Monday, February 29, 2016

Trade Alert - Sergei Plotnikov

Sergei Plotnikov was traded to the Coyotes for a conditional 7th round draft pick and prospect Matthias Plachta.

Sergei Plotnikov's time with Pittsburgh was  frustrating.  It was NOT for lack of effort.  He made every attempt to score etc.  He just had no luck.  One lucky bounce is all it would have taken.  Hope he has better luck with the Coyotes.


Maple Leafs Make Bold move with Goalies

In a shocking 3 am move the Maple Leafs have traded and released their goalies.  James Reimer was dealt to the Sharks.  Jonathan Bernier was placed on unconditional waivers.  He was surprised and seen in the early hours wondering around the streets of Toronto. 

The management has taken a page from their minor league team the Marlies.  David Ayres the zamboni driver turned goalie was the inspiration for such a bold move.  The Air Canada Centre zamboni drivers were both given player contracts.  The contracts are based on current union scale for driving zamboni's.  They will receive the $18.37 an hour, plus a differential if after midnight of $.50.  Management in an early morning interview is excited about the amazing savings.  "as we know hockey games are generally three 20 minute periods.  We will end up paying them for just about 3 hours a game at $18.37 an hour.  What a savings... there are concerns about over time and shoot outs.  They are demanding double  time for each occurrence.  They also want hazardous duty pay for a shoot out."

The zamboni drivers union is expected to file a complaint first thing Monday morning on be half of the drivers/goalies.  "Double time is a union mandate in this situation..." an anonymous union source said.

The ice crew is scrambling to find qualified drivers.   They have two immediate positions available.  French language skills recommended.

One of the goalies/drivers was asking what size the water bottle holder on the back of net was?  "I am not sure how much beer that would be per period?"  Clearly he has his priorities right.  He seemed mildly confused in the early morning hours.  "This is how we do it in the beer league."  Pointing at a water bottle.

The Kings Acquire Kris Versteeg from the Hurricanes

The good news that came tonight during the Kings 4- 2 loss to the Ducks was the acquisition of right wing Kris Versteeg from the Carolina Hurricanes. The Kings completed a trade last night with the Hurricanes for Valentin Zykov and a conditional fifth round draft pick in exchange for Kris Versteeg. Versteeg has now been traded a total of seven times in his professional hockey career, but this is not because he does not fit or is not contributing to his teams advancement.  Instead it is because he is a strong and versatile player who brings valuable experience and has two Stanley Cups on his resume.

Kris Versteeg started with NHL in the 2004 entry draft going to Boston as a 5th round draft pick. In the 2007-2008 season he had his NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks.  His second season with Chicago 2008-2009 he won the Calder trophy after a fantastic year where he played 78 games and earned a total of 53 points comprised of 22 goals and 31 assists.  In the last 5 years he has typically played between 61 and 81 games and earning between 29 and 36 points with 4 different teams.  So far this season with Carolina he has played 62 games with 11 goals and 22 assists for a total this far of 33 points.  We look forward to seeing Versteeg continue to add to this years points totals as he helps the Kings push forward and advance into and hopefully through the playoffs.

The problem with acquiring Kris Versteeg for the L.A. Kings was their already very strained cap space available.  In order to afford his contract they are having to use approximately $630,000 in LTIR relief funds.  The Kings were also forced to place Maion Gaborik on long term injured reserve.  With this expenditure the Kings will now have about $1.87 million remaining in their LTIR relief.  What this means in layman's terms is that the Kings are essentially broke at the moment.  As such we can conclude that this is their final trade before tomorrow's deadline.

This is not entirely a bad thing as I believe with the trades they have made thus far and the strong roster they already have the Kings are in about the best position they could hope to be player wise going into the post season.  The down side of this total lack of funding is that hopes many of us Kings fans harbored for seeing a contract extension for Milan Lucic are rapidly becoming less and less likely.  That however is a topic for another posting.  For now we excitedly welcome Kris Verseeg to the Kings line up and look forward to watching him play over the remainder of regular season and with luck throughout the playoffs as well.

