What happen to the Mississauga Steelheads

April 26th, 2017, the Mississauga Steelheads defeat the Peterborouugh Pets 7-0 to win the Bobby Orr trophy as Eastern Conference champions in the Ontario Hockey League. Not bad for a team that was last in the East at one point.


Many people who follow the OHL closely thought last years success would carry over into the next season, and with good reason. The Steelheads would see elite forwards Michael McLeod, Owen Tippet and Ryan McLeod all come back a year older and more experienced. Not to mention the recent second round pick of the Vegas Golden Knights, Nicolas Hague, who has arguably had the best season of any Steelheads defencman. Mississauga would also get draft year goalie Jacob Ingham back, and after being the first goalie selected in the 2016 OHL draft and having a .907 save percentage in 31 games the season before, expectations were high for Ingham.

All signs were pointing up for the Steelheads in the 2017-18 season. But through 65 games, the Steelheads are just 31-31-1-2 through, good for just 7th of 10 teams in the Eastern Conference.

So what happened to make a team with such high expectations struggle to make the playoffs?


At one point during the 2016-17 season the Steelheads were dead last in their conference. By the end of the season they were second in the conference and on their way to the OHL finals.

This is why when Mississauga got off to a rough start to their year many people weren’t worried. However unlike last season, this seasons Steelheads team hasn’t been able to string wins together.

To their credit, they have been picking up some wins as of late, but if they want to have the same success in the playoffs that they did last year, they’ll need to find a way to win on a more regular basis.


There no question who the best defensemen on the Steelheads is. After being drafted 34th overall in last years entry draft, Nic Hague has been having an incredible season. Through 64 games played, Hague has 33 goals and 74 points, good for second in points from defensemen.

However after Hague the Steelheads are lacking. Their number 2 defensemen, and Los Angeles Kings 5th round draft pick, Jacob Moverare has been out with an injury he suffered playing for team Sweden in the World Juniors Championships, and according to reports, it’s very likely he won’t return this season.

There are some up and coming defensemen in recent first round pick, Thomas Harley and 18 year old Issac Walker, however these guys might still be a couple years away from being elite OHL defensemen.

While Hague has been arguably the best OHL defensemen offensively this season, many fans question the defensive side of the game. And when your only top pairing defensemen struggles defensively, it can be hard to keep the puck out of the back of your net.


Jacob Ingham was selected in the 2nd round, 26th overall in the 2016 OHL draft. As the first goalie selected in his draft, expectations were high for Ingham. Despite this he still managed to exceed them in his rookie season last year, with a 17-6-6 record, 2.69 GAA and .907 SVP.

Everything looked up for Ingham going into draft year. He had the starting position with relatively no competition. He had the potential to be the highest drafted goalie in the 2019 NHL draft, and his team was poised to be dominate in the OHL.

However things haven’t gone as expected for Ingham. Through 42 games this season, Ingham has a 15-22-2 record, 3.72 GAA and .880 SVP. On top of this Ingham has lost his starting position during parts of the season to a goalie who had a combined 21 OHL games going into this season.

Before the season began, Steelheads head coach/GM James Richmond acquired goaltender Emanuel Vella, likely to be a backup to Ingham. Despite that, Vella has outperformed Ingham at times, and has often taken the starting job. Vella was even awarded CHL goaltender of the week just a couple weeks ago. However in the games following that Vella would struggle, getting pulled in his first start following the award. This would lead to Ingham getting the net once again.

While the goaltending for the Steelheads this season hasn’t been what was expected, Mississauga have the right goalies to make a deep run in the playoffs. Ingham showed last year that he is capable of being an elite goalie in the OHL. And although Vella has been streaky this season, he’s shown he can be the best goalie in the OHL when he’s on top of his game.

Stupid Penalties 

Nicolas Hague has been the Steelheads MVP this season. With 33 goals as a defensmen, that’s obvious. But on top of leading OHL defemsmen in points, Hague is also 4th in the OHL in penalty in minutes with 101.

It often feels like Hague can’t leave his own zone without taking some sort of dumb penalty. And if he disagrees with a penalty made against him, he’ll make sure to let the referee know.

It’s not only Hague that has had this problem, the Steelheads team as a whole has struggled with discipline this season. If they want to make another deep run in the playoffs, they’ll need to be more disciplined.


This season hasn’t gone as planned for the Mississauga Steelheads. Despite high expectations, the Steelheads sit just 7th with just 3 games remaining. Lack of consistency, struggle on defense, shaky goaltending and stupid penalties have all derailed what would have been a great season.

Despite all the struggles, the Steelheads still have star players like Michael McLeod, Owen Tippet, Ryan McLeod and Nicolas Hague. Once the playoffs start, anything could happen. The Steelheads have the star power to make another deep run in the playoffs, no matter what happened during the regular season.

The Trade Deadline: It’s Time.

Man does the Trade Deadline pass quick, here’s my take on all those last minute/day/3 days trades.


The Most Complicated trade in NHL history?

What a way to start this post. The most complicated trade I’ve ever seen, it’s been rejected once and allegedly twice or more. The Penguins have finally got their final piece to be a three-peat, and probably a 4-peat. So from my understanding (pulls up chalkboard): The Penguins acquire Derick Brassard, Vincent Dunn and a 2018 3th rounder from Ottawa, plus Tobias Lindberg from Vegas. Vegas gets Ryan Reaves, Vancouver’s 2018 4th round pick from Pittsburgh and take 2 million in cap hit of Brassard’s contract. Ottawa gets Pittsburgh’s first round pick this year, plus their 3rd rounder in 2019, Ian Cole and Filip Gustavsson.

