Why The Bruins Need To Restructure Their Defense For The 2018/19 Season

In, a span of three years, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney has guided the team back into a serious playoff contender. Since the firing of longtime time coach Claude Julien, the Bruins have started drafting more skilled players. The organization has seemed to change its philosophy from physical to focusing on attributes such as players with more of a skill set.  In this post,  we’ll review three areas why the Bruins need to restructure the defensive department for the upcoming NHL season.

Why The Bruins Need To Restructure Their Defense For The 2018/19 Season

Redefine Chara’s Role;

At, forty years old the team continues to get excellent production from captain Zdeno Chara. But in, the playoffs particularly against Tampa Bay, Chara showed signs of fatigue. Throughout the course of the season, Chara averaged 23 minutes per game. Not too bad for a  player neither young nor old.  As the season progressed, Chara has paired with the teams  2016 number one draft pick, Charlie McAvoy. In, McAvoy the organization has one of the top young defensemen in the NHL. After the Tampa Bay series, many fans and media people feel that the club needs to cut down on his playing time and pair him with another partner.

Make A Decision On Adam McQuaid;

Veteran defenseman Adam McQuaid is in his last year of a four_year contract  At 31 years old many fans feel that the organization needs to get quicker on defense. In 2017/18 McQuaid missed several games. Considering his  3,000,000 dollar salary it may be time to think about dealing Mcquaid.

As the team continues to draft more skilful players, they can maintain their status as an elite NHL team. .McQuaid has a history of being injury prone by trading him the club can add another younger defenceman.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Help In Providence;

Since General Manager Don Sweeney took over three years ago, the club has qualified for the playoffs two_ years in a row.   If the team wants to resume its quest to win another Stanley Cup, then the defense needs continue to get better. Goaltender Tuukka Rask has improved his playoff performance due to resting more during the regular season.

As it stands now, the Bruins have a young group of six or seven defensemen who are legitimate NHL players. Veteran Torey Krug had a spectacular collecting 14 goals and 45 assists for 69 points. Kevan Miller continues to make progress. Young Matt Grzelcyk who split time with Providence is only getting better. Third _year player Brandon Carlo who suffered an injury at the end of the season be ready at the start of training camp.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In,  Providence, two Bruins who could be prepared for full _time duty are defensemen Jeremy Lauzon and 2015  number one pick Jakub Zboril. Out, of the two Lauzon is the one most likely one to make the squad. As for Zboril,  he needs to continue to work on his game.

Advertisements

Hockey In Seattle

After a successful opening season for the Vegas Golden Knights, other cities such as Quebec, Houston, and Seattle want in on the action. As of December, commissioner Gary Bettman ceased all talk about adding teams in Quebec and Huston since there are already NHL teams near those cities such as the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars. On the other hand, Seattle was approved for a $600 million renovation of KeyArena to add an NHL team and hopefully an NBA team as well.

Compared to the $500 million the Golden Knights pain, Seattle will have to pay a $650 million expansion fee. If the fee can get paid off, the team probably won’t come into existence until 2020 or 2021 at the earliest. Some possible names for the new team are Seattle Firebirds, Seattle Sea Lions, Seattle Whales and Seattle Kraken.

Although there are a lot of speculators who don’t think that hockey will be successful in Seattle, statistics have proven otherwise. The team got 10,000 deposits on season tickets within the first 12 minutes. Even more impressively the sales had to be capped of at 32,000 because of how quickly they were sold. Tickets aren’t the only thing that prove that hockey will be successful in Seattle. The city already has two teams, Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips, both which draw large crowds for games.

Since Seattle is mostly an industrial city, the new NHL team could bring in new revenue and money to the local businesses in the area. The new team is already generating a lot of new fans from around the area, and they will bring in more teams if they are successful.

Is 2018 The Year Tuukka Rask Leads The Bruins To A Stanley Cup?

