The five least effective trade deadline deals of 2014-15

James Wisniewski (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

For the past week, the Toronto Blue Jays have owned the sports news cycle thanks to the club’s big time acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price ahead of the MLB trade deadline. There’s one problem, though: there’s a possibility that neither trade will actually help get the Blue Jays into the post-season.

The Blue Jays currently sit two games back of a wild-card spot, and, even then, they may find themselves ousted in the one-game playoff between the wild-card teams. If that happens, they will have made two major trades and, especially with regards to the Price trade, have mortgaged their future in a non-playoff year.

This isn’t a problem specific to baseball, however. Every year, teams wheel and deal at the NHL trade deadline with hopes of getting that final piece to put them over the top. This season was a rarity, in that the Chicago Blackhawks’ key addition, Antoine Vermette, actually performed admirably throughout the post-season and helped bring another Cup to the Windy City. In other cases, though, the deals went bust. Such is the case when there can only be one champion.

Here are five deadline deals from the past season that fell flat: Read more

Futures Mailbag: Michael Dal Colle, the realness of Auston Matthews and more

Michael Dal Colle (blue sweater) of the Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Welcome back to the Futures Mailbag, where I will answer any prospect and draft-related questions you the readers may have. If you have a query, hit me up on Twitter (@THNRyanKennedy) and use the hashtag #thnfutures to make sure I scoop it up. If you don’t see your question this week, stay tuned – there’s always some overflow. Let’s get to it:

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Rebuilding or contending? Making sense of the Canucks’ mess

Matt Larkin
Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

If I could sit down with Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning right this second, the conversation might sound like Skyler probing Walter in season 2, episode 1 of Breaking Bad:

“Will you talk to me, please?”

“I don’t know where to begin.”

Where would Benning begin if asked to describe his team’s off-season? Summer 2015 makes summer 2014, which was wacky and contradictory in its own right, look like a confident vision by comparison.

A brief timeline of Benning and team president Trevor Linden’s key moves since Benning took over as Canucks GM in May 2014:

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Penguins ship Sutter to Canucks, sign Fehr to three-year, $6 million contract

Jared Clinton
BSutter

The Pittsburgh Penguins have made a pair of moves that should help address their perceived depth issues.

Tuesday morning, the Penguins announced they had dealt center Brandon Sutter and a 2016 third-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for center Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening and a 2016 second-round pick. Within minutes of announcing the trade, the club also announced the signing of pivot Eric Fehr to a three-year, $6 million deal.

“The two deals went hand-in-hand so we could add more depth,” said Penguins GM Jim Rutherford in a conference call. “The conversations with Vancouver have actually gone on a long time. I can’t remember exactly when, but it was prior to the draft.” Read more

Why Cam Talbot is better prepared for Edmonton than you think

Matt Larkin
Cam Talbot (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport)

Nothing puts Cam Talbot’s new life in a nutshell like the simple act of trying to speak with him.

He’s easy enough to find at Smashfest, Dominic Moore’s charity ping-pong tournament. Talbot, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, towers over most of the NHL players, journalists and fans in attendance. He’s a game interview subject, too, polite as can be and suggesting we find a quieter part of the building to hear each other better.

Every step Talbot takes, however, he’s mobbed. Fans cling to each of his appendages, begging for photo ops, and he obliges each with a smile. Every time it appears he’s home free, three more people grab him.

He apologizes, but I just shake my head.

“Don’t worry about it. Welcome to life on a Canadian team.”

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Logan Couture’s off-season ‘really sucked,’ until…

Matt Larkin
Logan Couture. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The 2015 off-season hit Logan Couture like a punch in the face, because it began in April. It’s a horrible feeling to realize your season is over the day the regular season ends, and Couture, 26, never experienced it in his first five NHL seasons. His San Jose Sharks missed the post-season for the first time in his career this past spring, and he makes no effort to sugarcoat how much he hates that.

“It sucks. It really sucks.”

Couture resents the fact he hasn’t played competitive hockey since April 11 – a date he quotes, like he circled it on his calendar. He and the teammate he calls ‘Jumbo,’ fellow center Joe Thornton, felt a wave of frustration hit them earlier this summer when they realized they were used to playing hockey in May.

“We were golfing, and we both talked about how much this sucks, how we don’t want this to happen again,” Couture said. “It makes you hungrier and hungrier, and we’re ready to get an extra serving right now.”

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The five greatest trades of Lou Lamoriello’s career

Jared Clinton
Glen Sather and Lou Lamoriello

Lou Lamoriello was the mastermind behind three Stanley Cups in New Jersey, but he didn’t get there through the draft-and-develop route that teams in the modern era need to. Rather, Lamoriello was a dealmaker, reshaping his team through a number of genius trades.

From the time Lamoriello landed with the Devils in 1987 to the end of his 28-year run as GM this off-season, he made more than 150 trades. Some were minor, some were major, but almost all made an impact on the future of the club and helped create one of the most successful clubs of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

One deal you won’t find is the acquisition of Scott Stevens from the St. Louis Blues, simply because acquiring the rugged defenseman was more Lamoriello prying Stevens away through arbitration than it was about acquiring him via trade. The Blues, who had signed Brendan Shanahan via offer sheet, didn’t have the compensatory picks, and the Devils asked for Stevens instead. Eventually, the deal went through. While not a trade, it was one of Lamoriello’s greatest strokes of genius.

There is, however, one defenseman who changed the franchise for the better who Lamoriello did acquire through conventional trading methods. Here are Lamoriello’s five greatest trades: Read more

Addition of Johnny Oduya gives Stars more Stanley Cup bling

Patrick Sharp (left) and Johnny Oduya (right). (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

When the players who finished last season for the Dallas Stars stuck out their hands, only three Stanley Cups were to be found. Two of them belonged to Tyler Seguin and Alex Goligoski, guys who played small roles in their teams winning championships.

With his moves this summer, Stars GM Jim Nill has tripled that number, with the most recent coming in the form of defenseman Johnny Oduya, a two-time Cup winner who signed a two-year deal with the Stars worth $7.5 million. Add to that Patrick Sharp’s three Cups with Chicago and Antti Niemi’s championship with Chicago in 2010, to go along with the Stanley Cup Travis Moen won with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.

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