(Deep breath), you’ve got to be kidding me! Derick Brassard of course is a pretty good centre, now imagine that guy being the 3rd line centre on your team… a 50-55 point guy. Vincent Dunn, not to be confused with Vince Dunn, the defenseman for the St. Louis Blues, is a low scoring, ECHL/AHL centre. The 22 year old is usually only up in the AHL for brief stints, but not this year, he’s played over 17 games with the Belleville Senators, not really doing much though. He’s young, so one day he may help one of the Penguins’ farm teams. Tobias Lindberg is admittedly my favourite Marlie ever, but that has nothing to do with this. Lindberg has played 6 NHL games in his career, scoring two points. Lindberg seems like every GMs favourite guy to acquire. He’s a decent, young AHLer who can probably make a flash in the NHL in callups, but won’t make the team full time yet. He’ll make a good addition to the Penguins AHL team. Ryan Reaves was originally acquired to add toughness to the Penguins, they gave up this and their top prospect , and only got Reaves and a pick they used on Zachary Lauzon.  That’s not the point though. Apparently Vegas legitimately WANTED Reaves, which is a bit mindboggling. Reaves is a low-scoring, tough guy and fan favourite, but the Knights have that already, I recently compared Reaves to “that guy”. I don’t believe Reaves helps the Golden Knights too much, but I might be wrong?


Now for the hard part:

Pittsburgh gave up:

  • a 2018 1st rounder
  • a 2018 4th rounder, originally Vancouver’s
  • a 2019 3rd rounder
  • Ian Cole
  • Ryan Reaves
  • Filip Gustavsson

And managed to get.

  • Derek Brassard
  • Vincent Dunn
  • Ottawa’s 3rd rounder in 2018
  • Tobias Lindberg

The Pens were trying their best to trade Ian Cole, they didn’t need him, neither did they really need Reaves on their team. The Pens are apparently full of goalies too, so they didn’t need Gustavsson. We can assume the third rounders they gave and took are null for now, as we don’t know who’s drafted with either. The Penguins probably need a pick later rather than sooner, so giving the 2019 pick wasn’t great as the Pens need someone to help the team after Crosby/Malkin slow down, but Ottawa stinks this year, and the Penguins won’t next year, so they probably pick much higher in the third then they would with the 2019 pick. Dunn won’t make an impact on the Penguins. Lindberg might make a good call up.To rephrase this trade in the worst way possible, like I will for each team:

  • A low 1st rounder this year, who still could’ve made an impact on the Pens
  • Two midrange picks this year and next year
  • An NHL 3rd pairing defenseman
  • A fan favourite/fan hated
  • A top goalie prospect


  • A number 2 centre who the Pens will use as a number 3 this year and next year (but only 60% of his contract
  • An ECHL/AHLer
  • A high midrange pick this year
  • An AHLer/NHL callup



Vegas gave

  • Tobias Lindberg
  • 2 million in cap space


  • Ryan Reaves
  • Vancouver’s 4th round pick this year via Pittsburgh.


This is a bit of a head scratcher on Vegas’ part. Lindberg wasn’t going to make a huge impact on the Vegas roster, maybe in callups, but that’s as far as it would’ve gone. That 40% of Brassard’s contract, aka 2 million for 2 years is. This is a team actually contending, you aren’t the Montreal Canadiens, that can do this, but for some younger assets. In exchange? Ryan Reaves… someone who Vegas probably didn’t need. He’ll slot nicely on the Golden Knights 4th line, but that requires a trade of one of Vegas’ RWs. That 4rd rounder just adds on to the Vegas stockpile of picks, it’s high, seeing as it’s Vancouver’s, but it’s still a 4th. Basically:

Vegas gave:

  • An AHLer/NHL Call up
  • 2 million in cap space


  • A possible roster player
  • a midrange pick this year

You know, it isn’t as bad as people say it is. The fate of this relies on that pick, how Ryan Reaves performs, and how the Knights handle July 1st (Free Agency).


Ottawa gave:

  • Derick Brassard
  • Vincent Dunn
  • a 3rd rounder this year


  • a 1st this year
  • a 3rd next year (both from Pittsburgh)
  • Ian Cole
  • Filip Gustavsson


Wow, talk about starting a rebuild! (Let’s ignore any other trade Dorion has made). The Sens gave up a top 2 line centre, a non factor of an ECHL forward, and a 3rd rounder this year for all that. The Sens now have an extra 1st rounder this year, which helps with the rebuild, swapped their midrange pick this year for one next year, a nice trade asset in Cole, and a possible future starter/backup. The Sens got everything they wanted in this trade (for once)… and they weren’t even the ones who had to pay some of Brassard’s salary (Eugene “Krabs” Melnyk takes a sigh of relief). It’s not everyday that the Sens win something! Still:

Ottawa gave:

  • The final piece of a three-peat for Pittsburgh
  • A young player (in the ECHL)
  • A 3rd this year


  • A late 1st
  • A late 3rd
  • An aging defenseman
  • A goalie who may or may not make an impact in the NHL


I believe Ottawa wins this trade in terms of what they got, which will help their rebuild. Pittsburgh will probably now win two more Cups. I think that makes Vegas the loser, the only thing they’ve lost since they’ve been created?


A minor boost for a playoff spot?

