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2019 NHL trade deadline winners and losers: Analyzing best, worst deals of crazy day

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2019 NHL trade deadline winners and losers: Analyzing best, worst deals of crazy day

The 2019 NHL trade deadline passed Monday afternoon and there was no shortage of deals.

Many of the best players rumored to be available — including Mark Stone, Kevin Hayes and Wayne Simmonds — found new teams, while most of the top contenders for the Stanley Cup made at least one trade to bolster their chances of playoff success.

Here are the winners and losers of the 2019 NHL trade deadline.

WINNERS
Winnipeg Jets
The Jets are one of the best teams in the league and still sit atop the Central Division, but they have struggled of late with a 3-5-2 record in their last 10 games. The addition of Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers is a great move for Winnipeg. It gives the Jets a versatile forward who can score goals and create opportunities for teammates at both center and the wing, and he provides excellent size (6-foot-5, 216 pounds) down the middle of the ice. The cost — Brendan Lemieux, a 2019 first rounder and conditional fourth-round pick — wasn't a ton to give up, either. Winnipeg also acquired veteran forward Matt Hendricks for additional toughness and playoff experience.

The Jets added to their already strong depth and still kept valuable trade assets — that's a win-win deadline.

Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings are in a rebuild and entered the deadline in second-to-last place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit traded two upcoming UFAs in forward Gustav Nyquist and defenseman Nick Jensen. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland did well to acquire a second-round draft pick and a conditional third-rounder for Nyquist, as well as a good young defenseman in Madison Bowey and a 2020 second-rounder from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Jensen. Detroit could have as many as 10 picks in the 2019 NHL Draft. 

Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights swung for the fences by trading for the best player rumored to be available at the deadline: Senators right winger Mark Stone. Vegas entered Monday ranked 19th in goals scored per game and 23rd in power-play percentage, so upgrading its offense was a huge priority at the deadline. Stone was having a remarkable season for Ottawa with 62 points (28 goals, 34 assists) in 59 games, and he should significantly bolster the Knights' top-six forward group. Vegas had to make a substantial move to have a realistic chance of returning to the Stanley Cup Final, and this trade could be the catalyst the franchise needs to rediscover last year's magic. The Golden Knights gave up top prospect Erik Brannstrom to make the Stone trade, but that departure stings a lot less after Stone said Monday on TSN that he has agreed to terms on a contract extension with Vegas.

Nashville Predators
The Preds have a genuine chance to win the Western Conference and addressed their offensive weaknesses with two bold deadline day trades. Nashville acquired power forward Wayne Simmonds from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round draft pick — not a steep price at all. The Predators also dealt forward Kevin Fiala to the Minnesota Wild for forward Mikael Granlund. The additions of Simmonds and Granlund improve the Predators' toughness and playmaking skill, and should bolster a power play that ranks dead last in the league with a 12.2 percent success rate.

Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets easily could have been sellers at the trade deadline and dealt upcoming UFAs Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Not only did Columbus keep both players, it swung a huge trade to acquire star center Matt Duchene from the Ottawa Senators, then traded for his teammate and Sens center Ryan Dzingel soon after. The Blue Jackets also acquired veteran defenseman Adam McQuaid from the New York Rangers, and he'll add toughness, depth and plenty of playoff experience to Columbus' blue line.

The Blue Jackets are barely holding on to third place in the Metropolitan, and they aren't likely to win the Stanley Cup this season. That said, going all-in still is a good strategy for them. They need to show their own free agents and players around the league that the franchise is serious about winning. And with no Metropolitan team looking invincible in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Columbus might as well swing for the fences and continue to build its fan base with postseason hockey excitement. Remember, CBJ is still looking for its first ever playoff series win.

LOSERS
Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are on the outside looking in at the playoff race entering Monday, and they didn't make any big trades to bolster their chances of reaching the postseason. Meanwhile, some of the teams competing for a playoff berth in the Metropolitan Division and wild card races, including the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes, all made upgrades with deadline trades. The only deals Pittsburgh made were to acquire defensemen Erik Gudbranson and Chris Wideman, but these players likely are just third-pairing pieces.

