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Scott Cullen

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Scott Cullen recaps all the deals leading up to the NHL trade deadline, starting with the bigger deals that warranted full Numbers Game breakdowns:

Sabres add Kane with eye to the future

Predators add value in deal with Leafs

A fresh start for wingers Sekac, Smith-Pelly
Winnik a cost-effective addition for Penguins
Jets find bargain with acquisition of Tlusty
Sekera fills a need for streaking Kings
Adding Jagr a gamble for Panthers
Leafs flex financial muscle in Clarkson trade
Timonen could be just what the Blackhawks need
Ducks take a shot with Fleischmann
Blackhawks pay steep price for Vermette
Caps pay the price to get Glencross
Rangers make aggressive move to land Yandle
Cole brings size and speed to Wings
Petry an inexpensive upgrade for Habs defence
Flyers get solid return in Coburn deal
Michalek upgrades St. Louis blueline
Zidlicky a low-risk addition for Wings
Ducks make a good deal to get Wisniewski
Wild take a chance on Stewart

Then, check out my draft pick value article.

The rest of the deals:

CONNOLLY TO BRUINS

 

TO THE BRUINS

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Brett Connolly   50 12 3 15 54.9% +1.6% 50.5% 101.4 11:56
 

 

The Boston Bruins acquired RW Brett Connolly from the Tampa Bay Lightning for their second-round picks in each of the next two drafts.

Connolly is a 22-year-old winger who has some offensive upside, but has 32 points (18 G, 14 A) in 134 career games and hasn't been able to secure consistent playing time in Tampa Bay.

Verdict: While Connolly is young enough that he could respond wiht more production in a bigger role with the Bruins, two mid-second-round picks (combined, better than 70% chance of turning into an NHL player) is good value for the Lightning.

FLYNN, MITCHELL to CANADIENS

 

SABRES TO CANADIENS

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Brian Flynn  54 5 12 17 37.2% +0.5% 36.7%  102.8 15:53
Torrey Mitchell  51  6 7 13 40.0% +4.0% 38.7% 100.7 15:20
 

 

The Montreal Canadiens traded a fifth-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for centre Brian Flynn, then dealt LW Jack Nevins and a seventh-rounder to the Sabres for C Torrey Mithcell

26-year-old Flynn can play centre and wing and while he's played nearly 16 minutes per game for the struggling Sabres, he won't get that same kind of ice time in Montreal. However, he could play a depth role for Montreal at centre or right wing and he will be a restricted free agent in the summer so he can be part of the team beyond this season.

Mitchell, 30, is another player who has a bigger role with the Sabres, playing 15:20 per game, but he's also put up decent relative possession stats on a terrible team.

In depth roles, Flynn and Mitchell provide more options for the Canadiens.

Verdict: The price to acquire Flynn and Mitchell was negligible. A late fifth-round pick has a little better than a 13% chance of becoming an NHL player, and it's under 10% for a seventh-round pick, while Nevins is a tough guy who has one point and 103 penalty minutes in 35 career AHL games, so Flynn and Mitchell are two worthy and inexpensive depth additions for the Habs.

KENNEDY TO ISLANDERS

 

TO THE ISLANDERS

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Tyler Kennedy  25 4 5 9 54.5% +4.4% 54.2% 99.7 11:03
 

 

The New York Islanders gave the San Jose Sharks a conditional third-round pick in 2016.

Kennedy, 28, is a remarkably low percentage shooter, yet is consistently a positive possession forward, which makes him a valuable addition to a team's bottom six up front.

Verdict: The Islanders have made a habit of adding players with a puck possession track record and Kennedy is a useful depth addition for a team ready to compete in the postseason.

SMITH FOR DESJARDINS

 

FORWARD SWAP

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Ben Smith  61 5 4 9 49.5% -5.6% 25.7% 99.6 13:35
Andrew Desjardins 56 5 3 8 43.1% -8.8% 37.4% 100.3 10:27
 

 

 

The San Jose Sharks traded C Andrew Desjardins to the Chicago Blackhawks for RW Ben Smith.

Desjardins, 28, is a gritty fourth-line forward who has fallen off in possession terms this season as the Sharks' fourth line has been getting crushed territorially.

Smith is a 26-year-old forward who can play wing or centre and while his production has dropped from last season, Smith is also under contract through next season, at a $1.5-million cap hit. With Desjardins set to become a free agent, it's a cost-cutting move for Chicago's future.

