Florida finally becoming a destination for success

Ryan Kennedy
Good times in Florida  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

When Teddy Purcell was a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, he saw a lot of the Florida Panthers. He wasn’t exactly envious. “They had a lot of coaches,” he said. “And it always seemed like the personnel on the ice was changing.”

But that was then. This season, the Panthers have been one of the top teams in the East and a buyer before the trade deadline. One of those acquisitions was Purcell, most recently of the Edmonton Oilers.

What is most promising about the Panthers is that their window appears to just be opening. Sure, the biggest names on the team are veterans such as Jaromir Jagr, Roberto Luongo and Brian Campbell, but the youth contingent led by Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad is just as impressive. And the credit for building this machine goes to Dale Tallon.

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Rumor Roundup: A closer look at the best players still on the trade market

Lyle Richardson
Jonathan Drouin (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL trade deadline is still a day away, but already there’s been considerable activity involving several notable players. While Andrew Ladd, James Reimer and Jiri Hudler are off the trade board, there remains several key names worth watching leading up to the 3 p.m. ET deadline on Monday. Here’s a look at some of the notables.

Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning. The Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson reports Lightning GM Steve Yzerman prefers to move the suspended Drouin by the trade deadline. However, he seeks a return that can help the Lightning now and in the future. NHL analyst Brian Lawton claims the Bolts have five offers they’re mulling over and intend to reach a decision on Sunday.

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Oral history: What it’s like when an NHL player is traded

Mike Brophy
Bernie Nichols. (Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

The buzz from his cellphone, which he normally turned off during his pre-game nap, startled Mike Johnson. He quickly focused his eyes to see who was calling and saw it was Pat Quinn.

“Uh oh, I thought,” Johnson said. “He’s probably not calling to see how my day was going.”

It was Feb. 9, 2000, and the coach-GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, indeed, wasn’t exchanging pleasantries. He was about to throw a wrench in Johnson’s day – in his life, for that matter. “The most surprising part was how fast the conversation was,” Johnson recalled. “He literally said, ‘Hi, Mike. This is Pat Quinn. Listen, Mike, we made a trade. You’re going to Tampa. You know to get something we have to give something. We really liked you here, all the best. Somebody from Tampa will call you. Good luck. Bye.’

“I was like, ‘Excuse me?’ The call took 20 seconds. I did not for the life of me remember the team. I’m thinking, ‘Is it Boston?’ I sat there for 15 minutes not sure who I had been traded to.”

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Why second-round picks are the most coveted, and traded, assets at the draft

Mike Brophy
NHL draft floor  (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

I am not sure if NHL general manager love or hate second round draft picks. I am leaning toward love.

In the 2015 NHL Entry Draft 24 of the 31 players chosen in the second round were drafted by teams that acquired the pick through a trade. That compares to nine in the first round, 17 in the third round, 10 in the fourth, eight in the fifth, four in the sixth and nine in the seventh.

Of the players drafted in the second round in 2015, only Daniel Sprong, chosen 46th by the Pittsburgh Penguins, has played in the NHL thus far. Which is pretty good when you consider none of the players selected in the second round from the 2014 draft have played a single game in the NHL to date.

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Blackhawks send Scuderi to Kings for Ehrhoff in creative cap move for both teams

Jared Clinton
Christian Ehrhoff (Aaron Poole/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s well within the realm of possibility the Blackhawks and Kings could becomes foes come the Western Conference final. As of Friday, however, Chicago and Los Angeles helped each other with a creative swap of veteran defensemen.

In a late-afternoon deal, the Blackhawks acquired 33-year-old blueliner Christian Ehrhoff from the Kings in exchange for 37-year-old rearguard Rob Scuderi. The deal brings both defensemen back up to the NHL after they had each spent several weeks buried on their respective AHL clubs. The deal did favors to both sides, too, with some creative thinking on the parts of GMs Stan Bowman and Dean Lombardi. Read more

Who are the best trade deadline acquisitions? Advanced stats has the answers

Dominik Luszczyszyn
Loui Eriksson (Getty Images)

It’s three days before the trade deadline and things are about to get wild. Depending on who you cheer for, there’s going to be some fresh faces to welcome, ones that you may not be too familiar with. It’s a long NHL season and it’s understandable if you only have time to watch your favourite team, and that’s where advanced stats can be especially useful. They don’t replace watching the game, but they are a good companion to it and can illuminate a player’s strengths and weaknesses to complement what you see. In this case, you probably haven’t seen much of the new guy so it helps to know what to expect based on his past results and just how useful he’ll be to your team.

With that in mind, we at THN have you covered with a numbers primer for the biggest names on the trade block, according to TSN’s list of potential trade bait. The big focus will be on who can score efficiently and who can drive possession at both ends of the ice, two things that have shown to be vital toward winning hockey games.

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Trade deadline target Eric Staal: “I’ve got to play better than I have”

Eric Staal (left) and Frank Corrado (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Eric Staal emerged from the Carolina Hurricanes changing area into the dressing room with a scowl on his face. That had a lot to do with the fact that his team had just lost a crucial game to the second-worst team in the league, but also because he knew the questions about his future were coming.

With the trade of Andrew Ladd earlier in the evening, Staal became the marquee player available leading up to Monday’s trade deadline, that is if indeed he’s available. This much we know: Staal has not been asked by Hurricanes GM Ron Francis to waive his no-trade clause of yet and he’s not sure what he would do if he were asked. He’s in the last year of his contract and there has not been a single offer for a contract extension made to him this season, nor has there been a proposal put to the Hurricanes by Staal’s agent Rick Curran.

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Andrew Ladd returns to Blackhawks in deal with Jets

Ian Denomme
Andrew Ladd (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Six years after helping the Chicago Blackhawks end their long Stanley Cup drought, Andrew Ladd is heading back to the Windy City.

The Winnipeg Jets dealt their captain to Chicago for prospect Marko Dano, a first-round pick in 2016, and a conditional pick in 2018. The Jets also added defenseman Jay Harrison and right winger Matt Fraser to the deal, but they will head to Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Rockford.

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