NHL Notes: Blackhawks reacquire Saad for Panarin; Rangers send Stepan to Coyotes for No. 7

NHL Notes: Blackhawks reacquire Saad for Panarin; Rangers send Stepan to Coyotes for No. 7

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have reacquired forward Brandon Saad in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, parting with top young forward Artemi Panarin to complete the blockbuster deal.

The 24-year-old Saad spent his first four seasons with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups. Concerned about their ability to re-sign Saad when he became a restricted free agent in 2015, the Blackhawks traded the rugged winger to the Blue Jackets.

He had 24 goals and 29 assists in 82 games for Columbus last season.

The Blackhawks also received goaltender Anton Forsberg and a 2018 fifth-round draft pick in Friday's trade in exchange for forwards Panarin and Tyler Motte and Chicago's sixth-round selection on Saturday.

The loss of Panarin is a big blow for Chicago. He teamed with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov to form one of the NHL's most potent lines the past couple seasons.

Rangers send Stepan to Coyotes for DeAngelo, No. 7 pick
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have acquired center Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta from the New York Rangers for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick in this year's draft.

The Coyotes have made massive changes since Andrew Barroway became sole owner earlier this month, trading away No. 1 goalie Mike Smith, parting ways with coach Dave Tippett and opting not to offer captain Shane Doan a contract. Arizona also acquired defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson from Chicago earlier Friday.

Stepan and Raanta should address two big needs.

The 27-year-old Stepan had 17 goals and 38 assists in 81 games with the Rangers last season. Raanta went 16-8-2 in 30 games, with four shutouts and a 2.26 goals-against average.

DeAngelo had five goals and nine assists in 39 games last season.

Blackhawks ship defenseman Hjalmarsson to Coyotes
CHICAGO -- The Arizona Coyotes have acquired defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 30-year-old Hjalmarsson had spent his entire 10-year career with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup titles. He had five goals, 13 assists and a team-high 181 blocked shots in 73 games last season.

The Blackhawks received defensemen Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin in Friday's trade. The 24-year-old Murphy had two goals and a career-high 15 assists in 77 games with Arizona last season. Dauphin, 22, has appeared in 32 NHL games over the last two seasons.

The trade comes with Arizona in a bit of turmoil. The team announced Thursday on the eve of the NHL draft that coach Dave Tippett was out after eight seasons (see full story).

Kings buy out defeseman Matt Greene
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings have bought out the final year of defenseman Matt Greene's contract.

The Kings announced the move Friday.

Greene has been with the Kings since 2008. He provided steady stay-at-home defense during their Stanley Cup championship runs in 2012 and 2014.

But Greene has played in only 29 games over the past two seasons due to serious injuries, and he has played in more than half of the Kings' games in just one season since 2012. He went on injured reserve Jan. 30 and had back surgery.

Greene had a four-year, $10 million contract extension that began in 2014. The buyout turns his $2.5 million cap hit next season into an $833,333 hit in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Greene has 17 goals and 63 assists in 615 games (see full story).

Crosby's highlight-reel goal sparks Penguins' rally

USA Today Images

Crosby's highlight-reel goal sparks Penguins' rally

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby ignited a rally with a highlight-reel goal and became the third active player with 700 career assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

Crosby's picked up his 24th goal of the season when he knocked a pass from Jake Guentzel out of the air, deflected it toward the front of his stick and smacked it by Carey Price to tie it at 3 late in the second period.

Derick Brassard put the Penguins in front to stay, beating Price early in the third period as Pittsburgh avoided dropping both games of a back-to-back against also-rans Montreal and the New York Islanders.

Guentzel had a goal and two assists. His 21st goal of the season came off an assist from Crosby, the 700th of Crosby's career. Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist also scored for the Penguins, who drew within two points of idle first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division. Casey DeSmith finished with 27 saves.

Jonathan Drouin, Nikita Scherbak and Jacob de la Rose scored for the Canadiens, who have dropped nine of their last 10 games. Carey Price made 34 stops in his first start in a month due to a concussion (see full recap).

Schwartz, Blues top Bruins in OT
ST. LOUIS — Jaden Schwartz scored his second goal of the game 30 seconds into overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

Schwartz skated up the middle and fired a shot past Anton Khudobin. The Blues won for the fifth time in six games to move within a point of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jake Allen made 21 saves to improve to 24-21-2.

Ryan Donato scored for Boston. The Bruins clinched a playoff spot and moved within four points of Tampa Bay for the Eastern lead.

Schwartz tied it midway through the third period with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

Donato scored his second goal in his second NHL game. He had a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss to Columbus on Monday night.

Donato, still a student at Harvard University, returned to Massachusetts on Tuesday to attend class before flying back to St. Louis to rejoin the Bruins. His father, Ted, played 528 games in two stints with the Bruins (1992-99, 2003-04) (see full recap).

Rookie sets record in Coyotes’ victory
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Clayton Keller had two assists to set the Arizona Coyotes' franchise record for most points by a rookie in a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night in a matchup of the NHL's two worst teams.

Rookie Dylan Strome scored in his first game after being called up from the minors. Derek Stepan had a goal and assist, and Richard Panik and Max Domi, with an empty-netter, also scored. Antti Raanta stopped 29 shots to improve to 12-4-4 in his past 20 starts.

Keller, Arizona's 2016 first-round draft pick, extended his points streak to six games, in which he has two goals and five assists. He has 55 points, one more than Peter Mueller had in setting the rookie team record in 2007-08. And Keller has 35 assists, one more than teammate Max Domi had in his rookie season two years ago.

Arizona improved to 13-5-2 in its past 20, and earned its 61st point in leaving Vancouver alone at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Jordan Nolan scored for Buffalo, which dropped to 23-38-12 to remain in last place in the overall standings (see full recap).

Breaking down why Flyers traded Cooper Marody

Michigan Athletics

Breaking down why Flyers traded Cooper Marody

The Flyers on Wednesday traded NCAA prospect Cooper Marody’s rights to the Edmonton Oilers for a 2019 third-round draft pick that originally belonged to the New Jersey Devils.

Marody enjoyed a breakout junior season at Michigan University in 2017-18. The 21-year-old led the Wolverines with 32 assists, 46 points and 1.24 points per game.

His 32 assists were tied for third-most in the nation, while his 46 points were tied for ninth most. He made the Big Ten All-Tournament team and was the Big Ten scoring champion.

Let’s make sense of why the Flyers moved Marody and why it’s a good return.

One, he was a 2015 sixth-round draft pick with little NHL upside. Essentially, this boils down to a sixth-round pick netting you a third-rounder, which has a higher probability of hitting.

Two, the Flyers’ pipeline is loaded with forwards, and the book on Marody doesn’t project him to be a top-six forward. Think of him as a solid AHL player with bottom-six NHL potential.

Three, the contract limit. The Flyers are currently at 47 contracts, three under the limit. Sure, four players are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this summer with four more hitting restricted free agency. They could easily fit Marody under the contract limit but it goes back to No. 2.

Another potential factor is the 2019 third-rounder the Flyers owe the Red Wings if they make the playoffs since Petr Mrazek has won five games already with the team. They now have a third-rounder in that draft.

Any way we slice it, the Flyers turned a sixth-rounder into a third-rounder. If Marody proves the Flyers wrong, so be it. If not, it's no big deal. The chances of winning this trade are higher than losing it.