Trade Alert - Daniel Winnik to the Capitals

That's right Daniel Winnik is traded again by the Maple Leafs.  This is the second time.  The first time was to the Penguins.  After the rental he went back to the Maple Leafs.

Daniel Winnik is currently at 56 games for the season.  He has 4 goals and 10 assists for  total of 14 points.  I don't think his stats really do him justice.  He is great on the penalty kill.  He is known as a bit of a grinder.  He has low penalty minutes as well.  16 for the season.

In exchange the Maple Leafs get veteran Brooks Laich and Connor Carrick.  Plus on top of that a 2nd round draft pick.  Brooks Laich comes with a contract for the rest of this season and next.  Its for a reported 4.5mil.

So who won this deal?

Daniel Winnik did.  He is going to the play offs. The Maple Leafs are not... The Capitals however have a pretty good chance at the Stanley Cup this season.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Toronto Trades Reimer to San Jose for Stalock

Yesterday the Toronto Maple Leafs traded goaltender James Reimer and forward Jeremy Morin to the San Jose Sharks for goaltender Alex Stalock and forward Ben Smith along with a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2018.

For San Jose the benefit is clear, they get Alex Stalock off their roster, which they have been trying to do for over a year, and they get a fairly good back up goalie for Jones going into the playoffs.  The Maple Leafs motivation behind the trade is much less clear.  This is made especially evident by the fact that Stalock was placed on waivers already just 12 hours after the trade.  I have yet to find anyone who had something positive to say for the Maple Leafs about this trade.  Don Cherry was the most blunt and vocal in saying that it was a mistake.  On Coach's Corner yesterday Cherry stated, "You never get rid of a guy like Reimer, you're going to rue the day."

James Reimer right now has a save percentage for the 32 games he has played this season of .918 with a career average of .914.  This compares to Alex Stalock's season save percentage of .884 over 13 games and career average of .911.  If Reimer can get back to the stellar season play he was having prior to the last few weeks he is a clear improvement for the Sharks back up goaltender.  Reimer may be just a short term solution for the Sharks for post season 2016 as he goes UFA at the end of the year.  The main concern I have for Reimer long term is that he has in the past been somewhat injury prone.

With this last trade yesterday the Sharks are rumored to be done with all the trades they will make before tomorrow's deadline.  The coaching and management staff all seem to think that the Sharks now have the best lineup they can hope for going into the playoffs this year.

Oilers busy before trade deadline

As expected the Oilers started clearing house.  I think Peter Chiarelli  did a great job on these trades.  All of the trades bring value to the Oilers.  In my opion the Oilers get the edge on all of these trades.  Even if it is only small it is still noteworthy.

First, no surprise Teddy Purcell to the Panthers.  In exchange they receive a 2016 3rd-round pick.  The upside to the Oilers.  Purcell goes UFA at the end of the season.  They got a draft pick out of it, instead of nothing in the off season.

Justin Schultz to the Penguins for a 2016 3rd-round pick.  I feel the Oilers got the edge albeit only slightly.  He was under preforming.  Jim Rutherford "change of scenery good for Schultz." With Lovejoy out with a "long term" injury this will help fill the gap on the blue line.

Goalie for goalie. Oilers trade  Anders Nilsson to the Blues for  Niklas Lundstrom and a 2016 5th round pick.  With Brian Elliott out with an injury, the Blues need to have an additional goalie in the line up.  An even trade, but add the 5th round draft pick and Oilers again get a slight edge on this trade.

Now to be clear I don't think these are land slide victories.  But each little bit could help the Oilers. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Trade Alert - Ehrhoff for Scuderi

 Today two former Penguins were traded.  Christian Ehrhoff was on the LA Kings.  He was put on waivers February 10.  Rob Scuderi was placed on waivers by the Blackhawks on February 16th.  See a trend here?

My guess here is that Rob Scuderi and Christian Ehrhoff  will both report to the minors.  There are finical upsides for both NHL teams here.  That additional cap space this close to trade deadline may allow both teams to make another transaction.

Here is what General Fanager says about the finances. 

