The Arizona Coyotes traded defenseman Michael Stone to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 2017 3rd round pick and a 2018 conditional 5th round pick.
The Coyotes are clearly sellers prior to the March 1 trade deadline and this trade could be the first of many for Arizona. Michael Stone hasn’t had a very good season in 2016-2017 as he only has 1 goal and 8 assists in 45 games. Stone is scheduled to be a free agent after this season, so it makes sense for the Coyotes to trade him away now and get some draft picks to help in their rebuild. Arizona probably wasn’t going to re-sign him anyway and he wasn’t going to be much of a use to the team anyway since the team is not going to make the playoffs this season. Arizona now gets a third-round pick which should be useful to get a decent young player that can help to rebuild the Coyotes for the future. Also, if Stone re-signs with the Flames this offseason then the Coyotes would get a 2018 5th round pick. This is a great trade for the Coyotes since they are getting a couple of decent draft picks for a player that they don’t need anymore anyway.
Calgary is trying desperately to hold onto their playoff spot and they are looking to win immediately which is why they traded for Stone. He won’t provide much offensive abilities, but Stone isn’t a bad option to add some defensive depth to the team. Stone will likely be on the 3rd pairing of defenseman for the Flames behind quality defensive like Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, and Dougie Hamilton. This isn’t an impact trade for Calgary, but at least they now have some more depth at defense late in the season. It was probably too much to give up for Stone especially if they don’t plan on bringing him back this offseason. However, it at least provides some more stability to their roster if they want to make the playoffs.
The Vancouver Canucks had an awful year in 2015 as they are in the middle of a rather big rebuild process. However, they made a really strange trade on Wednesday as they traded forward Jared McCann, a 2016 2nd round pick, and a 2016 4th round pick to Florida for defenseman Erik Gudbranson and a 2016 5th round pick. This move is questionable for many reasons for the Canucks mainly because they are trading away a young player with potential as well as high draft picks that could get some more young talent. McCann was a 2014 1st round pick by Vancouver and yet he’ll only be 20 years old when the 2016 NHL season begins. McCann struggled last season at the NHL level as he only had 18 points in 69 games. I don’t know what Vancouver was expecting from him because they were only giving him an average of 12:31 of ice time every game as a depth forward. He clearly wasn’t ready to play in the NHL and they should have kept him in the minor leagues to develop at least for another year. McCann did struggle, but he has lots of potential and it seems silly to give up on a 1st round pick not long after he was drafted. Vancouver is looking to build up its roster for the future which is why it doesn’t make sense at all to give up two high draft picks in this year’s draft. They could have gotten a really good player with their 2nd round pick, but now they are just slowing down their rebuild process even longer because they won’t be able to build towards their future as much. Erik Gudbranson has some talent which is why he was the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Panthers. However, Gudbranson has really struggled to live up to his potential as he only has 43 points in 309 career NHL games. He only had 9 points last season, so he is clearly limited with his offensive abilities. The Canucks struggled with their defense last season and they were looking for some more offensive production out of their defensemen. I really don’t know what the Canucks are hoping to get with Gubranson because he doesn’t have any offensive capability that Vancouver was in need of. He does provide physical play, but he has a career -49 plus/minus which really is terrible for a defensemen. Vancouver is hoping that Gudbranson will be a top 4 defensemen for them, yet he has only proven to be a top 6 defensemen at best in his career so far. It just doesn’t make much sense as to why the Canucks would give away so much talent for future years in order to get a defensemen that won’t give them much going forward besides depth. Gudbranson is a decent player, yet he doesn’t fit what Vancouver needs and they really hurt their rebuilding process by giving up McCann and a 2nd round pick.
21-year old Andrei Vasilevskiy has had limited experience as a starting NHL goaltender. However, when Tampa Bay Lightning starting goalie Ben Bishop was hurt in game 1 of the eastern conference finals against the Penguins then the Lightning knew that if they were going to make it to the Stanley Cup then they would have to rely upon Vasilevsky for the rest of the eastern conference finals. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, they couldn’t find a way to get to the Stanley Cup as they lost to Pittsburgh 2-1 in Game 7 on Thursday. The issue wasn’t that Vasilevskiy was not performing well. In fact, he was the one that gave Tampa Bay the chance to win the series with his timely saves. However, the defense in front of him was just not supporting him at all. Tampa Bay’s defensemen turned over the puck too often and they at times just lost players right in front of the net which allowed easy opportunities against Vasilevskiy. Also, the Lightning defenseman pinched in too far into the offensive zone a lot which created odd-man situations as well. Give credit to Pittsburgh for putting tons of pressure on Vasilevskiy, but the Lightning defense deserves a lot of the blame in this series. It is unacceptable for Vasilevskiy to have to face 259 shots in the Eastern conference finals as that averages out to exactly 37 shots faced per game. Vasilevskiy did his best to make difficult saves, but ultimately when you face that many shots and quality chances then some pucks are bound to go into the back of the net. Vasilevskiy had a really good .923 save percentage, but maybe if the Lightning controlled the puck a little bit more and didn’t allow as many shots then that could have allowed Tampa Bay to win the series. The Lightning need to better support their goaltender next season because it is difficult for any goaltender to stop tons of shots in a game especially with a 21-year old inexperienced goalie like Vasilevskiy.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks swapped defenseman in a trade on Monday as the Penguins dealt Rob Scuderi to the Blackhawks for Trevor Daley. Scuderi is 36 years old, but he has never been known for his offense as he only has 4 assists this season and his career high in points was 16 points with the Penguins in 2008. Scuderi only has 8 goals in his 11-year NHL career, so it is clear that Chicago will only be getting a defensive player only. Meanwhile, the Penguins are clearly getting the better end of this deal because they are getting a younger defenseman with Trevor Daley. He is 32 years old and he clearly is much better offensively than Scuderi is. Daley had 38 points with Dallas last season and he still has a lot of years left in him. Pittsburgh didn’t have much of a future with Scuderi, so to get a much more proven defenseman is a huge victory for them. I don’t know why Chicago made this trade because they are giving up a defenseman that still has many years left in him for a defenseman that is offensively challenged and only has maybe 2 or 3 years left. They are both making the same amount of money, but getting rid of a good defenseman like Trevor Daley doesn’t make much sense.