In hockey, there’s a saying that the team with the hot goaltender usually takes his team to the Stanley Cup. So far this season all signs are pointing to a Bruins team to go deep in the playoffs. The question is can, Tuukka Rask lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup. In this post, we’ll examine three attributes Rask and the Bruins have going for them.                       Is 2018 The Year Tuukka Rask Leads The Bruins to A Stanley Cup?                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Skilled players;                                                                                                                                        Since the days of the Big Bad Bruins, the team has had a reputation of grinders.  Basically, a team that dumps the puck in the opposite end and wins the battle along the boards and out fighting the other team. This was the formula that was very successful for the Bruins but produced no Stanley Cups,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             It’s been seven years since the Bruins won their last Cup. That roster consisted of players such as Tim Thomas, Nathan Horton, Dennis Seidenburg and thirty goal scorer Milan Lucic.  This years group consist of skilled players such as Charlie Mc Avoy, Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, and ex _Olympian Ryan Donato. Donato _the son of ex _Bruin Ted Donato. Donato had an impressive opening night scoring a goal and two assists despite a losing effort to  Columbus .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Good mixture of Youth and Veterans;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   After a long dry spell of not winning in the playoffs, the Bruins are playing like a team on a mission. Veteran goaltender Tuukka Rask is having an impressive season.  With three shutouts to his credit, 2018 could be the year. Boston has solid veterans in David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and  Brad Marchand. Marchand has elevated his game to be one of the top five players in hockey despite dirty reputation.                                                                                                                                                                      Coaching;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Since taking over for the fired Claude Julian head coach Bruce Cassidy has transformed the team into one of the most exciting teams in hockey. Cassidy who spent eight years as  head coach in Providence. One of the reasons for Cassidy’s success this year has been rotating his goalies Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin. If Rask can stay fresh then a trip to the Stanley Cup is possible.

Evan Bouchard’s Pro-Style Game Is Allowing Him to Find Great Success In His Draft Season

A great draft season can allow a prospect to skyrocket up draft rankings, dramatically increasing their final draft position. Evan Bouchard has taken full advantage of that, and has solidified himself as a member of the consensus top 10 for the upcoming draft.

Bouchard, a defender for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), also holds the title of captain, a role typically reserved for 19 and 20 year old prospects that have already been selected by NHL teams. However, Bouchard’s maturity and leadership allowed him to seize control of the captaincy at the age of 18 after the Knights gutted their roster to kick off a rebuild, moving out their top four scorers, including St. Louis Blues top prospect Robert Thomas, the 20th pick in last year’s draft.

Bouchard has held a crucial role for the Knights this season, drawing top minutes at 5v5 and on the penalty kill all while also serving as the team’s power play QB. He has earned OHL Defenceman of the Month honours three times this year, being recognized in November, December, and February.

A large amount of London’s offence runs through Bouchard. At this time, London has scored 219 goals, and Evan Bouchard has registered a point on 83 of them, good for an involvement % of 38%. It’s very impressive for a player to be involved in over a third of his team’s goals, but for Bouchard, achievements like that are just as much of a part of a normal day as swallowing. In fact, like swallowing, Bouchard probably barely even notices that he does these things.

The right hand shot leads the OHL in points by a defenceman, a truly incredible feat for a draft-eligible player that has not been accomplished since 2013-14, when Anthony DeAngelo took the crown prior to be drafted 19th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Expect even better things from Bouchard than we have seen from DeAngelo. Bouchard brings defensive profiency to the table, something DeAngelo never had, as well as a clean slate in terms of off-ice issues.

DeAngelo was suspended once by his junior team, the Sarnia Sting, for abuse of a teammate, and was forced to sit out more games later that season after directing a racial slur at a referee, and was suspended another time the next year after another verbal altercation with an official. On top of that, he was also benched multiple times due to character issues during his time with the Syracuse Crunch, AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Now, four years after being drafted, DeAngelo finds himself with the Hartford Wolfpack, and is a prospect of the New York Rangers, who are already his 3rd team. He passed through Arizona after being originally traded by the Lightning for a second round pick, just a few years after they originally used a first round selection.

Like I said before, expect none of that from Bouchard, who carries no off-ice issues, and has already demonstrated leadership capabilities as captain of his team.

Despite his point totals, the most impressive aspect of Bouchard’s play this season has been his ability to generate shots. He sits 2nd in shots in the entire OHL out of all skaters, including forwards years older than him. His ability to get shots through from the point, a valuable skill, is world-class. Erik Karlsson has mastered this, and it is part of why he’s the best defenceman in the world.

Being able to force pucks through to the net can generate countless scoring oppurtunities for a team, and it doesn’t take a genius to recognize why. For the majority of these types of shots, there are four to five bodies in between the shot location and the net. If the shot makes it through, that is a lot of moving objects for the goalie to keep track of, making it difficult for him to follow and react to the puck. To further complicate things for the netminder, the puck will often hit these players, changing its direction. Combine all of these factors, and you’ve got a shot with a good chance of bekng a very difficult stop for the goaltender.

