Tag Archives: Hockey

Report: Devils deal Simmonds to Sabres

The New Jersey Devils traded forward Wayne Simmonds to the Buffalo Sabres, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.

In return, the Devils receive a conditional 2021 fifth-round pick that could become a fourth if the Sabres make the playoffs and Simmonds plays 10 games, according to TSN's Frank Seravalli. The Devils will also retain 50% of Simmonds' $5-million cap hit, TSN's Pierre LeBrun adds.

The 31-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Devils in the offseason. He recorded eight goals and 16 assists in 61 games for New Jersey.

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Deadline-day analysis: Breaking down Monday’s trades

Quick-hit analysis of big-league trades completed Monday, Feb. 24, updating live as each deal's made ahead of the 3 p.m. ET NHL trade deadline.

Carolina lands Trocheck

Hurricanes acquire: Vincent Trocheck
Panthers acquire: Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, and prospects Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen

This is a significant and smart move by the Hurricanes, as Trocheck is a perfect fit for GM Don Waddell's squad. Carolina has plenty of playmakers and puck retrievers up front but lacks true finishers beyond Andrei Svechnikov. Trocheck, who scored a career-high 31 goals in 2017-18 but has run into some poor luck this season, helps address that need. He's also right-handed (Carolina has only two everyday forwards who shoot right) and can play both center and wing. The kicker: Trocheck isn't a rental. The 26-year-old is on a team-friendly deal through 2021-22, earning $4.75 million annually. The package headed to Florida, meanwhile, is fine - two depth pieces in Haula and Wallmark and two decent prospects in Priskie and Luostarinen. GM Dale Tallon certainly didn't hit a home run, although the Panthers were desperate for capable bodies for their third and fourth lines.

Pageau off to Long Island

Islanders acquire: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Senators acquire: 1st-rounder in 2020 or 2021, 2nd-rounder in 2020, conditional 3rd-rounder in 2022

Love this trade for both teams. Pageau, a two-way center who's having a career year offensively, should have no problem transitioning into the Islanders' stingy system under Barry Trotz. And with only draft capital going the other way, GM Lou Lamoriello isn't subtracting anybody from his NHL roster as the team fights for a Metropolitan Division playoff spot. As for the Senators, this is a huge haul for pending UFA Pageau, whom they were negotiating an extension with until very recently. Putting conditions on two of the three picks shows GM Pierre Dorion has learned from the Matt Duchene debacle of 2017, in which he gift-wrapped a high first-rounder for the Avalanche. Ottawa now potentially has three first-rounders in 2020.

Namestnikov joins Avs

Avalanche acquire: Vladislav Namestnikov
Senators acquire: 4th-rounder in 2021

Namestnikov supplements the Avalanche's top-nine forward group in a meaningful way. The 27-year-old rental recorded 13 goals in 56 games for the Senators and could immediately slide into Colorado's third-line center role. He's solid defensively, he's a threat to score on the penalty kill, and he only cost a mid-round pick. From Ottawa's perspective, the fourth is a bit underwhelming. A second- or third-rounder would have been better aligned with the market in the leadup to deadline day, so let's call this a minor whiff by the Sens.

Oilers nab Green

Oilers acquire: Mike Green
Red Wings acquire: Kyle Brodziak, conditional 4th-rounder

Analysis: Oilers GM Ken Holland said in the leadup to the deadline that while he probably wouldn't make a huge splash, he'd still be active, and this move aligns with that mentality. At 34, Green is years past his prime and a little slow. However, he's a nice depth addition to a defense corps missing Oscar Klefbom and Kris Russell. The pending UFA should find a home on the power play, too. Also of note: Detroit is retaining 50% of Green's $5.4 million salary.

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Emergency goalie game exposed worst of Leafs, best of Hurricanes

When David Ayres rolled out of bed on Sunday, he probably wondered if any of Saturday night's events actually happened.

Did he really stop eight of 10 shots on Hockey Night in Canada in relief of two injured Carolina Hurricanes goalies? Did he, the freaking Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies, really beat the Toronto Maple Leafs to become the first emergency backup goalie to record an NHL win? Did his performance really inspire, among other tomfoolery, countless tweets and a customized T-shirt, and one helluva motivational postgame speech?

Yes, all of those things happened, and Ayres' evening led to a fantastic story. But the NHL isn't a day-to-day grind for the 42-year-old. He'll ride out his 15 minutes of fame and then transition back to normal life. It's all gravy from here on out.

Kevin Sousa / Getty Images

As for the players and staffs of the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes, well, Saturday night came with actual consequences.

There were two important points up for grabs, and Carolina snatched both partly due to Ayres' efforts, but the Hurricanes also played well. The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, can't claim to have put forth much of a fight in the 6-3 loss while embarrassing themselves in the process. Incredibly, Ayres even finished with a shot on goal, which was more than the shot total of seven Toronto skaters.

After rewatching the game's second half (Ayres played 28:41) to identify what went so horribly wrong for the Leafs and wonderfully for the Canes, here's what we learned and what it says about each team.

Zone exits and entries

John Tavares is a world-class player who often makes the difficult parts of his job look easy. On Saturday, though, he made just about everything seem hard.

The Leafs captain may have scored on the first shot Ayres faced, making it 4-2 with 6:24 left in the second period, but he otherwise struggled to contribute. Tavares turned the puck over at the offensive blue line at least three times when Ayres was between the pipes, including here:

What's going through Tavares' head during this sequence? That tip from William Nylander gives him the entire neutral zone. However, instead of going wide and using his speed to beat Joel Edmundson - who's not the fleetest of foot - Tavares stickhandles right into the Hurricanes defenseman's orbit. Edmundson uses his long twig and cleanly gains possession. Carolina, at this point comfortably up 6-3, then dumps the puck out of harm's way.

