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So, it didn’t take long for the verdict to be rendered: I’m an idiot . . . again.
That was the general — and expected — reaction to my annual trade deadline predictions.
“Unfortunately, Larry will most likely go 0-for-26 come Monday.” — Boxscore, HFBoards.com
Ouch. It took a moment for my pride to heal, and to realize he’s right. I’ll be correct with a lot of the players moving, but I’ll be wrong more often than not with where they end up and-or the return package. That’s the reality, and it would be the same for anybody who “dreamed” up 26 deals in advance of the deadline.
It also wouldn’t be unprecedented for me, having gone 0-for-28 at last year’s deadline. That said, looking back, I think my effort and thought process has improved this year by comparison. Smaller and simpler deals tend to make the most sense, but then again, who saw the David Clarkson for Nathan Horton swap coming? That was a real head-scratcher.
One thing my predictions post was lacking, as pointed out by a friend, was a recap for each team with incoming and outgoing players, plus an updated depth chart for the buyers. After all, it can be difficult to envision what somebody else is seeing until you’ve seen it for yourself. So I decided to tackle that, using my original deals, as well as the actual deals where applicable. I only took into account trades made during deadline week, with any and all previous moves already reflected in the updated rosters. For simplicity, I’ll just go through the teams in alphabetical order.
Incoming: Curtis Glencross, Martin Havlat (Jiri Sekac)
Outgoing: Emerson Etem, 2015 2nd, 2015 6th (Devante Smith-Pelly)
Analysis: That defence is pretty weak. The Ducks might want to upgrade there too, but they could roll four lines without much hesitation thanks to those additions.
Incoming: Radko Gudas, Brett Connolly, Philipp Grubauer, Ryan Sproul, Adam Erne, 2015 1st, conditional 2015 1st
Outgoing: Keith Yandle, Antoine Vermette, Zbynek Michalek
Updated Roster/Analysis: Tough to say what the line combinations and defence pairings would look like, but it’s safe to say that Connolly, Sproul and Grubauer would all see playing time before the end of the regular season. Erne would be in the mix for a roster spot out of training camp in the fall too.
Incoming: Chris Stewart, Scott Gomez, Michael Ryder, 2015 4th
Outgoing: Alex Khokhlachev, Joe Morrow, 2015 2nd, conditional 2016 4th
Analysis: Pretty solid forward depth, with younger options if Gomez and Ryder struggle to fit in. Bruins seem set on defence, but might bring in a veteran backup goalie if they aren’t confident in Niklas Svedberg or Malcolm Subban in the event Tuukka Rask gets hurt.
Incoming: Alex Khokhlachev, Joe Morrow, 2015 5th, 2015 7th
Outgoing: Chris Stewart, Andrej Meszaros, Torrey Mitchell, 2015 4th
Updated Roster/Analysis: The Sabres will be using the stretch run to audition prospects, including Khokhlachev and Morrow if these deals went down.
Incoming: Emerson Etem, 2015 2nd
Outgoing: Curtis Glencross
Updated Roster/Analysis: Basically just plug Etem into Glencross’s hole and carry on status quo.
Incoming: James Wisniewski, David Rundblad, Tim Erixon, Jonathon Blum, Jack Skille, J.T. Miller, Cody Almond, conditional 2015 2nd, 2015 3rd (conditional 1st rounder, Roland McKeown, 2016 3rd, conditional 2015 6th)
Outgoing: Andrej Sekera, Jiri Tlusty, Ryan Murphy, Alexander Semin, Ron Hainsey, Tim Gleason, Jay McClement (Andrej Sekera, Jiri Tlusty)
Analysis: Carolina’s forwards would be a mess for the rest of this season if these deals came to fruition, but Semin and Tlusty would likely be replaced through free agency. The Hurricanes defence would undergo a total overhaul and be very young but promising for next season.
Incoming: Jiri Tlusty, Ron Hainsey, Jordan Leopold
Outgoing: David Rundblad, Tim Erixon, 2015 3rd, 2015 6th
Analysis: That defence is an improvement on the current roster, at least in terms of experience. The forwards would be solid as is, and nearly unstoppable if/when Kane returns. But Chicago might target a bigger name than Hainsey or Leopold on the back end.
Incoming: Matt Tennyson, Colton Sissons, Landon Ferraro, Marc McNulty, Colorado’s 2016 2nd
Outgoing: Jan Hejda, John Mitchell, Max Talbot, Danny Briere, conditional 2016 4th/2015 6th
Updated Roster/Analysis: The Avs add some youth to their roster for a test run, but might end up reloading with veterans through free agency this summer.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Incoming: Alexander Semin, Jakub Kindl, Ryan Murphy, 2015 6th (David Clarkson)
Outgoing: James Wisniewski, Mark Letestu, Jack Skille, Jordan Leopold (Nathan Horton)
Analysis: That defence has a lot of potential and the forwards appear upgraded too, which equates to a successful deadline for Jarmo Kekalainen.