Bouchard is very good at creating these shots. As we can see from the heat map above, via prospect-stats.com, the majority of Bouchard’s shots come from the centre and right point, where Bouchard plays as a right handed defenceman.

There are a few things that Bouchard does very well that allow him to avoid having his shots blocked or deflected wide.

Screenshot lifted from https://youtu.be/ksi13vyhK40

In this situation, Bouchard does two things very well that help him get the shot through and score a goal. First of all, he walks the puck in after initially recieving the pass just in front of the blueline. He recognizes that by doing so, he has a higher percentage of scoring on the shot because it will come from closer to the net. Then, once he does that, he winds up for his shot and picks his head up, searching for lanes to shoot through. There aren’t many players seperating him from the net, making it easy for a player of Bouchard’s calibre to put a hard shot at the net.

On top of his shooting ability, Bouchard also possesses impressive puckmoving skills. He utilizes the same “heads up” awareness while moving the puck up ice as he does when shooting, and this, coupled with strong passing, allows him to control the transition game, quickly headmanning the puck to his teammates. Like many defenders, Bouchard uses the net as a tool to give his teammates time to set up for a breakout, but is better than most when it comes to actually leaving the safety of the trapezoid and skating the puck forwards. Unlike other defencemen in this draft, he isn’t one to go end to end, preferring to defer to his forwards to enter the offensive zone. This is the same mindset possesed by most NHL rearguards, and should also lead to a faster transition to the NHL.

This is just one of several aspects of Bouchard’s game that emulates the pros.

Bouchard’s on-ice decision making is very similar to that of an NHL defenceman. He takes calculated risks both offensively and defensively; sometimes he will rush the puck, but only if a clear lane is available. He’ll pinch down the wall when an opposing forward has his back turned, but not when the opponent has a good chance at beating him. Defensively, he’ll aggressively attack a foe when they have their head down or the puck in their skates, but when they don’t, he’ll stick to the defensive system of his team.

Most draft eligible defencemen that have a similar offensive impact to Bouchard lack a lot of ability defensively. However, we have already established that Bouchard is unlike most. He is very much a “two-way” defender, and can be relied upon to shut down top forwards, as he has been trusted to do already with the London Knights. He is still susceptible to defensive mistakes at times; getting drawn out of position seems to be the most prevelant. However, it’s unlikely that that will carry over to the NHL. Expect it to be cleaned up somewhere during the transition to the NHL.

That transition shouldn’t take long for Bouchard. Although he very likely will not have an immediate NHL impact, expect Bouchard to be one of the first defencemen of this draft to reach the big stage.

Rasmus Dahlin, the Swedish defenceman set to be selected 1st overall in June, already possesses 82 games of experience playing against men in the Swedish Hockey League, the top men’s circuit in Sweden. At 6’2 and 183 lbs, he should be able to jump into the NHL next year. After him, the 2nd defender to make it could very well be Bouchard. The other four defencemen with a chance to go in the top 10; Adam Boqvist (5’11, 170 lbs) Quinn Hughes (5’10, 174 lbs), Ty Smith (5’10, 174 lbs) and Noah Dobson (6’3, 179 lbs) are all less physically mature as Bouchard, who is 6’2, 193 lbs and can already grow more facial hair than Sidney Crosby.

Evan will need another year in the OHL to continue to add to his already large frame and finetune his defensive play. After accomplishing that, he should be able to forego his final year of OHL eligibility to jump straight to the top level of professional play, where he should be able to assume a somewhat sheltered role on a team’s blueline as well as the QB role on their second powerplay unit. As he adjusts to the NHL, his ice time and role should increase until he holds a spot on the top pairing and powerplay unit.

The future is bright for Bouchard, who could easily become one of the top two-way defencemen in the league. He projects to be selected somewhere in the 6-10 range at the draft this June. Propeled by his steady, two-way play, whatever team gets him should be back in the playoffs in no time.

Closing The Gap: How Can Hockey Become More Popular in B-Level Countries?

This is the 2nd post of the Closing The Gap series, where I take a look at the gap between the Big 6 and the B-level countries.

In the first post of this series, I explained the reasons for the gap between the two top tiers of international hockey. The two factors that bear the responsibility for the gap are development and popularity.

In the initial post, I described the developmental factor as:

“how well a prospect is brought along, and how his game grows as he ages. Countries that develop players well give prospects the chance to hit their full potential. Countries with top notch minor and junior hockey programs should develop players well.”

While detailing the other factor, popularity, I wrote:

“It is no coincidence that the Big 6 countries are also the top 6 countries in terms of hockey playing population. If a large amount of people in a country play hockey, that country should produce more good hockey players than one that has fewer people playing the sport.”

