The Trade Deadline has come and gone, and alas, Erik Karlsson is yet to don teal. But that does not mean that the Sharks haven’t emerged out of the deadline for the better.
Evander Kane joins the Sharks in a brilliant move by Doug Wilson made in exchange for Danny O’Regan, a conditional 2019 first that — and this is where the brilliance comes in — becomes a 2019 second if either Kane doesn’t resign with San Jose (as he’s currently set to become a UFA at the end of the season) or if San Jose doesn’t win the Cup, and a conditional 2019 fourth that the Sharks have the option of making a 2020 third.
In lesser moves, the team moved Troy Grosenick and Brandon Bollig to the Predatorials for a 2018 sixth yesterday, and of course acquired Eric Fehr from the Maple Leafs to handle 4C duties in exchange for a 2020 seventh-rounder earlier this week.
All in all, while the Fehr acquisition seems unnecessary (but completely predictable to fans who understand all too well Wilson and DeBoer’s infatuation for vets who can win face-offs), the Kane deal places SJ back in realistic Cup-contention mode and gives Sharks fans hope in attaining the team’s first cup, especially given the flurry of moves made by other teams around the league to strengthen their rosters.
Speaking of other teams, let’s see what moves fellow Pacificers made to better their teams and get to know the post-deadline opposition better.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
The Kane-to-SJ deal and this last minute deal between the Knights and the Wings — announced minutes after the noon Pacific deadline — constitute as the two biggest splashes made in the division. Comparably, Vegas paid a far heftier price than San Jose to acquire their major player, but it’s important to remember that 1) Tatar is signed on for three more years at a decent cap hit of $5.3 million and 2) Vegas has a plethora of picks to mitigate the loss. Tatar undoubtedly makes Vegas a better team, and if Tatar can find a way to thrive in the heat as he leaves the snow, look out for the Knights to emerge as a top contender come playoff time.
(BUT COME ON GUYS. WHY NOT MAKE IT A 2020 THIRD??! SYMMETRY!!!)
2018 4th (VAN)
Vegas also retains 40% of Derrick Brassard’s salary in the trade that sent him from Ottawa to Vegas to Pittsburgh. Looks like the Knights want some faces punched with the Reaves acquisition. By the way, in case you needed another reason to love these Golden Knights, they’re doing Pitt a huge service by retaining part of that salary so that the Penguins can stay under the cap ceiling.
More of an AHL swap. Leipsic has ties to Portland’s coach, so maybe a reunion gives the 23-year-old some more offensive consistency. Kid’s got good play-making upside, but doesn’t score much (two goals in 44 games with the Knights). Holm gives Vancouver an AHL D-man with some upside, as per Bob McKenzie’s scouting report on him:
The report I got is that he’s a real smooth-skating defenceman. Timing is everything; he’s got a goal and two assists today, so suddenly Leafs fans think they’re potentially getting this defenceman who is lighting it up offensively. He’s not known as an offensive defenceman in the Swedish league. His greatest asset is that he’s a real smooth skater, [but he’s] not overly creative and doesn’t play a whole lot of power play time in the Swedish league. [He’s] a mobile, defensive defenceman who has got a really good work ethic. I think one of the things the person who I know in Sweden said about him is that he knows what he is and what he isn’t. He knows he’s not Erik Karlsson so he plays a nice, controlled game, but he’s a real good skater and puck retriever and puck mover.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
I have no idea what to make of this trade. It’s so strange. Both Phaneuf and Gaborik have four more years left on their deals, with Dion’s a tad more expensive. At first glance, I thought maybe the Senators were really that desperate to shed salary, which would make sense, given that they were willing to go so far as deal Erik Karlsson to that end. But then you have Ottawa retaining 25% of Phaneuf’s salary, so that can’t be it. Maybe L.A. just wants a slow, declining, expensive veteran defenseman on its roster for a few years instead of a slow, declining, expensive veteran forward for a few years.
You don’t get this kind of analysis anywhere else, folks.
The teams switch backup goaltenders as Arizona also extends Kuemper for two years after the acquisition. Rieder also gives the Kings a young left-winger who can give them a little more offense, as the 25-year-old netted 19 points in 58 games with the Coyotes this season, with some extra upside, as he’s set to become a RFA at the end of the season.
All in all, Kings fans have to be disheartened with their moves. But at least for them, there’s always the return of Jeff Carter to keep them warm.
Calgary gets itself a depth forward for their bottom-six as it pushes for a playoff berth, especially with Kris Versteeg injured. Nothing else went down with the Flames, as they battle the Kings, Ducks, and Avalanche for two playoff spots.
The Ducks had an equally uninspiring deadline, as the only move made was a swap of pending-UFA fourth-line left wingers, except that Chimera’s 12 years older than Wagner and has been healthy-scratched for five straight games, whereas Wagner’s been pretty durable. But hey, leadership and grit, right? All in all, both the Ducks team and its fanbase should feel pretty deflated. Strange, though, considering how they’re still in the thick of things.
The Oil jettison Maroon as they look to rebuild and get an NCAA forward prospect and a mid-round pick in return. This announcement was also of the late variety, coming after the noon deadline, too.
I’m wont to believe that Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli had to have received better offers throughout the week, but didn’t take them in an effort to drive up the price and build a bidding war. Ultimately, it seems as though playing hardball backfired big time, as the return is pretty darn underwhelming.
A three-way trade had Letestu go to the Blue Jackets from Nashville in exchange for a fourth-rounder. From the Oilers’ standpoint, they get a 24-year-old left-winger in Aberg, who lit things up in the minors, but only potted five goals in 70 games with the Preds this season. His size is his biggest area of weakness, but the speed’s all there. It’s essentially a project prospect in exchange for a pending UFA solid fourth line center with PK abilities in Letestu.
Edmonton clearly has a plan for the 2019 draft’s third round. Just another sale where they look to acquire assets to rebuild. Davidson’s a solid defensive defenseman (and a testicular cancer survivor) who’ll help the Islanders make their playoff push. He can also re-sign as a pending RFA. For the Oil, Davidson didn’t cost anything to acquire, as they picked him off waivers so it’s a good return for them.
Vancouver gave away Vanek for pretty much nothing in this trade that was also announced past the noon deadline. Vanek’s a pending UFA with a reasonable cap-hit of $2 million and 34-years-old, so it makes complete sense to trade him to a contender. What’s surprising is the return: Jokinen, who cleared waivers yesterday, and Motte, an underwhelming prospect. This one’s got fleece written all over it.
A modest swap of two 22-year-old AHL forwards. Arizona acquired Kujawinski from the Devils in December and evidently were not too impressed. Move along people, nothing to see here.
So there you have it. It looks as though San Jose and Vegas emerged out of the deadline as the big winners in the division, while Vancouver and Edmonton especially are wondering just how badly they botched their pursuit for asset retention.
Who Had the Best Deadline in the Division?
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