The Edmonton Oilers trade Brandon Davidson to the New York Islanders for a 3rd rounder. Davidson is a young, decent NHL left handed defenseman. A third round pick is a lot for a decent player in a position that’s usually more stacked on teams than it’s opposite side (LD is usually more stacked than RD?). There’s also the fact that Davidson has been frequently scratched on the Edmonton Oilers and the Canadiens this season, two bottom teams. The Islanders aren’t the only team that takes an L here. I mentioned both Montreal and Edmonton as teams he’s played for this season. Around last year’s trade deadline, Davidson was traded to Montreal for pending UFA David Desharnais. He scored 4 points in 18 regular season games, and the same in 13 playoffs games before signing with NYR. Davidson played 23 games in total this year and last year with Montreal, frequently healthy scratched, before being waived this year. Guess who claimed him, Edmonton. That fact that Montreal lost Davidson, and he fetched a 3rd rounder make this a huge loss for both New York, and even Montreal, who weren’t even involved in the actual trade.


Highway robbery.

The Rangers have traded Rick Nash to Boston for Ryan Spooner, Ryan Lindgren, Matt Beleskey, Boston’s first and it’s 7th round pick this year. Rangers retain 3.9 million dollars of Nash’s salary, Boston retains 1.9 million of Beleskey’s salary. Nash has been on the trade block for a while, the aging winger has declined in production over the years, having gone from almost 70 points to not even 40 points like that. The Canadian winger’s contract expires on July 1st, making him a rental for the Bruins. One of the top players dealt for Nash is Spooner, here is where this trade starts becoming a head scratcher for the Bruins. This season, Spooner has scored at a rate of 0.64 points per game, Nash has scored at 0.46. I should also mention Spooner is 7 years younger than Nash, and Spooner becomes an RFA when his contract expires this year, so he can be resigned much easier. That already seems like a bad trade. Ryan Lindgren was one of the Bruins’ top defensive prospects. At 20, the stay at home defenseman seems to be doing well with his university team, and losing him could be a big blow in the future. That’s two young players, amazing for the Rangers’ rebuild. The reason I’ve heard that they overpaid is because of Matt Beleskey. Beleskey has a horrendous contract, and has spent most of this season in the AHL, so he’s a waste of cap space. Maybe, just maybe I’d call it an okay excuse… but they retained 50% of his contract. If you’re going to give so much away, you may as well give them the whole contract. Sure, the Bruins got only 50% of Nash’s contract, but to give up that much? They gave a 1st rounder, a young player who produces more than Nash, a prospect, a 7th and an AHLer with a bad contract for an aging forward who has an expiring contract (and only 50% of his contract) and to give away 50% of that bad AHLer’s contract. I think the Rangers are doing this whole rebuild thing right, take notes Buffalo/Vancouver/Any other basement team not including Edmonton.


Montreal finally does it right!

I’ve somehow insulted Montreal/Marc Bergevin about 14 times here on puckstuff.net (seriously, check it out for yourself), this won’t be one of them. Montreal traded Tomas Plekanec (50% retained) and Kyle Baun to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Kerby Rychel, Rinat Valiev and a 2018 2nd rounder. Montreal had been trying to ship out almost everyone for a while, and this is a good start. Plekanec’s contract expires after this year, so if he’d want to sign in Montreal again, he could. Kyle Baun is a low scoring AHL forward who might struggle to find success with the stacked Marlies.  The grandson of once Stanley Cup winning goal scorer Bob Baun is barely a prospect at 25, a free agent after this year, and is unlikely to be signed by the Leafs after. For now, Baun is just a rental to fill in Rychel’s spot and to help in the Calder Cup playoffs. Plekanec is a nice rental addition to the Maple Leafs, especially at a time when 1C Auston Matthews is injured. When Matthews is healthy, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have one of the best 4th lines in the league with either Tyler Bozak or Tomas Plekanec centring it. Montreal also put that cap space to good use, taking 3 million of Plekanec’s 6 million dollar contract. Kerby Rychel is someone I had interest in as a Maple Leafs fan. The former 1st rounder was traded from Columbus to Toronto for Scott Harrington, recently acquired in the Phil Kessel trade. Rychel had NHL experience, and scored 50 points in the AHL last season, pretty impressive. I recently listed him as the 4th best LW on the Leafs under 25, but there’s an argument for him to fit as 3rd (or 5th) best. The 23 year old was set to be an RFA next year, so the Leafs were more likely to resign him or not. He may be a good fit on the Habs, he’s young and has the ability to produce in the NHL, but for now he’s more of an AHLer. Rinat Valiev was someone largely forgotten on the Maple Leafs with their massive depth. Valiev has some NHL experience and is solid in the AHL. I believe he has the ability to fit on the Habs’ roster one day. The soon to be RFA is still young and has time to improve. It’s worth noting Valiev allegedly asked for a trade. This trade was good for both teams, but especially for the Habs. They got two young players who they can easily resign and a 2nd rounder, which will eventually come back at the Leafs, but knowing the Habs, they’ll end up picking a bag of pucks (this won’t age well.). The Leafs got someone to strengthen their playoff run at half price, and only produces a little less than Rick Nash, who as you can see earlier, fetched a lot. I think I’d rather take Plekanec for a 2nd (and a bit more) than Luke Glendening for a 3rd. Still, I want to give the edge to the Habs for once. They got what they needed, and took what the Leafs needed. The Leafs are going to be a young team if they aren’t already. Matthews, Marner and Nylander haven’t hit their prime, forget Kapanen, Dermott and all the other young guys, Rychel had the possibility to produce a bit in the NHL, Valiev asked for a trade, so I can’t really see him on the Leafs at all as a callup, he wouldn’t make the team fully with the Leafs’ depth at LD. That 2nd probably could’ve been a key piece on the Leafs one day. Let’s face it, the Leafs aren’t winning a Stanley Cup this year, sure Plekanec would help the playoff run, but it’s hard to see this as a win more than it being even for them. Habs win this trade.