If we can even out those factors, these B-level countries should improve.

Unfortunately, we don’t have some magic wand that we can wave to do so. It will require time and effort, but it will be worth it in the long run.

This year’s Olympics offer a glimpse into what all international tournaments would look like. NHLers were not allowed to participate in Olympic hockey, so the event only had players playing in the AHL on AHL-only deals, or in European leagues like the KHL (Russia), SHL (Sweden), and Liiga (Finland). The tournament saw “B-level” team Germany upset Sweden and Canada for a spot in the finals, and the Czech Republic came 4th, ahead of USA, Sweden and Finland. When we get upsets like these on a fairly consistent basis in international tournaments with NHLers, like the IIHF World Championships and possibly future Olympics, that is when we will know that the gap has been closed to an acceptable level.

That’s the end goal. To get to that, we need to even countries out in the two factors mentioned above.

When people are trying to put their fingers on the reason for the gap, the initial thing that typically comes to mind is development. The Canadian Hockey League is thought to be the top developmental league in the world due to a variety of reasons; the most prevelant of which are the top notch coaching available in Canada’s top junior league, as well as the structure of the league, which is fairly similar to the NHL in that both have a North American style of play, and share rigourous schedules with extensive travel. The similarity between the two leagues means that CHL players are developed for the NHL style of game, which should lead to better results and a shorter transition period.

However, I don’t see the fact that CHL players are built for the NHL game as a significant factor in the gap. Top underage players in top European countries are developed the same way as players that will never play in North America; the players that play out their entire careers in Europe. If this truly was a factor, “Big 6” European countries like Russia, Finland and Sweden wouldn’t be producing NHL talent at a similar rate as Canada.

The only possible development-altering difference between the “Big 6” and the “B-level” countries in terms of development is the quality of coaching, and I believe that has a minimal effect.

In my experience, as long as the instruction isn’t terrible, coaching doesn’t have as much as an effect on the growth of a player as is commonly believed. A lot of coaches have similar styles: typically there are coaches that use positive reinforcement, where good plays by players are rewarded, and then there are the ones that believe in negative reinforcement, where players will hear a lot from their coach when they make a mistake. Most coaches will waver between the two, but lean towards one side. Whichever way they prefer to do things, with either positive or negative reinforcement, will only play a very minimal role in the final skill level and potential of a player, if any.

The approach a prospect takes away from the rink is what sets apart the NHL players from the beer-leaguers. Every NHL player had a childhood that revolved around hockey. If you want to go pro, you have to extremely serious about the sport. That means that the majority of your free time must be spent improving your skills; some do it with a backyard rink, while others spend hours every day shooting at the net placed in their driveway.

To grow international hockey, the focus shouldn’t be levelling out development across countries. That may help a bit, but growing the popularity of hockey in the B-level countries will have a considerably larger impact. If more kids play hockey in a country, there will be more serious hockey players within the borders, and more quality NHL players will be produced.

This means that if we want to end the seperation between the two tiers, we have to increase the popularity of hockey in these tier two countries. There are a few ways to do this. Improving the media coverage of hockey in these countries, particularily television coverage, is one, and increasing the amount of NHL games played in these countries is another, while bringing in NHL players to talk to young kids and setting up a program to give kids used hockey equipment couldn’t hurt either.

To get a better idea of how hockey coverage differs from “Big 6” to “B-level” countries, I spoke to three European hockey fans, two of which reside in “B-level” countries, while one lives between “Big 6” borders.

In the “Big 6” country, the top men’s hockey league has its games televised regularily, and NHL games are shown often, if you are willing to pay roughly $65 USD a month for them. If you aren’t willing to fork over the cash, you can watch just one game a month. Both NHL and European hockey are fixtures in the newspapers, and the NHL coverage has an emphasis on the players that call that country home.

The two hockey fans I spoke to that reside in “B-level” countries offered similar responses to my questions. Both agreed that NHL games were broadcast very sparingly at no cost, with just about 8 games total televised per season. Games still aren’t common if you pay for television, with a maximum of four games per week, but typically less. Coverage of European hockey on TV is not common either, with an average of just two games shown on a weekly basis. Hockey doesn’t receive the same attention in the newspapers as it does in the “Big 6” country, with European hockey attracting a fair amount of coverage, and NHL hockey getting little.

It’s clear that there is a recognizable difference in hockey coverage between these two tiers, with stick and puck getting a noticably higher amount of media coverage in the “Big 6” countries.

