Monday, June 24, 2019

NHL Trade Review: Blackhawks acquire De Haan

            The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward Aleksi Saarela from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Gustav Forsling and goalie Anton Forsberg.

             The Blackhawks have been improving, their defensemen, getting Olli Maatta from Pittsburgh, and now de Haan. But with 59 point man Erik Gustafsson and Duncan Keith, the Hawks now have four lefty defenseman. They could move one of those guys to the right side, with Brent Seabrook. Former first rounder Henri Jokijarju could also make the team. If Jokijarju makes the team, then Connor Murphy will probably be traded, or Jokijarju will be sent to the minors. This trade hurts the odds for Slater Koekkoek and Carl Dahlstrom. De Haan is a good second pairing defenseman, and is good defensively. He is under contract for three more years at $4.55 million a year. Saarela is a young forward who debuted this postseason.

              de Haan, 28, scored one goal with 13 assists for 14 points in 74 games for the Hurricanes this year. In his NHL career for the Canes and New York Islanders, de Haan has scored 13 goals with 82 assists for 95 points in 378 games, with 793 blocked shots.

              Saarela, 22, didn't score a point in one playoff game this year, his NHL debut. For AHL Charlotte, Saarela scored 30 goals with 24 assists for 54 points in 69 games, helping them win the Calder Cup.

             For the Canes, I don't get this trade. My guess is that they are trying to free cap space. They have nearly $25 million in space, but need to sign Sebastian Aho, Brock McGinn, Justin Williams, Michael Ferland, two goalies and now Forsling, who is an RFA. They get their backup goalie in Forsberg, who played in a career high 35 games two years ago, but didn't post great numbers. Forsling is a depth defenseman who can compete for a starting role.

             Forsberg, 26, had a 2.97 GAA and a .908 SV% in 35 games for the Blackhawks in 2017-18. He didn't play in the NHL this year. In his NHL career for the Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets, Forsberg has a .901 SV% and 3.21 GAA. He had a 2.64 GAA and a .919 SV% in 32 games for AHL Rockford this year.

             Forsling, 23, scored three goals with six assists for nine points in 43 games for the Hawks this year. In his NHL career, all for the Blackhawks, Forsling has scored eight goals with 19 assists for 27 points in 122 games.

NHL Trade Review: Flyers, Stars swap Hartman and Pitlick

             The Dallas Stars have acquired F Ryan Hartman from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for F Tyler Pitlick.

             In a way, this trade reminds me of a deal during the draft, in which Chicago and New Jersey flipped John Hayden and John Quenneville. Both Hartman and Pitlick are significantly better, but the concept of the trades are similar. Both bottom six forwards, and RFA and a forward with one year left. Hartman is the RFA, like Quenneville. They also were 30th overall picks in 2013 and 2014, Hartman being picked the year earlier. He had a decent 2017-18 with the Blackhawks before a surprise trade to the Predators. The surprising part of the deal was that Chicago got a first round pick in return. Hartman bombed in Nashville, and was traded to the Flyers for Wayne Simmonds this trade deadline. He has never scored 20 goals, and had a career low point total, despite playing in more games than the NHL schedule consists of. Dallas still gets good value out of him. He isn't a bad bottom six winger.

            Hartman, 24, scored 12 goals with 14 assists for 26 points in 83 games for the Flyers and Nashville Predators in 2018-19. In his NHL career for the Flyers, Predators and Chicago Blackhawks, the former late first rounder has scored 42 goals with 47 assists for 89 points in 245 games.

            Hartman was underwhelming for the Flyers post-trade, scoring just six points in 19 games (though he was better than Simmonds, who he was trading for). Pitlick is a similar player, but costs less. He has one more year left at $1 million, which is less than Hartman will get. The Flyers are looking to save cap room, with about $17 million in cap space. They need to sign Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Justin Bailey and Scott Laughton, plus a backup or 1B goalie to go along with soon to be 21 year old Carter Hart. Pitlick is also a right winger, and will likely will into Hartman's spot.

             Pitlick, 27, scored eight goals with four assists for 12 points in 47 games. In his NHL career for the Stars and Edmonton Oilers, Pitlick has scored 33 goals with 20 assists for 53 points in 185 games.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

One player from every NHL team that will be traded this offseason

         It's finally offseason time. And with that, it means there will be many, many trades, There already have been some deals, including Jacob Trouba to the Rangers, Justin Braun and Matt Niskanen to the Flyers, and Radko Gudas to the Capitals. But there will certainly be more deals, most likely including all 31 teams. Some teams might not actually trade away a player, but here are 31 candidates to be dealt, one from each team.

