Monday, April 12, 2021

NHL Trade Review: Bruins steal Hall


       The Boston Bruins have acquired forwards Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for forward Anders Bjork and a second round draft pick. 

The Taylor Hall sweepstakes are finally over, as the real winner is obviously the player who gets to leave the tire fire that is the 2020-21 Sabres. Hall emulated that best, as while he made a positive offensive impact, he could not score to save his life, with a 2.3 shooting percentage. Even with that shooting percentage, he is an above-average winger who will definitely improve the Boston offense. Hall has had a really rough past three years after winning the Hart Trophy in 2017-18. Injuries have played a part, but Hall has scored just 29 goals in 135 games over that stretch. The pending UFA will only have a $4 million cap hit for the Bruins, who also get Lazar in this trade. A bottom six defensive forward at best, Lazar has been on injured reserve since the first of April. He is currently considered week-to-week, and upon his return gives depth and physicality to the Bruins lineup. Unlike Hall, Lazar is under contract for next year, with an $800k cap hit. He becomes an unrestricted free agent afterwards. Lazar and Bjork cancel each other out in value terms, so Hall for a second round pick is basically the trade in value terms. That is amazing for the Bruins, considering Columbus got more than a first round pick for Nick Foligno and David Savard each, and the Devils got a first for Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. 

Hall, 29, has scored just two goals with 17 assists for 19 points in 37 games for the Sabres this year. In his NHL career for Buffalo, the New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes, Hall has scored 220 goals with 362 assists for 582 points in 664 games. 

Lazar, 27, has scored five goals with four assists for nine points in 33 games for Buffalo this year. In his NHL career for the Sabres, Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators, Lazar has scored 25 goals with 45 assists for 70 points in 317 games. 

The Sabres had so much time to pull off a trade, and after the Foligno trade, Hall's value should have skyrocketed. The end result means that it didn't. Sabres GM Kevyn Adams had to hit big with this trade, and he instead fell flat. Hall probably should have been worth a second rounder given his production this year, but to not get more is disappointing. They do exchange Lazar for Bjork, but the players are not too different. Bjork has been given playing time for the past four years, and the former fifth round pick has failed to capitalize. He is still young, but if you can't score in Boston, Buffalo shouldn't be too much better. His contract situation is not great for the team, as Bjork has two additional years worth $1.6 million after 2020-21, and he is still a restricted free agent afterwards. 

Bjork, 24, has scored two goals with three assists for five points in 30 games for the Bruins this year. In his NHL career, all for Boston, Bjork has scored 16 goals with 23 assists for 39 points in 138 games. 

NHL Trade Review: Penguins bring in Carter


        The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired forward Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 2022 3rd round pick and a 2023 4th round pick. Both picks have unknown conditions on them. The Kings also retained half of Carter's salary.

This is an odd trade to begin with, as even after salary retention, Carter is a very expensive player, who will be on Pittsburgh's books for next year, with a flat salary cap. He is well past his prime, last scoring at least 20 goals in 2016-17. At this point, Carter is a bottom six winger who can play center, and is good at faceoffs when necessary. He has played a lot of wing this year, although Carter could move to center behind Evgeni Malkin this year. For 2020-21 alone, this is a fine move. But it is questionable considering he will still be on the team next year. This move also puts the team over the salary cap, and they will need to depend on LTIR usage to get cap compliant. The cost may seem high, but Carter is a proven two-time Stanley Cup champion who Pittsburgh believes can still make an impact on their bottom six.

Carter, 36, has scored eight goals with 11 assists for 19 points in 40 games for the Kings this year. In his NHL career for the Kings, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets, Carter has scored 390 goals with 361 assists for 751 points in 1080 games. 

This is a good trade for the Kings, as they can still get value for Carter before his long 11 year deal with the Flyers expires. His base salary is only $2 million for this year and the next, so retaining 50% is little in real money. Additionally, the rebuilding Kings can afford to take on half of Carter's salary on the cap, which comes out to about $2.63 million.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

NHL Trade Review: Isles acquire Coburn


       The New York Islanders have acquired defenseman Braydon Coburn from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2022 7th round draft pick. 

This would be terrible value for the Islanders if it was anything more than a 7th round pick. Coburn is a below replacement level defenseman at this point in his career, but he can be physical, and won a Stanley Cup last year with the Lightning. Unfortunately his beard will be a victim to Lou Lamoriello's weird rule. Coburn's place on the Islanders depth chart will be unclear. He will likely sit on the taxi squad for the majority of the time, and will either be the 7th or 8th defenseman, fighting with Thomas Hickey for the former. He can kill penalties, but takes way too many of them himself, and his $1.7 million cap hit is a lot, but the Islanders were unlikely to use it anyways, unless it was on another depth defenseman.

