Buffalo Sabres rookie GM Tim Murray was very busy in the days leading up to the March 5 trade deadline. His biggest move was shipping goaltender Ryan Miller and winger Steve Ott to St. Louis for a return that included goalie Jaroslav Halak and right winger Chris Stewart.
Other moves included dealing left winger Matt Moulson and center Cody McCormick to the Minnesota Wild for center Torrey Mitchell and draft picks, plus flipping Halak to the Washington Capitals for netminder Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla. And Murray intends to continue pursuing deals in the off-season.
“I’m not done,” Murray told The Buffalo News’ John Vogl following the deadline. “There’s a lot of building to do.”
So much happened around the NHL last week that to effectively analyze the impact on fantasy-relevant players, I’m breaking it into three columns.
In Part 1, I looked at Ryan Callahan, Jaroslav Halak, Ales Hemsky, Matt Moulson, Martin St. Louis, Lee Stempniak, Tim Thomas and Tomas Vanek.
In Part 3 Thursday, I’ll run through the key prospects who changed organizations: Hudson Fasching, Sebastian Collberg, Calle Jarnkrok, Brayden McNabb, Chris Brown and David Rundblad.
With a wild trade deadline in the books and playoffs on the horizon, now begins the season of hope for many NHL teams. Deadline buyers hope they’ve strengthened themselves enough for the final push. Teams that stood pat believe they already have the right mix to finish strong. And teams on the bubble are already playing desperate hockey, hoping one last hard charge is all it takes to get in.
It’s been done before, and it can happen again. Here are the best post-trade deadline surges of the last four seasons.
I, like many hockey writers, have publicly chastised Washington Capitals GM George McPhee for trading away elite prospect Filip Forsberg. But the most optimistic Caps fans out there viewed that trade as affordable because, at least at the time, Forsberg wasn’t their top-rated prospect.
That was Evgeny Kuznetsov. And it appears a player many call the best outside the NHL is about to make a living inside the NHL.
The Washington Post reports Kuznestov, 21, will fly to D.C. now that his Kontinental League contract has been terminated. The deal was supposed to expire April 30, but the regular season is over and Kuznestov’s team, Trakor Chelyabinsk, missed the playoffs. The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement will let the Caps ink him to a two-year, entry-level contract with a maximum cap hit of $900,000. As the Post reports, Washington would have to send a body to the American League to make room. No problem.
At THN, this is significant news, as we’ve been tracking Kuznetsov closely since Washington picked him 26th overall in 2010. But anyone who doesn’t follow the KHL may wonder what the big deal is. Who is Evgeny Kuznestov?
You probably best remember him as the powerhouse center who terrorized Canada at the World Junior Championship, especially in 2012. He’s a very slick stickhandler, a pure offensive weapon with good enough size (6-foot-1, 198 pounds), favorably compared to Evgeni Malkin. He has to work on his two-way play, but that’s no surprise.
A year ago, plenty of pundits speculated if we’d ever see Kuznetsov in North America, but a lot has changed since then. The last year of his KHL contract was a rocky one, mired by injuries and an exclusion from Russia’s Olympic team. That stung because a big reason why he stayed home was to up his chances of making the Sochi squad. Toss in missing the playoffs and a change of scenery doesn’t look so bad anymore.
Earlier this season, if you’ll recall, the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers took part in a line brawl, headlined by Ray Emery’s attack on Braden Holtby.
Makes for great debate and entertainment.
The teams have played a few times since that meeting, each one a mashing of bodies selling hate as the NHL does. But it didn’t boil over the same way it did four months ago. Not until Wednesday night anyway. Read more
For the second straight season, the Washington Capitals are going full steam ahead with the vision of themselves as a Stanley Cup contender. Well, perhaps “full steam ahead” isn’t the most apt phrase. That suggests they’re a train on a rail line, headed in a linear direction to reach a particular end.
But the more I see the moves Caps GM George McPhee makes, the more I think this team is moving ahead like a speeding car in an action movie, careening over sidewalks and straight through fruit stands, keeping viewers in suspense as to where it will stop. And after trade deadline 2014 came to an end – and Washington loaded up with more veterans – I’m still not convinced they’re a playoff team, let alone a for-real menace to do any post-season damage.
The price McPhee paid to change his team was relatively small – a fourth-round pick to Anaheim for Dustin Penner; disgruntled backup goalie Michal Neuvirth to Buffalo for Jaroslav Halak; disgruntled winger Martin Erat to Phoenix for essentially a decent prospect – and they’re not taking on any long-term salary in any deal. Yet for all intents and purposes, the Capitals’ overall picture stays the same. They’ll be expected to push for a playoff spot and then some.
But let’s be honest. With due respect to Washington’s new players, does this team strike you as capable of scaring anybody? Read more
The trade deadline and the day before the trade deadline ended up being much busier and way more full of big names than it has been in years. This year, finally, was not a let down as far as entertainment goes.
Martin St-Louis, Roberto Luongo, Thomas Vanek and Matt Moulson were just some of the front-line players moved before 3:00 p.m. on March 5. Some teams made significant upgrades, others not to much. So what does it mean heading down the stretch towards the playoffs?
Here are our five winners and five losers of the 2014 NHL trade deadline. Read more
In January of 2012 while a member of the Los Angeles Kings, Dustin Penner got a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons.
You see, he had just been forced to miss a game the night before from back spasms. Simple and innocent enough, until you recall when his back pains began bothering him – at the breakfast table, over a nice stack of flapjacks. That’s when it becomes hilariously unfortunate. Read more