         Anaheim Ducks: Patrick Eaves
The Ducks have a decent amount of cap space, not many free agents, and even less hope. I don't think the Ducks will trade a defenseman after trading Brandon Montour to Buffalo last February. Rickard Rakell could net a lot, but his stock has fallen a lot after a tough season. He did have 67 goals from 2016-17 to 2017-18, including 120 points. Eaves scored 11 goals in 20 games with the Ducks as a rental in 2016-17, then re-signed to a three year deal. He has played a combined nine games in the first two years of the contract. If the Ducks take on a team's bad contract, such as Nikita Zaitsev or Patrick Marleau from the Leafs, Eaves could be sent to the other way. He could be placed on LTIR, and one year left at $3.15 million isn't a terrible burden. But that is the only way they'd deal him. They can't get any value for him without taking a contract back.

         Arizona Coyotes: Alex Goligoski
Arizona has to sign RFAs Nick Cousins, Lawson Crouse and Josh Archibald, and Richard Panik is a UFA. The Coyotes will have under $7 million in cap space, and they also would like to buff their offense, either through free agency or trade. After re-signing Ilya Lyubushkin, the team has nine defensemen, though Kyle Capobianco could go to the AHL. Both Goligoski and Niklas Hjalmarsson are getting up there in age, Goligoski will be 34 and Hjalmarsson just turned 32. Both have two years left, with a cap hit around $5 million. Goligoski is better offensively, and Hjalmarsson is a defensive defenseman. I think Goligoski could be moved for a middle six forward that costs less than Goligoski's $5.475 million cap hit. He has 98 points in 235 games over three seasons in the desert.

           Boston Bruins: David Backes
The Bruins have a big cap crunch that has gone pretty much unnoticed. They have just over $13 million in cap space, and they'll need to sign RFAs Charlie MacAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen. They'd also love to re-sign UFA Marcus Johansson. Backes' five year, $30 million deal has been a huge disappointment, with just 38 goals over three years. That includes seven this past year, and he was a healthy scratch in the last three games of the Stanley Cup. To free up cap space for Johansson, the Bruins could package Backes with a pick and/or a prospect like Zach Senyshyn to clear up $6 million in space.

           Buffalo Sabres: Rasmus Ristolainen
There has been Ristolainen trade rumors for nearly six months now. He scored 43 points last year, his 4th straight over 40. But every year in his six season NHL career he has been a minus. He had a league worst -41 rating this year. That could improve on a better team. His $5.4 million cap hit for three more years is manageable. The team seemingly traded for his replacement in February, Brandon Montour. The one issue is that only Ristolainen and last year's first overall pick, Rasmus Dahlin, are signed past next year. Jake McCabe is an RFA this year, Montour next year, and after next year Zach Bogosian, Marco Scandella and Casey Nelson are UFAs. The team is expecting big roles from Lawrence Pilut and maybe even William Borgen this upcoming season. Ristolainen, despite his bad rating, can still get a haul for the Sabres.

            Calgary Flames: Travis Hamonic
There has been rumors that the Flames are looking to move on from either Hamonic or T.J. Brodie this offseason. Hamonic has 30 points over two seasons in Calgary, and all the picks they gave up for him are going to hurt them, as the 1st they gave up ended up being Noah Dobson, one of the top defensive prospects in the league. Both of them have one year left on their contract, and Hamonic's $3.85 million cap hit is very affordable. They wouldn't get a turn like the Islanders did for Hamonic, but they could get a first for him, if the Islanders got a first and two second for Hamonic after playing 49 games and was a -21 in 2016-17.

             Carolina Hurricanes: Justin Faulk
There have been rumors that Faulk and his camp had a meeting with the Canes that didn't go well. The Canes have three good righty shot defensemen in Faulk, Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce. At least one of them will probably be traded. They also have a decent bottom pairing defenseman in Trevor van Riemsdyk. The significance of the meeting mentioned before is that Faulk will be entering free agency after 2019-20. He has a $4.83 cap hit. He could be moved for a forward. They only have seven forwards under contract. Sebastian Aho and Brock McGinn will be back, they are RFAs. But Michael Ferland and captain Justin Williams may not be back. They could use a boost there. Faulk scored 11 goals this year, and has double digits goals in four of the last five years.

