Atlantic Division deadline recap

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to check in and see how each team did at the 2015 trade deadline, and how each team’s new additions will help the team, either now, or in the future.

With the Atlantic Division featuring three teams with legitimate playoff chances (Boston, Florida, and Ottawa all have at least a 13.6% chance according to hockeystats.ca), and three teams with hopes to make a run at the Stanley Cup this year (Montreal, Tampa, and Detroit), the division was bound to see it’s fair share of trades over the past couple of weeks. The teams didn’t disappoint, and there were a number of trades that shook up team rosters and will make this final stretch of the season very interesting.

Boston Bruins

Acquired: Brett Connolly, Maxime Talbot, Paul Carey, Zack Phillips

Traded away: Jared Knight, Jordan Caron, 2015 2nd round pick, 2016 2nd round pick, 2016 6th round pick

The Bruins were an interesting team to watch at the deadline this year, as the team came into the season expecting to make the playoffs, and hoping to make a deep Cup run. They haven’t been impressive, however, and currently sit only two points ahead of the Florida Panthers for the second Wild Card spot in the East. They’re already pushed right up against the cap, and though they’ve gotten some relief by putting David Krejci on LTIR, they weren’t really in a position to be dealing for players who might have to stay on the books for next season.

That being said, they were definitely buyers, picking up four new players and trading away two players and three picks. Of the four players acquired, Brett Connolly and Maxime Talbot are likely to join the NHL roster, while Paul Carey and Zack Phillips will likely go to the AHL.

Talbot and Connolly were both bottom six forwards with their previous clubs, and will most likely stay bottom six forwards with Boston unless injuries force them up the lineup. Connolly is the better pick up of the two, posting a 54.8% score adjusted scoring chances for percentage, and a -1.9% relative SCF% so far this season. He’s outperforming his usage, however, with a deltaCorsi/60 of 6.15. He’ll be useful to the Bruins in a bottom six role, and is only 22, meaning he can still develop into a more effective player. Talbot, on the other hand, has a sc-adj SCF% of 43.4%, and -0.9 relative SCF%. He’s slightly outperforming his usage, with a dCorsi /60 of 2.61.

The Bruins picked up two players who can help them fill out their bottom six and get Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell off of the fourth line. The Bruins did nothing to address their issues at defense, however, and are still going to have to use negative possession guys such as Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid. It’s been a tough year for Boston, and this trade deadline was no different.

Buffalo Sabres

Acquired: Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Jason Kasdorf, Jack Nevins, Chad Johnson, Anders Lindback, 2016 3rd round pick, conditional 2016 third round pick, 2016 5th round pick, 2016 7th round pick, 2017 2nd round pick

Traded away: Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux, Torrey Mitchell, Bryan Flynn, Jhonas Enroth, Chris Stewart, Michael Neuvirth, 2015 1st round pick

Buffalo currently sits at 30th in the league, a full 28 points out of a playoff spot. They are perhaps the worst team of the past eight seasons, with a score adjusted Shot Attempts For (SAT%) percentage of 36.2%, the only team to dip into the 30s in that time range.

It’s rather obvious that Buffalo is tanking, hard, and their moves at the deadline this year reached a whole new level that I personally had thought was impossible to reach. For starters, they dumped Jhonas Enroth and Michael Neuvirth, two goalies who had save percentages over .910 at 5 on 5 so far this season, for Chad Johnson and Anders Lindback, who both have save percentages below .901 at 5 on 5 so far this season. They also traded five skaters who were on their NHL roster, and only got one NHL player in return. This is a team that was comically bad with the NHL roster they had. That roster was essentially gutted, and now it’s going to be even worse. If the Sabres don’t come in last place this year, it will probably be the biggest surprise of the season, more surprising than San Jose slipping into the playoffs as the 8th seed, coming back from an 0-3 deficit in round one against Los Angeles, and going on to win the Stanley Cup.

Besides the tanking, however, Buffalo managed to pick up several good pieces. Evander Kane, who has had great underlying numbers his past couple of seasons, will have a chance to restart his career next season after the fiasco in Winnipeg this year, and Buffalo also added five draft picks to their already impressive stockpile of picks. Management in Buffalo is committed to the rebuild, and though it may take a while, this team is going to get a huge boost in the form of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel during the offseason. It may not be long before we start to see the Sabres being competitive again.

