With no game on either side of Wednesday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne took a surprise night off from the line-up. There was no indication of any injury or anything else that would suggest that Selanne's absence wasn't a healthy scratch, so I would say it's safe to assume that it was just an extra night off for the 43-year old forward. It is quite possible that the Olympics have caught up to him as well.
The absence didn't necessarily hurt Chris in the standings last night, as he remained tied for 2nd, 3rd on the tie-breakers, but did lose some extra ground on Allan, who is in 1st place.
During the trade deadline rigamoroll, the Detroit Red Wings announced that they will be shutting down forward Pavel Datsyuk for the next three weeks, due to the nagging knee injury that he has been plagued with. The team has announced that their number one pivot won't require any surgery on his knee, but these three weeks will be for rest and he'll be re-evaluated then. The combination of all the injuries on the team right now, led to the acquisition of David Legwand from the Predators and he'll make his debut tonight.
Ryan V. won't likely lose any footing in the pool, as his 22nd place team has a 32-point gap on 23rd place, but he is only 6 points out of 20th and 10 points out of 19th. Moving up in the standings would be a small victory, I guess.
It sounds like the season for Ottawa Senators defenseman Joe Corvo has come to an early end... in the NHL, that is. The veteran defenseman cleared waivers on Wednesday and the Senators couldn't drum up a trade for him either, so they were able to find him a spot on the Chicago Wolves roster in the AHL, where he is expected to play out the remainder of the season. The 36-year old blueliner will become an unrestricted free agent in July, but with a cap hit of only $900,000 this year, the likelihood of him signing anywhere next year seems somewhat slim.
A disappointing turn of events for Leo, who is already in last place in the standings, as he won't be getting anymore help from Corvo this year. Corvo may have been a drop in the second Waiver Draft, but by then, Leo was already resigned to his team's fate and just let him go.
The Calgary Flames were already showcasing some of their young talented players on Wednesday night, thanks to some injuries before their game against the Ottawa Senators. Unfortunately, during that same game, they suffered a couple more injuries, which could lead to a couple more players being called up for a game or two. Forward Jiri Hudler and defenseman Dennis Wideman each suffered upper-body injuries against the Sens and were unable to return. As of Thursday afternoon, there wasn't much word on the severity of the injuries, but I would imagine if it is more serious than day-to-day, we'll have an update here before their game against the Islanders on Friday.
Not likely the news that either Ryan M. or Grant, respectively, were looking for down the stretch. Ryan sits 14th and Grant sits 12th, going into Thursday night's action and are likely hoping for good news before Friday night's game.
The Carolina Hurricanes placed defenseman Justin Faulk on the Injured Reserve, retroactive to the weekend, so they could recall young blueliner Ryan Murphy from the minors. Faulk was injured in Sunday's game against the Anaheim Ducks and didn't return. The injury is an upper-body injury and it will keep the defender out for about 10 days and the team has concluded that the injury is not a concussion, which I suppose is good news, in the long-term sense.
One person's injury is another's good fortune, as Stacey M. will lose a defender for a few more days, while Allan gets a player back in the active line-up to help extend his lead. Stacey now sits 8 points out of the prizes in 5th place and is only 5 points ahead of 10th... a slippery slope, indeed.
Lost in some of the hustle and bustle of the trade deadline was the absence of Martin Hanzal from the Phoenix Coyotes line-up, when they played against the Vancouver Canucks. Hanzal is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, which has him as questionable/doubtful for Thursday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens. Hanzal has reportedly been dealing with this injury and been getting treatment for it, so there is that chance he might try to play through it, but if the Coyotes are in the playoff mix, they may want to consider a little bit of rest, seeing as though they did acquire Martin Erat at the deadline to help offensively.
Of course, rest won't help Mike's team at all, as he sits in the pack that is just outside of the prizes, right in the mix for some glory. Mike is having a pretty good week so far, registering 9 points and moved up a spot in the process, sitting 7th, 10 points out of the prizes.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Finally, my last post from Trade Deadline Day, as the last player in the hockey pool moved at the deadline was Lee Stempniak, formerly of the Calgary Flames. Stempniak was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 3rd round pick.
The Flames were not necessarily supposed to be in a fire sale on Wednesday, but they were expected to move a few of the future unrestricted free agents and they only moved a couple, the only pool player being Stempniak, the other being goaltender Reto Berra, gone to the Avalanche for a 2nd.
The Penguins had their irons in a few fires, if you were to believe the hype surrounding today, but they only came away with some depth, not able to gain any insurance for some of their softer superstars.
In Stempniak, the Penguins will gain some quality depth for their third line, as he is a very gritty winger, with some scoring upside, given that he has been a second line winger for the Flames for a little while now.