              Chicago Blackhawks: Artem Anisimov
If the Blackhawks can find a taker for Anisimov, they'll look into it. Anisimov's streak of three straight 20 goal seasons was broken this year, when he scored 15. He'll be 31, and has two more years left at $4.55 million. They have good center depth, with Jonathan Toews and 3rd overall pick Kirby Dach. They could use Anisimov, but he is their most notable tradeable piece.
              Colorado Avalanche: Tyson Barrie
Barrie could be traded very soon. There are rumors that the Canucks are interested. Barrie, a defenseman, scored 14 goals with 59 points this year, his third 50 point season. The Canucks are a team rumored to be interested, and Bo Horvat or Jake Virtanen could be going Colorado's way. Barrie is a year away from unrestricted free agency, with a $5.5 million cap hit.

               Columbus Blue Jackets: Alex Wennberg
This is a big hypothetical. If the Blue Jackets lose all of Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Sergei Bobrovsky and Ryan Dzingel, then they could look to blow it up. Wennberg scored just two goals with 23 assists, but he is just 24, and scored 59 points two year prior. He has four more years left at $4.9 million. It would be interesting to see what a return for Wennberg would look like.

               Dallas Stars: Denis Gurianov
The Stars are a good candidate for a team to not make any trades where they give up a player, and just deal either picks or improve through free agency. They could really use a defenseman. There haven't been rumors surrounding Gurianov like other players on this list, but the team might be looking to move on from him, or throw him in a big role. He was drafted 12th overall in 2015, a star studded draft. The team passed on players like Mikko Rantanen, Mat Barzal, Brock Boeser, Kyle Connor and Sebastian Aho to pick Gurianov. He has played in just 22 career games, with a goal and three assists. They could trade him in a package for a defenseman, likely a righty to play behind John Klingberg, as on the left side they have Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Jamie Oleksiak.

                Detroit Red Wings: Jimmy Howard
It seems like Jimmy Howard trade rumors have gone on forever. Howard has one more year left at $4 million. He won't be a starter on a contender, but he'd be a very good backup, and because of his term, and age (35), they won't get too much for him. But they would need another goalie. Jonathan Bernier can't be the starter, and the next goalie is 20 year old Kaden Fulcher. Howard was an all-star despite a 3.07 GAA. 

                Edmonton Oilers: Jesse Puljujarvi
There is almost no way the Oilers don't trade Puljujarvi. Puljujarvi has been rumored to want out of Edmonton, and another rumor says if he isn't traded, he'll play in Europe. Yes, that should be easy to call bluff on for new GM Ken Holland. With a new coaching staff, maybe Puljujarvi gives it one more shot. The 2016 4th overall pick has just 17 goals and 20 assists in 139 career games over three years. He is just 21, so the reported asking price of a second rounder is a good bargain for a pursuing team.
                Florida Panthers: Mike Hoffman
There were Mike Hoffman trade rumors at the trade deadline. He now has one more year left at over $5 million. He scored a career high 36 goals and 70 points last year, his first in Florida. He could get a haul, especially if dealt before the season starts. His downside is that he is a -44 over the last two years.

                Los Angeles Kings: Trevor Lewis
The Kings have too many centers. Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter will definitely be there. Adrian Kempe and/or Alex Iafallo could be too. Blake Lizotte could play center as well, and 5th overall pick Alex Turcotte could make the team. Lewis scored just 12 points in 44 games last year, but scored a career high 14 the year before. He has a $2 million cap hit for one more season, then he is a UFA.

                 Minnesota Wild: Jason Zucker
A Zucker deal has been waiting for about six months. There have reportedly been two deals including Zucker that have fallen apart at the finish line. One to Calgary at the trade deadline, and one to Pittsburgh for Phil Kessel this offseason. He could still potentially go to Calgary. He has a very good deal, four more years left at $5.5 million. Zucker scored 21 goals last year, and scored 33 the year before.

                  Montreal Canadiens: Phillip Danault
This is a little bit of a reach. The Canadiens have 17 forwards (three, Joel Armia, Charles Hudon and Artturi Lehkonen are RFAs). But with Jonathan Drouin, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nate Thompson, and maybe Ryan Poehling down the middle, Danault could become expandable. But, there are a lot of flaws with that idea. Will Poehling be a third line NHL center. Is Thompspon even good enough to be  fifth line center. It is a ballsy move, but they are selling high. Danault has two more years left at $3 million, and just had a 53 point season. Montreal fans, feel free to yell at me.

