Canadiens trade Smith-Pelly to Devils for Matteau

The Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils pulled off a last-minute deal ahead of the trade deadline Monday.

The Canadiens sent forward Devante Smith-Pelly to the Devils in exchange for forward Stefan Matteau.

Matteau, a former first-round pick, has struggled in his brief NHL career, recording just three goals and two assists in 44 games.

The 23-year-old Smith-Pelly recorded six goals and six assists in 46 games in Montreal this season.

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Report: Devils trade Stempniak to Bruins for 2 picks

Lee Stempniak's been traded at the deadline. Again.

It's the third straight season he's on the move at this point in the year, as the New Jersey Devils dealt the forward to the Boston Bruins on Monday, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. The return is a second-round draft pick in 2017 and a fourth-round pick in 2016, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.

Stempniak is in the midst of an excellent season, with 16 goals and 25 assists in 63 games. He was the Devils' leading scorer.

There's no word yet on what the Devils will receive in return, but they're set to cash in, after signing Stempniak to a bargain contract late in the offseason. The Bruins actually considered signing Stempniak to a professional tryout contract, eventually deciding against it.

Stempniak turned 33 on Feb. 4, and will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Again.

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Report: Islanders acquire Shane Prince from Senators for 3rd-round pick

The New York Islanders have reportedly acquired Shane Prince from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a third-round draft selection, Arthur Staple of Newsday was first to report.

Ottawa will send a seventh-round selection to Brooklyn to complete the deal.

Prince, a restricted free agent at the end of this season, has contributed three goals and 12 assists in 42 games.

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Report: Lightning fail to deal Drouin at deadline

The Tampa Bay Lightning stood pat Monday and did not move Jonathan Drouin ahead of the trade deadline, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

Although Drouin was not involved in a transaction by the deadline, he is still eligible to be traded before the end of the regular season.

Drouin has been front and center in trade speculation since November, when his agent, Allen Walsh, requested a trade from Tampa Bay.

The highly touted 20-year-old forward has not played a game since being suspended by the Lightning after failing to report to a game with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch on Jan. 20.

He recorded two goals and six assists in 19 games for the Lightning earlier this season.

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Report: Bruins’ Eriksson not traded at deadline

Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson, arguably the deadline's biggest trade chip, was not traded Monday, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

Eriksson entered the day as the most-desirable forward asset. The 30-year-old is having a stellar season, sitting tied for second on the team in both goals (23) and points (48).

Keeping Eriksson is not a surprising decision by the club, as general manager Don Sweeney told reporters Sunday that he had no issue with keeping Eriksson past the deadline.

Heading into Monday, the asking price for Eriksson was believed to be a top player and a prospect.

Eriksson will now play a vital role in the club's playoff push. Dallas sits third in the Atlantic Division with 74 points, one win behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Hurricanes trade John-Michael Liles to Bruins

The Boston Bruins have taken a step toward shoring up their blue line, acquiring defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Forward prospect Anthony Camara, a third-round pick back in 2013, is also part of the Hurricanes' haul, the team confirmed.

Liles is in the final season of a four-year, $15.5-million contract signed with Toronto back in 2012. Traded to Carolina in early 2014, he recorded 10 goals and 36 assists in 156 games with the Hurricanes.

He is, however, a positive possession player who can move the puck and help on the power play.

The 35-year-old will challenge for a spot in Boston's defensive rotation as the Bruins look to secure a playoff spot down the stretch.

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Avalanche all in on playoffs after adding experience to young core

The Colorado Avalanche were one of the most active teams Monday, making it perfectly clear they're making a push for the playoffs this season.

The Avalanche surprised many when they emerged out of nowhere to acquire forward Mikkel Boedker from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Alex Tanguay and prospects Conner Bleackley and Kyle Wood.

Related: Coyotes trade Boedker to Avalanche for Tanguay, 2 prospects

Moments later, they filled an important need on the blue line by landing defenseman Eric Gelinas from the New Jersey Devils for a third-round pick.

The Avalanche were certainly in an interesting position heading into Monday's trade deadline. Standing pat appeared to be a very likely option for a team not quite ready to compete with the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, and St. Louis Blues in the Central Division this season. However, for a young core lacking big-game experience, general manager Joe Sakic evidently felt a crack at the postseason was too good to pass up.

