With San Jose up 3-0 nearly midway through the final frame, it appeared Montreal was about to break through with and get on the board when David Desharnais poked at a loose puck, sending it up and over an outstretched Stalock. But Burns, standing just off to the side, reached back and narrowly saved the puck from crossing the goal line – or at least from entirely crossing it. Check out how close this was: Read more
Another NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and whenever it passes, there’s the urge to judge which teams were winners and which ones were at the other end of the competitive spectrum. Of course, any hockey fan paying close attention from year-to-year understands that 99 percent of all trades have to be judged over the long-term to be judged fairly. So bear that in mind as we do our best to break down the teams that came away from this season’s deadline – including the days leading up to it, when many of the biggest deals took place – looking great, and which ones came away looking questionable or worse.
Arizona Coyotes: There were two types of winners on Deadline Day 2015 – the winners who are loading up for a long playoff run, and the winners who stripped down their roster as part of a long-term rebuild. The Coyotes are clearly part of the latter group, and GM Don Maloney did a ton of work that will quicken the franchise’s turnaround: he shook down Rangers counterpart Glen Sather for (among other things) a top prospect (Anthony Duclair) and first-round draft pick; he also landed Chicago’s first-rounder and a prospect for Antoine Vermette. Read more
With the trade deadline days away, everyone has taken the time to reflect on the deadline deals that were blockbusters, those that changed a team’s fate or gave them a boost on their road to the Stanley Cup and even looked back at who won long-term.
But what about those deals that looked big at the time but ended up being colossal flops? Not every deal can be a gem and, for one GM in particular, there have been quite a few that looked like they could have made an impact at the time but turned into absolutely nothing.
What constitutes a deadline day flop? The trade has to involve a number of moving parts because, let’s be honest, while a player-for-player deal with two stars is fun, a five- or six-player deal can be much more interesting. In addition, a flop means the trade didn’t work out for either squad, or the team that was supposed to be the buyer, getting the player they believe will put them over the top, has to have the deal backfire badly. Read more
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
Chicago’s Patrick Kane is out with a broken clavicle, which has spurred on speculation the Blackhawks will be dogged in pursuing someone to replace some of the winger’s production.
To be fair, there’s no one in this year’s trade market capable of adequately replacing Kane. At best, the Blackhawks land a decent scoring winger to fill the void until Kane’s return sometime in mid-May, provided the ‘Hawks get that far into the post-season. Read more
By Dom Luszczyszyn
With just about 20 games left in the season, the Bruins and Sharks find themselves in uncharted territory: fighting for a playoff spot. The two teams have been perennial contenders for a long time so to see them this low in the standings is completely unexpected. Both teams had over 110 points last season, but this year they’re on pace for a total in the low 90s.
The 20-point drop-off from last season’s mark can mostly be explained by a much lower goal differential. Both teams are hovering around the break-even point, which is not where they usually stand as Boston led the league last season while San Jose finished 4th.
For the majority of teams, goals are a byproduct of creating chances on offence and stifling the opposition on defence; puck possession. That’s why it’s better to look at shot attempt differentials – they’re proven to be more predictive of future goal differential than goals themselves thanks to a larger sample of data. Read more
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
In order for the Stadium Series game — and the Winter Classic, for that matter — to continue to be a spectacle each year it has to be bigger, brighter, with added flair, each subsequent game outdoing the last. If that’s the goal, the 2015 Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings accomplished it in a few ways.
For starters, the game was the third highest attended in the NHL’s now more than half-decade long history of outdoor games. At final tally, 70,205 spectators packed Levi’s Stadium, the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, to watch the Kings win their seventh straight game as they defeated the Sharks 2-1.
Aside from the gaudy attendance number, the game was also the first outdoor contest that really, truly meant something. The intrigue wasn’t simply based on the display, but also on two teams fighting each other tooth and nail for a wild-card berth. And the game itself provided some of the most incredible photos from an outdoor game we’ve seen yet. Read more