There is undeniably a gap in media coverage, as would be expected. Closing this gap should also have an impact on the gap that is the topic of this post: the gap between the “Big 6” and “B-level” international hockey powers.

But how can that be done?

It doesn’t require a creative fix, or any creativity, for that matter, because unfortunately, the average fan cannot do much to help out with this one. It has to start with the higher-ups, the media companies, the IIHF, and the leagues, both the European organizations and the NHL. More hockey needs to be televised and written about in these “B-level” countries, with the emphasis on the television component.

The goal of all the efforts I’m going to suggest in this post is to increase the number of hockey fans, particularily those under 18, in these places. I’ve stressed time and time again that more kids playing hockey = more quality hockey players. The important part of that equation is the first part: more kids playing hockey. That’s what will fill the hole. It all comes down to the kids.

The fact that it does all start with children has the unfortunate effect of a delayed impact. Once measures that help are put in place and we begin to see results in terms of an increase in hockey-playing kids, which will already take multiple years on its own, we still won’t see international hockey begin to grow for at least another decade or so, and it will take at least 15 years of that to achieve full balance, and that’s if everything goes just right, as it nearly never does. It could easily be 20 years until the gap is closed, and 25 may be a better ballpark, as it accounts for the bumps in the road along the way.

It’s a long game, but in the end we will be left with a brand of international hockey that has a dozen teams with legitimate #1 hopes, rather than six or seven like today.

To get there, both the European leagues and the NHL need to work with television providers to get more games on TV. The NHL should be involved with the talks between the European leagues and the providers as well, as an organization with plenty of money and experience with TV deals. If the providers need some extra incentive to get a deal done, the NHL should be helping with that, as it will ultimately be good for hockey in the long run.

Hockey needs to be an option on TV for European sports fans looking for something to occupy their time for a few hours. They may discover they like it, and it will then be exposed to the kids that they may have. When kids see hockey on TV growing up, it will become an option for them as a sport to play.

Closing this media gap will be good for international hockey going forwards, but more must be done as well. The NHL played two games in Sweden this season, and just announced that they will play more in Sweden and Finland next season as well. Games in European “Big 6” countries are a good start, but what will really make a difference is games in the “B-level” places. The Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils will both conclude their training camps with games in Germany and Switzerland against European clubs next year, a solid start for NHL hockey in these countries. Next year, this should progress to NHL vs NHL games in those countries next season, while also continuing the NHL vs European club trend, which is a fantastic idea. It allows then to engage European fans while playing the “Europe vs North America” narrative. Upcoming years should also bring NHL contests in Denmark in Latvia, two “B-level” markets. Also, South Korea was just treated to some Olympic hockey; why not follow that up with a preseason game or two? South Korea just established themselves as a “B-level” country, and that’s a market for growth.

Tapping into European markets with NHL hockey will be key for international growth. If the NHL can use this tool while ensuring that it doesn’t lose its marvel, these international games could be responsible for a huge amount of international growth. If the NHL helps orchestrate some TV deals involving European hockey leagues in “B-level” countries that close the coverage gap, they would be two for two in oppurtunities for enormous growth in international hockey.

Unfortunately, not all of this is gonna happen. I believe the NHL truly will do something similar to what I suggested with the European NHL games, but it is extremely unlikely that they take any course of action to assist in closing the media gap.

Once again, the NHL is standing in the way of growth for international hockey, just as they did by blocking NHL players from the Olympics.

By keeping the best players in the world out of a top international hockey tournament in a newly growing hockey country, the NHL passed on the chance to introduce their product to a country that had recently raised their status at the international level from “C” to “B” level, and the chance to spark even more growth in that country.

The NHL could still save itself by taking this chance to grow international hockey and attempt to orchestrate a closed coverage gap, but based on their track record, it’s far more likely that this goes down as another oppurtunity for international growth spoiled by the NHL.

Top 5 Trades of February 2018

There were 39 trades in the month of February, most of which came right before the trade deadline. I decided to pick 5 of the most impactful trades of February and broke down who the winners and losers were and why.

