Just like the offseason, major sports offer unpredictable moves and shocking outcomes before the trade deadline; hockey never fails to disappoint. With the small salary cap that teams have, some transactions have to be made, whether it’s sending players to a playoff-caliber team or getting rid of players that didn’t match up to the skill level they once promised. After all the chaos, let’s break down the major stories that happened before the trade deadline:
Dallas Sends Patrick Eaves to Anaheim
After a surprisingly successful year last year and a Coach of the Year nomination for Lindy Ruff, the Dallas Stars have been a huge disappointment this year. Second to last in the Central division (thanks to the last-place fails of Colorado), the Stars have decided to send some of their star players to playoff teams. First off, they sent right-winger Patrick Eaves to the physical Anaheim Ducks, who are tied for second in the Pacific Division with the red-hot Calgary Flames.
Kings, Lightning Swap Goalies
For the start of the season, it was very rough for the Los Angeles Kings: they lost their star goaltender in Jonathon Quick, and quickly caught the “Carey Price Effect” from last season, where nothing seemed to go right with the team. They’re one of the last teams in the conference, they lack confidence, and everything just seemed to be in a downward spiral. Then later on, towards the All Star Break, backup goalie Peter Budaj picked it up and vaulted the Kings up the Pacific division. But when L.A. found out Quick was healthy, they quickly acted on doing something before the deadline. Them and Tampa Bay decided to swap goaltenders in Budaj and (surprisingly) TB starter Ben Bishop, sending Bishop to Anaheim. At the time, Tampa Bay was down in the standings of the competitive Atlantic division, and wanted to give their goalie a chance to see the playoffs again. Now, the Lightning are right on the edge of snatching a Wild Card spot, while the Kings are also on the edge of getting a W.C.
Stars Break Up Benn Brothers, Send Jordie to Montreal
The Dallas Stars get a young defenseman and a fourth round pick, so who did they give up? Jordie Benn. So much for the Benn Brothers being together. As stated above, the Stars are in rebuilding mode and getting rid of some of their top guys. With literally no chance of making the playoffs, they send physical defenseman Jordie Benn to the Montreal Canadiens. That should make the Atlantic division more interesting; especially with Shea Weber, Andrew Shaw, a healthy Carey Price, and now Jordie Benn on the same team.
St. Louis Sends Another Big-Named Star to Washington
St. Louis wants to focus on the youth of their roster, or try to make Vladimir Tarasenko its true Captain. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, like former teammate TJ Oshie a few seasons ago, was traded to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a first round pick and a few players. As much as I hate St. Louis (being a Blackhawks fan), getting young players and draft picks helps pave the way for the future. In baseball, my White Sox did that this past offseason, and as much as I hated seeing Chris Sale and Adam Eaton go, it’s all about paving the way for the young stars.
Chicago Brings Back Another Fan Favorite, Stanley Cup Winner
No, not Patrick Sharp (sadly). To prevent another shortage of defensemen during their Cup run, the Chicago Blackhawks brought back defenseman Johnny Oduya. Oduya left the Blackhawks after winning the championship in 2015, so he hasn’t been gone for that long. He still probably needed a quick refresher on the playbook of the ingenious Coach Q. Also known for being a great shot-blocker, he should give Hjalmarsson a break. Plus, the Oduya jokes never get old.
Los Angeles Want to Give Future HOF a Chance To Win The Cup
There’s no doubt Jarome Iginla is going to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s only a matter of time until he decides to retire, then he will be in the HOF in no time. But before he decides to call it a career, Los Angeles and Colorado wanted to give Iginla a legit chance to hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time. Colorado sent Jarome Iginla in exchange for a 2018 draft pick because at this point for the Avalanche, they need to rebuild…. and rebuild badly. Just finally reaching the 40-point mark, Colorado, I’m sure, is looking forward to the offseason more than any other team. As for Iginla, I hope he gets a chance to touch the Cup one day… just not with the Kings.
Raised in a competitive family, sports has been the majority of my life. Not only playing but watching as well. Born in Oak Lawn, IL (suburb of Chicago), I tend to have a bias, but I try to keep an open mind. Nonetheless, I enjoy watching and talking sports.