A Three Way Trade

The Edmonton Oilers trade Mark Letestu to Nashville for Pontus Aberg, Nashville then flipped Letestu to Columbus for a 2018 4th rounder. Letestu is a 20-30 point centre who usually slots in at the bottom 6. The soon to be UFA was probably bought in as a rental. Columbus The price? The younger, cheaper Pontus Aberg. Aberg is a lower scoring forward at the NHL level, but at the AHL level he’s been pretty good, so it’s probably only a matter of time for the 24 year old to start producing, he has another year before being an RFA, making it easier to sign, at a cheap amount, so he has time. Aberg may fit on the Oilers’ young forward corps if he starts producing. For Nashville, a 4th round pick for Aberg isn’t bad, they didn’t really need Aberg, nor do they need that 4th rounder. There isn’t really a loser in this trade, Nashville does nothing right or wrong here, they were just there to transport Letestu to Columbus and Aberg to Edmonton. They got a 4th for a low scoring forward. Edmonton gets a young, cheap forward who still needs to find his feet in the NHL for a rental. They probably could’ve gotten more, but we’ll have to see how Aberg does. Columbus got a bottom 6 rental for a 4th rounder which isn’t bad either. None of these teams get especially better after this trade, so I’d say it’s a three way tie.


Minor League Strengthening

San Jose traded Brandon Bollig and Troy Grosenick to Nashville for a 2018 6th rounder. Bollig was once a rough and tough NHLer. Now? He’s just a rough and tough AHLer. Bollig brings toughness to any team… but that’s pretty much it. I guess he would bring experience to a playoff team… if the Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville’s AHL affiliate were one. His contract expires this year, so he’s only a rental for the Admirals for now. Troy Grosenick is a solid AHL goalie, having only gone under .900 SV% once. Grosenick has potential to one day be temporarily be called up, otherwise expect him in the AHL until he becomes a UFA after next season. These are both minor league players who won’t affect the Predators in any way. In exchange, the Sharks still got a 6th round pick, which can be used as an asset, or pick a player who has a shot of affecting the Sharks. I’d give the win to San Jose.


There’s Cole in Columbus

Ian Cole was traded from Canada’s Capital to Columbus for Nick Moutrey and a 2020 3rd round pick. Cole was recently acquired by Ottawa in the whole Brassard trade, and was speculated to be going to Vegas/a playoff team while the trade was being reworked. Cole is a solid defenseman who will boost Columbus’ defense corps for the rest of the season and the playoffs. He was bought in as a rental, with his contract expiring soon. Moutrey is an AHL forward who rarely scores. He’s still young at 22, so he has time to develop, but any NHL future seems unlikely. Moutrey becomes an RFA after this season, but I doubt the forward is given a qualifying offer. In my opinion, a 3rd round pick (and some) isn’t bad for a rental defenseman you didn’t need. Ottawa got a 3rd round pick to help their rebuild… and best of all… Eugene Melnyk saved some money. Ottawa gets the win here.


Stan Bowman won something other than a Cup?

Chicago trades Ryan Hartman and a 2018 5th rounder to Nashville for Victor Ejdsell, a 2018 1st round pick, and a 2018 4th round pick. Ryan Hartman is a young forward who can score, and he’s proven it, as we’ve seen with the Hawks. Ejdsell is a forward prospect who seems to be doing well in Europe, he’d help the Hawks if he decides to come to North America. Look. Ryan Hartman is a good, young player on a cheap contract, but he’s not worth a team’s first round pick. I’m not saying that a late first round pick is a lot to get for Hartman, but your team’s 1st rounder is a lot to pay. It’s your best chance to get a new really young player. Hartman had his breakout season last season… and that was a 30 point season. This season, with the Hawks, he’s on a pace of 35 points in 82 games. That’s only 2 more points than what he was on pace to score last season had he played 82 games that year. This isn’t a player who is improving too rapidly. He’s still young right? He’s 23, so that’s young, but if he’s a 30 point player right now, after 5 pro seasons, how much better is he at his peak? Sure you got a solid 30 point player, he’s on a super cheap contract right now, but next year he’s an RFA, and you just paid a premium for him, so he’s going to ask for a substantial bit, won’t he?  The fact that you also gave up a nice prospect for him makes it worse. I haven’t even gotten to the fact that Chicago basically swapped a 5th round pick for a late 4th rounder. It looks like Chicago is preparing for the future, and they’re doing a nice job of it. Unless Hartman suddenly develops into a 20-30 goal player, this trade is a win for Chicago.

A surprise rental?

The St. Louis Blues trade Paul Stastny (50% retained) to Winnipeg Jets for Eric Foley and a 2018 first round pick. Statsny is a good player, in the last season of his contract. The only head scratcher here is, St. Louis wasn’t doing bad, in fact at the time they were doing decent at the playoff race. Don’t just take it from me, take it from Brayden Schenn! The forward expressed his concern after the trade for the same reason. To be honest though, a late 1st rounder isn’t horrible for someone producing at a 52 point pace (if he plays 82 games) this year from the Jets point of view. They’re a playoff team, having another forward gives their already great forward group greater. If it were a team that was rebuilding, I’d actually give the win to the Blues, they would’ve gotten what they wanted for someone who wasn’t gonna do much in a rebuild anyways, a late 1st and a nice prospect in Erik Foley, who’s been doing well in College Hockey, both who may help the NHL organization later on. That’s the problem, they’re not rebuilding. This is a playoff hopeful that just gave up a roster impact player for the future, it’s just bad timing. For that, and that only, I give the W to Winnipeg, heck, they got a playoff hopeful to retain salary!


A meaningless minor NHL swap?