                    Nashville Predators: PK Subban
There have been rumors that Subban could be on the move as the Predators look to free cap space to either sign Matt Duchene or extend Roman Josi on July 1. Subban has three more years left at $9 million, which is too much for Subban. Subban played in just 63 games this year, with 31 points. He scored 16 goals with 59 points two years ago. He can still get a haul.
UPDATE: Subban has been traded to New Jersey.
                    New Jersey Devils: Pavel Zacha
Zacha is currently an RFA, and the former 6th overall pick has been a disappointment. Zacha scored a career high 13 goals and tied his career high in points with 25. That's really bad for a 6th overall pick five years ago. He's an RFA and destined to be their 4th line center, behind 1st overalls Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, plus veteran Travis Zajac. Zacha could use a change of scenery badly.

                    New York Islanders: Nick Leddy
The Islanders have been rumored to be shopping Leddy and fellow defenseman Thomas Hickey. Leddy can net them a scorer that they really need. Either that, or picks or prospects they can use down the line. Leddy has three more years left at $5.5 million.  Leddy's four goals and 26 points were his lowest in a full season since he was 20 in 2011-12. Before that, he had three consecutive, 40 point seasons.

                     New York Rangers: Chris Kreider
Kreider, along with Jimmy Vesey and Vladislav Namestnikov, might be traded because they will be free agents after next year. Kreider is the best of the group. He tied his career high in goals with 28, and also had 24 assists. He is also the oldest of the group, and probably the least likely to re-sign as the team looks to get younger. He could command a first round pick.

                     Ottawa Senators: Mikkel Boedker
The Senators will need to get over the minimum salary cap, and trading away Boedker won't help. He'll be a free agent after this next year, with a current $4 million cap hit. Boedker's seven goals was his lowest since 2010-11, but he was on an awful Ottawa team. On a better team he could score 15 goals. That isn't bad for a third liner.

                      Philadelphia Flyers: Shayne Gostisbehere
There have been a lot of Gostisbehere rumors recently, and with the team acquiring Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun, and the team has Ivan Provorov, Robert Hagg and Sam Morin on the left side. Gostisbehere is still young and is on a very good deal. He will command a good amount of picks, prospects or roster players, depending on what Philly wants, and who their trade partner is. Gostisbehere has four more years left at $4.5 million. He scored 37 points this year, and had 65 points in 78 games the year before.

                       Pittsburgh Penguins: Jack Johnson
Right as this deal was signed, everyone knew it was bad. After one season, it is even worse. Johnson has four more years left at $3.25 million, and the Penguins are actively looking to get rid of it. He did have a career high 233 hits, but was a defensive liability, had just 13 points, and was a minus for the 13th time in his 14 year NHL career. The Penguins would need to add a sweetener with Johnson.

                       San Jose Sharks: Kevin LaBanc
The Sharks badly want to keep LaBanc, who is an RFA. But they won't have much cap space and they want to sign Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, and Timo Meier will also be an RFA. LaBanc isn't their priority, and they might not have cap space to sign him. He scored 17 goals with 56 points this past year.

                        St. Louis Blues: Robby Fabbri
The team that wins the Stanley Cup doesn't really trade away many players the following offseason. Fabbri is an RFA, and was a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs. Fabbri scored just six points in 32 games after missing all of 2017-18. He didn't return like the player he was his first two seasons. It could be time for the Blues to move on. Another team will want to take Fabbri, hoping that he can become the player he was when he was 20 and 21. He is currently 23.

                          Tampa Bay Lightning: JT Miller
The Lightning will have about $10.5 million in cap space, as they can put Ryan Callahan on LTIR as he can't play again due to a degenerative back disease. They need to sign RFA Brayden Point, and Cedric Paquette and Adam Erne are RFAs as well. Erne is a winger on a team with Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn, Matheiu Joseph, Erne, Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson. Miller still will have a spot, but has a $5.25 million cap hit for four more years. Miller might be moved since they won't have cap room for their RFAs. They could use a backup defenseman. Miller scored 13 goals with 47 points in 75 games, his first full year in Tampa.
UPDATE: Miller has been traded to Vancouver.

