochi; others just a handful. I’ve already written about the teams that got dinged the worst, losing star players in games that didn’t even concern the NHL standings, but if you’re looking for a team to watch out for down the stretch, I will nominate Los Angeles.
The Kings went into the break on a horrid run, winning just two of their previous 10 games. A squad that still had most of its guts from the Stanley Cup roster of 2012 couldn’t score to save its life – which ironically, is why that Cup team barely got into the dance in the first place as the eighth seed.
But look at how some of the Kings’ best players did in Sochi and the concept of momentum is looking pretty good.
Los Angeles Kings mascot Bailey has been selected the best mascot in the four major sports leagues.
That honor was handed down Monday by the Cartoon Network’s annual Hall of Game awards show. The lovable lion named after the late Ace Bailey won the most awesome mascot award and got to hang out with the likes of Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Richard Sherman.
Bailey beat out Benny the Bulls (Chicago Bulls), Raymond (Tampa Bay Rays) and Swoop (Philadelphia Eagles). Each of the four major sports leagues was represented.