Vancouver swaps Philip Holm to Vegas for Brendan Leipsic. Holm is a solid defenseman who did well in Europe, but after a lacklustre training camp with the Canucks, he spent most of this year in the AHL. He has the potential to become an NHLer one day, but at 26, he’s barely a prospect. Brendan Leispic is, as a Leafs fan, someone I have a good idea about. He was once someone who was of great interest as a prospect in the AHL, lighting it on fire. Then, he was picked in the expansion draft by Vegas. He was used in a bottom 6 role, still getting over 10 points. I believe Leipsic will help the young, budding Canucks team, who with Boeser and Co., finally can become a playoff team soon. I think Vancouver won this trade. Vegas won’t benefit from Holm that much. Vancouver will get a lot out of Leipsic now and in the future.


Someone picked the wrong phone up?

Arizona trades Ryan Kujawinski to Columbus for Jordan Maletta. Who? Ryan Kujawinski is a 22 year old prospect currently in the AHL. He doesn’t score much, and hasn’t played over 59 games in an AHL season, which is quite alarming. I really don’t see much of a future for him as a Blue Jacket/in the organization. Maletta is also a 22 year old prospect at centre like Kujawinski, who had a decent/okay rookie season in the AHL, with over 20 points. This year? He’s slowed down drastically, having 4 points before the trade, more than Kujawinski, but in more games. With what Maletta has shown in the past though, I think he can get it back. I believe Arizona wins because of that only… not that it matters. Who knows, the other phone waiting for Columbus could’ve been [Big Name].

It was (a minor) 1 for 1

The Islanders swap Jason Chimera, who lands in Anaheim, for Chris Wagner. Wagner is a youngish centre, who doesn’t produce too much, but is cheap on an expiring contract. The Islanders aren’t a playoff team anyways, they don’t need too much, they just need to be younger at this point. Jason Chimera, is not younger. Chimera had quietly gone under the radar, scoring 20 goals twice in the last two years… he’s 38. This year, he’s slowed down, as age seemed to catch up to him. Chimera is more expensive on his expiring contract, but will boost the Ducks’ playoff run. Don’t expect him to resign, after such a season I’d expect him to retire. The Ducks got a better player in Chimera, but the Islanders unloaded a significant amount of cap… possibly to resign… JOSH BAILEY! This really depends on how you look at it. If this somehow helps in resigning John Tavares, I’d give it to the Islanders, but for now, Ducks win in my opinion.


Did the Canadiens switch GMs?

Look. I’ve already gone over how much I hate Marc Bergevin and how many times I’ve insulted him. Man this doesn’t seem to be one of those posts. Montreal trades Joe Morrow to Winnipeg for a 2018 4th round pick. Before this season, Morrow wasn’t much of a full time defenseman. Even on the Canadiens, he was frequently healthy scratched.  Morrow is a cheap, young RD who becomes an RFA next year. Sure that’s great but, isn’t a mid draft pick too much for a dude who literally can’t make a rebuilding team’s lineup? I’d say the Canadiens win. This season was long lost, they seem to be doing this rebuild thing better now. They got something that could be a piece of their future, (or with their drafting skills, a french speaking puck), for someone they didn’t need. Winnipeg on the other hand probably could’ve gotten more with that pick.

Marc Bergevin’s clone?

I’ve slandered the Canadiens a lot blah blah blah. Today I’ve been favouring them quite a bit. Montreal got Mike Reilly from Minnesota for a 2019 5th round pick. Yes yes, I just criticized Winnipeg for a similar trade. Reilly is a young, often scratched defenseman on a cheap contract. Here’s the thing. Reilly is younger than Morrow, he’s being scratched on a playoff team, and his contract is longer. I’d argue I’d rather have Reilly than Morrow, and the Canadiens got him for cheaper. Reilly would help the Canadiens through the rebuild, and maybe even after. I say Canadiens win this trade.

What’s the point?

Ottawa trades Nick Shore to Calgary for a 2020 7th rounder. Nick Shore was originally acquired in the Phaneuf trade. as I said when the trade happened… ” Nick Shore is a relatively productive bottom centre (compared to Thompson). He would fit nicely in Thompson’s spot as a Sen.”. I wasn’t lying. Shore is a young centre, who slots nicely on a teams 4th line, and he produces while on it. He was on pace for 18 points in 82 games on the Kings 4th line this year, not bad (not good either). A 2020 7th rounder has already been set as the price for Eric Fehr. An NHLer in the AHL on a pretty expensive contract doing well, and becomes a UFA next year. I believe it should not be the price of a young NHLer who is cheaper and becomes an RFA next year. Calgary made a good deal to strengthen its young forward group, for a super cheap price. I say Calgary wins, Ottawa could’ve gotten more to help their rebuild.

Remember them?

On today’s episode of: Remember them? Josh Jooris was traded from Carolina to Pittsburgh for Greg McKegg. Jooris is a fringe NHLer who finds himself in and out of the lineup frequently. Jooris barely makes the Hurricanes squad, so I seriously doubt he makes the NHL Penguins… he might help the AHL Penguins though? This is his last year on a cheap contract before becoming a UFA, so I do not believe he makes an impact with Pittsburgh. McKegg, at 25, is barely/not even a prospect anymore, but he was once a top Leafs prospect. McKegg has quietly played over 20 games with Pittsburgh this year, not doing much though. McKegg is on a minimum contract before he becomes an RFA next season, meaning he’s easier to resign. He’s still kind of young, so he could be a fit on the Hurricanes for years to come. He was just part of the back to back champ’s roster, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a Hurricane. I think Carolina wins, they got a possible roster callup player, on a mega cheap contract that they can resign for an older healthy scratch who they’ll probably let go after this season.