The Penguins have a ton of frontline talent and a quality coaching staff, but they lack depth, and that could come back to bite them at the end of the regular season. 

Boston Bruins
The Bruins traded for Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle and gave up forward Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick last week. On Monday, the B's acquired New Jersey Devils winger Marcus Johansson for two draft picks. These moves improve the Bruins' scoring depth a little bit, but they don't give Boston the additional top-six forward needed to compete with the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning in a potential playoff series. The Bruins have won six of their last seven games and look like a real Stanley Cup contender, so it made sense to be bold at this deadline and capitalize on the veteran core (Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, etc.) still being really good. Instead, B's general manager Don Sweeney made a couple small moves that aren't likely to shift the balance of power in the Atlantic. 

Calgary Flames
The Flames own the Western Conference's best record at 39-16-7, but their only move was adding depth defenseman Oscar Fantenberg in trade with the Los Angeles Kings. The Jets, Predators, Sharks, Golden Knights and Stars all made more impactful trades for the playoff push. Calgary has a well-balanced roster and didn't need a major shakeup, but acquiring a second- or third-line winger would've been helpful for the playoffs. 

Henrik Lundqvist
The New York Rangers goaltender teared up when asked about Mats Zuccarello leaving the Blueshirts and going to the Dallas Stars via trade. Lundqvist and Zuccarello clearly were close, so it was a difficult goodbye after a decade of being teammates. The legendary netminder hasn't won a Stanley Cup in his storied career, and he certainly won't win one with the Rangers this season. It's going to be a long post-deadline stretch for Lundqvist in New York.

Columbus Blue Jackets' scouting department
The 2019 NHL Draft is in Vancouver, and the Blue Jackets' scouting staff might have a lot of free time to spend in one of Canada's best cities as a result of the team's barren chest of draft picks.

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Now's the perfect time for Bruins to get aggressive to solve top-heavy offense

Now's the perfect time for Bruins to get aggressive to solve top-heavy offense

TORONTO – Outside of the Bruins top trio of prolific, perfect forwards (Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak), the Bruins have exactly one other forward on the roster who has scored more than one point this season.

That would be fourth-line center Sean Kuraly, who has two points in seven games played for the Black and Gold.

“Right now we haven’t gotten the results and it’s obviously a small sample size. We’ve addressed it and we’re trying to work on it,” said Bruce Cassidy. “With David Krejci out, he’s a driver of a line. He got hurt late in camp and he really hasn’t been himself, and I think he helps [Jake] DeBrusk a lot. So that’s been an issue for us. But I think they’re going to get it going. I think they have a lot of pride, those guys.

“I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey by any stretch. Our record is probably a product of really good special teams, some timely scoring and really good goaltending. We’ve some areas we need to address and I think that’s normal whether you’re the last place team, or the Cup finalist, or the winner. There are always going to be holes.”

Clearly, there are some industrial-sized holes on this Bruins roster, however, when you look at the right side of the ice behind scoring machine David Pastrnak. Karson Kuhlman is a minus-2 with zero points in his seven games played alternating between the second and third lines, and Brett Ritchie has gone scoreless in five games since potting a goal opening night against his former Dallas Stars team.

Given a chance to bring up AHL reinforcements ahead of Saturday night’s tilt with the Toronto Maple Leafs with Kuhlman, Ritchie, Danton Heinen and Par Lindholm essentially playing a zero-sum offensive game, Cassidy said the Bruins are going to instead patiently stick with the guys already on the Boston roster instead of giving red-hot Anders Bjork another NHL shot.

“Our guys are healthy so we’re going to go with what we got,” said Cassidy. “It’s two reasons. We want to reward the guys that are here and we’re not disappointed with anybody. I just said that about [David] Backes, who we wanted to get back into the lineup. Providence has three or four guys playing well, but we’re going to go with the guys here first and see where that leads us.”

So, where will it lead them?

Maybe it’s time for the Bruins to get out ahead of the NHL curve and take advantage of a couple of situations brewing in other NHL destinations. With so many second and third line-types shooting blanks right now, why not kick the tires on Josh Ho-Sang with the Islanders, or with Jesse Puljujarvi in Edmonton?