Coburn, 36, has two assists with 25 hits in 16 games for the Senators this year. In his NHL career with Ottawa, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers, Coburn has scored 49 goals with 185 assists for 234 points with 925 hits in 980 games. 

Coburn was not remotely high on Ottawa's depth chart, and was sitting on their taxi squad. He would likely clear waivers, so good on GM Pierre Dorion for getting some value for him. 

NHL Trade Review: Leafs get Rittich


       The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired goaltender David Rittich from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 2022 3rd round draft pick. 

The Maple Leafs have been without goalie Frederik Andersen due to injury, but replacement Jack Campbell has been amazing, with a .934 save percentage and an 11-0-0 record. This trade is merely insurance in case Andersen misses even more time, as Rittich is a backup goaltender at best. He also does not have to quarantine entering Canada, as he already plays for a Canadian team. Trading a third round pick is a big price for a guy who will hopefully be a third goalie in the playoffs, unless Toronto plans on moving away from Andersen, which would be weird to see. The Flames retained half of Rittich's salary, so Toronto only takes on $1.375 million. 

Rittich, 28, has a .904 save percentage with a 2.90 GAA and a -1.6 GSAA in 15 games for the Flames this year. In his NHL career, all in Calgary, Rittich has a .908 save percentage with a 2.83 GAA and a -12.4 GSAA. 

The 17-21-3 Flames are six points out of the playoffs, and sellers at this year's trade deadline. The team should be getting as many assets as they can for their pending free agents, and Rittich was one of them. A third round pick is good value for a backup goaltender. They get a bit more thanks to their ability to retain half of Rittich's salary. 

NHL Trade Review: Bruins acquire Reilly


       The Boston Bruins have acquired defenseman Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2022 3rd round draft pick. 

This trade comes immediately after an embarrassing 8-1 loss to the Capitals, where Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk were absent. Jeremy Lauzon and Jack Ahcan made up the top pairing, which is pretty bad, considering Ahcan is an undrafted 23 year old playing in his second NHL game. This trade definitely bolsters their defensive core, both before and after McAvoy, Carlo and Grzelyck return. Reilly played second pairing minutes in Ottawa, where he excelled offensively alongside rookie Artem Zub. The interesting part here is that Boston decided to give up next year's third round pick, considering they still had the one from this year. Reilly has a $1.5 million cap hit, and will become a free agent after the 2020-21 season. 

Reilly, 27, has no goals but 19 assists in 40 games for the Senators this year. In his NHL career for Ottawa, the Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets, Reilly has scored eight goals with 64 assists for 72 points in 244 games. 

As the fire sale continues for another year, Reilly is the next Senator to leave. The value is good, and it is much better than the fifth round pick and Andrew Sturtz that the Senators traded 16 months ago to Montreal to acquire Reilly. Trading Reilly and potentially Erik Gudbranson opens up space for younger players, most notably Erik Brannstrom, to get more playing time. 

NHL Trade Review: Leafs bring in Columbus Captain Foligno


       The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired forward Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a three team deal with the San Jose Sharks. Toronto also brought in forward Stefan Noesen from San Jose, while trading a 2021 1st round pick and a 2022 4th to Columbus, and a 2021 4th round pick to the Sharks. The Blue Jackets retained 50% of Foligno's salary, while the Sharks retained 25%, or 50% after the half from the Blue Jackets. 

This is a confusing trade, but it is very similar to a trade made by Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen yesterday, as he sent David Savard to Tampa Bay through Detroit. While it could be argued that Savard should have netted a first round pick and a third round pick, Foligno should not have fetched up that much. He has great leadership qualities, as he captained the Blue Jackets, and is solid defensively, but still not worth over a first round pick. Foligno only scored more than 20 goals twice in his career, most recently in 2016-17. He is a physical player, but better suited for a third line role. The Maple Leafs will likely move him to the second line, so he could play with John Tavares and William Nylander, a hole that the Leafs have had for a long time. Toronto has little cap space, so by adding the Sharks into this trade, they only take on 25%, or $1.375 million of Foligno's $5.5 million cap hit. They also get Noesen in this trade. He is a former first round pick who has bounced around in the NHL, but has mostly been in the AHL this year. 