Loui Eriksson - A highly speculated trade from Boston by deadline

Loui Eriksson is a 30 year old Right Winger currently with the Boston Bruins.  He started out his Pro Hockey career with the Swedish league playing alongside Carl Soderberg.  In 2013 he was drafted by the Dallas Stars and played with their AHL affiliate the Iowa Stars until 2006.  In the 2008-2009 season Eriksson had his first phenomenal year where he scored 36 goals for the Dallas Stars.  He attended his first All Star Game in 2011 where he had two assists and the game winning goal.  Eriksson was traded to the Boston Bruins in July of 2013.  As of 2/24/2016 he has 23 goals and 25 assists in 61 games so far this season.  Eriksson has had a 20+ goal yeas in 3 of the last 5 seasons including so far this season.

With Loui Eriksson having one of the highest point totals for impending UFA players this season he is in a great position for trade to anyone looking to add strength to their offence during post season.  Eriksson is coming off of a 6 year $25.5 million dollar contract at the end of this year and might be able to be traded without a huge raise in pay expected.  Also as he is having one of his best seasons in the last few years it is a great time for the Bruins to trade him.  There seems to be quite a bit of interest in acquiring Eriksson by several teams who are looking for offencive help in the upcoming post season.

For the Pacific Division the two teams showing the most interest are not surprisingly the Anaheim Ducks and the L.A. Kings.  Of those two possibilities I think the Ducks are a more likely trade and also a better fit for Eriksson.

The Anaheim Ducks after having clawed their way back from a rocky first part of the season which landed them near the bottom of the Pacific Division are now in a very strong playoff position heading into post season.  One of the things they are most in need of is added offencive power and goal scoring ability down in the front of the net.  Loui Eriksson is a great choice for that especially with the season he has been having recently.  As I mention in a previous article here on The Hockey Agenda, Frederik Anderssen - A Likely Trade Option from the Ducks, there have been rumors of a potential three way trade between the Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, and Anaheim Ducks.  This trade would end up with Frederik Andersen in Calgary, Kris Russell in Boston, and Loui Eriksson in Anaheim.  The Ducks however could also arrange for a straight trade with the Bruins offering up Sami Vatanen and or Hampus Lindholm in exchange for Loui Eriksson.

The L.A. Kings have also made some quiet rumblings about adding Eriksson to their line.  The advantages for the Kings would be found in the versatility of Loui Eriksson, he can play effectively on either the right or left wing.  Additionally he has taken only 4 penalties in 61 games and averaged nearly 20 minutes on the ice per game.  Eriksson could bring some valuable added strength to the King's penalty kill unit.  He would also make a fairly comparable replacement for the injured Marion Gaborik, who is still questionable for return by post season.  The biggest question for the Kings is what would they be able to offer Boston in exchange for Eriksson.  The possibilities would be a 1st round draft pick in 2017 plus one or more of their better prospective players like Nic Dowd, Adrian Kemper and or Valentin Zykov.  This I see as being  a realistic possibility.  Their other option would be to trade Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin or Brayden McNabb.  I do not see the Kings being willing to part with either Martinez or Muzzin in any potential trade by Monday's 2/29 deadline.  Brayden McNabb is more reasonable for trade, but still I believe highly unlikely prior to post season.  The other reason I feel that the Kings are not as likely a landing place for Loui Eriksson is that I just don't think they would be able to match his current salary.

The pacific Division is by no means the only possible trade destination for Loui Eriksson.  There are several other teams reportedly interested in him.  The Saint Louis Blues are in need of healthy power on the ice due to recent injuries.  There is a possibility that could work out if the Blues could offer up a comparable trade.   Also rumored to be in the running to offer a trade for Eriksson are the Nashville Predators.  The Predators are also looking to beef up their offencive strength going into the playoffs.  Eriksson could be a great fit there since he has experience playing with both Neal and Ribeiro from their time in Dallas together.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A look at Scott Wislon

Who is Scott Wilson?  Glad you asked...

Scott Wilson #23 is a Pittsburgh Penguin.  He seems to have come out of nowhere.   So far this season he has played in 16 games.  The last 4 have been great!

