With the trade deadline fast approaching, some notable transactions have already taken place. While there are always some trades on the actual deadline day, many of the big ones occur prior to the deadline. Much to the chagrin of Sportsnet and TSN who have to fill an entire day of TV. Due to the fact they often don’t have enough material, TSN usually goes a little overboard with the attempted entertainment and sometimes Geno Reda hugs/fights llamas.
Andrew Ladd returns to Chicago
The Chicago Blackhawks added to their potent lineup Thursday night by acquiring 30-year-old Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd. Ladd is a familiar face in Chicago as he was part of their 2010 Stanley Cup championship team. The Blackhawks top six will now look something like this:
Good luck with that. The Blackhawks paid a steep price for Ladd though, trading their 2016 first round pick, a good prospect in 21-year-0ld Marko Dano and a conditional third round pick. The condition of that third round pick is if the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup this season, the Jets get that pick. I have a feeling they might do just that. Again. It’s a steep price to pay for a rental, but it doesn’t matter if you win the Cup. Look at last season. The Blackhawks traded their 2015 first round pick and threw in Klas Dahlbeck for Antoine Vermette. That’s quite an over payment for a third line centre, but they won the Cup and he scored some key goals in the playoffs. Therefore nobody questions the trade and they shouldn’t.
Just for fun, here is Ladd pretending to be King Kong or something the summer after the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship.
Lou is wheeling and dealing
Lou Lamoriello seems to have set the bar high on the price of rentals. First he sent Shawn Matthias to the Avalanche for a fourth round pick and a long shot prospect in Colin Smith. The next day, Lamoriello got back to work and sent Nick Spaling and Roman Polak to the San Jose Sharks for two second round picks. Thanks Doug Wilson! The Leafs had to take on Raffi Torres’ contract to make this deal work, but he is staying with the Sharks AHL affiliate and his contract is up at the end of the season. I’m not sure what Wilson was thinking with this one. Polak and Spaling had a combined two goals on the season at the time of the trade. I also don’t think the Sharks are real contenders in the first place. What are the chances that they get out of the first round? Well, if the playoffs started right now they would be playing the Anaheim Ducks in the first round. Not a chance they win that. If Anaheim moves up to first in the division, the Sharks get the lucky draw of the LA Kings! Again, not a chance. Polak and Spaling aren’t very useful anyway, so how much are you even improving your chances? Anyway, thanks again Doug Wilson!
The Leafs still have six unrestricted free agents they could possibly move before the deadline. James Reimer, PA Parenteau, Michael Grabner, Brad Boyes, Mark Arcobello and Rich Clune. Judging by the returns on deals already made, some of these guys might fetch the Leafs a decent return. Especially if the Leafs take on more short-term bad contracts. I look at Bryan Bickell buried in the minors for four million this year and next. I can’t help but think the Leafs will try to take that contract back for a big return. The Blackhawks would love to rid themselves of both Bickell and Scuderi’s contracts and the Leafs can definitely help them with that. Look for Parenteau to bring back the best return for the Leafs.
Jim Benning strikes
Benning traded one of his best prospects in Hunter Shinkaruk for a third or fourth line centre in Markus Granlund. He then went on to say that Granlund will most likely play the wing. His reasoning for making the trade? “We wanted a defenceman, but this is the best we could get.” Wait, what? He’s talking like he had to trade his 21-year-old prospect. The Vancouver Canucks are eight points out of a playoff spot and they refuse to acknowledge that they need to add young assets instead of give them away. This reeks of ownership getting involved and forcing management to make deals while the Sedins are still around. Or maybe Jim Benning is just a total idiot. Either way, he could’ve fetched a much better return for Shinkaruk even if he was forced to trade him. Yesterday Benning said that he wouldn’t trade players for picks and that he was only going to make “hockey trades.” He should have been more specific and said “horrific hockey trades.” It will be interesting to see what he does with Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis.
Live from Jim Benning's office pic.twitter.com/K3xawdyEvX
— Jocelyn Aspa (@jocelynaspa) February 22, 2016
The Carolina Hurricanes are surprisingly still hanging around the playoff race. I don’t think they are going to make it, but their performance has been impressive this season nonetheless. They’re going to have to trade their longtime captain and face of the franchise by Monday. Staal’s cap hit is huge, so they may have to take a bad contract back if they want the return they want, but he could be a huge add for a contending team. I’m thinking the Anaheim Ducks could be a good fit. They are a real good team with a ton of cap space. Can you imagine dealing with Getzlaf, Kesler and Staal as their top three centres in the playoffs? Not fun.
Eriksson is an interesting one. The Bruins are in a playoff spot, but I don’t think anybody really believes that they’re contenders. Eriksson is having a huge season and could fetch a huge return at the deadline, but what kind of message does that send to your team? They are still talking about an extension, but they better figure out what the plan is with him by Monday. If they don’t trade him or sign him to an extension that would be a disaster. They aren’t likely to make a deep playoff run, so letting him walk for nothing in the summer would hurt them going forward.
Jiri Hudler and Kris Russel
Hudler is as good as gone and should fetch a a second rounder or better. Russel, on the other hand, is in a similar situation to Eriksson in Boston. They’re still talking extension, but they don’t have much time to decide which way to go. They are basement dwellers so they definitely can’t let him walk at the end of the season. Their best option here is to trade him and it isn’t even close. He seems to be overvalued and if they sign him to an extension in the 4-5 million dollar mark, they will soon regret it.
There are a whole lot of other interesting players potentially on the move like Mikkel Boedker, Scott Hartnell, Lars Eller and even the resurgent Lee Stempniak, but I’m just scratching the surface here.
Why isn’t Monday a national holiday?