The Leafs experienced serious trouble both exiting their zone and entering Carolina's zone, while the Hurricanes served up a master class on how to exit their own territory. Check out how quickly this prime scoring opportunity for Zach Hyman dissolves into nothing:

It takes Carolina eight seconds to turn a key chance against into a line change. First, Hyman is harassed, then Auston Matthews is too before Jaccob Slavin responsibly skates the puck to a safe area, flips it out of the zone, and heads for the bench.

Those two highlights display Toronto at its worst and Carolina at its best. Under head coach Sheldon Keefe, the Leafs put themselves in a position to win when they're able to turn a two-on-two into a three-on-two or two-on-one and avoid turning the puck over at the blue line. Under head coach Rod Brind'Amour, the Canes win games when they pounce on loose pucks and direct as much of the action as possible toward the opposing goalie.

Puck management

In terms of precision, the night also belonged to the Canes. The Leafs were awful with the puck on their sticks. Passers outright missed their intended targets, had their passes intercepted, or they tried a pass when everybody watching knew an extra pass was one too many.

Toronto finished with 18 giveaways, the team's third-most in 63 games this season. Losing virtually every puck battle - even on the power play, like in the second-period clip below - sure is one way to accumulate so many giveaways:

Tavares' pass there is right in Mitch Marner's skates, but the crafty winger can usually pop the puck up to his stick with ease. There's one turnover, and then Tavares kills more power-play time by bobbling the puck. And once it's finally transported to Matthews in the neutral zone, the Canes swarm again.

It was a comedy of errors for a Leafs group already in the doghouse with Keefe following back-to-back 5-2 losses earlier in the week. Marner, one of the club's most reliable forwards, was particularly sloppy Saturday. Postgame, he called his effort "dogshit."

Meanwhile, Carolina suffocated Toronto on numerous occasions, as the Hurricanes tend to do when they're humming. Below, all five white sweaters are in the picture, with each player locked in on the puck and in position to support a breakout:

Sportsnet

Warren Foegele (No. 13 in white) then scoops up the loose puck, evades a check from Matthews, and finds an open teammate. That teammate finds another teammate, and suddenly Carolina is attacking.

It's all very clean and precise, and it's classic Brind'Amour hockey.

Shot selection

The Leafs' shot decision-making completed the trifecta of issues plaguing them Saturday, and in a handful of other losses this season.

Toronto is built to hold onto the puck longer than typical teams. The Leafs are incredibly skilled and play with a philosophy of maintaining possession until an opportunity to advance up the ice presents itself. That means they regroup often and don't tend to force shots. It's a fine approach nine times out of 10.

However, given the bizarre circumstances, Saturday's game should have been the one out of 10. Throwing everything at Ayres - slap shots from center ice, wrist shots from the point, backhands from the corner - should have been the team-wide mentality. No questions asked. Just do it.

Rookie Rasmus Sandin has been tremendous for the Leafs since joining the big club full time in January. He's gone through the odd hiccup along the way, though, including not shooting directly on net three-plus minutes into the third period when his team was down 5-3 and facing an amateur goalie:

Sportsnet

Sandin tries a little too hard here. Simply wristing the puck on net, as rudimentary and uncreative as it sounds, was the right play. Trying to set up teammate Alex Kerfoot for a nice deflection was not.

There was also a great encapsulation of Toronto's shot-selection problem and Carolina's good gap control at four-on-four in the dying seconds of the game:

Trevor van Riemsdyk plays Nylander perfectly, blocking shooting lanes and keeping the Leafs winger to the outside. Nearby, Slavin is boxing out Tavares, and two Canes are keeping a close eye on Travis Dermott.

Heck, when you watch the clip a third time, it dawns on you that the sequence doesn't just sum up the Leafs' shot-selection problem. It sums up the entire game - and the best and worst versions of these teams - quite well.

John Matisz is theScore's national hockey writer.

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Oilers acquire Green from Red Wings for Brodziak, conditional pick

The Edmonton Oilers have acquired defenseman Mike Green from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for forward Kyle Brodziak and a conditional draft pick in either 2020 or 2021, the Oilers announced Sunday.

The Red Wings will retain 50 percent of Green's cap hit and salary in the trade, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

The pick heading Detroit's way is a fourth-round pick in 2020, but if the Oilers make the Western Conference Final this spring and Green plays in half the games, it turns into a third-rounder in 2021, per Sportsnet's Mark Spector.

Green, 34, is a pending unrestricted free agent, and has a relationship with Oilers general manager Ken Holland due to their time together with the Red Wings. Holland signed Green to two different contracts in Detroit after the defenseman left the Washington Capitals in 2015.

Green has appeared in 48 games this season, notching three goals and eight assists while averaging just over 21 minutes per contest.

Brodziak has been on long-term injured reserve all season due to back issues.

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Report: Rangers likely to trade Kreider as extension talks collapse

The New York Rangers will likely trade forward Chris Kreider before Monday's deadline after the two sides failed to agree to a contract extension, reports Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

New York preferred to extend Kreider, but the club offered six years and he was seeking a seven-year deal, Brooks adds.

Kreider is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. His speed, physicality, and offensive abilities - combined with a cap hit of only $4.625 million - make him one of the top rental options for contending teams.

The Rangers drafted Kreider 19th overall in 2009, and he's played 520 games with the club over eight seasons. He's notched 24 goals and 21 assists in 60 contests this campaign.

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