Verdict: Smith has more upside than Desjardins and is under contract for another year. Financial constraints matter to the Blackhawks, who are right up against the cap and that's what allowed the Sharks to get the better value in this trade.

BORTUZZO FOR COLE

 

DEFENCE SWAP

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Robert Bortuzzo  38 2 4 6 51.6% -1.2% 53.7% 97.4 15:28
Ian Cole  54  4 5 9 53.3% +2.0 43.5%  103.1 15:03
 

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins traded D Robert Bortuzzo and a seventh-round pick to the St. Louis Blues for Ian Cole.

Bortuzzo is a 25-year-old tough guy defenceman, who can play on the third pair and isn't afraid to drop the gloves. Cole, 26, was a first-round pick in 2007 and has been battling for regular playing time in St. Louis since turning pro. He's already played a career-high 54 games this season and is a better all-around player, but is still a third-pair defenceman.

Bortuzzo ($600,000) is slightly cheaper than Cole ($825,000) and both will be restricted free agents in the summer.

Verdict: Edge to the Penguins, who get the better player, but the Blues had a need for a right-handed defenceman.

NEUVIRTH for JOHNSON

 

GOALIE SWAP

 
PLAYER GP RECORD GAA SV%
Michal Neuvirth  27  6-17-3 2.99 .918
Chad Johnson  19  8-8-1 3.08 .889
 

 

The Buffalo Sabres swapped goaltender Michal Neuvirth to the New York Islanders for Chad Johnson.

Neuvirth has been playing well for Buffalo, posting a .918 save percentage in 27 games, which is significantly better than Johnson (.889 in 19 games) had for the Islanders. It works for both teams. Neuvirth gives the Islanders more reliable depth in goal, and Neuvirth is playing well enough that he can take some pressure off Jaroslav Halak. The Sabres' goals aren't quite so admirable, but if they are aiming for the top pick in the draft, running a goaltending tandem of Johnson and Anders Lindback for the rest of the season should satisfy that objective.

Neuvirth, a pending unrestricted free agent, comes with a $2.5-million cap hit, while Johnson is under contract for another year, at a $1.3-million cap hit.

Verdict: The Islanders made their team better and that's an objective worthy of praise. Tanking might be the best course of action for the Sabres, but it leads to uncomfortable discussions about the legitimacy of competition.

LEOPOLD for FALK

DEFENCE SWAP

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Jordan Leopold  25  1 2 3 44.2% -3.9%  43.8% 98.5  16:05
Justin Falk  13  0 0 0 44.2% -7.6%  60.3% 89.8  9:08
 

 

 

The Columbus Blue Jackets dealt veteran D Jordan Leopold to the Minnesota Wild for D Justin Falk and a fifth-round pick.

34-year-old Leopold has declined in the past few seasons, but he's serviceable depth, particularly for a Wild team that has playoff expectations and has two rookies -- Christian Folin and Matt Dumba -- playing regularly on the blueline. Falk, 26, has been a spare part to this point in his career and figures to hold the same role in Columbus.

Falk will be a restricted free agent in the summer, while Leopold is going to be unrestricted.

Verdict: The edge goes to Columbus, who net a fifth-round pick in the deal, but also do right by Leopold, trading him to his hometown team.

CONACHER for JEFFREY

The New York Islanders traded LW Cory Conacher to the Vancouver Canucks for C Dustin Jeffrey.

Conacher, 25, hasn't been terribly productive since his rookie season (2012-2013) in Tampa Bay, but he's productive enough in the AHL (5 G, 17 A in 28 GP this season) to warrant consideration if the Canucks need a fill-in.

Jeffrey is a 27-year-old who has played 124 career NHL games. He has 41 points (17 G, 24 A) in 49 AHL games this year and offers similar organizational depth.

Verdict: A very slight edge to the Canucks, since Conacher has a little more offensive potential.

LOVEJOY to DESPRES

 

DEFENCE SWAP

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Ben Lovejoy  40 1 10  11 50.8% +0.3%  48.4% 100.0  18:33
Simon Despres  59  2 15 17 52.8% +0.3% 51.0%  100.8 16:23
 

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins traded D Simon Despres to the Anaheim Ducks for D Ben Lovejoy.

Despres is a 23-year-old who was a first-round pick in 2009. He has been relatively slow to develop, but has been a solid contributor in a depth role to this point in his career.

Lovejoy, 31, returns to Pittsburgh as a steady, righthanded option for the Penguins' third defence pairing. Lovejoy is under contract next season, for a $1.1-million cap hit, while Despres is signed for $900,000.

