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
The New York Islanders aren’t about to give up their franchise’s name when the team moves to Brooklyn next season. However, it looks as if the team will have a third jersey that fits in with the colors of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets – and that doesn’t include “Islanders” on it.
As evidence, consider that the Barclays Center has recently applied for trademarks on new logos, both of which only use the phrase “Brooklyn Hockey”, while using a black-and-white that match the Nets’ uniforms: (Via The Sporting News and Nets Daily) Read more
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
The New York Islanders announced Tuesday afternoon they have signed Nick Leddy to a seven-year extension worth a reported $38.5 million that will pay the defenseman $5.5 million per season.
Leddy, 23, is in his first season with the Islanders after being acquired by the team in October in exchange for defenseman T.J. Brennan, blueline prospect Ville Pokka and restricted free-agent netminder Anders Nilsson. In 61 games with the Islanders, Leddy has tallied eight goals and 25 points. Read more
The Canucks are in a dogfight for a playoff berth, and are battling division rivals Calgary, San Jose and Los Angeles – as well as Winnipeg and the hard-charging Minnesota Wild – to make it back to the post-season after missing out in 2013-14. And although they beat the New York Islanders Sunday night, they lost star goalie Ryan Miller to an injury that may seriously impact the rest of his season – and the odds of Vancouver making the playoffs.
Miller was playing well for the visiting team in the second period when teammate Jannik Hansen barrelled into him and appeared to injure his right leg: Read more
From storming off the NBC set in protest of the 1-3-1 to calling fellow analyst Keith Jones “a dick” to ripping Alex Ovechkin, we can agree Mike Milbury is no shrinking violet. More like Audrey Jr., the man-eating plant in The Little Shop of Horrors.
Milbury has never had his name etched on the Stanley Cup as a player, coach or GM but, love him or hate him, his tentacles have touched every aspect of the game. And for the better part of a decade, he’s been one of hockey’s most outspoken, enraging and candid analysts. THN caught up with Mad Mike recently. Read more
New York Islanders forward Mikhail Grabovski has a long history of head injuries over the course of his eight NHL seasons, and he had another incident to add to the list Thursday after absorbing a massive check from Nashville winger Eric Nystrom.
The Isles had a 1-0 lead approaching the midway point of the first period at Nassau Coliseum when Grabovski grabbed the puck deep in his own zone and took it to the top of the circle with his head down. That’s when Nystrom laid into him: (video via Somehockeyvideos) Read more
As the Toronto Maple Leafs embark on an extensive, painful, absolutely necessary and long overdue rebuild, there are fans and media who’ve estimated the team will need something in the area of five years before people see a genuine Stanley Cup contender. But for as long as that sounds, it’s actually a conservative estimate. There are exceptions, of course, but to see how long it can take for a legitimate Cup threat to round into that form, look no further than the defending-champion Los Angeles Kings – or perhaps more appropriately, the St. Louis Blues franchise that is still seeking its first championship after 47 seasons.
The Kings didn’t win their first Cup until 2012. By that point, team captain Dustin Brown had been in the organization for seven seasons. Superstar Anze Kopitar had been there for six years. Elite defenseman Drew Doughty was in his fourth year as an NHLer. Brown and Kopitar had been drafted in 2003 and 2005 respectively, and the Kings still failed to make the playoffs for five straight seasons after taking Brown 13th overall in 2003.
The Blues selected Backes – in the second round, 62nd overall – in the same season the Kings selected Brown. Winger T.J. Oshie was selected 24th overall in 2005; Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz were drafted in 2010. Alex Pietrangelo and Jake Allen were selected in 2008. In those seasons, the Blues missed the post-season five out of six seasons and still have only won one playoff series since 2002.
So, about that five-year window the Leafs are looking at to be a “winner”? It’s more than likely more than a little optimistic. Team president Brendan Shanahan and his management group could speed up the process with some good fortune, augmentative trades and free agent signings, but the reality is, five years is almost certainly going to be the minimum it takes to truly build Toronto’s team or any team into one that has the depth and talent to compete with the NHL’s elite teams. And Kings assistant GM Rob Blake agrees.
“It does take many years,” Blake told The Hockey News Monday. Read more