It was the busiest of days and that’s the way it should be on Trade Deadline Day. While there were plenty of deals before today’s deadline, it was still a busy day as 31 trades took place including the Mike Green trade to Edmonton that occurred just after midnight.
There were 55 players that changed teams, including minor leaguers, while 25 draft picks were exchanged.
The big winner of the day in my opinion were the Carolina Hurricanes. They did not get a goaltender after both James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured Saturday but picked up Vincent Trocheck, Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen. The Hurricanes did recall goaltenders Alex Nedeljkovic and Anton Forsberg from the minors. The Canes have been high on Nedeljkovic and he could get every opportunity to grab the top job.
The Islanders were also very busy as they picked up Jean-Gabriel Pageau and quickly signed him to a six-year/$30 million deal. The Islanders were in desperate need of a third center as they have not been pleased with the play of Derrick Brassard, and got one of the best in Pageau. That will allow the Islanders to move Brassard to the wing.
Edmonton may have made the best move of the day in acquiring Andreas Athanasiou as the former Red Wing is a speedy winger and one of the few who are able to keep up with the ultra-fast Connor McDavid. If the two ever click, Athanasiou gets lots and lots of fantasy value and the Oilers will be tough to beat. Edmonton also made a nice move in grabbing Tyler Ennis from Ottawa. Ennis has been a goal scorer this season and that is something the Oilers need, especially on the bottom-two lines.
I like the Vegas trade for Robin Lehner. It seems that Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled since returning to the team following the passing of his father in November. He has been strong of late in winning four in a row, but it never hurts to have a strong backup and Lehner is one of the best, if not the best, in the NHL.
The big rumor of the day had Zach Parise going to the Islanders and while Parise gave permission to Minnesota to trade him (he has a no-trade contract) the two sides could not agree and Parise remains a Wild one.
I did not like what the Panthers did in trading Trocheck but apparently the Panthers need to cut payroll per their owner. That did not help on Trade Deadline Day as Florida needed to be aggressive to make a playoff push and not give up talent like Trocheck. Their haul of Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, Eetu Luostarinen and Chase Priskie, does not compare to Trocheck who will slide into the second line center spot, behind Sebastian Aho.
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COLUMBUS 4 OTTAWA 3 (Overtime)
The only game in the NHL went into overtime as Emil Bemstrom scored with 25 seconds to go to give Columbus a 4-3 win and halt their eight-game losing streak in which they went 0-3-5.
There should not be any action on Trade Deadline Day to allow players to get to their new teams, but I guess the NHL thought that Columbus and Ottawa would be non-entities when it came to playoff berths, so scheduling this game wouldn't matter.
It was a costly win for Columbus as goaltender Elvis Merzlikins suffered an undisclosed injury in the second period and was unable to return. He was replaced in net by Joonas Korpisalo who was making his return to the NHL after suffering a knee injury on December 29. Coincidently, that was the night that Merzlikins took over the net and showed he was an NHL goaltender after a rough start to the season.
Merzlikins gave up two goals on 18 shots before the injury while Korpisalo, who picked up his 18th win of the season, stopped 14-of-15 shots.
Michael Peca made his Ottawa debut and had an assist.
Marcus Hogberg was strong in the Ottawa crease as he stopped 41 shots in taking the overtime loss. He is 3-7-8 with a 3.10 GAA and a .908 save percentage.
Boone Jenner had two assists for Columbus.
Brady Tkachuk had seven shots on net.
Riley Nash suffered an undisclosed injury in the second period and did not return.
Anthony Duclair suffered a foot injury when blocking a shot in the third period and he did not return. Coach D.J. Smith said that Duclair would be out ‘for a bit’ after the game.
Connor Brown – 2
Nick Foligno - 2
Boone Jenner - 2
Shots on Goal
Connor Brown - 5
Brady Tkachuk – 7
Nick Foligno - 2