USA TODAY US Edition
BLACKHAWKS MAKE RIGHT MOVES
The standings are tight, and that made for a lack of sellers at the NHL’s trade deadline Monday. Winners and losers from the last few days’ of activity, or lack thereof:
Chicago Blackhawks: When they added Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann over the weekend, it was like Bill Gates winning the lottery. The rich got richer. The NHL’s most accomplished playoff team landed players who will make it even stronger in the postseason. Ladd will play on Chicago’s top line eventually with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Meanwhile, Weise and Fleischmann will be secondary scorers.
It doesn’t matter that the Blackhawks gave up a first-round pick and a good, young player (Marko Dano) for Ladd and a second-round pick and Phillip Danault to acquire Weise. With three Stanley Cup titles on his résumé, general manager Stan Bowman is playing with house money.
Calgary Flames: General manager Brad Treliving hit a home run on the return he received for moving feisty, shotblocking defenseman Kris Russell to the Dallas Stars. No one doubts Russell’s ability to help the Stars, but they paid a heavy price for him, giving up a second-round pick that becomes a first-rounder if the Stars reach the Western Conference final. There’s been a resistance movement in the NHL against giving up first-round picks for rentals. So it’s a major win for the Flames, who also got 6-3 defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, who has 91 games of NHL experience, plus Brett Pollock, considered a B or B- prospect.
Boston Bruins: Sometimes the best moves are the ones not made. That’s probably true for the Bruins, who did not trade Loui Eriksson, an unrestricted free agent this summer. They acquired veteran defenseman JohnMichael Liles (from the Carolina Hurricanes) and versatile forward Lee Stempniak (from the New Jersey Devils). The Bruins’ most pressing need was an allaround defenseman such as Liles.
Stempniak, meanwhile, can play a variety of roles. He is highly competitive and should be a solid complementary player.
Carolina Hurricanes: Because Eric Staal, Kris Versteeg and Liles were not part of their future plans, the Hurricanes looked to gain young assets and draft picks. They turned them into two second-round picks from the New York Rangers, a third-rounder (2016) and a fifth- rounder (2017) from the Bruins, a conditional fifth-round pick (from the Los Angeles Kings), plus prospects Valentin Zykov (from Los Angeles), Aleksi Saarela (from New York) and Anthony Camara (from Boston).
LOSERS Vancouver Canucks: Given what the Flames received for Russell, Canucks fans have to be disappointed that Vancouver couldn’t, or didn’t, move defenseman Dan Hamhuis. He is considered a better player than Russell.
Brooks Laich, Toronto Maple Leafs: He was a high-character leader on the Washington Capitals through lean times. Then, with their best opportunity to win a Stanley Cup, he was dealt to a rebuilding team in Toronto.
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning: The young winger took a risk when he asked for a trade and then decided to go home after playing a few games with the Syracuse (N.Y.) Crunch in the American Hockey League. General manager Steve Yzerman looked at his options, but he didn’t like the offers.
New York Islanders: No one wanted them to move potential free agents such as Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen. There was no consensus from their fan base about what the Islanders should do, but everyone wanted them to do something. They made only a minor trade, adding Shane Prince from the Ottawa Senators.