Incoming: Andrew Ference (1/3 salary retained), Curtis Hamilton, 2016 4th
Outgoing: Brett Ritchie
Analysis: Ference’s addition creates some healthy competition and gives Daley a little more freedom to roam offensively, knowing a veteran has his back-side covered. I’m getting carved up for this proposal, perhaps more than any other, and I do realize it’s pretty bad in hindsight. That must have been the closet Oilers fan coming out in me.
Detroit Red Wings
Incoming: Jaromir Jagr, Marek Zidlicky, Zbynek Michalek, Mark Letestu, John Mitchell
Outgoing: Jakub Kindl, Teemu Pulkkinen, Ryan Sproul, Tyler Bertuzzi, Landon Ferraro, Adam Almqvist, Marc McNulty, 2015 5th
Analysis: That’s a Stanley Cup contending lineup right there, especially coached by Mike Babcock. If Zetterberg and Franzen are healthy, then look out. But even if they aren’t, the additions of Jagr, Letestu and Mitchell really improve the forward depth. The defence is stacked with that group of six, regardless of how you pair them. Detroit fans generally seemed to dislike (or despise) the Jagr deal, so they can breathe easy knowing he’s off to Florida.
Incoming: Brett Ritchie, Brayden McNabb, Kyle Clifford
Outgoing: Jeff Petry, Andrew Ference (1/3 salary retained), Curtis Hamilton, 2015 4th, 2016 4th
Analysis: Every year it is “next year” for the Oilers’ big breakout, but this time, with these deals and a top-two draft pick, it might actually come true. Edmonton still needs a starting goalie, but that lineup looks pretty good on paper. Dare to dream Oilers fans, because that’s what these two proposals amounted to — a pipe-dream — with Los Angeles losing interest in Petry after acquiring Sekera, while Dallas would refuse to part with Ritchie in any deal for Ference or even for Martin Marincin from the feedback I’ve been getting thus far.
Incoming: None (Jaromir Jagr, 2016 3rd)
Outgoing: None (Sean Bergenheim, 2015 2nd, conditional 2016 3rd, 2016 7th)
Updated Roster/Analysis: Status quo, although that seems unlikely with Dale Tallon at the helm, as he’s typically quite active on the trade front. Hmm, suddenly the Panthers are, indeed, buyers. I didn’t necessarily see that coming — especially not Jagr to Sunrise — but talk about an interesting move and statement.
Los Angeles Kings
Incoming: Jeff Petry, Stephane Robidas, David Booth, Tyler Biggs, 2015 4th (Andrej Sekera)
Outgoing: Mike Richards, Brayden McNabb, Kyle Clifford (conditional 1st rounder, Roland McKeown)
Updated Roster/Analysis: Petry, or as it turned out Sekera, fills the void left by Slava Voynov, and Robidas provides more experience than McNabb, but otherwise it is same old for the defending Cup champs. Minus Richards, that is.
Incoming: Tim Gleason, Jay McClement (Sean Bergenheim, 2016 7th)
Outgoing: Jonathon Blum, Cody Almond (2016 3rd)
Analysis: The added depth definitely makes a difference and gives Mike Yeo more options to work with.
Incoming: None (Devante Smith-Pelly)
Outgoing: None (Jiri Sekac)
Updated Roster/Analysis: Status quo, but in reality, Marc Bergevin probably adds a veteran UFA defenceman.
Incoming: Chris Neil, Danny Briere, conditional 2016 4th/2015 6th
Outgoing: Colton Sissons, Austin Watson
Analysis: This is a pretty deep team to begin with, but come playoff time, Briere might be a better option than Jarnkrok. And Neil would certainly be a nice fit with Nystrom and Gaustad, an upgrade on Gabriel Bourque or Taylor Beck. Nashville’s defence is as good as any team in the league and arguably the best with Weber-Josi, Franson-Ekholm and Jones-Ellis, but the Preds could use a bit more experience and toughness at forward.
New Jersey Devils
Incoming: Teemu Pulkkinen, Tyler Bertuzzi, Adam Almqvist, 2015 2nd, conditional 2016 4th, 2015 5th, 2015 6th (2015 2nd, conditional 2016 3rd)
Outgoing: Jaromir Jagr, Marek Zidlicky, Scott Gomez, Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat (Jaromir Jagr)
Updated Roster/Analysis: The Devils would be wise to go with a bit of a youth movement and to target Detroit prospects who always seem to pan out. Pulkkinen could be a good one and should be an NHL regular next season. Almqvist would contend for a spot too if he comes back from the KHL, although defence is New Jersey’s strength going forward. Bertuzzi has power-forward potential, and adding four more prospects from a draft described as strong and deep would only help. Lou Lamoriello has seemingly started to sell by moving Jagr to the Panthers.
New York Islanders
Updated Roster/Analysis: Status quo, but we all know Garth Snow will probably prove me wrong and pull something out of his hat to help the Islanders.
