The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article.
The trades have begun. After a inactive start to the season, actual moves have been made with real impact players. Patrick Eaves and Tomas Jurco were sent to Anaheim and Chicago last Friday night. Los Angeles acquired Ben Bishop? Martin Hanzal gets released from the shackles of the Arizona Coyotes and irrelevant hockey.
THE WILD ACQUIRE MARTIN HANZAL
The Minnesota Wild
are loading up for the playoffs. Well, kind of. The Wild give up their 2017 first-round draft pick, a 2018 second-round pick, and a 2019 fourth-round pick with conditions that could evolve it into another potential second-round pick for Martin Hanzal, with fifty-percent of his salary retained by Arizona
. The Wild also get Ryan White in the deal, who has 13 points in 46 games the season. Hanzal has to play in fifty percent of Minnesota’s playoff games, so the Wild have some protection in case Hanzal gets hurt, which happens quite often. Hanzal has only played over 65 games in a season once since the 2009-10 season.
The Wild paid quite a bit for the massive center, but Hanzal gives them added depth down the middle and makes a loaded forward core even more scary come playoff time. The Wild can afford to this, too. They’ve hit on quite a few picks beyond the first-round, including Jordan Greenway and Kirill Kaprizov, and have made good on their first-round picks, too. The West looks weaker than ever, so now might be their best chance to make it out of their conference and the Wild still retain all of their top prospects.
For Arizona, they acquire some premium draft picks and continue on their rebuild. Keeping Hanzal made little sense and there’s always the possibility of re-signing him in the summer. The Coyotes get worse this season, and can play younger players in an attempt to catch the futile Colorado Avalanche for dead last.
THE KINGS ACQUIRE BEN BISHOP
The Los Angeles Kings
make a move and it’s not adding scoring help. The Kings acquired Ben Bishop and a seventh-round draft pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning
in exchange for Peter Budaj, prospect Eric Cernak, and fifth-round pick.
This is a strange move. Budaj has performed admirably for the Kings in the absence of Jonathan Quick, while Bishop has struggled in his time for the Lightning this season. Jonathan Quick has already returned from injury, and Budaj should have been able to perform adequately backup for the remainder of the season. The Kings have five sets of back-to-back games left so this guarantees one of Quick or Bishop in the net and means the Kings don’t have to overplay Quick. Bishop didn’t cost a whole lot, Cernak was expendable in a shallow prospect pool and the draft pick is conditional, but it’s still an odd choice for the Kings. This does eliminate the possibility of Bishop landing in Calgary, the team L.A. is directly competing for during this home stretch for the playoffs, but the focus should be on acquiring scoring help up front.
Tampa Bay doesn’t get as much as you would think given how good he’s been for them previously, but they’re outside the playoff picture and Bishop is having his worst season statistically for the Lightning. He’s only played in 32 games, and last season saw James Reimer go for very little in the midst of a strong season.
THE DUCKS ACQUIRE PATRICK EAVES
The Anaheim Ducks
get one of the top goal scorers on the market in Patrick Eaves from the Dallas Stars
for a conditional second pick that was originally acquired in the Frederik Andersen trade with Toronto. The pick turns into a first-rounder if Anaheim makes the conference finals and Eaves plays in fifty percent of the games. A first for Patrick Eaves might seem like a lot, but he has 21 goals to his name and a contract that is dirt cheap, which is huge for the cap-strapped Ducks.
Eaves has had some good fortune go his way this season, but he provides legitimate scoring depth at right-wing and on the power play. If the Ducks make the third round, giving up a pick in the 26-30 range is really not much, especially in a draft that’s being considered very weak.
Dallas sells high on a player that is having an incredible season. Eaves is healthy and producing, and the Stars are a long shot for the playoffs at this point, so accumulating assets is crucial as the Stars turn to sell.
THE BLACKHAWKS ACQUIRE TOMAS JURCO
After requesting a trade from the Detroit Red Wings
earlier in the season, Tomas Jurco finally gets his wish and is now a member of the Chicago Blackhawks
. The Hawks give up a 2017 third-round draft pick and decide to take a chance on a younger player instead of paying a premium for a rental like Patrick Eaves.
Jurco has zero points in 16 games this season, but he’s played very little the last few years. Jurco enjoyed some mild success as he initially entered the league, putting up 0.42 points per game, but hasn’t translated beyond that. Jurco hasn’t had much opportunity in Detroit, so he should see more of a role in Chicago, who need cheap depth players to accent their core badly.
Detroit is finally a seller after their long playoff streak looks to come to an end this season. The Red Wings are last in the Eastern Conference and face a potential rebuild period on the horizon. It’s weird to think of the Wings as sellers, but trades like this one are exactly what they should be doing. The Wings have a lot of money tied up to big contracts, and they should be sending out players on expiring contracts like Brendan Smith and Thomas Vanek before the March 1st deadline.