Foligno, 33, has scored seven goals with nine assists for 16 points in 42 games with 109 hits for the Blue Jackets this year. In his NHL career for Columbus and the Ottawa Senators Foligno has scored 203 goals with 279 assists for 482 points with 2030 hits in 950 games. 

Noesen, 28, has no points in five NHL games this year, and two goals with four assists for six points in 12 games for the AHL's San Jose Barracuda. In his NHL career for the Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks, Noesen has scored 31 goals with 24 assists for 55 points in 204 games. 

There are no more players left in the deal, but still plenty of value. Most of that goes to the Blue Jackets, who add their third first round pick of this year's draft, including their own and Tampa Bay. Foligno is one of the best players in franchise history, finishing third in games played, goals, assists and points. He fell just one game shy of 600 in a Blue Jackets uniform. Getting a first round pick for Foligno, a pending UFA, is robbery by Kekalainen. They do have to take back some of Foligno's salary, for $2.75 million. 

The Sharks are in the exact same boat as the Red Wings were yesterday. They have to take on a few hundreds of thousand dollars more than Detroit did, but they still receive a 4th round pick for what feels like pennies on the dollar. Noesen has played 4th line minutes for them, but he is not worth a fourth round pick, so they get a good deal. 

NHL Trade Review: Habs acquire Merrill


       The Montreal Canadiens have acquired defenseman Jon Merrill from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2021 5th round draft pick and forward Hayden Verbeek. The pick is from Ottawa, acquired by Montreal in January 2020 for Mike Reilly. 

The Canadiens get a really good defensive defenseman for cheap here. Merrill is arguably better than Patrik Nemeth, who the Red Wings got a 4th round pick for. Merrill had elite expected goal rates since being picked in the expansion draft four years ago, but that has fallen to 48.31% this year. His defensive numbers have been good, it is just his offensive stats that ruin his xGF%. The Canadiens have a bunch of defensemen, but they waived Victor Mete today, and Merrill will step in as a solid third pairing player. The price is not that high, as Verbeek is not a big prospect. Merrill is a pending UFA with a cap hit of just $925k. 

Merrill, 29, has five assists with 58 blocked shots in 38 games for Detroit this year. In his NHL career for the Red Wings, Vegas Golden Knights and New Jersey Devils, Merrill has scored 12 goals with 54 assists for 66 points and 494 blocked shots in 392 games. 

The Red Wings are obvious sellers, so the only surprising thing about this trade is who Merrill would be going to. The return is subpar. The 5th rounder will be an early one, as it is from the Senators. Verbeek is an undrafted forward who has spent time between the AHL and ECHL since 2018-19. At this point he is an NHL long shot. He played in Slovakia this year, with two goals in four games.

Verbeek, 23, has one goal with two assists for three points in seven games for the AHL's Laval Rocket this year. In his AHL career, Verbeek has scored five goals with five assists for 10 points in 61 games. 

NHL Trade Review: Devils take a chance on Siegenthaler


        The New Jersey Devils have acquired defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 2021 3rd round pick. 

New Jersey makes a nice move here as they anticipate losing pending UFAs Ryan Murray, Sami Vatanen and Dmitry Kulikov at the looming trade deadline. Siegenthaler can step in and replace one of them. The Capitals have a lot of defensemen, so Siegenthaler has been a healthy scratch for most of this season. He has put up strong expected goal numbers in the past, with a 51.38 xGF% last year and 57.45% the year before. He is young and showed last year that he could be an above average defensive defenseman. A third rounder is a bit of a high price considering Siegenthaler's lack of experience, both in total and this year. The Devils did have two third rounders, and could add another by trading a pending UFA. Siegenthaler is cheap, with a $800k cap hit before becoming an RFA at the end of the year.

Siegenthaler, 23, has no points and 10 blocked shots in seven games this year. In his NHL career in Washington Siegenthaler has scored twice with 11 assists for 13 points with 159 blocked shots in 97 games. 

The Caps have eight defensemen, and Siegenthaler has easily played the least among them. He has some potential, but the contending Capitals open up a roster spot without having to waive someone. They get a third rounder, which is solid value for a player with less than 100 career games. Plus, they can flip it for a rental soon. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

NHL Trade Review: Lightning get Savard in three team deal


        The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defensemen David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a three team deal with the Detroit Red Wings. The Lightning also acquired defenseman Brian Lashoff from Detroit, while sending a 2021 first round pick and a 2022 3rd round pick to the Blue Jackets, and a 2021 4th round pick to Detroit. The Blue Jackets retained 50% of Savard's salary, while Detroit retained 25% of his original salary. 