TRADE: New York Rangers → ← Tampa Bay Lightning

New York acquired: Ryan McDonagh & T.J. Miller

Tampa Bay acquired: Vladislav Namestnikov, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, 2018 first-round pick, & 2019 conditional first-round pick

Winner: Even

It is hard to decide who won this trade because both teams got what they were looking for. The New York Rangers, who are in last place of the Metropolitan Division are currently trying to rebuild their team. The Rangers started the rebuilding process by acquiring prospects and first-round pick for 2 consecutive years. Having both picks in the first round will hopefully land the Rangers talented rookies that they can develop into players who can compete with the top players in the league. Libor Hajek is one of the prospects that they got from Tampa. This season, Hajek played in the WHL for the Saskatoon Blades and has 25 points in 33 games played. These statistics show a promising player who will hopefully be able to produce the same amount when moved up to the NHL. The same can be said about the other prospect that the Rangers acquire. This other player was Brett Howden who has a total of 58 points in 38 games played. In the 2017-2018 season Howden has been a point-per-game player which is something that the Rangers need.

Just like in previous years, the Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired a Rangers captain, and this year was no exception when they got Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh has 26 points on the season which is significantly less than the previous season but it is no surprise considering where the Rangers are in the standings. Although McDonagh isn’t having the best season pointwise, he brings depth, experience, and strength on defense that the Lightning need for their playoff run. Another experienced player that the Lightning got was T.J. Miller. Miller has 40 points on the season which is important for Tampa since he is producing consistently. Overall, this trade was even since each team got what they needed for their future.

TRADE: Buffalo Sabres → ← San Jose Sharks

Buffalo acquired: Dan O’Regan, 2019 conditional first-round pick & 2019 fourth-round pick

San Jose acquired: Evander Kane

Winner: San Jose Sharks

This one was a no brainer. In this trade, the Buffalo Sabres got prospect Dan O’Regan and two 2019 picks. O’Regan is a 24 year old AHL player who has spent the last couple of seasons in the minor leagues but occasionally moving up to the NHL. Although O’Regan has been a successful player in the minors, both times he was moved up to the NHL he has been unable to produce. In addition, the Sabres got a 2019 first-round pick to help them rebuild yet they have been rebuilding for the last couple of years and first round picks have not helped them so far, so there is no telling if this will help them.

The San Jose Sharks only got Evander Kane from this trade but he will be an impact player for them. Although he is only 26 years old, Kane is an experienced player who is still consistent every season when it comes to scoring. This season he has 43 points, 20 goals and 23 assists. Kane will bring scoring and speed to the Sharks who are currently in a playoff spot. Overall, Kane might be older than O’Regan, he is only 2 years older and is producing more which proves this trade was a win for San Jose.   

TRADE: Edmonton Oilers → ← New Jersey Devils

Edmonton acquired: Joey Dudek & 2019 third-round pick

New Jersey acquired: Patrick Maroon

Winner: New Jersey Devils

It seems like the New Jersey Devils have stolen another player from the Edmonton Oilers for almost nothing. The Devils added Patrick Maroon to his roster, who adds depth to New Jersey which is a team that is hoping to make playoffs this season. Maroon brings his good puck protection skills and size along with playoff experience.

The Edmonton Oilers got young prospect Joey Dudek and a third round pick. A third round pick and a rookie low for Maroon’s value. The Oilers should have negotiated for more than what they got since they are a team that has struggled the last couple of seasons besides the last one. Yet, this year they are towards the bottom of the league once again and they need to get an even amount of what they give up.

TRADE: New York Rangers → ← Boston Bruins

New York acquired: Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, Ryan Lindgren, 2018 first-round pick & 2018 seventh-round pick

Boston acquired: Rick Nash

Winner: New York Rangers

Similarly to the Devils – Oilers trade, Rangers ran away with this one. The New York Rangers got 3 players and 2 trades. Ryan Spooner will be a good addition in New York because he is producing this season and has 30 points. The team also got prospect Ryan Lindgren, who is currently playing at the University of Minnesota on defense. As a young player, he is not a very offensive player but he plays his main role well, which is playing defense. Hopefully once he has more experience, he can develop into an NHL player. In addition to getting players, the Rangers got another first round pick to help with their rebuilding process.

The Boston Bruins acquired veteran Rick Nash. Nash has only 29 points on the season in 62 games and has not been producing as his team needed him too. The Boston Bruins were looking for someone who can score come playoff time but Nash has not been having the best season. Even if he can’t put up points, he will still be able to bring his playoff experience which is something the Bruins need. Overall, Boston gave up too much for Rick Nash who is an aging player and is not doing anything productive.