Bruins keep renting

The Boston Bruins acquired Tommy Wingels for a conditional 5th round pick (becomes a 4th if Boston advances to the 2nd round.). Wingels isn’t an amazing player. There was once a point in his career where he was a 30 point player, but he’s seriously declined from that now. Wingels will probably centre the Bruins 3rd line. I, personally, think this is a good trade for the Hawks. They’re already out of a playoff spot, and Wingels is in the last year of his contract before being a UFA, so he had no future with the Hawks after this year. The Hawks made good use of the low scoring forward though, shipping him for a mid-range pick. It’s also entirely possible that their 5th will become a 4th. Boston’s 1st round match for the playoffs will most likely be Toronto, and Boston is capable of being Toronto (laughs, slowly starts crying). I think this is a good trade for Chicago, Wingels wasn’t of value to them anymore, and they got something out of him too.


A legitimate (Minor League) trade!

The Coyotes trade Tyler Gaudet and John Ramage to Smashville for Trevor Murphy and Pierre-Cedric Labrie. Gaudet is a pretty decent AHL centre, who has made appearances in the NHL. The 24 year old seemed to be having a breakout season, matching his season total last year in 14 less games. The pending UFA is unlikely to be resigned after this season though. I actually wrote a bit about Ramage in my last post. Ramage was recently literally given away to the Coyotes via the whole future considerations thing. Ramage has been in the minors for a while, and at 27, has played in 2 NHL games. Ramage, like Gaudet, is a pending UFA who is unlikely to be resigned. Trevor Murphy is a young, high producing defenseman. At 22, he has already had 2 30 point seasons in the AHL… he’s played 2 AHL seasons. The undrafted defenseman already produces more than most AHL forwards I’ve written about here. Murphy is an RFA next year, in my opinion, the Coyotes should resign him, he seems like a promising defenseman. Labrie is a veteran AHLer. He doesn’t produce that much, but he’s 2 years removed from a breakout 30 point/20 goal season at 29, but is a UFA next season. None of these guys have much of a future with their organizations, the only player who catches my eye is Murphy, a young pending RFA rather than a UFA. I think he would be a good fit on a rebuilding Coyotes roster one day, so for that, I give the Coyotes the win.


Prospect Swap?

The Rangers get Chris Bigras from Colorado for Ryan Graves. Bigras is a 23 year old defenseman who has NHL experience, 46 games to be exact. He should fit well with the Rangers rebuild, he’s young and seems NHL ready. Bigras is an RFA next year, whether the Rangers want to resign him or not is beyond me. Graves is a younger defenseman at 22 (but was drafted in the same draft, later birthday), and is a solid AHL defenseman. He’s on a cheaper contract and is a RFA next year as well. I think this trade is won by the Rangers. They got a young defenseman who can already play in the NHL, for an AHL defenseman his age.


The Disaster in Edmonton

The Edmonton Oilers trade Patrick Maroon to New Jersey for a 2019 3rd and Joey Dudek. Maroon is a relatively productive winger, having scored 40 points last season, and may top it this year. He was someone who the Oilers were shopping, with Maroon’s contract expiring soon. He’ll help the Devil’s offence during their playoff run without a doubt. Dudek is a 22 year old forward prospect in college. Dudek doesn’t score too much, I don’t see him in the NHL, at least any time soon. This trade is basically just Maroon for a 3rd. Looking at the market for a winger currently, I believe Maroon could’ve gotten more. A 2nd is a stretch, but maybe Maroon for a 3rd and a 4th/okay young player would’ve been suiting? I think New Jersey wins this trade.


How many more years?

The Vancouver Canucks trade Thomas Vanek to Columbus for Jussi Jokinen and Tyler Motte. Vanek was one of the Canuck’s best trade assets to work with (along with Gudbranson and Tanev). Vanek, who seems to be on the trading block every year, was a highly coveted rental this year. He was on pace for 55 points with the Canucks this year, and should help the Blue Jackets greatly during their playoff push/run. Jussi Jokinen has been put on waivers multiple times this season alone. His production has greatly dropped since a 60 point season only 2 seasons ago, and even a 28 point season last year. The pending UFA was on pace for a measly 17 points in 82 games before the trade. I don’t see how he’ll be of any use for the Canucks, as this this a lost season, and I don’t see them resigning him. Motte is a 23 year old forward, who has slotted in as part of the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets for over 30 games each. Motte seemed to be having a breakout season in the AHL while he wasn’t in the NHL compared to last season, but the centre didn’t improve on his NHL total from last year, having 2 less points in 2 less games. If Motte develops into a full time NHL level centre, he’ll do great on Brock Boeser’s Canucks, if he stays at the level he is right now… I’m not too sure. He does have another year before becoming an RFA so we’ll see. This trade overall is a huge disappointment. The Canucks needed to get picks in return for their trade bait but what they did get was an aging declining, pending UFA, and a lower level AHL/NHL prospect. Huge L for Vancouver, Columbus barely gave much away for someone who’s having a better season than usual, most of which on one of the worst teams in the league.

How long can a rebuild take!?