The Lightning have a ton of strong left-handed defensemen, but they lacked defenders on the right side. Savard is a great defensive defenseman, and while he does not bring much to the table offensively, he should be a great fit to play on the right of Norris candidate Victor Hedman. The three draft picks, including a first is a steep price, especially for a pending UFA. But, Tampa Bay's cap situation got them into this. Considering this year's buyer market, it is odd that they had to give up a first and a third for Savard, but the Lightning have shown that they are willing to overpay for fits. Last trade deadline they dealt recent first rounder Nolan Foote and two first rounders for Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow and a 3rd round pick in two separate trades. Savard will definitely help them in their own zone during their run to a second Stanley Cup in a row. However, he played second pairing minutes in Columbus, and that could now be jacked up. They will pay just $1.062 million, or 75% of Savard's $4.25 million cap hit towards the veteran, although it will be less in actual money. Lashoff has NHL experience, and played in 75 games in 2013-14, but he is just an AHLer at this point. He will stay put in Grand Rapids, Detroit's AHL team, as Tampa Bay is re-assigning him there.

Savard, 30, has one goal with five assists for six points in 40 games plus 89 blocked shots and 95 hits in 40 games for the Blue Jackets this year. In his NHL career, all in Columbus, Savard has scored 41 goals with 125 assists for 166 points with 958 blocked shots and 1117 hits in 597 games.

Lashoff, 30, has scored one goal with two assists for three points in 13 games for the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins this year. In his NHL career, all in Detroit, Lashoff has scored two goals with 13 assists for 15 points in 136 games. 

The Blue Jackets are big winners here, getting a first and a third for Savard when he is a pending UFA, and the market seems to be low. The first round pick could very well be in the 30-32 range overall, as Tampa Bay looks stacked again. It seemed unlikely that they could get a first, and they ended up getting a third round pick as well. Savard was a 4th round pick back in 2009, and he ended up playing nearly 600 games for the Jackets, good enough for 4th in franchise history, two behind captain Nick Foligno, who could soon leave as well. 

Detroit are the real winners of this trade, just in pure value. They spend $1.062 million against the cap (about $242k in real life) just for this year so they can buy a 4th round pick. That is great value, and while they do give up Lashoff, they don't need him in the NHL, and he can still go to Grand Rapids, so it doesn't affect AHL team chemistry. 

NHL Trade Review: Avalanche acquire Dubnyk


       The Colorado Avalanche have acquired goaltender Devan Dubnyk from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a 2021 5th round draft pick. 

The Avalanche have had a backup goalie issue all season, as Pavel Francouz has been out with an injury. They recently traded a 6th round pick to Buffalo for Jonas Johansson, who has been successful so far, with a .920 save percentage through four games. But, they get a more experience backup for Philipp Grubauer, plus Johansson had a 3.79 GAA for the Sabres this year. Dubnyk is far from perfect, but there were not many great rental goaltending options available, and the price here is low. He has had a rough past two seasons, which are probably a result of being overworked. David Rittich and Ryan Miller would have been better rental options. Colorado brought in Patrik Nemeth last night, so Pateryn moved down the depth chart. After being acquired for Ian Cole earlier this year, he did not play a big role for the Avalanche. Dubnyk is a pending UFA, with a $2.16 million cap hit. San Jose did not retain any money, but Minnesota did when they traded him to the Sharks in the offseason. 

Dubnyk, 34, has an .898 save percentage with a 3.18 GAA and a -4.6 GSAA in 17 games for the Sharks this year. In his career for the Sharks, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes and Nashville Predators, Dubnyk has a .914 save percentage with a 2.60 GAA and a 26.5 GSAA in 537 games. 

The Sharks are sellers for the second year in a row, and they get a draft pick back for Dubnyk, plus some defensive depth. This trade leaves them with an even scarier goaltending tandem than before, with Martin Jones starting and 22 year old Alexei Melnichuk likely backing him up. Pateryn will be a 7th or 8th defenseman for the Sharks, and the pending UFA is mainly acquired so the Avalanche can balance out the salaries. Pateryn has a $1.175 cap hit, so the Sharks save just under $1 million. Pateryn and Dubnyk were teammates in Minnesota in 2018-19 and 2019-20. 

Pateryn, 30, has two assists in 11 games for the Avalanche and Wild in 2020-21. In his NHL career for the Wild, Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens, he has scored four goals with 37 assists for 41 points in 278 games. 