Detroit Red Wings

Acquired: Marek Zidlicky, Erik Cole, conditional 2015 3rd round pick

Traded away: Mattias Backman, Mattias Janmark, 2015 2nd round pick, 2016 conditional 3rd round pick

The Red Wings continue what appears to be a never-ending run of success, as they prepare themselves for a record 24th straight trip to the postseason. Going into the deadline, general manager Ken Holland didn’t need to add much to his squad that currently stands at 3rd in the league with a sc-adj SAT% of 54.8%. It’s been known for sometime now that the Wings wanted a couple of right handed defenseman, and they got their wish in the form of Marek Zidlicky. The 38-year-old may be old, but he’s still an effective player, with a sc-adj USAT% of 47.9%, and a relative USAT% of  2.2%.

They also added Erik Cole, who sits at 49% in sc-adj SCF% and -3.5% in relative SCF%. Though Zidlicky might be beneficial, it doesn’t look like Cole will be, as he’s a negative player in the decline of his career. Maybe the switch from the high speed Dallas Stars (who average a league high 118.1 shot attempts for and against for every 60 minutes of 5 on 5 play) to the lower event Detroit Red Wings (who average the league’s second lowest total of 97.6 shot attempts for and against for every 60 minutes of 5 on 5 play) will help out Cole, but that has yet to be determined.

The Red Wings didn’t give up too much, only losing two draft picks, as well Backman and Janmark, two middle level prospects. After a tough year last year, Detroit rebounded well, and with their 5 on 5 dominance so far, they’re a team with a chance to win it all. Both trades were the type of trades that fly under the radar, but they could end up paying dividends for Detroit.

Florida Panthers

Acquired: Jaromir Jagr, Dany Heatley, 2015 3rd round pick, 2016 3rd round pick

Traded away: Sean Bergenheim, Tomas Fleischmann, 2015 2nd round pick, 2015 3rd round pick, 2016 7th round pick

The Panthers are a team that was not supposed to be challenging for a playoff spot this season. Though they have a bunch of young players who were developing, many figured that it wouldn’t be enough to propel the team out of the NHL’s basement, at least not yet. What was overlooked, however, is that the team was 18th in the league with a 50.2% sc-adj SAT%, a number that was bound to improve as the young players developed. Add Roberto Luongo to the mix, and the team all of a sudden finds themselves in playoff contention, and in need of some improvements for the last quarter of the season.

The only player the Cats really added at the deadline was Jaromir Jagr, as it’s very unlikely that Dany Heatley, who is currently in the AHL, gets called up to the pro roster. Jagr may be old, but despite his 43-year-old body that has been in the NHL longer than the Panthers have been a team, he’s proven that he can still be an effective player.  His sc-adj SCF% of 53.5% was the highest on the Devils before he was traded, and the team was much better with him on the ice than with him off of it, as evidenced by his relative SCF% of 6.6%. Though it’s hard to quantify intangibles, Jagr should also prove to be a great mentor to the young Panthers forwards. He’s been playing hockey professionally for longer than some of them have been alive.

As for what they gave up, the Panthers lost possession beast Sean Bergenheim, who just couldn’t get along with head coach Gerard Gallant. They also traded away Tomas Fleischmann, who wasn’t having a bad season, but who also won’t really be missed.  With Vincent Trocheck recalled from the AHL, and Brandon Pirri returning from injury, there are plenty of options for the team to replace Fleischmann.

The Panthers didn’t make too many moves, and essentially traded Bergenheim, a 7th round pick, and a 2nd round pick for Jagr and a 3rd round pick. It may not be enough to catch Boston, but with if Jagr resigns with the team, next year could be their year.

Montreal Canadiens

Acquired: Devante Smith-Pelly, Jeff Petry, Bryan Flynn, Torrey Mitchell

Traded away: Jiri Sekac, Jack Nevins, 2015 2nd round pick, conditional 2015 5th round pick, 2016 5th round pick, 2016 7th round pick

Montreal has ridden Carey Price to a league best 101.9 SPSV%, and finds themselves atop the Atlantic Division because of it. Possession wise, they haven’t been impressive, with a sc-adj SAT% of 49.4% (22nd in the league).