The Sabres trade Evander Kane to San Jose for a 2019 conditional 1st, a 2019 4th and Dan O’Regan. Evander Kane was arguably the most coveted rental on the market this year. The 26 year old was on pace for a career high 53 points on the lowly Sabres. There’s no telling what he may achieve with the higher level Sharks this year. Kane will strengthen the Sharks’ offence, and maybe even help bring poor Jumbo Joe Thornton a cup (laughs). Dan O’Regan is a 24 year old centre who is pretty good in the AHL, and has even earned a few calls up to the NHL. At 24, he is barely a prospect, and with only 2 seasons of play so far, there isn’t much to show if he’s really good or not besides a season where he was on pace for 75 points had he played 82 games in the AHL, and this season, where before the trade, he was on pace for 66 points, plus a total of 5 points in 22 NHL games (18 points in 82 game pace) in his career. He could fit on the Sabres’ offence spearheaded by Jack Eichel one day, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Look, at first I love this trade. A 1st, 4th and prospect for a player on an expiring contract? Score! It’s about what we expected Kane to fetch. Then you realize the condition on that first is, Kane must be resigned or it’s a 2nd. A 2nd, 4th and a prospect for Kane is much more underwhelming, seeing that what others who were mentioned in the same space as him got. This is a huge steal for the Sharks… unless they do the unthinkable and sign Kane.


Disaster: The Sequel

The Vegas Golden Knights acquire Tomas Tatar from Detroit for a 2018 first, a 2019 2nd, and a 2021 3rd. Tomas Tatar is an NHL winger of course, who’s been a 20 goal, 40 point scorer for 3 seasons straight, missing out on 4 due to missing 9 games, only needing a goal to make it four. This year, Tatar has dropped in terms of scoring, being on pace for 37 points if he were to play all 82 games. Tatar is on contract until after 2021-22, where he becomes a UFA. He earns 5 mill until he is 31, which to me, seems like quite a bit, especially for a solid 40 point player. Tomas Tatar is definitely not worth a first, second, and a 3rd. In fact, I’d argue he isn’t even worth that late 1st. This is a huge loss for Vegas, and a huge win for a rebuilding Detroit.


BLOCKBUSTER like it’s the 2000s!

The New York Rangers finally trade Ryan McDonagh, and J.T Miller to Tampa Bay for Vladislav Namestikov, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, a 2018 1st and a 2019 conditional 1st. Ryan McDonagh, of course, has been one of the Rangers’ top defenseman for years, and was their team captain. I honestly don’t know how much I can write about him, he’s pretty well known, and there isn’t much to say. McDonagh is on a pretty cheap contract at a 4.7 million cap hit, which expires after next season. He will greatly help the Lightning’s blue line, especially throughout this amazing season for Tampa. J.T. Miller has been doing great recently. Coming off of two 40 point seasons (reaching 50 last year), Miller put himself on pace for another 50 point season if he were to play 82 games. Miller will help the already overpowered Tampa Bay offence. Miller becomes an RFA next year, and I’d expect the Lightning to resign him. Namestikov is, like Miller, a 25 year old forward (he’s a few months older than Miller though). He was on a breakout season with Tampa, on pace for 56 points if he were to play a full season. Much more than the 28 points he had last year, or his career high, 35 points. He’s no J.T. Miller, but he’s on a similar contract, and is currently producing at a similar pace. Libor Hajek is a defensive prospect, currently doing solid in the WHL. The left handed defenseman can produce, and has size too. He may fit as a New York Ranger in the near future. The 20 year old was signed to his entry level contract just last year, so he has 2 more years before he is an RFA. Brett Howden is a centre currently playing in the WHL. The former 1st rounder is producing at well over a point per game, and scored 4 points in 5 games in the AHL last season. The 19 year old, who turns 20 soon, has two years left on his entry level contract before he’s an RFA, that makes two years to impress during the rebuild. This trade looks a lot less impressive when I tell you that Tampa needs to win a Stanley Cup this year or next year for the 2019 1st to not be a 2nd. Look, Tampa is my pick to win this Cup, but man, the best team doesn’t always win. At first, this trade is a disappointment, I mean, fans were saying the Leafs had to give up guys like Liljegren and a first, or even Nylander/Marner and Gardiner! The return they got here wasn’t as much as they thought.  This is a great move for the Rangers’ rebuild, they got prospects and picks for guys who probably weren’t gonna be a Ranger for long, especially if their bet on the Lightning winning it all comes true. This is also a snag for the Lightning, they got two amazing players for, a good portion of their future yes, but as a Cup contender, sometimes that’s necessary. Even if they give up the 31st overall pick one year, the trade served it’s purpose. I think this is a good trade for both teams, but Jeff Gorton could’ve gotten more, without the gamble.


Props to you if you got through almost 6500 words of trade! Do you agree? Did your favourite team triumph, or fall?













Evaluating the Bruins’ Deadline Acquisitions


The Bruins were active in the week before the trade deadline, and chose to break the gridlock on big time forward by trading for Rick Nash the day before. Overall, their decisions have been smart ones: loading up for the playoffs in a year where the East seems to be wide open, although a couple of depth moves are obvious mistakes.

IN: Nick Holden (D)

OUT: Rob O’Gara (D), 2018 3rd Round Pick (BOS)


Nick Holden is not exactly a sexy pickup, especially considering the Bruins have been reported to be involved in the chase for Ryan McDonagh. Despite not having that brand name appeal, Holden is a solid depth defenseman. He is having a better year than the last, despite the Rangers being worse. Holden has above average relative expected goals impacts. This means that, relative to his team, the weighted shot quality (a combination of volume, position on the ice, and factors such as rebound shots and rushes) is improved when Holden is playing. In fact, Holden is better than Carlo, McQuaid and Kevan Miller when it comes to both relative corsi (shot attempts) and expected goals. Furthermore, Holden is better at drawing and not taking penalties than all three of those guys. Another thing to note about Holden is that he has been absolutely buried in defensive assignments by Alain Vigneault: he is in the second percentile in the NHL for offensive zone starts. Considering his positive impact on shot differential, expected goals and penalty differential, there is an argument to be made that Holden should be playing every night.


