We’re breaking down the new faces coming into each division following the trade deadline. These posts will be updated with new information throughout the day.
The Anaheim Ducks were a part of an early trade that was a hockey deal with two teams trading young players, straight up, hoping that the other fits their current needs a little better. The Ducks sent Devante Smith-Pelley to Montreal and brought in rookie center Jiri Sekac. (Though he’s also capable of playing wing and has.)
Sekac has a high upside and after struggling through his last 18 games with the Canadiens, he’s started his career in Anaheim strong, grabbing two assists in his first three games.
The Ducks also made a swap with the Florida Panthers to help build some forward depth going into the playoffs, acquiring Tomas Fleischmann in exchange for 2015 3rd round pick and Dany Heatley, who has been toiling away in the AHL for the Ducks most of the season.
The Ducks also made a move to continue their defensive carousel this season, sending Ben Lovejoy to the Penguins in exchange for Simon Despres. This was a straight up deal, with each team looking to bring in some new blood. Despres has two goals and 15 assists on the season.
The addition of Despres might be a bit of a lateral movement from Lovejoy, but the Ducks did well to bring in James Wisniewski from Columbus in exchange for Rene Borque and William Karlsson. Wisniewski gives the team a big puck-moving defenseman that should help with their recent slide. This may be their biggest move of the deadline. The loss of Karlsson’s potential shouldn’t be underestimated, but it’s a win for the Ducks right now.
Arizona has been very busy send some key pieces of their roster away through trades. In the last week they’ve lost Antoine Vermette, Zbynek Michalek, Keith Yandle, and Chris Summers. But they look like a team very serious about their rebuild. They’re retaining salary in these deals even, in order to secure draft picks and prospects they’re interested in.
We’ll start here: Anthony Duclair. There might not be a more exciting prospect moved around the trade deadline. Duclair is being moved in what, today, we’ll call the Keith Yandle trade, but in five years we’ll be referring to this as the Anthony Duclair trade. In it the Rangers got Yandle (with Arizona holding some of Yandle’s salary), defenseman Chris Moore, and a 2015 4th round draft pick. The ‘Yotes got Duclair, a first and a second round draft pick, as well as defenseman John Moore.
Moore is a young defenseman with some promise. His contract is up at the end of the year, but he’ll be a RFA, so the Coyotes aren’t getting any rental there.
Arizona also managed to grab the St. Louis Blues’ 2014 2nd round draft pick Maxim Letunov when they sent Zybnek Michalek and a conditional draft pick to the Central Division. Letunov has 22 goals and 31 assists for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL this year and has committed to playing for Boston University in the NCAA next year. He’s a great pick up for Arizona with lots of upside.
They also grabbed 23-year-old Klas Dahlbeck from the Chicago Blackhawks as a part of the deal that sent Antoine Vermette to the Windy City. Dahlbeck grabbed his first four NHL games this season after spending the entirety of the last two seasons in the AHL.
With goaltending an ongoing issue with the Coyotes — Mike Smith isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — they’ll need to find a way to address the goaltending issue soon. Today’s move to acquire 30-year-old AHL goaltender David Leggio won’t be that solution. However, it does give me a chance to post the video of his most famous moment. A rule was named after him for this move.
One last thought here. After they grabbed Duclair from the Rangers, that means they could have a killer all rookie line next year with Maxi Domi-Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel-Anthony Duclair. That one is for you ‘Yotes fans. Hope it keeps you happy while you drive six hours from Phoenix to the arena for a game.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings managed to land one of the big blue line names available on the market when they snagged Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes. Sekera is a great addition for the Kings. He has a positive impact on possession, has some offensive capabilities, and put up those stats playing for a team that can’t suppress shots half as well as the Kings.
Sekera will make a big impact for the Kings and he’s given his season new life, with the opportunity to make a deep run into the playoffs. (Yeah, they have to make the playoffs first, I know.) The Kings paid a steep price for Sekera though, sending a first round pick and prospect Roland McKeown to Carolina in return.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks are hedging their bets. They (at least so far) haven’t made a big move, but are selling off fringe players like hot cakes. James Sheppard, Andrew Desjardins, Freddie Hamilton, and Tyler Kennedy are all on their way out of the Shark Tank.
Coming in is former Blackhawks forward Ben Smith. He came into his own last year in his first full NHL season. He’s a depth forward capable of producing some secondary scoring, working the PK, and playing with D-zone starts. With how bad the bottom six has been for San Jose this season, sending out Andrew Desjardins for Smith isn’t a bad move.
Here’s Jen LC’s take on Smith:
@fearthefin he's a utility guy. Terrific penalty killer. Can eat some minutes on a checking line
— Jen LC (@RegressedPDO) March 2, 2015
The Canucks made a move to acquire forward Cory Conacher, who was once deep in the discussion for a Calder Trophy, but has bounced between teams annually and hasn’t been able to get the groove that he found at the start of his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012. The hope with each team that grabs seems to be that they’ll be able to reignite his scoring touch.
They also added some forward depth by acquiring 22-year-old winger Sven Baertschi from the Calgary Flames for a 2nd round pick in 2017. Baertschi has always held a lot of promise, but has been used intermittently and has yet to deliver on his offensive potential. Like with Conacher, the Canucks must believe they have the ability and the roster space to give him a chance to grow.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.