That being said, they did add a couple of pieces that should really help them out down the stretch. Jeff Petry can play in a top 4 role and perform well, as shown by his 3.95 dCorsi/60 this year in a top 4 role with Edmonton. He’ll come in and help replace negative possession players such as Alexei Emelin, Tom Gilbert, Mike Weaver, and Bryan Allen.

At forward, the Canadiens can now replace one or two of Manny Malholtra, Dale Weise, and Brandon Prust, who have awful possession numbers. Torrey Mitchell has been good for Buffalo this year, posting a relative sc-adj SCF% of 6.7% (his raw SCF% is 41.6%, so take that relative number with a grain of salt).  It’s hard to say how effective Bryan Flynn will be, as he’s a positive player who’s playing for a very bad team, Buffalo (2.2% relative SCF%, 38.1%  sc-adj SCF%).  Devante Smith-Pelly simply replaces Jiri Sekac, as both had equally poor possession numbers

Petry is going to help the Canadiens the most, as their defense at least looks respectable behind P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov now. They’re still going to have to depend on Carey Price to go anywhere in the playoffs, but they made the team in front of him a little bit better, which is all the team really can expect from their GM at this point in the season.

Ottawa Senators

The Senators haven’t made a trade since shipping Jason Spezza to Dallas during the offseason. They are trending upward, however. It should be interesting to see where they end up when the season is over.

 

SO 2

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Acquired: Braydon Coburn, 2015 2nd round pick, 2016 2nd round pick

Traded away: Brett Connolly, Radko Gudas, 2015 1st round pick, 2015 3rd round pick

Steve Yzerman has become one of the NHL’s best general managers, and has used smart picks in the draft and smart free agent signings to assemble one of the best rosters in the NHL. With two quality goaltenders in Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy, and a wealth of young forwards, the team needed another defenseman and could afford to give up a forward. They did exactly that.

Braydon Coburn was the biggest trade for Tampa, as they picked up a solid player who can be their third defenseman, a role Coburn has been very familiar with over the past couple of seasons.

SO 1

 

The team also picked up two second round draft picks for Brett Connolly, who has stuck behind forwards such as Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson, and Nikita Kucherov on the depth chart.

Tampa has stockpiled so much talent that they were able to make a big trade for an impact defenseman, without mortgaging too much of their future. Their skill, speed, and youth have them dominating the opposition, and they are setting up to make several Cup runs over the couple of years.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Acquired: Brendan Leipsic, Zach Sill, Spencer Abbott, Nathan Horton, Eric Brewer, Joakim Lindstrom, 2015 1st round pick, 2015 4th round pick, 2016 2nd round pick, 2016 5th round pick, 2016 6th round pick

Traded away: Mike Santorelli, Cody Franson, Daniel Winnik, T.J. Brennan, David Clarkson, Korbinian Holzer, Olli Jokinen

Toronto’s SPSV% has been volatile this year, with their 20 game rolling average swinging north of 104.0 but also south of 96.0

SO graph

 

As a result, the team started off the year well, before going on a horrendous losing streak and finding themselves at 27th in the league standings headed into the trade deadline.

Their moves at the deadline reflected this, as the team traded away players such as Daniel Winnik and Cody Franson, who had been effective while playing for Toronto. They picked up an impressive array of draft picks (5 in total, one of them a 2015 1st rounder), along with a good prospect (Brendan Leispsic) and lots of lower level NHL players to help them fill out a roster.

The biggest move, however, was the shedding of the David Clarkson contract. Many in Toronto thought that they would be stuck with the horrendous contract that lasted until 2020 and carried a cap hit of 5.25 million a year for a player who could barely make it on the team’s fourth line, but Dave Nonis somehow found a way to fix the mess that he had made 2013 when he first signed Clarkson to that contract. Granted, they didn’t really get anything in return for Clarkson, as Nathan Horton will probably never play in the NHL again, but that trade was a clear cut case of addition by subtraction.

So overall, the team sped up its rebuild, and shed a contract that could have handicapped them for years down the road. The new management group in Toronto is making smart decisions, and could have this team turned around in only a couple of years.

All stats taken at 5 on 5, during score adjusted situations unless specified otherwise. deltaCorsi metric developed by Steve Burtch. All stats used were found on war-on-ice.com. HERO Chart courtesy of ownthepuck.blogspot.ca

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