So lets focus on these last 4 games.  He has 3 goals and 1 fight!  He has an average of 11.01 time on ice.  A +/- of 1.  He is 23 and shoots left.  One of the goals was a game winner against Buffalo.  The fight was great for his first dance in the NHL.  It was against Landon Ferraro of the Boston Bruins.  It wasn't the most decisive fight I've seen.  He has my vote on who won.

He spent time on the Georgetown Raiders OJHL.  Then moved on to U. Mass-Lowell.  In the AHL baby Penguins, he has been solid.

Can he keep it up ?  If the last 4 games are any indications of his future.  He will be a solid performer.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Game Day Report: Penguins vs. Bruins

Its a Wednesday night Rivalry game!  The Bruins are hosting the Penguins at 7:30 PM.  With a lot on line for both teams... this should make for a great game...  The Bruins are currently at 32 wins, 22 losses, 6 OT for a total of 70 points.  That puts them in one of the two wild card spots.  The Penguins are as you guessed in the second wild card place.  They are behind by only 2 points.  The penguins current record is 30 wins, 20 losses 8 OT for a total of 68 points.

This is going to be an important game for both teams.  IF the Bruins can win in regulation, that would put them 4 points ahead of the Penguins.  Thus given them a slightly more comfortable lead.  In the last two home games they have given up an astonishing 15 goals total!  A 6 to 4 loss to the Blue Jackets and 9 to 2 blow out against the Kings.  The Kings game also featured a video for Milan Lucic.  His first game back to Boston on a visiting team.

The Penguins are looking for a big win against the Bruins.  In an effort to help making a bigger margin between them and NJ Devils.  They are currently at 67 Points.  The main concern for the Penguins is star player Evgeni Malkin still out.  He is currently 23 Goals, 26 Assists for a total of 49 points.  The veteran blue liner Ben Lovejoy is out "long term".   The team has recalled Steve Oleksy to help make up for his absence.

Tonight should be a battle of two elite goalies.  Both have 4 shut outs for the season.   Fluery  is at 2.37 GAA and SV% of .921.  Rask currently stands at 2.60 GAA and SV% .915.  Should either falter tonight that will be the deciding factor of who wins this Wednesday night Rivalry.

Oilers sellers for trade deadline

To say the Oilers are a mess is an understatement.  With a current record of 22 wins, 33 losses, and 50 points this season.  Once again its a race to the bottom.  Peter Chiarelli has a lot of work to do by trade deadline and during the off season. Given the current situation they are going to be sellers come trade deadline day.

The easy and obvious trade is Teddy Purcell.  He is a reported 4.5 million a year.  Since he goes UFA at the end of the season, its a no brainier to trade him now.  There are rumors that the Panthers and the Blackhawks are interested.  So, they should be able to find a dance partner.

Justin Schultz has been making the news as well... but for all the wrong reasons.  It pretty clear he will not be on the team by next season.   He goes RFA at the end of the season.

Then there is a list of other possible trade candidates.   Nail Yakupov, Matt Hendricks and Lauri Korpikoski to name a few.

What they need is a solid first parring defense men.  If there was any way to make a trade with St. Louis for Kevin Shattenkirk, that would go a long way to fixing some of there blue line troubles.
Plus it is rumored that he is available for trade.

The only player they should not trade is the obvious Connor McDavid.  Leon Draisaitl is another keeper.  Darnell Nurse, who had two memorable fights with Max McCormick, and Milan Lucic...also worth keeping. Also, the veteran winger Mark Letestu - brings some leadership to the team.

Its a sinking ship.... So come trade deadline day it is anyone's guess how this is going to pan out.  But one thing is certain big changes have to happen!

Frederick Andersen - A Likely Trade Option from the Ducks

Frederik Andersen is currently sharing lead goalie responsibilities for the Anaheim Ducks with John Gibson.  Andersen was originally drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2010, but was never able to come to terms with them, so never played a single game there.  He was then drafted in 2012 by the Anaheim Ducks as a third round pick.  As it stands now his save percentage for the season is at .91 with 32 games in net and he ended last season at .914 with 54 games in the regular season. He played 16 playoff games last season with a record of 11 wins and 5 losses and a save percentage of .913.  He is obviously a very solid goalie looking for a spot on a team where he can have the lead goalie position full time, and he has earned it.

