The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article.
More trades! Washington acquires Kevin Shattenkirk. The Leafs add depth at centre. The Canucks finally act like the sellers they should have been years ago. Pulkkinen gets another NHL shot and who is left to be moved between non and Wednesday’s deadline?
WASHINGTON GOES ALL IN
John Carlson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Matt Niskanen as RHDs for the #Caps. Any recent team had a better 3? Best answer might be … Canada.
— Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) February 28, 2017
The Washington Capitals are loading up for the playoffs. They send a 2017 first-round pick, a conditional 2019 second-round pick, and prospect Zach Sanford to St. Louis for Kevin Shattenkirk and Pheonix Copley. Washington only gives up that 2019 pick if they either re-sign Shattenkirk, or if they make the conference finals and Shattenkirk plays in half of the games. There’s also an option of another pick for St. Louis if the Capitals trade Shattenkirk on or before July 1st. The Capitals were arguably the best team in the NHL before this, so adding Shattenkirk just puts them on another level. Washington already had a strong defense, and they might have the best right-handed defence in the league now.
It’s not like the Capitals needed help on the power play, but Shattenkirk is easily the best defenceman in terms of 5-on-4 scoring rate over the last few years, with almost a full 2 points per 60 minutes higher than the two closest defencemen. The Capitals have struggled to get past the second round over the years, and a weaker league overall might mean this year is their best shot with Pittsburgh the only real threat in their conference.
St. Louis managed to recoup some assets lost when they didn’t trade pending free agents David Backes and Troy Brouwer last season. The Blues went on a decent playoff run, but they clearly felt they couldn’t afford to do the same with Shattenkirk this season. They were also handcuffed a bit, as teams tried to trade for Shattenkirk but wanted to work out an extension before any deal was completed, so teams knew Shattenkirk was strictly a rental. St. Louis basically got the same return Arizona did for Martin Hanzal, but received a recently picked second-round prospect instead of a future pick, which makes the return feel a bit underwhelming.
THE LEAFS ACQUIRE BRIAN BOYLE
Leafs acquire Brian Boyle for Froese and second rounder.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) February 27, 2017
The Toronto Maple Leafs got in on the early trade action acquiring Brian Boyle Monday afternoon. The Leafs will send the highest of their three 2017 second-round picks and Bryan Froese to Tampa Bay in exchange for Boyle.
Boyle will provide center depth and help on face-offs so Mike Babcock doesn’t have to overuse Ben Smith or Tyler Bozak due to the Leafs other more faceoff-challenged centres. Boyle has 22 points in 54 games for Tampa this season, so he provides some offence, but may see more of a fourth-line role in Toronto. Toronto can afford to part with a second-round pick considering they have three of them, and this helps them in their playoff push without giving up significant assets.
Tampa makes out pretty well here, too. They’re not making the playoffs so capitalizing on pending free agents like Boyle is key.
THE CANUCKS ARE FINALLY SELLERS
Jonathan Dahlen is a great return for Burrows. Credit where due. The Canucks nailed this one.
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) February 27, 2017
“I’m not done for the day. I have some calls to make and if deals make sense for us, we’re going to do them.” – Benning
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 27, 2017
The Vancouver Canucks finally sell at the trade deadline. Maybe they finally realized they need to rebuild and acquire assets after last season’s disastrous deadline, maybe it was the mumps, either way, the Canucks made a strong rebuilding move trading Alex Burrows to the Ottawa Senators.
The Canucks acquire a very good prospect in 19-year-old Johnathan Dahlén, while Ottawa gets a decent middle-six winger who they immediately extended for two more years. Burrows wasn’t in the plans for Vancouver, and given his no-trade clause the Canucks did extremely well. Dahlén has 42 points in 44 games for Timrå IK in the Allsvenskan league. The Allsvenskan is just a tier below the Swedish Hockey League in terms of Sweden’s best hockey league and has produced some very good NHL players in recent history, including Fillip Forsberg, Alex Wennberg, and Patrik Berglund.
Ottawa gets a reliable two-way winger that has some edge, but is clearly on his last legs. Burrows was close to a buyout candidate this summer so it’s hard to tell how many good seasons he has left in him. Burrows should still help the Senators now, but giving up a pretty good prospect in Dahlén for him is hard to justify.
Vancouver still has Ryan Miller and Jannik Hansen to potentially deal, although both carry no-trade clauses similar to Burrows. Canucks fans will be very happy if Jim Benning can yield a similar return for those two.
PULKKINEN GETS ANOTHER CHANCE
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) February 27, 2017
After clearing waivers Monday morning, prolific American Hockey League scorer Teemu Pulkkinen may get another shot in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes.
Pulkkinen’s scoring hasn’t translated into NHL success, he only had one goal in nine games after being claimed off waivers by Minnesota, but he should get plenty of opportunity with the bodies flying out of Arizona. The Coyotes have already sent out Martin Hanzal and Ryan White, and Radim Vrbata will likely be following them out the door soon as well. Shane Doan might even be frustrated enough to take a chance with a playoff contender judging by his comments after the Hanzal trade.
Pulkkinen is a low-risk move for the Coyotes as they get to see if the Finnish winger can provide scoring down the stretch, and if not they can simply assign him to the minors without putting him on waivers since he’s already cleared recently. It’s a little odd they didn’t just include him in the Hanzal trade with Minnesota, but having that waiver flexibility is nice, and they saved them a few dollars by not claiming him outright.
DEADLINE TARGETS REMAINING
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) February 28, 2017
With the amount of activity in the past few days it may seem like there’s not going to be many moves left for Wednesday, but there’s still plenty of names out there.
During Monday’s TSN’s Insider Trading segment, the insiders speculate about Washington being a possible contender for Kevin Shattenkirk as they go all in for the cup, and they were absolutely right. They also mention the market is quiet on Thomas Vanek, perhaps due to his mediocre playoffs as a rental for Montreal, but note he still leads the Red Wings in goals with 15 so he will draw interest. Detroit has to make a decision whether to extend or deal Brendan Smith, who could provide depth on defence for a lot of playoff teams.
There’s other rental options out there, but the TSN crew discusses the non-rental players available like Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. Colorado is asking a high prices for both of them, and will remain firm in that they want numerous high-end pieces, including a young defenceman that can step in and play, and Darren Dreger lists the New York Islanders as a team that would be interested in Duchene. Vladimir Sobotka is another player that could find a new home and burn off the year he owes from arbitration, and even find himself with a new extension, according to Bob McKenzie.