Jordan Leopold’s daughter, and the heartwarming fan letter behind her father’s trade to the Wild

Adam Proteau
Jordan Leopold (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets pulled off a relatively minor trade before the 3 p.m. Eastern trade deadline, but when Minnesota landed Jordan Leopold from the Jackets, they not only acquired a veteran defenseman, but granted the wish of a young hockey fan – Leopold’s 11-year-old daughter, Jordyn.

Due to his duties with the Jackets this season, Jordan Leopold, a native of Golden Valley, Minn., hadn’t been back home since November. And in a letter sent to the Wild in January – and obtained by Minneapolis-St. Paul-based radio station KFAN 100.3 – his daughter Jordyn made a heartfelt request for the team to consider acquiring her father: Read more

‘Draft, schmaft’ lives again as picks, prospects sacrificed at deadline

Keith Yandle (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Since the calendar turned to 2015, the Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired four players – David Perron, Daniel Winnik, Ben Lovejoy and Ian Cole. And they’ve shipped out Simon Despres, Robert Bortozzo and Rob Klinkhammer and four draft picks – first- and fourth-rounders in 2015 and second- and seventh-rounders in 2016.

And they might lose in the first round of the playoffs.

The team they would play in the first round of the playoffs if the regular season were to end today would be the New York Rangers. They’ve added Keith Yandle, Karl Klingberg, James Sheppard, Chris Summers and a fourth-round pick in 2015. And they’ve surrendered Lee Stempniak, Anthony Duclair, John Moore, a first-round pick in 2016 and a second-rounder in 2015. Read more

Maple Leafs want Brendan Smith in Dion Phaneuf deal with Red Wings

Ken Campbell
Brendan Smith (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings continue to negotiate a deal which would see captain Dion Phaneuf going to Detroit today, but the sticking point now appears to be Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith.

The possible deal would see the Leafs get Smith and forward Stephen Weiss in a deal for Phaneuf with the Red Wings assuming the remaining six years on Phaneuf’s deal at $7 million per season. Read more

Someone stop Glen Sather before he transacts again: Busy Rangers GM signs Mats Zuccarello to four-year deal

Adam Proteau
Mats Zuccarello (Jared Silber/NHL)

Rangers GM Glen Sather was far and away the busiest GM on the day before the NHL trade deadline, making deals with Arizona and Winnipeg. But going into the day, the biggest question was the future of winger Mats Zuccarello, a pending restricted free agent who had been credibly rumored to be on the trade block due to his contractual uncertainty. And according to ESPN.com, Sather managed to get that situation cleared up before the clock struck midnight, signing Zuccarello to a four-year, $18-million deal to keep him in Manhattan for the long term.

With 12 goals and 35 points in 59 games this year, the 27-year-old Zuccarello isn’t enjoying the same success on offense has he did in the 2013-14 campaign (19 goals and 59 points in 77 games). Nevertheless, the speedy Norwegian has shown enough in more than five seasons with the team to have almost certainly received on the open market a significant raise from the $3.5 million he earned this year. Could he have received closer to $5 million a year instead of the $4.5 million he accepted? Read more

Red Wings land veteran winger Erik Cole from Stars as insurance for concussed Johan Franzen

Adam Proteau
Erik Cole (Glenn James/NHL)

The Red Wings are en route to their 24th consecutive playoff appearance, but may be without concussed key winger Johan Franzen for its entirety. With that in mind, GM Ken Holland moved Sunday and made a deal with his former assistant GM and current Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill for veteran Erik Cole.

The trade also sends a third-round draft pick in 2015 from Dallas to Detroit, while the Stars receive a second-round pick in 2015 as well as two 22-year-old prospects: centre Mattias Janmark, and defenseman Mattias Backman. But the Wings get the most recognizable asset in the Cole, who at 36 is nearing the end of his 13-season NHL career, yet still is contributing a better-than average amount of offense (he’s got 18 goals and 33 points in 57 games this year after posting 16 goals and 29 points in 75 games last season) and plays a physical game coach Mike Babcock will appreciate. Read more

How the Arizona Coyotes transformed their future in a hurry

Matt Larkin
Anthony Duclair, newest member of the Coyotes organization. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Don’t sleep on them Desert Dogs.

The Buffalo Sabres sure have held our attention this year, plummeting into the standings abyss in an unofficial push to win the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes. The Edmonton Oilers tire fire has populated plenty of headlines in Canada, as has the Toronto Maple Leafs’ shift toward a full rebuild.

But these Arizona Coyotes, I’ll tell ya. They struggle to fill their own building, so it’s no wonder they get lost in the noise. Yet in a span of 24 hours, they’ve set themselves on quite the path toward a bright future.

Read more

Jets continue adding scoring depth/experience in trade with Rangers for winger Lee Stempniak

Adam Proteau
Lee Stempniak (Jared Silber/NHL)

With the NHL trade deadline less than 24 hours away, the Winnipeg Jets continued tinkering with their lineup, adding veteran right winger Lee Stempniak from the very busy New York Rangers Sunday in exchange for right winger Carl Klingberg.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff pulled off a trade for former Hurricanes winger Jiri Tlusty on Wednesday, and the deal for Stempniak mirrors that pattern insofar as there’s not a huge upside or downside to it. Read more

Fully engaged Rangers acquire blueliner Keith Yandle from Coyotes in blockbuster, multi-player deal

Adam Proteau
Keith Yandle (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

You never have to twist the arm of Rangers GM Glen Sather to get him to consider and consummate a high-stakes trade. In fact – and especially at this time of year – he usually walks around with his arm pre-twisted to make a deal more convenient for one of his 29 NHL colleagues. And on Sunday afternoon, he pulled off another major move, acquiring veteran defenseman Keith Yandle, minor-leaguer Chris Summers and a fourth-round pick in 2015 from Arizona in exchange for top prospect Anthony Duclair, defenseman John Moore, a Blueshirts first-round draft pick in 2016 and a second-rounder in 2015.

First, the good news if you’re a Rangers fan: Yandle’s new team is built for the present, and the addition of the 28-year-old, eight-season veteran to a defense corps that includes Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Kevin Klein and Dan Boyle makes it one of, if not the best blueline groups in the Eastern Conference. Sather knows Henrik Lundqvist is 32 and Martin St-Louis is 39 and Rick Nash will turn 31 in the summer, and the East is about as wide open as it will get. And this is who Sather is. In his heart, he’s a gambler. Always has been, always will be.

However, here’s the bad (and potentially very bad) news: to land Yandle (who has four goals and 41 points in 63 games this year) Sather had to part ways with a huge trove of treasure: Read more