New York Rangers
Incoming: Andrej Sekera
Outgoing: J.T. Miller, conditional 2015 2nd
Updated Roster/Analysis: That deal is obviously nixed with Sekera ending up in L.A., but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers traded that kind of package for a veteran defenceman ahead of the deadline.
Incoming: Austin Watson, Brendan Gaunce
Outgoing: Chris Neil, Patrick Wiercioch
Updated Roster/Analysis: Ottawa is trending towards a younger team and these two will complement the likes of Curtis Lazar, Mike Hoffman and Mika Zibanejad, among others. They could both push for depth forward spots as early as next season.
Updated Roster/Analysis: Status quo. Ron Hextall is in a tough spot and might be best served to stand pat, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he turned into a buyer at Ed Snider’s insistence. Or Hextall could channel his inner Paul Holmgren and really make some noise.
Incoming: None (Daniel Winnik)
Outgoing: None (Zach Sill, 2016 2nd, 2015 4th)
Updated Roster/Analysis: Jim Rutherford might be done. He’s already made his share of moves in advance of the deadline, from Winnik to David Perron.
San Jose Sharks
Incoming: Daniel Winnik, Jan Hejda, Max Talbot
Outgoing: Matt Tennyson, Freddie Hamilton, Konrad Abeltshauser, Colorado’s 2016 2nd
Analysis: The increased depth is very evident. That trio flushes out the roster and makes the Sharks quite formidable (on paper) again. Of course, Winnik went to Pittsburgh, but they are other similar players still available if the Sharks decide to go that route.
St. Louis Blues
Updated Roster/Analysis: Status quo, unless Doug Armstrong isn’t sold on his goaltending. Then you could see him chase Michal Neuvirth in Buffalo or even Craig Anderson in Ottawa, but I think that’s unlikely. They will stick with the tandem of Brian Elliott and Jake Allen.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Incoming: Keith Yandle
Outgoing: Radko Gudas, Brett Connolly, Adam Erne, conditional 2015 1st
Analysis: That blue-line would be the envy of a lot of teams, perhaps everybody but Nashville. Landing Yandle would be huge for Tampa, but it sounds like Carle is coming back sooner than later, so the Lightning might be fine with what they got if they feel this asking price is too steep.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Incoming: Mike Richards, Freddie Hamilton, Konrad Abeltshauser, 2015 6th (Nathan Horton, Zach Sill, 2016 2nd, 2015 4th)
Outgoing: Daniel Winnik, Stephane Robidas, Olli Jokinen, David Booth, Tyler Biggs (Daniel Winnik, David Clarkson)
Analysis: There are obviously holes in this lineup and there is no guarantee that Horton or Richards would be NHL-calibre players next season. If they could return to form and the Leafs could upgrade a couple spots through free agency, this might be a fun team to watch again. But those are really big IFs at this point. You have to wonder, though, if getting Clarkson off the books was a step towards acquiring Richards. Horton might end up retiring, so his place on the roster — and his contract against the cap — are far from a sure thing.
Incoming: Patrick Wiercioch, Andrej Meszaros
Outgoing: Brendan Gaunce, 2015 5th
Analysis: Not sure where these two additions would fit if/when the Canucks got healthy again, or long-term in Vancouver, but they could definitely fill roles until Bieksa, Edler and Tanev return to the fold. Wiercioch and Meszaros would be upgrades on anybody listed in that bottom pairing.
Incoming: Antoine Vermette, Olli Jokinen, Torrey Mitchell
Outgoing: Philipp Grubauer, 2015 1st, 2015 6th, 2015 7th
Analysis: That is a really solid forward group, from the first line to the fourth. Vermette would really give the Capitals a lot of options, while Jokinen and Mitchell are pretty dependable fourth-liners in comparison to a couple of the youngsters currently filling those roles. Some think a 1st and Grubauer is too much to give up for Vermette, but I’d argue that he’d be more valuable to Washington’s playoff run than Sekera will be in L.A. Look what the Kings gave up, that’s the going rate for the cream of this year’s deadline crop.
Incoming: None (Jiri Tlusty)
Outgoing: None (2016 3rd, conditional 2015 6th)
Updated Roster/Analysis: Status quo. I assumed Kevin Cheveldayoff was done. He hadn’t made a trade of any significance prior to the Evander Kane for Tyler Myers blockbuster earlier this month, but he should be commended for also acquiring Tlusty since then.
Larry Fisher is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Follow him on Twitter: @LarryFisher_KDC.
Larry Fisher is a senior writer and head scout for The Hockey Writers, having been an at-large contributor for THW since August 2014. Fisher covers both the NHL and the WHL, specializing in prospects and NHL draft content, including his annual mock drafts that date back to 2012. Fisher has also been a beat writer for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets since 2008, formerly working as a sports reporter/editor for The Daily Courier in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada from 2008-2019. Follow him on Twitter: @LarryFisher_KDC.