NHL Trade Review: Panthers bring in Montour


       The Florida Panthers have acquired defenseman Brandon Montour from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2021 3rd round pick.

       The Panthers have been in the market for a defenseman since Aaron Ekblad went down with a season ending injury. Montour is also a right-handed defender, but is not close to being on the same level as Ekblad. He was a good puck moving player for the Ducks, but really fell of when acquired by the Sabres a bit over two years ago. He has a -4.9 GAR and a 44.67 xGF% right now, which is not NHL caliber. He can move the puck and contribute offensively, and is an upgrade over Brady Keeper and Matt Kiersted, the latter of which just debuted after four seasons at the University of North Dakota. Montour may not even be better than Gustav Forsling, who has been a solid depth option for Florida this year. He looks to be a pure rental, with an expiring contract on a $3.85 million cap hit. Florida uses the cap space that they cleared when they traded Brett Connolly to Chicago. 

Montour, who will turn 27 tomorrow, has scored five goals with nine assists for 14 points in 38 games for the Sabres in 2020-21. In his NHL career for Buffalo and the Anaheim Ducks, Montour has scored 29 goals with 76 assists for 105 points in 281 games. 

No Sabre has played more minutes than Montour this year, and Buffalo will thank him for that. But it also is not a great look when you are playing the most minutes on the league's worst team. Montour has struggled with the Sabres, so a third round pick is a nice return. It gets better when you consider that Eric Staal barely netted that, and Taylor Hall may not get much more. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

NHL Trade Review: Nemeth returns to Colorado


        The Colorado Avalanche have acquired defenseman Patrik Nemeth from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2022 4th round draft pick. 

The Avalanche have a solid defensive group, but could use depth, especially with Erik Johnson on LTIR. Plus, Jacob MacDonald is currently suspended. Nemeth was going to be out of Detroit's lineup, although that could have been due to an injury or because this trade was expected. A 4th round pick is not a high price for a solid defensive third pairing player. Plus, the Avalanche have familiarity with Nemeth, who played for the team in 2017-18 and 2018-19 before leaving to the Red Wings for the past two seasons.

Nemeth, 29, has scored two goals with six assists for eight points in 39 games for the Red Wings this year. In his NHL career for Detroit, the Avalanche and Dallas Stars, Nemeth has scored seven goals with 49 assists for 56 points in 353 games. 

The Red Wings are full on sellers once again this year, as any pick will help the cause. Nemeth was productive defensively for the last two seasons, and they will thank him for that while moving on with their fresh new draft pick. 

NHL Trade Review: Leafs acquire Nash


       The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired forward Riley Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a conditional 2022 7th round pick. If Nash plays in 25% of Toronto's playoff games, then the pick upgrades to a 6th rounder. 

The Maple Leafs could use some bottom-six help, especially defensively.  Nash brings exactly that. He can play center and right wing, and can be a shutdown defender while killing penalties. He does not bring in any offense, but the Leafs will be fine in that area, especially if they bring in a top-six winger to play with John Tavares and William Nylander. Nash is in the final year of a three year, $8.25 million contract, with a $2.75 million AAV. His responsible defensive play will help Toronto come playoff time. Not only does he kill penalties, he can stay out of the box, with just two minor penalties all season. Unfortunately, Maple Leafs fans may not see Nash in action until playoff time; he will be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.

Nash, 31, has scored two goals with five assists for seven points in 37 games for the Blue Jackets in 2020-21. In his NHL career for the Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes Nash has scored 63 goals with 109 assists for 172 points in 578 games. 

The Blue Jackets are in sell mode, sitting seven points back of a playoff spot, while playing one more game than the 4th place Predators. Now with Boone Jenner, Zach Werenski and Gustav Nyquist out, they have and even better reason to sell. Nash's injury prevented them from getting a good return, as they undoubtedly would have received a better pick for a healthy Riley Nash. They still do get a late round draft pick, and it probably will be a sixth rounder, unless Nash's injury nags on. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

NHL Trade Review: Panthers and Blackhawks Make Six Piece Trade


       The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired forward Brett Connolly, defenseman Riley Stillman, forward Henrik Borgstrom and a 2021 7th round pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Lucas Carlsson. 

