NHL trade deadline coming up with not much action happening
February 20, 2018 3:04 AM
by Nick Pellegrino
The trade deadline head toward the Feb. 26 deadline with not much happening thus far.
Every team hopes to land a proven goal scorer (especially Winnipeg and Los Angeles), a steady defenseman (Anaheim, Toronto), or a goalie (Philadelphia), with names like Evander Kane, Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Michael Grabner all potentially on the trading block.
However, when N.Y. Rangers president Glen Sather recently announced in a letter to season-ticket holders to add youth, reading between the lines meant anyone could be made available. Thus, the biggest name out there in a Big Apple fire sale may be Rick Nash, one of the few centers on the market.
But the only deal done as GT went to press was a minor move sending D Michael Kempny from Chicago to Washington for a third round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
As for Nash, he’s notably slipping on the ice. Since a career-high 42 goals in 2014-15 (NHL-best 32 on the power play), he’s scored just 15, 23 and this season 17.
So is he worth it? So far not.
Clubs with significant talent to move in the minors or draft picks to deal include Central Division contenders Nashville and Winnipeg, plus teams in the Metro Division dogfight like Philadelphia and Carolina.
Montreal and Colorado hold three first-round draft picks via previous trades, although one Avalanche pick is conditional and could revert to the 2019 Entry Draft. Also holding extra high-round draft picks is the New York Islanders after the trade of defenseman Travis Hamonic (2017 NHL Foundation Player Award winner) to Calgary, including conditional first- and second-round selections. The Flames could gain Detroit’s top selection in the Tom McCollum deal.
What can anyone make about the Canucks, a program which hasn’t come close to winning a playoff series since blowing Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final to the Boston Bruins.
For a program that’s failed to win even three straight since the opening week of December, the line that stretches around Rogers Arena is filled with fans angry at ownership, not the public fall guy in general manager Jim Benning.
Thus, how does one explain the new, 4-year contract extension given to Benning last week? Will Benning remain a puppet or be allowed to do his job in tandem with club president Trevor Linden? Hopefully, management will stop poking their nose in overruling proposed trades, further stalling the club’s second major roster overhaul in Benning’s four seasons.
In other words, time is running out on the playing careers of the Sedin twins, leaving the club with an array of nice prospects at Utica, N.Y., in the minor leagues, but not much else except for 2018 All-Star Brock Boeser, a rookie right-winger.
During his tenure, Benning was responsible for trading away Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa, then acquired busts like Loui Eriksson and Erik Gudbranson.
However, Canucks beat-writers, off-the-record, report Benning was simply following instructions by ownership.
Perhaps recent deals and draft selections for Boeser, Bo Horvat, Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen may be keys to the future – if they are not part of another salary dump.
Birthdays: Remember a few weeks ago when Edmonton’s Connor McDavid was able to celebrate his 21st birthday in Vegas? Well, Boeser and the Canucks play the Golden Knights here on Feb. 23, two days before he celebrates No. 21. Will the paparazzi catch him illegally drinking alcohol?
Boston is already declaring Brad Marchand as the leader for the Hart Memorial Trophy as MVP in the NHL. And the usual suspects, like Washington’s Alex Ovechkin along with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, are all in contention.
In Tampa Bay, Nikita Kucherov, the league scoring leader for the No. 1 overall Lightning, will be out-shined by Steven Stamkos, while no one in the States knows anything about the personnel in Winnipeg.
So why not William Karlsson of “our” Vegas Golden Knights as MVP?
Karlsson ranks in the top 10 in scoring and total points, plus is first in the important Plus/Minus ratings. He should be considered despite his All-Star Game snub.
As for Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, he’ll need to settle for the Vezina Trophy.
Off the ice, there’s also Gerard Gallant (Jack Adams Award as coach of the year) and George McPhee (GM of the year).
The VGK public relations staff better get moving because other teams already started campaigning for postseason awards recognition.
And stop copying what I write in your tweets.