Sitting two points up on the Minnesota Wild for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the aforementioned moves will certainly provide a gigantic boost for a team on the playoff bubble with just 18 games remaining in the regular season.

Adding Boedker - a pending unrestricted free agent - definitely came at a hefty price, but Sakic made it clear that a run to the postseason over the final five weeks outweighed the long-term gain Bleackley and Wood may have provided down the road.

With a very skilled young core of Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Tyson Barrie, as well as highly touted prospects Mikko Rantanen, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Nikita Zadorov, it's evident Colorado is primed for a bright future one way or another, even without the two outgoing prospects in the mix.

Their time may not be now, and Boedker may very well walk on July 1, but playoff experience could pay major dividends later on for the team's youngsters.

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Report: Ducks land Pirri from Panthers for 6th-round pick

The Anaheim Ducks have added some firepower by acquiring Brandon Pirri from the Florida Panthers for a sixth-round pick in 2016, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.

Pirri, 24, is set to become a restricted free agent at season's end, while carrying a salary cap hit of $975,000 this season.

In 52 games with the Panthers this season, Pirri scored 11 goals on 111 shots. Last season, however, he posted one of the NHL's most unique stat lines, recording 22 goals and two assists in 49 games.

For the Ducks, he brings a potential boost to an offense that struggled mightily early on this season.

Pirri was originally a second-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks back in 2009, and has scored 46 goals in 157 career games.

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Alter: After Nylander’s AHL dominance, Maple Leafs’ struggles sped up the plan

TORONTO - There was always a plan.

Having spent part of last and all of this season with the AHL's Toronto Marlies, Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander was always direct about where he'd rather be.

"I want to play in the NHL this season," the 19-year-old said.

The Maple Leafs enforced patience on their Swedish prospect. On Monday, however, Nylander finally got the call from Maple Leafs assistant general manager Kyle Dubas, informing him of the news he'd long been waiting to hear - he's a Maple Leaf.

"It's going to be a tough game, I've never played at this level before," Nylander said ahead of his NHL debut. "It'll be interesting to see how it unfolds."

It's time, apparently

Selected eighth overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Nylander began his first year in the Toronto organization playing in the Swedish Hockey League. He would join the Marlies midway through the year, scoring 14 goals and 32 points in 37 games.

This season, Nylander's been even better, producing at a torrid pace. He has 18 goals and 45 points in 37 games.

Helping ease Nylander's transition to the show are the plethora of Marlies teammates who were called up along with him - forwards Kasperi Kapanen, Nikita Soshnikov, and Zach Hyman. All four will suit up in their first NHL games Monday.

A lot in common

Nylander and Kapanen, in particular, have formed quite the bond over the years. Both will become second-generation NHLers at the same time. Their fathers, Michael Nylander and Sami Kapanen, played 1,751 games combined in the NHL. When William and Kasperi learned they were being called up, both were sure to keep it to themselves.

"I actually didn't have any idea Willy was going to be here," Kapanen said. "We didn't want to text each other in case the other didn't get the text. We were kind of quiet but I saw him in the locker room when I got here and we started laughing."

Both players spent time at this year's World Junior Hockey Championship, but with different fates. Nylander suffered a concussion early in the tournament and was shut down. Kapanen scored the golden goal for Team Finland on home soil.

Kapanen has eight goals and 22 points in 32 games in the AHL.

Easing the pain

All four call-ups will be sent down for a couple of minutes Monday afternoon as part of a paper transaction, before being called up minutes later. The process is done to ensure all four are eligible to play for the Marlies when the AHL playoffs begin.

"We've been talking with them and what we did is try to put these players in the best position to have success," head coach Mike Babcock said. "We've tried to build structure in exhibition."

With many eyes on Nylander, the Maple Leafs have crowded the playing field by calling up myriad prospects.

There will be a lot of nerves for the kids, but there will also be comfort in having several Marlies teammates - who have been dominant in the AHL - on the bench.

With 88 points in 56 games, the Marlies are far clear of any other team in the AHL. There is nothing left for Nylander to prove in the minors in the regular season.

Maple Leafs management has been weary of calling up players before they are ready, but the top prospects are being rewarded for their play. The Marlies' success and the Maple Leafs' struggles have changed the team's plans.

Now, it's up to the young guns to show what they can do.

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