The main takeaway for this trade is that the Panthers are clearing up cap space for a bigger move, either this year or in the future. Connolly is in the second year of a four year contract with a $3.5 million cap hit. He earned that deal by being a consistent third line scoring option, with 41 combined goals in the previous two seasons. However, he has not produced for Florida this year. In 21 games, Connolly has just 16 shots, after he had 193 in 69 games in 2019-20. As the Panthers look for a better scoring option and an Aaron Ekblad replacement, this trade helps them, as they did not retain any money. The two sweetener players who they give up are interesting, and both have NHL experience. In return, they get some depth both on offense and on the blue line. Wallmark should be a familiar name for Panthers fans, as he played in seven games (plus two in the playoffs) down the stretch last year after being acquired for Vincent Trocheck. He gives them an extra center, and had double digit goals in the previous two years. Carlsson is a young Swede who was drafted in the 4th round in 2016 by Chicago. He has split time between the AHL and NHL this year. 

Wallmark, 25, has scored no goals with three assists in 16 games for the Blackhawks this year. In his NHL career with the Blackhawks, Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes Wallmark has scored 23 goals with 36 assists for 59 points in 183 games. 

Carlsson, 23, has one assist in 12 games for Chicago this year, and a goal and two assists for three points in seven games for the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. In his short NHL career Carlsson has no goals and two assists in 18 games. 

There were rumors that the rebuilding Blackhawks would be renting out their cap space in exchange for assets, and that is exactly what they did here. Those assets are two players and a 7th round pick. The pick is not a big deal to them, and the other two are not big time prospects. Well, not anymore. Borgstrom was a first round pick in 2016, picked 23rd overall. But he has slumped in limited NHL time and is currently playing in his hometown in Finland. He spent most of last year in the AHL, scoring 23 points in 49 games. He is still an RFA, so Chicago gets his rights. Stillman, like Carlsson, was a 4th round pick in 2016. He is physical, with 78 hits in 43 NHL games, including some this year. He could replace Carlsson in Chicago's defensive cycle. Connolly still is just one year removed from a 19 goal season, so there is still hope. But, Chicago does not get enough back for taking on his full salary. 

Connolly, 28, has scored two goals with two assists for four points in 21 games for the Panthers in 2020-21. In his NHL career for Florida, the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, Connolly has scored 100 goals with 92 assists for 192 points in 517 games. 

Borgstrom, 23, has scored 11 goals with eight assists for 19 points in 27 games for HIFK Helsinki in Finland this season. In his NHL career Borgstrom has scored nine goals with 10 assists for 19 points in 58 games. 

Stillman, 23, has no points in eight NHL games and three assists in five games for the AHL's Syracuse Crunch this year. In his NHL career Stillman has no goals and five assists in 43 games. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

NHL Trade Review: Isles bring in Palmieri, Zajac


        The New York Islanders have acquired forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2021 1st round pick, a 2022 conditional 4th round pick, and forwards AJ Greer and Mason Jobst. The 4th round pick becomes a 2022 3rd rounder if the Islanders advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. New Jersey also retained 50% of both Palmieri and Zajac's salary. 

The Islanders had some forward holes before and after captain Anders Lee's season ending injury, but they are all gone now. Palmieri is the big prize here, although he is having a down season. His 9.5 shooting percentage is his lowest since 2013-14. Palmieri scored a minimum of 24 goals and a max of 30 from 2015-16 to 2019-20, and was an elite power play presence for the Devils. He had exactly 11 power play goals in each of the past three seasons, but has netted just one so far this year. He is a right-handed shot, but could still fill in for Lee on the top left wing role. Palmieri could also move down to the second line if the Isles want to keep him on the right wing. He was born in Smithtown, which is on Long Island. Zajac is a veteran who mainly plays center, but could move to the wing, as the Islanders have an open spot on the third line at left wing. He provides center depth in case a center goes down, like Casey Cizikas did on the postseason last year. Zajac actually has more points than Palmieri this year, but that is because of an absurd 20.6 shooting percentage. His 34 shots in 33 games will not be good enough. Zajac also has a 53.7 faceoff percentage in his career. Of course, both players were Devils when Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello was in New Jersey, but only Zajac actually played a game under Lou (he played quite a few games, actually). They will reunite with Andy Greene and Cory Schneider, former longtime Devils who have recently joined New York. A first round pick is steep in a buyers' market, but that is a little bit more than what Palmieri would have cost, and then you throw in Zajac. The 4th is an extra pick, while Jobst and Greer are to offset the contracts. Both players will be free agents at the end of the season, and after salary retention, New York has about $3.1 million left in cap space. 