Verdict: Lovejoy might fit a specific need for the Penguins, but Despres, a 23-year-old who has always had positive possession stats, clearly has more long-term value.

BAERTSCHI to CANUCKS

 

FRESH START

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Sven Baertschi  15  0 4 4 43.1% -2.0% 48.0% 97.3 9:13
 

 

Baertschi is a 22-year-old who was the 13th pick in the 2011 Draft. He's fallen out of favour in Calgary, though he has 28 points (8 G, 20 A) in 66 career games. It's quite reasonable to see Baertschi in a top-nine or even top-six role with Vancouver.

The second-round pick that goes to Calgary brings about a 35% chance of turning into an NHL player.

Verdict: Since Baertschi appears to have better than 35% odds of becoming an NHL player, and is closer to reaching that objective, give the edge to the Canucks, who found value in a depreciated asset.

BREWER for HOLZER

 

DEFENCE SWAP

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Eric Brewer  26 1 5 6 46.0% -7.9% 48.6%  98.4  17:38
Korbinian Holzer 34  0 6 6  43.3% -3.7% 45.9% 101.9 17:06 
 

 

The Anaheim Ducks dealt veteran D Eric Brewer and a fifth-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for D Korbinian Holzer.

Brewer, 35, has fallen into a part-time role, with injuries starting to take their toll after 991 career games.

Holzer is a 27-year-old who has been battling for playing time with the Maple Leafs, getting into 58 career games, but he hasn't been terribly effective. In Anaheim, he shouldn't be any more than a seventh or eighth defenceman.

Verdict: For all intents and purposes, Toronto bought a fifth-round pick, by taking Brewer from Anaheim. Since they are highly unlikely to regret sending out Holzer, it's another case of the Leafs using their financial might to their advantage.

CARON for TALBOT, CAREY

 

BRUINS-AVS DEAL

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Jordan Caron  11  0 0 0 44.1% -8.6% 47.4%  98.1 7:56 
Maxime Talbot   63 5 10 15 44.0%  -0.2%  46.3%  101.5 14:00 
Paul Carey  10 0 1 1 49.6%  +5.6% 52.3%  105.7  7:53 
 

 

The Boston Bruins dealt RW Jordan Caron and a sixth-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche for C Maxime Talbot and C Paul Carey.

Caron, 24, was a first-round pick in 2009, but hasn't been anything more than a depth option, tallying 28 points (12 G, 16 A) in 134 games.
 
Talbot is a 31-year-old veteran who can play a top-nine role, and has had playoff success, winning a Stanley Cup and scoring 39 points (18 G, 21 A) in 84 career postseason games. He's signed through next season, at a $1.75-million cap hit.

Carey, 26, has one point in 22 career NHL games, so he's most likely going to spend his time in the AHL.

Verdict: While Talbot isn't a huge skill upgrade for the Bruins, he's going to give them more than what they had been getting from Caron. It's not a huge upgrade, but enough to give the Bruins the edge.

LINDSTROM for JOKINEN

FORWARD SWAP

 
PLAYER GP G A PTS SAT% REL. SAT% OZS% SPSV% ATOI
Olli Jokinen  54 3 4 7 50.4% -2.3% 47.2% 101.3 13:36 
Joakim Lindstrom  34  3 3 6 51.1%  -0.8% 55.0%  94.8 11:05 
 

 

 

In a shocking development, the Toronto Maple Leafs found a taker (the St. Louis Blues) for veteran C Olli Jokinen, a 36-year-old who has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in 54 games this season.

In return, the Blues sent Joakim Lindstrom, a 31-year-old who has six points (3 G, 3 A) in 34 games this season, and a conditional draft pick to Toronto. The pick is a sixth-rounder that could move up based on postseason success for the Blues.

Verdict: Given Jokinen's production this year, it's remarkable that the Leafs could get an asset from a contending team.

Scott Cullen can be reached at scott.cullen@bellmedia.ca.

Legend for Table

SAT% - Percentage of shot attempts for during 5-on-5 play

REL. SAT% - Relative shot attempt percentage, comparing results when on the ice to team results when player is off the ice

OZ% - Percentage of shifts started with an offensive zone faceoff, compared to a defensive zone faceoff.

SPSV% - Calculated by combining 5-on-5 shooting and save percentage. An indicator of luck/fortune/bounces if number strays too far from 100.

ATOI - Average time on ice.