Some trades within the NHL trade deadline paid off handsomely on 25 February 2019, while others didn’t. We are here to identify the worst and best so far and what will be next for the teams and players in the NHL.
Carl Hagelin – Washington Capitals
For years, fans of the Washington Capitals loathed Carl Hagelin while he was playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers as a tenacious and speedy forward. Now? They are in love with the guy after he was acquired by the Washington Capitals from Los Angeles on 21 February 2019 for a 3rd-rounder during this season and a 6th-rounder in 2020.
Hagelin has as many points in 11 matches with the Capitals as he had in 22 matches with the Kings where he scored two goals and assisted with three more. His shot attempts of 57.76% at 5-on5 merely is incredible, and he has been a valuable addition to the third line with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller.
Ryan Donato – Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild team continue to fight for a playoff spot this season and the guy that can take them there is assisting them at the moment to make this a reality. Ryan Donato has accumulated 13 points in a total of 13 matches since he joined the Minnesota Wild team in a trade that saw Charlie Coyle go to Boston. Since he arrived, Donato has been the scoring leader for the team, and while he only has four goals so far.
Donato is currently second in the team with shots behind Jason Zucker who is the most natural goal-scorer for the team. Donato is now playing more than 16 minutes per match, giving him the opportunity to be a key player during huge situations. There’s still a long way to go before this trade will play out, but at the moment he makes a positive impact which Minnesota Wild certainly needs.
Mark Stone – Vegas Golden Knights
If you are looking for the most positive impact in a team, you don’t have to look further than Mark Stone. Just because he is considered a natural choice doesn’t make it less accurate. The Vegas Golden Knights have managed to accumulate a league-best of 18 points from the potential 20 since the trade took place, outscoring their opponents by a staggering 41-22 margin since it occurred.
Even though the four assists and four goals Mark Stone has produced in these matches aren’t as jaw-dropping as other players in the NHL. He has completely changed the game in various ways for the Vegas Golden Knights since he arrived.
During the 135 minutes Stone has played, the Vegas Golden Knights are controlling an astonishing 65.9% of unblocked shot attempts, 71.9% of high-danger looks, and 64.8% of shots on goal. The combination of Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty, and Mark Stone takes the pressure off the top line and gives the opposing defence a difficult time.
Like most of us, Bruce Boudreau, the coach for Minnesota Wild, was in complete awe when he witnessed Tampa Bay Lightning. A squad that already managed to clinch a playoff spot while they continue to threaten the record in the NHL for most points scored by a team during a regular season of 82 games. They currently boast with 108 points in only 69 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning is undoubtedly a juggernaut with most online sports betting sites. Setting their odds at 5-2 to win the Stanley Cup this year, while other teams only received odds of 9-1. Most agree that their quest for the Stanley Cup is an inevitability. This shows you how dominant that indeed is at the moment.
On occasion, however, the supernatural Tampa Bay Lightning team can look mortal. Minnesota Wild managed to shut them out with a glorious 3-0 victory. It is becoming the second team this year to win against Tampa Bay Lightning. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Tampa Bay Lightning squad can be destroyed going forward.
Offence Gets Quieter the Deeper a Series Goes
Jon Cooper acknowledged earlier this season that one of his goals is to get his team to win championships with a better defence. He wants his team to win matches 1-2, instead of 5-4. Perhaps he is just a realist, cause Tampa Bay is not a 5-4 team. In both postseason appearances, Tampa Bay has managed to roll through the first two rounds. However, in both years they managed to fall in the conference finals. Therefore, once the postseason is on the line, Tampa Bay struggles to deliver their best.
Slow Down The Pace
We witnessed how the Capitals produced a master class on how to slow down a game when they played against the Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Penguins en route to the Stanley Cup. They stopped some of the quickest attacks in the league by grinding down the game to a complete halt within the neutral zone thanks to their vaunted 1-1-3 trap. If this can be achieved against Tampa Bay, they might be stopped in their tracks to score as much as they are doing now.
Limit Power Plays
Tampa Bay Lightning has the most incredible power play conversion rate in more than three decades. Regardless of how their opponents attempt to stop them, they will eventually find a perfect path to score. All their opponents can do is find a way to make it difficult for them. This can be achieved by limiting their opportunities and space, but its easier said than done. Tampa Bay’s top scorers are so frightening with the puck that they force their defenders into compromised positions, limiting them to pick between conceding a goal or a penalty. The power play from Tampa Bay Lightning is such a problem that the only solution for defending it is not to provide the opportunity for it in the first place.
Kieran Hanrahan wore a New York Islanders jersey to a home game where the New York Islanders were playing. It still gave him the impression that he was sitting in enemy territory.