Blackhawks Grade: D- – Scuderi brings a gritty player with a lot of experience, but that is basically all he brings. He has been offensively challenged his entire career and for Chicago to give up a better defenseman like Daley is really shocking.
Penguins Grade: A – Scuderi wasn’t bringing the Penguins much anyway and he is 36 years old, so he doesn’t have much of a future with the team anyway. Meanwhile, they are getting a much better offensive player with Trevor Daley and he is only 32 years old, so he has the potential to be with Pittsburgh for several more years.
I don’t know if left wing Tomas Fleischmann is the same player that he was with the Florida Panthers in 2011 when he scored 61 points, but even if he is half the player that he was at that time then the Montreal Canadiens could still be getting a really good player for an amazingly low price. Fleischmann agreed to a 1-year/$750,000 on Sunday with the Canadiens after proving his worth during a professional tryout with the team during training camp. Fleischmann only had 27 points last season, but he will definitely be a good addition for more much needed depth for Montreal. I don’t think that the Canadiens expect him to play on the top 2 lines this season, but he can provide a scoring threat on probably the 4th line. This is a low-risk signing for the Canadiens just prior to the start of the 2015 regular season and it would be hard to see him not doing well for Montreal given this opportunity.
The Toronto Maple Leafs appear to finally starting what is likely going to be a lengthy rebuild process and they already traded star right winger Phil Kessel to the Penguins this offseason. However, trading Kessel could be just be the start of trading away players for prospects and the next victims of the rebuild mode could be Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul. Bozak has a lot of trade value, but that value could be diminishing in my opinion because he relied upon Kessel a lot to boost his value. The Arizona Coyotes have already inquired about him and I believe that it would be best for Toronto to get rid of him before the season. However, I think that Toronto would rather hold on to Bozak and they would love to trade Joffrey Lupul because he hasn’t been as productive recently and he still had 3 years left on his contract. The odds are if the Maple Leafs even get some decent trade offer for Lupul then they would easily would be willing to part with him. Lupul is almost 32 years old and he is still a decent 3rd-line type player, but his age and salary appears to be turning teams away from acquiring him. It has also been rumored that captain Dion Phaneuf could be traded soon and Toronto might even be able to get more than they did with Kessel for him, but Phaneuf would be a good veteran leader for the rebuilding Maple Leafs and I just don’t see Toronto trading him. It is probably best to get rid of Lupul and Bozak for the right offer because there isn’t much that they can offer the Maple Leafs anymore.
It was clear defenseman Mike Green probably wasn’t going back to the Capitals since Washington already had put a lot of money into their other defenseman. However, Green was still able to find a really good fit in free agency in free agency as the Red Wings signed him to a 3-year/$18 million contract. The Red Wings have a really good ability score goals, but the defense was a big issue for Detroit last season. Niklas Kronwall is a really good defenseman for the Red Wings, but he is already 34 years old and the problem is that the Red Wings had nobody to help him out on defense last year. Now, with the addition of Mike Green then the Red Wings will have one of the best defensive pairings in the league. Green is only 29 years old, so he can help take some of the pressure off of Kronwall so that he won’t have to play 24 minutes per game like he did last season. Also, Green isn’t only known for his defense as he has proven with the Capitals that he can be one of the best defenseman in the league. He had 45 points last year for Washington and I think he can really be beneficial to a player like Pavel Datsyuk who relies upon the defenseman to give him the puck and allow him to score goals. I’m thinking that Green can play on the 1st power-play unit for Detroit in 2015 and then Kronwall could move to the 2nd unit which would make the Red Wings power play that much better. Overall, the Red Wings really needed some better play from their defense and don’t be fooled because Green can make the Red Wings offense much better as well.