Palmieri, 30, has scored eight goals with nine assists for 17 points in 34 games in 2020-21. In his NHL career for the Devils and Anaheim Ducks Palmieri has scored 183 goals with 172 assists for 355 points in 595 games. 

Zajac, 35, has scored seven goals with 11 assists for 18 points in 33 games for New Jersey this year. In his NHL career, all with the Devils Zajac has scored 202 goals with 348 assists for 550 points in 1024 games. 

This may hurt for Devils fans. Palmieri was one of the team's best players, and by far their best winger. And Zajac was the team's longest tenured player after they traded Greene at last year's deadline, and he played over 1000 games and 15 seasons for the club. But, both were pending UFAs, and they eat some money to potentially get a better return, which could explain the conditional 4th rounder. The first is obviously the key here, as it helps them continue with their long going rebuild, although at this point the pick looks to be late in the first round. The Devils do not get much more than AHL depth with Jobst and Greer, who both are not really prospects. The most notable thing about them is their difference in size; Jobst stands five feet and eight inches tall, seven inches smaller than the six-foot-three Greer. Jobst captained Ohio State University, and had 36 points in 36 games in his final season, before signing with the Islanders. The AHL has not been kind to him, and he is not young. Greer was a 2015 2nd rounder by Colorado, and was acquired in the offseason for Kyle Burroughs, who just debuted for the Avalanche recently. He has played some NHL games over three years for the Avs, but not with great results.

Greer, 24, has scored one goal with one assist for two points in 10 games for the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2020-21. In his NHL career in Colorado, he has scored a goal with five assists for six points in 37 games. 

Jobst, 27, has no goals and two assists in six games for the Sound Tigers this year. In his two year pro career, Jobst has scored five goals with 10 assists for 15 points in 50 games. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

MLB Trade Review: Yankees acquire Odor


       The New York Yankees have acquired IF Rougned Odor and cash considerations from the Texas Rangers in exchange for OF Antonio Cabello and OF Josh Stowers. 

Right off the bat, this is a really confusing trade for New York. Odor has hit 30 home runs in three seasons, including 2019, but in 2019 he also struck out a league leading 178 times with a .721 OPS. He also has a deplorable .289 OBP, something that the Yankees will want to fix. He has been an above average defender at second base in the past, but second is also the only position he has ever played in a big league game, despite playing some third base this Spring. The Yankees could test his versatility by trying out Odor at shortstop or first base. If he can play the former, it could push Tyler Wade out of the 26 man roster. While the Rangers will eat up most of the $27 million owed to Odor over the next two seasons, his recent play has not been worth giving up two prospects. He had a .192 xBA, a 31.8 K% and a 4.7 walk rate on one of baseball's worst teams last year, and couldn't make the team this year. 

Odor, 27, hit 10 home runs with a .167 average and a .623 OPS in 148 Plate Appearances for Texas in 2020. In his MLB career, all with the Rangers, Odor has hit 146 home runs with 62 stolen bases, a .237 average and a .728 OPS in 3434 Plate Appearances. 

The Rangers do a pretty good job here. They knew that trading Odor would require eating up just about all the money, but they save a little bit of it by trading him and not just paying all $27 million, but most of it. They also get two prospects back. Cabello was a big international signing for the Yankees in 2017, but he struggled in 2019 in the Appalachian League, and has not even reached Low-A. Stowers was acquired in the second Sonny Gray trade, although technically not, as the Yankees immediately flipped Shed Long, acquired for Gray, to Seattle for Stowers. A 2018 2nd round pick after he had a .974 OPS at the University of Louisville. He had a nice season at Single-A in 2019, and could move up to AA this year. 

Cabello, 20, hit three home runs with five stolen bases, a .211 average and a .610 OPS in 251 Plate Appearances for the Pulaski Yankees in 2019. In his short minor league career Cabello has hit eight home runs with 15 stolen bases, a .251 average and a .753 OPS in 443 Plate Appearances. 

Stowers, 24, hit seven home runs with 35 stolen bases, a .273 average and a .786 OPS in 460 Plate Appearances for the Charleston RiverDogs (Single-A) in 2019. In his minor league career Stowers has hit 12 home runs with 55 stolen bases, a .268 average and a .788 OPS in 704 Plate Appearances. 

MLB Trade Review: Braves acquire Arcia


       The Atlanta Braves have acquired shortstop Orlando Arcia from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for RHPs Chad Sobotka and Patrick Weigel. 