In 2014, the 31-year old forward has 8 goals and 15 assists in 51 games for the Flames, ranking 294th in pool scoring to this point in the season. He immediately becomes an upgrade on a number of wingers that are already in the Penguins' fold and could also bump up in the depth chart, if some more grit is needed with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
I'm sure that Leo would have preferred this deal to have happened at the beginning of the season, just after the draft. Maybe Stempniak would have more than 23 points and Leo wouldn't be in last place in the standings?
If you haven't heard yet, it was the Trade Deadline Day for the goalies. Jaroslav Halak and Michal Neuvirth finished the day for the netminders, being swapped for one another to help solve some situations.
Halak, who was acquired by the Sabres in the deal that saw Ryan Miller go to St. Louis earlier in the frenzy, was flipped along side a 3rd round draft pick, heading to the Washington Capitals for Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who was also flipped from a previous deal also. This deal turned into deals from deals, which kind of made the deadline a lot more exciting.
Halak, when it was all said and done, was the second-best player to be dealt at the deadline and the best player to be dealt twice at the deadline. Halak didn't make any appearances in his short stint with the Sabres, but in St. Louis, he was able to give them 24 wins, 4 shutouts and an assist for 57 points and a 1.53 points per 60 minutes scoring rate in the pool. Halak, at the start of Wednesday night's action, was ranked 28th overall, a high 2nd round pick in the pool, if you were counting.
Remarkably, this is one of the few deals where there were a couple of pool players moved and it was the second goalie in the deal, Neuvirth, who will provide the Sabres with another mid-tier option in their crease.
Neuvirth has been an 'alright' goaltender for the Capitals in his career, showing flashes of really good play and then some real lemon games. In 2014, Neuvirth has appeared in 13 games, winning 4 and adding an assist for only 9 points.
The Capitals were looking for a starter and the Sabres were looking for someone who could play right away, if needed, playing behind Jhonas Enroth. The Sabres will likely be looking for a franchise goalie in the foreseeable future, but for now, they will finish the season with two mid-level keepers, likely aiming for the 1st overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.
Welcome back to the bottom of the standings, as Doug has Halak and Derek Wyllie has Neuvirth, both below the equator in the standings.
Now, Wyllie is in the triple-digits going into Wednesday night's action in the third segment and if he can get a few more starts, something he wasn't going to get in Washington, even before Halak's arrival, he is already in a better position. Wyllie has the worst numbers from the crease this year, with 20 total points, so any improvement would be smiled upon.
The Buffalo Sabres were considered the "epicenter of the trade deadline" and for good reason. The biggest reason was Matt Moulson, who was in the top three available forwards on Wednesday. Yes, it came down to the dying minutes of the allotted time for trades, but the deal got done and it was the Minnesota Wild that came away winners.
As it reads on Wednesday evening, Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick headed to the Wild for forward Torrey Mitchell and a couple of 2nd round picks, from 2014 and 2016. It really didn't look like the Wild had to give up too much for a scoring winger and some help, who could possibly re-sign in the Summer, if all goes well in the end.
At the deadline, Moulson was ranked 113th in pool scoring, thanks to 17 goals and 21 assists in 55 games between Long Island and Buffalo.
Moulson was also involved in the deal that sent Thomas Vanek to Long Island, which started a lot of the trade rumours and suggestions, that neither team were going to be able to keep their new bodies through the deadline.
Moulson should provide some decent depth scoring to a Minnesota team that is right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff mix. The Wild are getting healthy as well, just as they start the home stretch, not to mention they have also acquired Ilya Bryzgalov to help with their goaltending, trying to become a serious contender to make it out of the West.
This is the second player on Wes' team that has been moved at the deadline and the third player that has been mentioned in a blog post today, thanks to an injury. His 15th place team has been in the news, but I will reiterate... his team is too far out of contention for any of these deals to really make a difference.
No question, the biggest prize at this deadline was going to be forward Thomas Vanek, who the Islanders acquired earlier in the year from Buffalo in a pretty big deal. The Islanders were unable to convince the Austrian sniper to re-sign with the team, so they had to deal him out.
There were a number of powerhouse teams looking to add a guy like Vanek at this deadline, but surprisingly, the Montreal Canadiens came up with the win and it turned out that the price wasn't quite as high as what the Islanders paid for him in the first place. Coming back in return is prospect goaltender Sebastian Collberg and a conditional draft pick, a 2nd rounder.
The Montreal Canadiens got an instant offensive upgrade in Vanek and they didn't have to give up anything that was in their line-up right away. With the Canadiens entrenched in the Atlantic Division playoff spots, they were going to need some more offense, helping out a pretty good defense and even better goaltending.
Between Buffalo and Long Island, Vanek has scored 21 goals and 32 assists in 60 games, good enough for 35th in pool scoring, heading into tonight's action.