                           Toronto Maple Leafs: Nikita Zaitsev
The team already traded Patrick Marleau to free cap space. Zaitsev has a $4.5 million cap hit for five more seasons. They have $14 million in cap space to sign RFAs Mitch Marner, Andreas Johnson and Kasperi Kapanen, the latter reportedly having signed a three year deal over $3 million per year. Zaitsev might need to include a sweetener. Zaitsev had 14 points in 81 games this year. His ice time was down nearly two minutes a game this year.

                            Vancouver Canucks: Chris Tanev
The Canucks didn't trade Alex Edler when he was a pending UFA, so they might not deal Tanev. He has a year left at $4.45 million. He is a righty shot and is 29, so he can net a first rounder potentially. Tanev scored 12 points in 55 games this year, and is a career +39, despite playing on a lot of bad teams. Not a bad defensive defenseman.

                             Vegas Golden Knights: Jonathan Marchessault
I wouldn't trade Marchessault if I'm the Knights. But they have been rumored to be shopping him, as they need to sign RFA William Karlsson. Tomas Nosek and Nikita Gusev are also RFAs, and Brandon Pirri, Ryan Carpenter, Pierre-Edouard Bellmare and Deryk Engelland are UFAs. They are projected to have literally no cap space. Marchessault has five more years left at $5 million. He wouldn't be the only player they'd need to deal. Marchessault scored 25 goals with 34 assists for 59 points this year, and 82 goals over the last three seasons.

                              Washington Capitals: Andre Burakovksy
Burakovsky has yet to improve on his age 20 season. He is now 24 coming off back-to-back 25 point seasons. He is an arbitration eligible RFA, and the Caps may want to move on, though that is purely speculation. He is still fairly young, so they could receive something decent for him. He has 62 goals in 328 career games.

                                Winnipeg Jets: Dmitry Kulikov
The Jets could use some cap space, and some forwards. They have seven forwards under contract, with RFAs Patrick Laine, Kyle Connor and Andrew Copp, and UFA Brandon Tanev. They would still need a forward, though a player like Mason Appleton could get a chance. They need to free up cap space to sign their forwards or another UFA. Kulikov has one year left at $4.3 million, which is not a good contract. They would need to add a sweetener in as well. Kulikov is coming off his first career no goal season, and had six assists in 57 games.

NHL Trade Review: Devils acquire Hayden

             The New Jersey Devils have acquired F John Hayden from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for F John Quenneville.

              Hayden is a decent depth forward. He has just a $750k cap hit, then he is an RFA. He has struggled offensively in time with the NHL club, but is more defense. He hasn't gotten much ice time, with 10:07 minutes a game in his career. They trade a former first rounder who has become a bust.

              Hayden, 24, scored three goals with two assists for five points in 54 games for the Blackhawks this year. In his NHL career, all in Chicago, Hayden has scored eight goals with 14 assists for 22 points in 113 games.

              The Blackhawks acquired a former first rounder that was perceived to be a bust midseason, in Dylan Strome. It worked out pretty well. Strome went 3rd overall, and Quenneville went 30th overall. So it isn't necessarily the exact same thing. But the Hawks are taking a chance on a player that was once highly touted, but hasn't played well in the NHL. Quenneville was picked in 2014.

               Quenneville, 23, scored one point, a goal, in 19 games for the Devils this year. In his three year NHL career, Quenneville has scored two goals and three assists for five points in 33 games.

NHL Trade Review: Canucks acquire Miller

             The Vancouver Canucks have acquired C/W JT Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a 1st round pick, a 3rd round pick and goalie Marek Mazanec.

             Miller is a good forward. He is a two time 50 point scorer, and is signed long term, four more years at $5.25 million. A first and third round pick is a hefty price, but Miller is still young at 26. He can score, which will help the Canucks a lot, especially if they want to get back to the playoffs.

             Miller, 26, scored 13 goals with 34 assists for 47 points in 75 games for the Lightning this past year. In his NHL career for the Lightning and New York Rangers, Miller has scored 95 goals with 142 assists for 237 points in 435 games.

             For the Lightning, they need to free up cap space, with RFAs like Brayden Point, Cedric Paquette and Adam Erne, and might want to sign UFA Anton Stralman. Miller had a rough first full year with the Lightning, and they still get a first, third and depth goalie for him. Mazanec is an organizational third goalie.

              Mazanec, soon to be 28, last played in 206-17 with the Nashville Predators, with a .839 SV% and a 4.73 GAA in four games. In his NHL career, all for Nashville, Mazanec has a .895 SV% with a 2.98 GAA.