TRADE: New York Rangers → ← New Jersey Devils

New York acquired: Yegor Rykov & 2018 second-round pick

New Jersey acquired: Michael Grabner

Winner: New Jersey Devils

New Jersey won this trade because they got exactly what they were looking for without having to give up too much. Rangers traded away Michael Grabner who is one of the faster players in the NHL and he knows how to score. The New Jersey Devils are currently sitting in a wild card spot, which means that they need consistency to stay where they are or move up in the standings. After trading away Henrique, Michael Grabner can help bring consistency back to New Jersey.

The New York Rangers got a rookie and a second-round pick out of this tarde. The rookie, Yegor Rykov is currently playing in the KHL for SKA St. Petersburg. Rykov is a well rounded player, he is fairly large in size but uses it well, he is good at moving the puck and has good defensive instincts. Although this might seem like a great fit for the Rangers but sadly it might not work out for them. Rykov said that he would rather stay in the KHL rather than play in the NHL, so it doesn’t do the Rangers any good if they have a solid player who doesn’t want to play in the league.

 

NHL Prospects On the Move At The Trade Deadline

There are always plenty of prospects on the move at the deadline, but the media coverage often doesn’t give them much attention. I profiled every significant prospect that was moved at this year’s deadline, offering that coverage. Get to know everything about your team’s young new new additions below.

Ryan Lindgren

Boston Bruins ➡️ New York Rangers

To Boston: Rick Nash

To New York: 2018 1st, 2019 7th, Ryan Lindgren, Ryan Spooner, Matt Belesky

Lindgren is a responsible two way defenceman playing in a defensive role for his team in the NCAA, which somewhat hides his offensive potential. He’s regarded as a shutdown defenseman, but if given a chance in a more two way role, his offensive numbers could flourish. He skates well, and has underrated puckmoving ability. Has the potential to become a good transition defender in the NHL, likely playing on the second pairing.

Thoughts on Trade

Some people dislike this trade from the Rangers standpoint, and have made it very clear on Twitter, but I think it’s fair value. The first round pick that was also included in the deal could very well produce a top 6 forward, and if you couple that with the future top 4 defenseman in Lindgren, that is solid value for a soon to be UFA second line winger.

Rinat Valiev and Kerby Rychel

Toronto Maple Leafs ➡️ Montreal Canadiens

To Toronto: Tomas Plekanec, Kyle Baun

To Montreal: Rinat Valiev, Kerby Rychel, 2018 2nd

Valiev, a defenseman that is essentially NHL-ready, and could step into a role on the Canadiens’ blueline, likely in a 3rd pairing role. The 3rd pairing will likely be the highest he goes, as he doesn’t look like a player with top 4 potential. He doesn’t offer much in terms of offense, with 15 points in 40 games on a dominant Toronto Marlies team, but he’s good defensively and can move the puck at a decent level.

The other prospect involved in the deal, Kerby Rychel is a forward that offers bottom-6 potential, as well as power play ability, where he’s succeeds as a net front presence. A former first round pick of the Jackets, Rychel has not lived up to expectations, as his power style game hasn’t yet earned an NHL job, despite being drafted in 2013.

Thoughts on Trade

This is an even deal in my books. The Canadiens got two prospects with bona-fide NHL potential for an expiring contract, while the Leafs got a very good 4C, filling their biggest hole offensively. Win-Win.

Filip Gustavsson

Pittsburgh Penguins ➡️ Ottawa Senators

To Pittsburgh: Derick Brassard, Tobias Lindberg, Vincent Dunn, 2018 3rd Round Pick

To Ottawa: Filip Gustavsson, Ian Cole, 2018 1st Round Pick. 2019 3rd Round Pick

Gustavsson, a goalie, has true starting potential, getting Ottawa a player that has a good chance of being the Senators their goalie of the future. He’s a pretty good all around goalie, and is only getting better.

Thoughts on Trade

I like this trade for both teams. Gustavsson and the picks helps set the Sens up for the future, while Derick Brassard will only increase the Penguins’ chances at a three-peat.

Yegor Rykov

New Jersey Devils ➡️ New York Rangers

To New Jersey: Michael Grabner

To New York: Yegor Rykov, 2018 2nd Round Pick

Yegor Rykov is an impressive defensive prospect with top 4 potential. A big two way defenceman, Rykov has gotten into some KHL games this season, and tried out for the Russian men’s Olympic hockey team, a promising sign for the young blueliner. He excels defensively, with an aggressive style that generates turnovers. He has puck-moving potential as well, and could be a good producer of offence at the NHL level.

Thoughts on Trade

New York won this deal, adding a legitimate defensive prospect as well as a pick with a good chance at yielding an NHL player, while giving up a middle six forward with an expiring contract that uses his speed to generate points, a good portion of which come on special teams play.

