Picking winners of five blockbuster trades from the past 25 years

Ray Bourque (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

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

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

Flames’ Karri Ramo spectacularly takes a goal away from Rangers’ J.T. Miller

Adam Proteau
Karri Ramo stops a shot by J.T. Miller (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Calgary Flames goalie Karri Ramo has struggled with consistency over the years, but on Tuesday against the Rangers, he robbed Rangers winger J.T. Miller of what looked to be an easy goal.

The play took place in the first period of the Flames’ road game against the Blueshirts: a shot from Rangers blueliner Ryan McDonagh deflected off of the goalpost behind Ramo, and the rebound bounced to Miller, who had an open net and could’ve scored his sixth of the season. That’s not what happened. 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

Mackenzie Skapski gets first NHL start, Matt Moulson scores on him 14 seconds in

Jared Clinton
Mackenzie Skapski (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

This time last season, Mackenzie Skapski was part of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, coming off a 40-save win the night before. Oh, how things can change in a year.

For Friday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, Skapski, a sixth-round (170th) pick of the New York Rangers in 2013, got the call for the Blueshirts. It’s hard to blame the 20-year-old for having to deal with some nerves, but he certainly didn’t have the start he wanted. Fourteen seconds into the game, the Rangers turned the puck over following a faceoff and it ended up on the stick of Matt Moulson. Read more

Why it’s time to recognize Derek Stepan as a top-notch NHL pivot

Matt Larkin
Derek Stepan. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

What type of respect does a 73-point season earn you in today’s NHL? A lot, considering scoring has dipped sufficiently enough that we won’t have a 100-point scorer this season.

In 2013-14, Anze Kopitar had 70 points. Jonathan Toews had 68. Fourteen players had 73 or more points, including seven centers.

New York Rangers pivot Derek Stepan, 24, isn’t often if ever mentioned in the same breath as the elite at his position. And yet, after notching two more points in Thursday nights’s shootout loss to Vancouver, Stepan has 73 points over his past 82 games dating back to last season. He’s been even hotter if you shorten the timeline to last March onward, in which he’s amassed 62 points in his past 64 games. And that’s all the more impressive considering his 41 points in 42 games this season came after breaking his leg in a freak accident at training camp. It took three weeks of game action to feel comfortable, and Stepan told THN Thursday night he’s 100 percent now.

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Prospect Hot List: San Jose’s Swiss grinder, Noah Rod

Switzerland's Noah Rod celebrates at the world juniors (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Weather permitting, Boston’s NCAA Beanpot tournament will end next week and hopefully I’ll be there. In the meantime, some more important dates were established when the CHL announced the hosts of next year’s Super Series with Russia: Kamloops, Kelowna, Owen Sound, Windsor, Rouyn-Noranda and Halifax. With that out of the way, let’s take a trip around the world of prospects.

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Ovechkin vs. Nash could become one of the great Rocket Richard races

Josh Elliott
Alex Ovechkin

It’s been five years since we’ve seen a scoring race this exciting.

Flash back to 2009-10, when the ‘Greatest Player in the World’ debate was in full swing and Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin were neck-and-neck-and-neck in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.

The whole contest came down to the last game of the season on Apr. 11, when Crosby scored two goals, Stamkos tallied one and Ovechkin failed to score. Ovechkin had the lead going into the day, but couldn’t keep up as Crosby and Stamkos passed him.

Crosby and Stamkos ended up splitting the hardware with 51-goal seasons, while Ovechkin fell one goal short in 10 fewer games played.

Not since then have the goal scoring leader and the runner-up been one goal apart at the end of the season.
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