NHL Trade Review: Devils acquire Subban

               The New Jersey Devils have acquired D PK Subban from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defensemen Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies, plus two second round picks.

                For the Devils, Subban is a dynamic defenseman. He is coming off a bad year but is just a year removed from a 16 goal, 59 point season. He has three years left on his contract, but Nashville will not retain any salary, which explains why they didn't trade a first round pick. They lack defense, and Subban is a legitimate top pairing player.

                 Subban, 30, scored nine goals with 22 assists for 31 points in 63 games for the Predators this past year. In his NHL career for the Predators and Montreal Canadiens, Subban has scored 98 goals with 310 assists for 408 points in 645 games.

                 Subban has a $9 million cap hit. That is way too much for him, and the Predators also want to extend Roman Josi, who is a free agent after next year. They also could sign a player like Matt Duchene in free agency. They get a roster defenseman in Santini, and a prospect defenseman in Davies, plus two second rounders. He is also aging, now 30.

                  Santini, 24, scored one goal with three assists for four points in 39 games for the Devils this past year. In his NHL career, all with the Devils, Santini has scored five goals with 16 assists for 21 points in 39 games.

                  Davies, 22, scored eight goals with 28 assists for 36 points in 37 games for Northeastern University this year. He was drafted in the 7th round by the Devils in 2016.

NHL Trade Review: Hurricanes acquire Marleau

          The Carolina Hurricanes have acquired LW Patrick Marleau, a 2020 1st round pick and a 2020 7th round pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a 2020 6th round pick.

          The Leafs absolutely need to free up cap space. They now have a projected $14 million in cap space, and need to sign RFAs Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson. There is still a good chance that they will trade another contract as well to get everybody signed. Marleau had a cap hit of $6.25 million, and since he is older than 35, buying him out doesn't save any cap space. A first round pick is a tough ask, but you don't want to lose Marner.

           Marleau, 39, scored 16 goals with with 21 assists for 37 points in 82 games this season. In his NHL career for the Leafs and the San Jose Sharks, Marleau has scored 551 goals with 615 assists for 1166 points in 1657 games.

            The Canes just pay $6.25 million for a first round pick. They have a lot of cap space, and they will reportedly buy out Marleau. Getting a first round pick is a very good deal. It is top 10 lottery protected. They just give up a sixth, but get a seventh rounder as well. Marleau will want to go back to San Jose, where he played his first 19 years.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

NHL Trade Review: Flyers acquire Braun

Photo from NBC

         The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired defenseman Justin Braun from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 2019 2nd round pick (41st overall) and a 2020 3rd round pick.

          The Flyers lack defensemen on the right side, even after trading for Matt Niskanen (they gave up Radko Gudas in the process). Braun is a defensive defenseman that will play bottom six minutes. The main negative for the Flyers is his $3.8 million cap hit. They now have about $30 million in cap space, with RFAs Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim, Ryan Hartman, Scott Laughton and Justin Bailey, plus UFA Kevin Hayes. Provorov, who hasn't missed a game since entering the league on Opening Night in 2016-17, will probably get more than the $4.5 million teammate Shayne Gostisbehere got two years ago. Speaking of Gostisbehere, he could be traded for more help on either offense or the right side, or just picks. If no trades are made, which is unlikely, Braun could play with Gostisbehere on the second pairing.

           Braun, 32, scored two goals with 14 assists for 16 points in 78 games last year, but was a -14. In his NHL career, all in San Jose, the former 7th round pick has scored 24 goals with 130 assists for 154 points in 607 games.

           The Sharks need to free up cap space, especially after signing Erik Karlsson to an eight year, $92 million deal ($11.5 million AAV). They obviously want to bring back captain Joe Pavelski and former captain Joe Thornton, who are both UFAs. Gustav Nyqvist, Joonas Donskoi and Tim Heed are also UFAs. Timo Meier, Kevin LaBanc and Joakim Ryan are RFAs, and the Sharks now have just over $16 million in cap space, so they probably won't be able to keep everybody, especially not Donskoi or Nyqvist. Getting a second and a third for Braun is a good deal.


Monday, June 17, 2019

NHL Trade Review: Rangers acquire Trouba

Photo from Getty Images

            The New York Rangers have acquired defenseman Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for defenseman Neal Pionk and a 2019 1st round pick. The 1st round pick was originally the Jets' pick, but was traded to the Rangers this past trade deadline in a package for Kevin Hayes.

