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

Braden Holtby ready for the challenge of being a $6 million man

Jared Clinton
Braden Holtby (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Braden Holtby is a $6 million dollar man, but even with a shiny, new contract, he knows the real work has just begun.

In speaking about his new five-year, $30.5 million contract that he signed on Friday, Holtby said the pressure now is now on him to prove that he’s worth every penny of his new contract.

“With last year, it was about trying to prove yourself for a contract,” Holtby said. “This year it’s about trying to prove the contract you’ve got. Every situation is different. It’s in my DNA, I like to work, I like to try and get better, and I’m not worried about that.” Read more

Why Holtby signing could be the final piece of the Capitals Cup puzzle

Jared Clinton
Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals made a statement Friday afternoon with their signing of Braden Holtby to a five-year, $30.5 million deal: making the post-season and competing for the Stanley Cup is nice, but the Capitals are ready to fill their trophy case.

This off-season has already been a big one in Washington with the signing of 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams and the trade for American Olympic hero T.J. Oshie. However, the signing of Holtby, their star netminder and one of the top candidates for the Vezina Trophy in 2014-15, signifies something more. It signifies a commitment to nothing but the best at every position.

News had come earlier this week that Holtby, 25, was seeking somewhere in the range of $8 million on a one-year deal should he and the Capitals get to salary arbitration. It had even been reported that Washington was ready to proceed with the option of Holtby becoming a restricted free agent again next season. But with a $6.1 million annual cap hit for the next five seasons, GM Brian MacLellan locked up his starter long term, giving the Capitals the security in goal the team has been seeking since Olaf Kolzig left in 2008. Read more

Nicklas Backstrom eying season opener return after hip surgery

Jared Clinton
Nicklas Backstrom. (Photo by Patrick Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

There was some uncertainty surrounding the health of Nicklas Backstrom, but the Capitals center is hopeful he’ll be back on the ice when Washington opens its season on Oct. 10.

In an interview with Sverigesradio, a Swedish radio station, Backstrom said that he’s not certain quite yet that his injury will have him ready to go, but that he was staying positive about his chances of being in the lineup when the 2015-16 season kicks off.

“We will just have to wait and see how things go exactly,” Backstrom told Sverigesradio. “But of course I’m hoping that I will be ready for the start of the season.” Read more

Braden Holtby seeking $8 million per season through arbitration

Jared Clinton
Braden Holtby (Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is looking to take his career year and cash in big time.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Tuesday that Holtby, who is set for arbitration on July 23, is seeking $8 million per season on his new deal. Meanwhile, the Capitals are aiming for an average annual value of roughly $5.1 million. That’s quite the gap.

There’s no denying that Holtby, 25, is deserving of a significant raise over the $1.85 million he earned per season over his previous two-year deal, but to see his salary skyrocket to $8 million per year would be an astronomical raise, the likes of which is rarely seen in the NHL – especially for a goaltender. But in 2014-15, Holtby did post a record of 41-20-10 with nine shutouts, a 2.22 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. So, could Holtby actually get that raise? Statistically, at least, he might have a case to earn somewhere in the neighbourhood of $6.5 million. Read more

Washington’s Stanislav Galiev ate a still-beating cobra heart

Ryan Kennedy
Stanislav Galiev  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

Leaf through some old issues of Future Watch and you’ll find the scouting report on Washington Capitals right winger Stanislav Galiev. The Russian right winger had a great junior career with the Quebec League’s Saint John Sea Dogs, winning the Memorial Cup in 2011 alongside future NHLers such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Simon Despres, Nathan Beaulieu and Tomas Jurco. But as Galiev graduated to the pro ranks, strength was an issue.

Perhaps that’s why the 23-year-old decided to chow down on a cobra’s still-beating heart on a trip to Vietnam.

Read more

Rumor Roundup: Coyotes looking to bolster defense

Cody Franson. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been a busy summer for Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney. Since the free-agent market opened on July 1, Maloney brought back center Antoine Vermette and defenseman Zbynek Michalek via free agency. He also signed UFAs Brad Richardson, Anders Lindback, Steve Downie and John Scott.

Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan reports Maloney isn’t done shopping for experienced depth. He cites a source claiming the Coyotes GM would like to add “two more pieces to the current roster.” The specific targets are a right-handed defenseman and a winger. Read more