The Bruins had to give up Rob O’Gara and a third rounder in this year’s draft to get Holden. O’Gara got a cup of coffee in the NHL last year and played a handful of games at the start of this season while the Bruins’ defense was banged up. The sample size is too small to get any reliable information from shot metrics, but just from the eye test O’Gara looks to be a bottom pairing, stay at home type of guy. There’s nothing wrong with that, but its not exactly much to give up, particularly when you are chasing a cup. And then there’s the third-round pick: you’d be happy to get any kind of NHLer out of a third rounder on average.


This was a good trade for both teams. The Bruins acquired a defenseman who could is most likely an upgrade for their top six, while the Rangers shed an expiring contract and gained a prospect and a pick for their rebuild.


IN: 2018 3rd Round Pick (FLA)


OUT: Frank Vatrano


Again, this appears to be a trade that benefits both teams. Vatrano really had no place on the current Bruins roster. He was the 13th man on a team with considerable depth in the minors, and even more on the way from the NCAA. Vatrano has shown he loves to shoot the puck and probably has the makeup to be a 20-goal scorer given enough ice time.  The Panthers desperately needed a middle 6 winger by the looks of their depth chart before this trade. Vatrano has very good relative shot metrics. He improves both the quality and quantity of shots for his team when he is on the ice. However, he was a very sheltered forward at even strength this year, with some of the most generous offensive zone deployment in the league. After acquiring Florida’s pick, the Bruins managed to improve their third-round pick (which went to NYR) this year, moving it up roughly ten spots depending on where they finish.


IN: Rick Nash (50% Retained)


OUT: Matt Beleskey (50% Retained), Ryan Spooner, 2018 First Round Pick, Ryan Lindgren (D), 2019 7th Round Pick


                This is the big one. The Bruins made it clear they are going for it. Rick Nash is a perfect fit for David Krejci: a guy who can really score. Krejci hasn’t had a winger like this since Nathan Horton. Nash scores more than a goal per 60 minutes of ice time, which is among the elite goal scorers in the NHL. Furthermore, Nash draws penalties and has a positive relative expected goal percentage, meaning his team gets higher quality chances when he is on the ice. A common knock on Nash is his playoff performance. I can’t think of a player that has been unluckier with as many games played in the playoffs as Nash has. For reference, his career shooting percentage is around 12%. In the playoffs, its 5.7%. There is no way that you can attribute this to the quality of his shots. Expect that to turn around. In fact, you can probably apply this to his current regular season as well- he is shooting 9%, but still has 18 goals on the year. He is immediately the Bruins’ most dangerous goal scorer outside of Marchand. As a bonus, the Bruins got half of Beleskey’s contract off the books.


Considering the price of the better forwards at the deadline (a first, prospect and another late pick), the Bruins probably used Spooner as bait for the Rangers to take on the Beleskey contract. This is smart, because the Bruins’ championship window is undeniably the next few years. They need to clear as much dead cap as possible to help Bergeron and friends take a few more cracks at the cup before they get too old. The first rounder shouldn’t be too worrying either- considering that a late first round pick is essentially a second-round pick in terms of absolute value, and the value of draft picks falls steeply after you are out of the top 10. Losing Spooner hurts a little bit, but I would have been surprised if the impending RFA was re-signed this summer with all the depth in Providence that could do his job for less money. Many people have pointed out that Spooner has more points per game than Nash this year, but what they fail to acknowledge is that Spooner has been the most sheltered player in the league this season. He was getting a fantastic amount of starts in the offensive zone. He was also benefitting from a very high on ice shooting percentage, which is unlikely to continue.


Ryan Lindgren shouldn’t be considered a top tier prospect. In his D+2 year he has 7 points in 33 games. Even defensemen generally need to score against weaker competition to become NHLers in the future. That’s not saying that scoring guarantees you to be a NHLer, but it is very rare to see good players not score at lower levels. The inclusion of the seventh-round draft pick is another lottery ticket for the Rangers, who were very explicit about their rebuild.


IN: Brian Gionta (1 year, 700k)


OUT: Cap Space


                Ideally, Gionta never plays a game for the Bruins. He is awful. There isn’t much to say about this guy. His team gets outscored and outshot while he is on the ice. It’s fine to have him as the 13th forward and provide a little bit of locker room leadership, but that’s the most you want from him. In case of injury the B’s are better off going with 7 defensemen and 11 forwards. However, its not a big deal either way.


IN: Tommy Wingels


OUT: 2019 5th Round Pick


This is another perplexing one. Wingels isn’t good. He is probably worse than your average fourth line grinder. He should not be playing over any of the Bruins’ regular fourth liners. There is essentially no part of Wingels’ game that is possible to get excited about. I think even spending a fifth is a waste. The lottery ticket is better than the guy who shouldn’t be playing at all. In the end it is relatively inconsequential but still not the smartest decision.



Bottom Line

Bruins fans should be very happy with this deadline. They added a legitimate 4-5 defenseman with positive shot impacts, and a top line right wing that is immediately one of their most dangerous goal scorers all while dealing from a position of strength. The Bruins also lost Vatrano, a 13th forward, and effectively traded up in the third round of this year’s draft. The Bruins could afford to use some draft picks to improve their chance at a cup this year because of the number of solid prospects they have, and the fact that they have picked 5 times in the first round in the past three years. However, using one of those on a guy like Wingels was an obvious mistake. Plus, more importantly, going for it is just plain fun.  Its been a long time since the Bruins have been legitimate cup contenders, and the East looks like it is wide open. Buying was absolutely the correct choice in this situation.