Ho-Sang, 23 was a first-round pick, plays right wing and is being held out by the Islanders right now after demanding a trade from the organization. Ho-Sang has seven goals and 24 points in 53 games for the Islanders the past three seasons and clearly has offensive skill based on the flashes he’s shown.

Still, he’s also never scored more than 10 goals or 43 points in an AHL season for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and clearly has never realized his potential while becoming something of a problem child for the Islanders. Ho-Sang also cleared through waivers without any teams, including the Bruins, making a claim on him, so it wouldn’t cost much at all to bring in a player that might give them some offensive pop in the top-six.

At this point, he can’t be any more ineffective than what Kuhlman and Ritchie have been over the first few weeks of the season.

Then there is Jesse Puljujarvi, 21, who was a No. 4 overall pick and is playing for Karpat in Finland right now because he similarly wants to be dealt away from the Oilers organization. Puljujarvi has six goals and 12 points in 12 games, and the 6-foot-4, 201-pound right winger checks plenty of boxes for Boston’s top-six needs with skill, size and youth on his side.

He also has a contract in Finland that would allow him to return to North America if/when he’s dealt away from Edmonton to another NHL team.

Puljujarvi has 17 goals and 37 points in 139 games the past few seasons, but it’s difficult to judge his numbers based on the dumpster fire that the Oil organization was until cleaning house ahead of this season.

Similar to Ho-Sang, Puljujarvi has never really put up big numbers in the minors with 12 goals and 28 points as his AHL career-highs with the Bakersfield Condors, but both are classic “change of scenery” talents that could blossom in the structured, leadership-laden and offense-friendly system running in Boston.

The Oilers are reportedly looking for a top-nine forward prospect and a draft pick in exchange for Puljujarvi, and that is something the Bruins have an abundance of whether it’s Danton Heinen in the NHL or Bjork, Oskar Steen, Peter Cehlarik and Trent Frederic at the AHL level.

Some fans may instead daydream about the Bruins pulling off a deal for an established NHL talent such as Taylor Hall, Alex Tuch or Mike Hoffman that would immediately add pizzazz to their top-six group and make them much tougher to defend in the long run.

But the Bruins would be wise to take a page out of the Patriots book, buy low on projects Ho-Sang or Puljujarvi who could turn into big-time offensive talents with the players around them in Boston and start really doing something to address the top-heavy offense problem that’s been going on for two years running.

 

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David Backes will return to Bruins lineup tonight in Toronto

David Backes will return to Bruins lineup tonight in Toronto

TORONTO – It hasn’t been easy for David Backes to sit out for four of the Bruins' first seven games this season while they struggled to generate offense, but the 35-year-old will get his chance for Boston on Saturday night.

With Joakim Nordstrom (upper body) out for this weekend and David Krejci already missing from the lineup with an injury, Backes will draw back in after last playing in the Oct. 10 loss to the Colorado Avs on the season-opening West Coast swing.

Backes has eight shots on goal and a plus-1 in the three games that he has played and he’s looking forward to his chance to bring some energy and emotion while skating with Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly on the B’s energy line.

“These opportunities present themselves and what I can do with it? That’s up to me tonight,” said Backes. “If we can get pucks top the net and crash it and find some loose change, some garbage, that’s probably our best opportunity. It’s getting back to the basics of what makes that line very effective.

“This early in the year knowing I was really ready for the season and getting the pause button pushed when you really want to get into a rhythm [is challenging]. You want the team to win first and foremost and then you want to be a part of it and contributing to those wins. Everybody wants to feel that. We’ve been looking for more sources of offense as everyone has been talking about, and it’s tough to do that sitting on the ninth floor with [the media].”

Other than Backes getting back into the lineup with the Bruins eschewing any call-ups from Providence, the other news item was Patrice Bergeron staying in the lineup after sitting out Friday’s practice with a lower-body injury. Jaroslav Halak gets the start in net for the Black and Gold as Bruce Cassidy continues to go with a straight goaltending rotation to start the season.

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for Saturday night’s game based on morning skate at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Coyle-Kuhlman

Heinen-Lindholm-Ritchie

Wagner-Kuraly-Backes

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

 

Halak


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