This week has news coming from all over the league this week, as the NHL trade deadline was Monday. Many teams made many changes in personnel, and many teams resigned key individuals as well.
- The Buffalo Sabres traded Jamie McGinn to Anaheim for a conditional second or third round pick in the 2016 draft.
- The Penguins traded Matia Marcantuoni and Dan O’Donaguhe the Arizona Coyotes for Dustin Jeffery
- The Montreal Canadiens traded Devante Smith-Pelly to the New Jersey Devils for Stefan Matteau
- The New York Islanders acquired Marc-André Cliché from the Colorado Avalanche for Taylor Beck.
- The Boston Bruins picked up Lee Stepniak from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2016 fourth round pick and a 2017 second round pick
- The Islanders made another deal, this time with Ottawa Senators. The Islanders pick up Shane Prince and a 2016 seventh round pick in. The Islanders give Ottawa their 2016 third round pick
- Ottawa continued to wheel and deal. The Senators pick up Connor Allen from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Michael Kernanen
- The Carolina Hurricanes shook up their line up by sending John-Michael Liles to Boston in exchange for Anthony Camara and a 2016 third and sixth round picks.
- The New Jersey Devils picked up Eric Gelinas from Colorado for a 2017 draft pick
- Carolina picked up Dennis Robertson from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange Drew MacIntyre
- Carolina also dealt Eric Staal to the New York Rangers for Aleksi Saarela with a second round pick in the 2016 draft and a 2017 second round draft pick as well.
- Lastly, the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up Matthias Placha and a 2017 seventh round pick from Arizona in exchange for Sergei Plotnikov
Now that the trade deadline has passed, teams are now focusing on shoring up their line-ups for not only for playoff runs, but long-term as well. Teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets (who may be out of the playoffs, but are showing promise under head coach John Tortorella), and the Philadelphia Flyers are doing just that.
As mentioned before, the Columbus Blue Jackets have made a move to shore up their line up for the long-term. The team announced that center Boone Jenner will remain with the team for another two years, signing a two-year extension worth $5.8 million. Jenner has had a career year with the Blue Jackets, scoring 23 goals in 66 games.
Another team who is shoring up their line up for the long-term are the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers inked left winger Michael Raffl to a three-year extension worth $7.05 million. The undrafted Austrian has been a steady contributor to the Flyers, as he has played on lines with Claude Giroux, but also has seen time on the checking line with the team.
As the Blue Jackets and the Flyers keep a few of their own in the fray, the New York Islanders say goodbye to one of their own. However, this is not due to a trade, but a retirement. The Islanders announced that former defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky announced his retirement. The Slovakian born Visnovsky played 15 seasons in the NHL, notching 128 goals and 367 assists in 883 career games.
While the Islanders lose one of their own to retirement, the Senators lose two of their own due to injury. The Senators announced that they will be without the services of defenseman Mark Borowiecki due to a knee injury. Borowiecki sustained the injury when attempting to check the Tampa Bay Lightening’s Matt Carle in the team’s 4-1 loss Thursday. It is unknown when Borowiecki will return.
As if the news couldn’t get worse for the Senators, they also have learned they will be without the services of center Kyle Turris. Turris is out of the Senators line-up due to an ankle injury that occurred back in January, but has been advised by Senators management to rest up and rehabilitate. It is also unknown if or when Turris will return to the line up.
Finally, another team that is battling for that final playoff spot are the New Jersey Devils. The Devils received bad news regarding goaltender Corey Schneider. The all-star netminder sustained what the team is calling a lower body injury in a loss against the Dallas Stars on Friday night. The team has stated Schneider will miss the Devils game against the Penguins on Sunday. The Devils also mentioned they will re-evaluate the severity of Schneider’s injury and will provide an update then.
Western Conference Recap:
The hottest team in the Western Conference right now is the Anaheim Ducks. Heading into March 5, they have won 10 straight games. They are now tied with the Los Angeles Kings with 80 points in the Pacific Division. The point margin between the Kings, Ducks, and Sharks in the Pacific Division is only 4 points. This race could go down to the wire to the very last day of the season.
Speaking of close races, the Central Division has become a battle now. Chicago, Dallas, and St. Louis are the top 3 seeds in the Central, and they are all only separated by 2 points. While Chicago and Dallas remain at the top, the St. Louis Blues are the hottest team in the Central right now as they have won 7 out of their last 10 games.
The World Cup of Hockey rosters were announced earlier this week. The Chicago Blackhawks lead the Western Conference with 9 participants that will represent six different countries in the tournament. The defending Stanley Cup Champions continue to impress, even with a lot of guys with different backgrounds on their roster.
It was a rough Thursday night for Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers. In the game against the NY Islanders, the Jets rookie took a puck to the face from a Frans Nielsen shot. It happened right at the end of the overtime game as the Islanders scored the game-winning goal that came from Kyle Okposo. The Jets announced that Nikolaj Ehlers sustained an eye injury and he will be out indefinitely. The Jets rookie has 13 goals and 18 assists in 63 games this season. He is very fun to watch.
The Nashville Predators have performed better recently, as they have not lost a game in regulation in their past 10 games. They have won 7 out of their last 10 games. A big reason for this success is Filip Forsberg. Heading into Saturday, Forsberg has 7 goals in his last 5 games. He had 2 hat tricks within the past week and a half. He had a hat trick against the Maple Leafs on February 23, and a hat trick against the Blues on February 27. Forsberg is one of the top scoring forwards for the Predators, and when he is hot, the Predators are a tough team to beat.
The San Jose Sharks have really rebounded this year. They are still receiving top contributions from their veteran players. Joe Thornton is having another great season in San Jose. Thornton has heated up the past few months. Heading into March 5, he has 5 points in his last 3 games. He has racked up 61 points in 63 games this year. Thornton has racked up 1,320 points in 1,348 games in his NHL career. He is virtually still a point-per-game player, even at the age of 36.
Keeping with the Sharks, they are still the best road team in the Western Conference. They have racked up a 23-9-3 road record, which is best around the NHL.
Andrea Sobolik – Eastern Conference
George Foussekis – Western Conference