“I was quite concerned coming in,” Kieran Hanrahan stated as he stood in the Nassau Coliseum concourse.
Homecoming for John Tavares
This is because Kieran Hanrahan was probably the only Islanders fan in the crowd who had the guts to wear a jersey with John Tavares written on the back. Any defacement or desecration to the game on Thursday night, which was Tavares’s first match on Long Island as a Toronto Maple Leafs member. There was no overwriting on the nameplate with creative editings, such as traitor, which thousands of hostile fans of the New York Islanders have done that evening. Kieran Hanrahan was wearing the number 91 jersey with the C on it as captain with absolute pride.
“We are mostly here to support him. There’s no doubt that he is a die-hard fan. Kieran Hanrahan stated as he motioned to his son who was also wearing a Tavares jersey during the game.
Tavares decided to leave the Islanders last summer to join the Maple Leafs, a native from Ontario who was heading back home on a 7-year contract. “It was difficult to watch him go,” Kieran Hanrahan stated. “However, my sons participate in travel hockey. Therefore, I believe if my son were from Long Island, he would want to play for the New York Islanders and that’s something that you cannot argue with.”
Well, that’s up for debate as most fans of the Islanders savaged Tavares during, before, and after the match. The fans who managed to take it personally when John Tavares confessed his dedicated to the New York Islanders and his desire to re-sign with the team. Only to change his mind for an opportunity to play with his childhood dream team, felt the indignity when he dismissed the franchise the first time around.
Bitter Long Islands Fans
Before the start of the match, the parking lot was filled with fans that managed to express their displeasure with John Tavares. The nameplates on jerseys were made up of electrical tape that showcased “Judas” and “Liar”. There was also towels and signs that called him a traitor along with rubber snakes as a symbol of his recent treachery. Even the Tavares jersey was laid out on the road for people to drive over it with their cars. If someone missed it with their vehicle, fans would ask them to stop to have another go. There were also fans that burned their Tavares jerseys into ash.
Inside the Coliseum, John Tavares was taunted more than any other player in the history of the NFL. This all started long before the warm-up took place where fans were yelling “we don’t need you, Tavares”. Fans are not happy with Tavares at the moment, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon either.
Matt Duchene truly appreciated the fact that he had an extremely short walk when he joined his brand-new team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Matt Duchene’s First Match for the Blue Jackets
Sergei Bobrovsky managed to make a total of 22 saves, and Matt Duchene’s initial match with the Blue Jackets was an incredible 3-0 victory against Ottawa Senators, who was his former team.
Matt Duchene, who was transferred by the Ottawa Senators to the Columbus Blue Jackets hours before the start of the match, was held pointless. Oliver Bjorkstrand, Cam Atkinson, and Josh Anderson managed to score for the Blue Jackets, allowing them to move into third position within the Metropolitan Division.
“I truly enjoyed myself in the rink,” Duchene stated. “It was somewhat of a brilliant way to conclude my time with the Ottawa Senators, and I felt far more comfortable as I was in the building instead of playing somewhere else.”
“It was an extremely important match for us as a team and Craig Anderson played incredibly well who they kept in for a very long time.”
Matt Duchene managed to receive an ovation from fans in the crowd when he was initially introduced in the Blue Jackets starting line-up. Duchene was then booed once he touched the puck in the second shift of the match, and was applauded once a short tribute video was broadcasted in the arena.
Duchene stated that he was extremely happy to form part of a team that has a realistic shot at reaching the playoffs as opposed to being part of a team that need to rebuild the franchise.
“This is exactly what I’ve been looking for and it gets me up in the morning,” Duchene stated. “I’ve been quite fortunate to be part of a wide variety of great international teams and winning some incredible tournaments. However, I’ve never been given the opportunity to participate in the playoffs on a consistent basis.”
Ottawa Senators vs Blue Jackets
Craig Anderson managed to make a total of 37 saves while playing for the Ottawa Senators, who were defeated for three consecutive games in the league.
The Ottawa Senators have gone over 125 minutes since their last goal. They managed to lose against Chicago 8-7 earlier in the week, which was the last match where they had Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, and Mark Stone in their line-up. These there players managed to score 77 goals for Ottawa out of the 186 goals that were scored in the season. Stone and Dzingel were once again scratched on Friday.
Guy Boucher, the Ottawa Senators coach, completely understands the challenges that are facing the team.
“This just proves how difficult it is to produce within the league. Your elite players produce which allows other players to produce as well. If you remove the elite players, the remaining players need to step up and take charge.” Boucher stated.
“These guys eventually transform into elite players, but at the moment it’s quite difficult.”