            Trouba signed just a one year deal with the Jets last offseason, instead of committing long term. He needed a contract then after a two year deal he signed after holding out until November. It has been clear that Trouba didn't want to be on the Jets, and with the Jets soon to be in a tight cap situation, needing to sign RFAs Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, Joe Morrow, Nathan Beaulieu, plus the newly acquired Pionk, and including UFAs Tyler Myers, Brandon Tanev and Ben Chiarot, the Jets had a situation where either Myers or Trouba had to go. But since they traded Trouba, both could still leave, if Myers doesn't want to re-sign. The Jets have just over $25 million to spend on those players, plus potential other adds in free agency. This is a start to an interesting offseason for them, led by GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. In return, they get Pionk, another offensive right-handed shot defenseman, though not as good as Trouba, plus they get their first round pick back.

            Pionk, soon to be 24, has scored six goals with 20 assists in 26 points in 73 games. In his two year NHL career, Pionk has scored seven goals with 33 assists for 40 points in 101 games.

           Trouba is a major improvement over Pionk. Both are offensive minded, but Trouba scored nearly double the amount of points Pionk did last year, Trouba is also just a year older than Pionk. He is an RFA, but if he signs just a one year deal, he'll be a UFA next year. Though it is likely that the Rangers lock him up. Pionk was signed by the Rangers as a college free agent, which is a prominent market for the Rangers. They have former college free agents Jimmy Vesey and Adam Fox on their roster already. By acquiring another right handed defensemen, the Rangers have four righty shots in Kevin Shattenkirk, Trouba, Fox and Tony DeAngelo. But two left handed defensemen, Marc Staal and Brendan Smith, are both buyout candidates, so someone could move over. Currently, the Rangers have nine defensemen, though Fox and Libor Hajek could be sent down, and RFA Fredrik Claesson might not be qualified. The Rangers will also have a busy offseason, with $19 million in cap space, and RFAs Trouba, Pavel Buchnevich, Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux, plus Alex Georgiev and Ryan Strome are RFAs after next year, and Jesper Fast, Chris Kreider, Jimmy Vesey and Vladislav Namestnikov are UFAs after next year.

              Trouba, 25, scored eight goals with 42 assists for 50 points in 82 games last year. In his NHL career, all for the Jets, the 9th overall pick in 2012 has scored 42 goals with 137 assists for 179 points in 408 games.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

MLB Trade Review: Yankees acquire Encarnacion

From the New York Post

            In a surprising move, the New York Yankees have acquired 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion and cash from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Juan Then.

             The Yankees don't really need Encarnacion, but he is leading the American League in home runs, and has hit at least 30 home runs in seven consecutive seasons, and this year will likely make that eight. He is a big time Yankee killer, with 26 home runs, 87 RBIs and a .271 average in 142 games against them. He also has good career numbers against the AL East, as he played in that division for the majority of his career. He has hit 60 home runs combined against the Yankees main two rivals this season, the Rays and Red Sox, and has hit well against other prominent AL teams, like the Astros and Twins, though a lot of his at bats against those two teams are from when they were really bad. It isn't starting pitching, which is what the Yankees need, but they'll take Encarnacion.

              Encarnacion, 36, has a .241 batting average with 21 home runs and 49 RBIs, plus a .888 OPS in 289 Plate Appearances for the Mariners this year. In his MLB career for the Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds, Encarnacion has a .263 batting average, with 401 home runs, 1205 RBIs and a .851 OPS in 7748 Plate Appearances.

             The Mariners are in full tear-down mode. They acquired two expensive power hitters this offseason while dumping one of their stars. Both of those hitters, Encarnacion and Jay Bruce, were off to great home run seasons. But now, both have been traded, Encarnacion to the Yankees and Bruce to the Phillies. The Mariners are eating some of Encarnacion's contract, and in return, get a decent and young prospect in Then, who was originally a Mariners prospect, (Juan) then traded to the Yankees for Nick Rumbelow.

              Then, 19, has a 2.70 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 50 innings in rookie league. In two minor league seasons, Then has a 2.67 ERA with 98 strikeouts in 111.1 innings.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

NHL Trade review: Blackhawks acquire Maatta

             The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Dominik Kahun and a 5th round draft pick.