This has some potential to be a good move for Vanek and therefore Chris in the pool, as there should be some excitement about going to a team that is in a playoff push. It will be interesting to see who Vanek will line-up with the Habs, but he does have enough talent to make some offense on his own.
Injuries in Detroit are a real thing these days... a real problem too! If the Red Wings are to make a playoff push, they are going to need some quality healthy bodies in their line-up, so they addressed that problem, as best they could, by acquiring David Legwand from the Nashville Predators for Patrick Eaves, Calle Jarnkrok and a 3rd round pick.
Legwand was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season and since the Predators are nowhere near the wild card spots in the Western Conference, becoming a seller on Wednesday was a no-brainer.
In Legwand, the Red Wings get an established NHL centre with plenty of experience, with a touch of leadership qualities and can put some pucks in the net, when required. In the 2014 season, Legwand has already amassed 40 points (10 goals and 30 assists) in 62 games for Nashville, which ranks him 101st in pool scoring.
The real selling point for the Red Wings is that he can fill one of the voids left behind by Henrik Zetterberg or even Pavel Datsyuk, both are dealing with injuries for the foreseeable future.
This deal is also another one that involves a player who plays for a team at the bottom of the standings, as Dale B.'s season hasn't been very grand, ranking 21st, going into Wednesday night. Legwand may actually get a boost in numbers, playing with some quality Red Wings talent, but it's too little, too late here.
Well, that wasn't a long stay. The Vancouver Canucks did make one move on Wednesday, as they sent defenseman Rafael Diaz to the New York Rangers for a 5th round draft pick this Summer.
Diaz was acquired by the Canucks from the Canadiens just before the Olympics for Dale Weise.
Diaz managed to play in six games for the Canucks, since the first trade, scoring a goal and an assist. His season totals between Montreal and Vancouver are 1 goal and 12 assists in 52 games, ranking him 448th in pool scoring.
The impression that he had left was quite small in Vancouver, but apparently he was a well sought after player and being a pretty good skater and only 24 years old, it kind of makes sense.
There doesn't appear to be many guarantees that Diaz will be an everyday defenseman in the Big Apple, but he was a healthy scratch a few times in both Montreal and Vancouver, so Chris, who has him in the draft, has been dealing with some spotty attendance already this year and his team is in 3rd place, going into Wednesday night's action.
Since I'm only blogging deals that are relevant to the hockey pool this year, it might seem weird that I am posting the deal that sees Andrej Meszaros going to the Boston Bruins for a draft pick, instead of the Marian Gaborik to the Los Angeles Kings deal... but Gaborik was dropped this year, so I'm sorry about his luck.
Yes, the Bruins were able to land another shut down defenseman on their side, as Meszaros was made available by the Flyers, since he hasn't been a regular in their line-up all season long.
Meszaros has only played in 38 games for the Flyers this season, being a healthy scratch in over 20 games otherwise. He has done well in the games he has played, scoring 5 goals and adding 12 assists, just under a half point-per-game.
With some injury concerns in Boston and the desire to be a little tougher along the blueline, the Bruins were able to ship a mid-round pick over for a player that will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.
This could be a solid positive for Wes down the stretch, as one of his defensemen will move back down from the press box to the ice for a little while, at the very least. There is no guarantee that Meszaros will play every game, but it is at least a start.
Wes has below-average defense this year, sitting in 15th place in the standings.
In somewhat of a surprise move, maybe more from the Dallas Stars perspective, Tim Thomas heads to the Lone Star State in a deal, which will put him behind Kari Lehtonen, as a back-up goalie.
In return for Thomas goes the old back-up goalie for Lehtonen, Dan Ellis, which arguably makes it a back-up for back-up deal.
Thomas hasn't exactly burned up the ice in Florida, only picking up 33 points (16 wins & 1 assist) in 40 appearances this season, but this may give the Stars a little more credibility in goal... on paper, at least.
They may not have been anything wrong with Ellis as the back-up, but the feeling must have been that he isn't starting material that could take over for Lehtonen, if the worst was to happen in the home stretch to the playoffs or in the playoffs. In 14 appearances, mostly relief, Ellis has 13 points and still averaging over a point per 60 minutes played.
Lehtonen is a heavy load starting goalie, so at best, Thomas may be looking at starts on back-to-back nights and maybe those would be limited as well.
There are definitely some implications here, as Thomas will definitely lose minutes and games in this deal, but he was likely going to lose them to Roberto Luongo in Florida anyways. I would think that there is a little more certainty of that in Dallas, as they rely heavily on Lehtonen. This doesn't bode well for Ryan M., who would love nothing more than to pass a couple of players in the standings to make his season a bit more tolerable, since he won't likely finish in the prizes.