There is probably going to be a person out there that sees Arcia's 1-for-11 start to 2021 and draws a conclusion that the Brewers had given up on the player afterwards. Well, the real reason stems from the end of Spring Training. As seen on Opening Day, former Padres top prospect Luis Urias had won the starting shortstop job, moving the former starter, Arcia, to the bench. Arcia had a 96 OPS+ in 2020, and that was a career high. He has some power and speed, but overall he is not a starting-caliber player. Oddly enough, he is the youngest player in this trade. The Brewers sell him for Weigel and Sobotka, two tall right-handers. Both have MLB experience, but Sobotka is the interesting one. He has struggled in minor MLB stints, aside from a productive 14 game run in 2018. But, Sobotka has maintained his strikeout ability in the majors and minors, and in 2019 his fastball averaged 96.1 mph with a 2499 rpm spin rate. His slider also had an elite 2959 spin rate. Weigel has just one game of MLB experience, and he had good numbers at AAA in 2019. The Brewers have had interest in him since 2014, when they drafted Weigel in the 22nd round, although he did not sign. Both pitchers will go to Milwaukee's alternate training site, but could be a future bullpen option.

Sobotka, 27, allowed five runs in 3.2 innings in 2020. In 2019, he struck out 38 with a 6.21 ERA in 29 innings. In his MLB career, all in Atlanta, Sobotka has an ERA of 5.36 with 61 strikeouts, a 1.468 WHIP and a 4.92 FIP in 47 innings. 

Weigel, 26, allowed two runs in 0.2 innings last year. In 2019 for AAA Gwinnett and AA Mississippi, he had a 2.73 ERA with 71 strikeouts and a 1.152 WHIP in 79 innings pitched. In his minor league career Weigel has a 3.15 ERA with 346 strikeouts and a 1.186 WHIP in 362.2 innings. 

With Arcia in Atlanta, you have to wonder what this means for the futures of Johan Camargo and/or Pablo Sandoval. One will surely be gone if Arcia is now on the roster. Camargo can play multiple infield and outfield positions, and he is a switch hitter. But, he had a .611 OPS in 35 games last year. Also a switch hitter, Sandoval is 1-for-2 with a home run this year, but he does not give the Braves any defensive flexibility besides at third base. Expect one of them to be gone with Arcia stepping in as a backup to Dansby Swanson. His .279 xBA and 16.9 K% in 2020 were career highs. He is also an above average defender. 

Arcia, 26, hit five home runs with two stolen bases, a .260 average and a .734 OPS in 189 Plate Appearances for Milwaukee last year. In his MLB career, all for the Brewers, Arcia has hit 42 home runs with 39 stolen bases, a .244 average and a .658 OPS in 1876 Plate Appearances. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

NHL Trade Review: Blackhawks bring back Hinostroza


       The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired forward Vinnie Hinostroza from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Brad Morrison. 

A Chicago native, Hinostroza was drafted by the Blackhawks in the 6th round back in 2012. His first three NHL seasons came with them, until he was traded to unload Marian Hossa's salary. Hinostroza scored 21 goals combined in the next two seasons, but he has mostly been a healthy scratch this year while being reunited with Head Coach Joel Quenneville. By re-acquiring him, GM Stan Bowman continues his long tradition of bringing back players. While Hinostroza has not done anything this year, he has been productive in the past, and his cap hit is just $1 million, before becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The cost is also very low, as Morrison, acquired in the offseason from Los Angeles for Olli Maatta, has split time between the AHL and ECHL. Bringing in Hinostroza could also make the Hawks more inclined to deal pending UFAs Mattias Janmark and Carl Soderberg.

Hinostroza, who will turn 27 tomorrow, has no points in nine games this year for the Panthers. In his NHL career for the Panthers, Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes, Hinostroza has scored 34 goals with 66 assists for 100 points in 255 games. 

His lack of playing time this year shows that Hinostroza was not valued highly by the Panthers. Florida will be a buyer at the trade deadline, which is in 10 days. And with star defenseman Aaron Ekblad out for the year, they need cap space to acquire a defender, potentially Columbus' David Savard. This trade clears up a little bit of space, but still some space. A 2015 4th round pick by the Rangers, Morrison had a decent WHL career, but he has not been exceptional since turning pro, and he is not a young prospect. 

Morrison, 24, scored three goals with two assists for five points in six games for the AHL's Rockford IceHogs this year. For the ECHL's Indy Fuel, he has a goal and an assist in three games. In his AHL career for Rockford and the Ontario Reign, Morrison has scored 13 goals with 12 assists for 25 points in 56 games.