             Maatta is still fairly young, as he'll be 25 by the time 2019-20 starts. His cap hit of just over $4 million isn't ideal, especially after a down year that saw him as a healthy scratch for the last three games of the Penguins season, when they were swept in the first round. But because of that sweep, and the fact that Pittsburgh has been eliminated before the Conference Finals the past two years, has GM Jim Rutherford looking for changes. There had been trade rumors surrounding Maatta and his former teammate Phil Kessel since the conclusion of the season. Now, Maatta is sent out of town. In return, the Pens get a speedy, young forward who had a surprise rookie season. Sound familiar? That pretty much describes current Penguins Jake Guentzal and Dominik Simon, and former Penguins' forward Conor Sheary.

              Kahun, who'll soon be 24, scored 13 goals with 24 assists for 37 points in 82 games, his rookie year for the Blackhawks. The Czech Republic native has one more year left on the deal he signed as an undrafted free agent.
              Maatta brings youth to an aging Blackhawks' defense. Duncan Keith will be 36, and Brent Seabrook turned 34 two months ago. Erik Gustafsson had a breakout year, and Connor Murphy made decent strides. That would leave a spot open for one of Carl Dahlstrom, Slater Koekkoek and Gustav Forlsing (current RFA), or an incoming UFA. Former 1st rounders Adam Boqvist and Henri Jokiharju could also push for a roster spot.

              Maatta, who will be 25, scored one goal with 13 assists for 14 points in 60 games for the Penguins this year. In six years for the Penguins, the blueliner has scored 25 goals and 82 assists for 107 points in 362 games.

Friday, June 14, 2019

NHL trade review: Flyers acquire Niskanen, Gudas to Caps

Photo from Sporting News

        The Philadelphia Flyers have acquired defenseman Matt Niskanen from the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Radko Gudas. The Flyers have also retained 30% of Gudas' contract.

        The main part of this trade is that the Caps are making a cap dump. They now have nearly $13.5 million in cap space. The Flyers can afford to take on Niskanen's contract, as they have nearly $30 million in cap space, and they need to get over the minimum salary cap, though they should just by this trade and if they can sign Kevin Hayes, whose rights they acquired from Winnipeg.

         Gudas has a reputation of a dirty player, which is true. But Niskanen is aging and had his lowest point total this year since 2012-13, which was shortened by a lockout. Gudas is younger, and while he doesn't score as much as Niskanen, he is very psychical and a consistent shot blocker.

         Gudas, 29, scored four goals with 16 assists for 20 points in 77 games this year for the Flyers. in his NHL career for the Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning, Gudas has scored 24 goals and 81 assists for 105 points in 416 games.

         Niskanen is probably the better all-around defender, but he is 32 and is coming off a down year. The Flyers are betting that it was just a down year, and not a sign of age. He gets over 100 hits a year, but that is not nearly as good as Gudas' rate (over 200 a year, including one year of over 300). He blocks shots a lot as well, though not as consistent as Gudas, though consistency with blocked shots isn't really a good stat to look at. He also scores more.

        Niskanen, 32, scored eight goals with 17 assists for 25 points in 80 games with the Capitals this past year. In his NHL career for the Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars, Niskanen has scored 64 goals with 259 assists for 323 points in 881 games.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

MLB trade review: Phillies acquire Bruce

Photo from NBC

            The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired OF/1B Jay Bruce and cash from the Seattle Mariners for 3B Jake Scheiner.

            The Phillies are in first place in the NL East, but with CF Odubel Herrera on administration leave after an arrest, the Phillies don't know how long he will be out. Andrew McCutchen could move over to center, and Bruce will play left. Or Nick Williams will play left and Bruce will be a powerful bench bat. Bruce hits a lot of home runs but doesn't hit for average.

            Bruce, 32, has a .212 batting average with 14 home runs and 28 RBIs in 184 Plate Appearances this year. In his MLB career for the Mariners, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, Bruce has a batting average of .246 with 300 home runs, 903 RBIs and 65 stolen bases in 6351 Plate Appearances.

            For the Mariners, they are rebuilding and and will soon be trading a lot of their bats. Bruce is the first one to go, which is smart since he won't sustain he's home run pace. In exchange for the power hitter, they get an infielder that was good last year in the minors.

           Scheiner, 23, has a .256 batting average with two home runs, 19 RBIs and three stolen bases in 179 Plate Appearances for High-A Clearwater. In three minor league seasons, Scheiner has hit .276 with 19 home runs, 108 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 955 Plate Appearances.