With the trade deadline come and gone, it’s time to take a look at the landscape now that the dust has settled.
- The obvious local news is Ryan Hartman being dealt to Nashville for a first rounder. Included with Hartman was a fifth round pick, and the Hawks also received back a fourth from the Preds along with massive Swedish forward Victor Ejdsell, who has yet to make his North American debut. While teams are generally loath to deal within their division, the Hawks were able to get a premium for Hartman, who has had fits and starts in in sophomore campaign after a 19 goal season last year. He’d bounced all over the lineup, and while his face-first style should seemingly fit anywhere, he’d underperformed to this point in the season. His shooting percentage dropped from last year’s 11.2 to 8.3, and he was putting fewer pucks on net per game as well, dropping from 2.2 last year to 1.68, despite the team as a whole tilting the ice in shot attempts and shots on net far better than they did last year. Five of Hartman’s 25 points came in game 1 against the Penguins, and that likely led the braintrust to believe he would not warrant the raise seemingly all RFA’s of any pedigree would command. Being a former first round pick himself, the fact that he was able to turn into a bonus mid round pick and a projectable body is an ultimate win from a trade perspective, but there is a skill set in Hartman that still could be untapped at age 23 with decent wheels and sneaky hands. Not to mention that his style will fit well with the Pred’s bottom six within the division should they choose to re-sign him. Naturally, if he bounces back both in the playoffs this year, and builds on his rookie season, the giardiniera soaked hordes will bemoan this deal for eternity, but given the Hawks’ situation right now, it’s about as good as could be done, particularly in acquiring assets that can be flipped to help the team more immediately rather than wait for Hartman to get his shit together. Not helping things as well was word that he had fallen out of favor with Quenneville, with rumors that we can’t substantiate that he ran his mouth about locker room dynamics, and this trade probably gives a bit of credence to those.
- Fellow LOCAL GUY Tommy Wingels was flipped for a conditional 2019 fifth rounder to the Bruins, which becomes a fourth if the B’s win a round or Wingels re-ups with Boston. Wingels is a solid role player for a team with aspirations, and always moves his feet. Obviously he was being showcased to a comical degree with his recent stint on the Hawks’ top line, but the return is right about in line with where it should be for a player of his caliber.
- Elsewhere in the central, the Jets picked up Paul Stastny for a first rounder this year, and while age and contract status play a certain role in the ancillary pieces that moved with Hartman, it’s a bit silly that they both essentially went for first rounders. Stastny gives the Jets some impressive center depth to an already versatile forward group, slotting behind Mark Schiefele, with both he and Bryan Little operating as interchangable 2/3 scoring centers with Adam Lowry allowing likely moron Paul Maurice to toss out a 3+1 arrangement with his forward groups upon Lowry’s return.
- We are loath to admit it when Steve Yzerman actually does something excellent that isn’t due to having the benefit of having no income tax in Florida as a negotiating tool, but his trade for Ryan McDonagh would be a master stroke even if didn’t include J.T. Miller, or cost more off the roster than Vlad Namestnikov. As could be observed three summers ago, the Ning were exposed by not having much of anything except a steaming pile of fetid crap behind Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, and now with the growth of Mikhail Sergachev and the addition of McDonagh, Tampa suddenly has one of the deeper blue lines in the league, and in front of a likely Vezina finalist. Oh, and they still have the league’s leading scorer and another in the top 10 on their top line. Look out.
- Tomas Plekanec and his turtleneck move from Montreal to Toronto, but he’s not a defenseman so it won’t matter.
- Jim Benning traded Tomas Vanek for veteran bodies, and the entertainment factor in Vancouver remains sky high.