Andersen goes RFA in July of this year, making it and optimum time to start shopping for a trade.  Right now his salary is ridiculously low at $1.15 million, so it is quite obvious that he would be looking for a significant raise, likely in the neighborhood of $3 million to $3.5 million probably with a 1 to 3 year contract.  I don't see him being interested in  a trade as a rental player.  This being said I find it unlikely that we will see him traded prior to the 2/29 trade deadline.  I believe it is far more likely that we will see a trade happen in the off season, possibly fairly early on.

Right now one of the teams most desperate to land a front line goalie is the Calgary Flames.  Thier two main net minders are Jonas Hiller and Karri Romo, who both go UFA at the end of this season.  Romo suffered a catastrophic knee injury earlier this month and will be out a minimum of 6 to 8 months with a torn ACL and damaged meniscus.  As things stand right now the Flames have $3,770,433 available in cap space.  IF they were to decided not to re-sign Romo that would free up an additional $3,800,000 or Hiller an additional $4,500,000.  They definitely have the funds to offer Andersen a short to mid range contract for considerably more than the $1.15 million  he is making with the Ducks right now.

The Flames have been discussing the possibility of acquiring Frederik Andersen since at least early December 2015.  The problem right now is that the Flames do not have anyone that they are willing to offer who Anaheim needs to beef up their offence.  As such they would probably need to offer up a first round draft pick and a player or players whom the Ducks could then trade elsewhere to get the offencive strength and depth they are needing.  The other option would be a multi team trade.  The Sportster suggested an interesting option in December.  It would involve the Ducks trading Frederik Andersen to the Calgary Flames and a 2017 1st round draft pick to the Boston Bruins, then the Flames trade Kris Russell to the Bruins and a 2017 3rd round draft pick to the Ducks, finally the Bruins trade Loui Eriksson to the Ducks.  As the Bruins have not yet come to terms on a contract extension for Eriksson this option may be viable.  It would offer each of the teams involved something they want either in the form of a needed player or an added early draft pick.

The question is would Calgary be willing to give up the first round draft pick for Andersen.  I think they should since it is not likely that they would get a goalie of Andersen's ability and experience in the first round anyway.  Additionally we ask who of value do they have to offer up for trade.  For offence they two strongest players are Johnny Gaudreau, of course, and Sean Monahan, but they have been trying to rebuild the team around them so they would not be viable options for trade.  Jiri Hudler goes UFA next season so he might be possible, but if they lose him they would want to keep Michael Frolic.  For defensive players Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie are their top pair and they would also likely want to protect Dougie Hamilton.  For the opportunity to get Andersen I think pretty much everyone else is fair game including any upcoming players from their AHL affiliate the Stockton Heat. The best option there might be Hunter Shinkaruk who they recently acquired from the Utica Commets.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Trade Rumor Scott Hartnell to the Penguins

First, this article is speculation on how a trade with the Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins would go.  I  have been reading reports of trade rumors of the Penguins that indicate interest in Scott Hartnell. I wanted to look into the possibility.

Let's first look at who Scott Hartnell is.  He has spent time on the Predators, Flyers, and is currently on the Blue Jackets.  At 33, he currently has 39 points (19G, 20A).  His career total is 636 points (297G, 339A).  His reported salary is 4.75 million until 2020.  He is then UFA.

The other not-so-minor detail is...  If you are a Pens fan, you would know that he is a Penguin killer.  Not surprising that he is not well liked in Pittsburgh. 

So how would the trade work?  The only way I can see it working is to trade Chris Kunitz.  It is doubtful that the pens would do this.  Now, if they did this, the upside for the Blue Jackets would be getting a veteran winger.  His contract also only has one year left on it.

The other trade options are...    Sheary?  He has a lot of potential.  So the upside would be mostly for the Blue Jackets.  Patrick Hornqvist - Wrong wing.  So again, it doesn't make a lot of sense for the Pens.  Trading Carl Hagelin makes even less since for the Pens. 

So my guess is... This trade will not happen.  Unless the Pens will trade Kunitz.