Nick Moutry

Columbus Blue Jackets ➡️ Ottawa Senators

To Blue Jackets: Ian Cole

To Senators: Nick Moutry, 2020 3rd Round Pick

In terms of NHL potential, you shouldn’t be high on Moutry. The forward doesn’t provide much offensive potential, as shown by his 6 points in 22 AHL games. He’s better on the defensive side of the game, but still likely won’t be good enough to succeed in a checking role in the NHL.

Thoughts on Trade:

Columbus looks like the winner in this trade. The combonation of a not so good prospect and a pick that isn’t until 2020 leaves the Sens with a return that doesn’t look like it will yield an NHL player, and if it does, it likely won’t be until 2022 or 2023 at the earliest, if they manage to harvest a player from the pick. However, Cole was traded late, with not much time left until the deadline, so it is likely that Columbus was the highest bidder.

Victor Edjsell

Nashville Predators ➡️ Chicago Blackhawks

To Nashville: Ryan Hartman, 2018 5th Round Pick

To Blackhawks: Victor Edjsell, 2018 1st Round Pick, 2018 4th Round Pick

Edjsell is a big centre that is underrated by many accounts. He has NHL potential, despite not having a name known by many. He uses his size well, overpowering defenders. Hard to find much dirt on him online, but remember his name.

Thoughts on Trade:

Chicago looks like the clear winner here, and in ny opinion, would still be even if Hartman had gotten just a 1st. I think this will go down as a mistake for Nashville.

Philip Holm

Vancouver Canucks ➡️ Vegas Golden Knights

To Canucks:

Brendan Leipsic

To Golden Knights:

Phillip Holm

Holm was a late bloomer, but now at 26, he looks like he has NHL potential. Was very good in the AHL for the Utica Comets, and now may get a chance at the NHL for the Knights in a season or two. Unfortunately for him, Vegas is deep on the blueline, so he’ll have to wait for his big league oppurtunity.

Thoughts on Trade

Vegas wins this one, getting a pretty good prospect for a bottom six NHLer.

Daniel O’Regan

San Jose Sharks ➡️ Buffalo Sabres

To Sharks:

Evander Kane

To Sabres:

Daniel O’Regan, conditional 2019 1st Round Pick, Conditional 2020 4th Round Pick

O’Regan, a 24 year old centre, has been very good in the AHL with the San Jose Barracuda. He offers offensive potential in what will likely be a bottom six role.

Thoughts on Trade

This is win-win in my opinion, as the conditions placed upon the picks offsets the risk of San Jose getting Kane for more than just the latter part of the season. O’Regan offers NHL potential as well.

Tyler Motte

Columbus Blue Jackets ➡️ Vancouver Canucks

To Blue Jackets:

Thomas Vanek

To Canucks:

Tyler Motte, Jussi Jokinen

Motte has a good chance of becoming an NHL player, as is evident by the 64 NHL games he has already player. However, he only projects to be a bottom sixer, so he isn’t a great prospect.

Thoughts on Trade

I expected Vanek to get a 2nd round pick, but instead they only got a decent prospect and a fringe NHLer. Probably should have gotten more.

J.D Duden

New Jersey Devils ➡️ Edmonton Oilers

To Devils:

Patrick Maroon

To Oilers:

J.D Dudek, 2019 3rd Round Pick

Dudek, a no name prospect, has little to no NHL potential and just 17 points in 33 NCAA games this season.

Thoughts on Trade

New Jersey fleeces Chiarelli. Trades like this are way too common r Chiarelli. If Ryan Hartman gets a 1st, Maroon should too, instead of what is essentially just a 3rd round pick, and it isn’t even this year.

Brett Howden and Libor Hajek

Tampa Bay Lightning ➡️ New York Rangers

To New York:

Brett Howden, Libor Hajek, Vladimir Namestikov, 2018 1st Round Pick, Conditional 2nd Round Pick

To Tampa:

Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller

Howden projects as a bottom six NHLer, and plays a grinding game. Offers some offensive potential, with 58 points in 38 games in the WHL, but it likely won’t be enough for him to succeed in a top 6 role.

Meanwhile, Libor Hajek is a defensive prospect that I really like. He has top 4 potential in my books, A two way defenceman, he’s good defensively, and can move the puck well.

Thoughts on Trade

This one’s even. McDonagh will greatly improve the cup chances of an already very good Tampa Bay Lightning team, while the package going back will be very good for the Rangers’ rebuild, as they added good prospects and picks.