Blake’s Takes: The Trade Deadline Approaches

Last week we saw a few major trades in the NHL. I’ll dive deep into those and why I think all teams involved actually made smart decisions. I’ve scoured the internet for a few other takes I think everyone will enjoy, too!

1. A Scary Incident

[Photo Credit: NHL]
Last Tuesday, Blues’ defensemen, Jay Bouwmeester, collapsed on the bench during a game against the Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. Thankfully, a few Blues players noticed right away and motioned that assistance was needed on the bench. Anaheim’s medical staff stepped in right away and were able to revive Bouwmeester and get him to the hospital after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Bouwmeester is in stable condition and will stay in the hospital in Southern California until he’s alright to head back to St. Louis. It’s always terrifying to see something like this happen on the bench and we should all be thankful for Anaheim’s medical staff. Many of you may remember the story of Rich Peverley when he collapsed on the bench in 2014. The 31-year-old Peverley did not play again in the NHL.

We should all be wishing for a speedy recovery for Bouwmeester.

2. Kassian in the News Again

I’m once again writing about Edmonton’s Zach Kassian. At this point, everyone probably thinks I’m obsessed with him, but he can’t stay out of the news. Last week, while he was laying on the ice after as scuffle wth the Lightning’s Erik Cernak, Kassian kicked Cernak in the chest with his skate as Cernak got up.

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Hockey Twitter was up in arms and immediately vilified Kassian. What Kassian did was bush league. I’m all for a little bit of violence (when condoned, i.e. fighting) to make the game a bit more exciting. However, most of the time when players fight, both are complicit in their decision. I am not okay with what Kassian did as he could have seriously injured Cernak. The department of player safety agreed and suspended Kassian for seven games.

Kassian has been riding the line between a physical enforcer and a dirty player for a while now. This skate to Cernak’s chest is far past that line. Hopefully a suspension this severe prevents him from doing anything this stupid again.

3. Coleman Shipped to Tampa Bay

Last night, the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning made a trade to help their postseason chances. They traded a first-round pick in the 2020 draft (originally Vancouver’s that they acquired in the J.T. Miller trade) and prospect Nolan Foote (son of Adam Foote) to the New Jersey Devils for forward Blake Coleman.

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Most pundits immediately praised the deal on both sides. Tampa Bay has a surplus of young talent and is obviously trying to win a Stanley Cup, making picks and prospects expendable. The Devils are on the other end of the spectrum, rebuilding and looking to acquire assets. Both sides accomplished what they wanted.

I agree with the pundits and think both teams nailed this trade. For New Jersey, another first-round pick is always great to pick up. Nabbing Foote was no small feat. Foote was the 27th pick in last year’s draft and is averaging 0.88 PPG during his WHL career. He could be a great piece for New Jersey in the future when he’s ready to make the jump to the show.

For Tampa, it’s Stanley Cup or bust. They have assembled arguably the greatest collection of talent in the salary cap era and another first-round exit will not be tolerated. Coleman is a great piece that should provide goal-scoring on their second or third line. He’s scored 21 goals this year and has added another 10 assists. The 28-year-old is cheap too. He carries a $1.8 million cap hit for this year and next. After next season he’ll be a UFA.

It’s not often you see a trade where both sides have seemed to knock it out of the park. This trade looks to be that diamond in the rough.

4. Zucker Shipped to Pittsburgh

The Jason Zucker saga is finally over in Minnesota. The Wild shipped arguably the best Jewish player in the NHL to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison and a 2020 conditional first-round pick.

Like the Tampa/New Jersey trade, each side got what they wanted here. The Penguins are right back in the thick of the playoff race this season. They currently sit one point behind the Capitals for second in the Metropolitan. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are up to their old tricks and Penguins GM Jim Rutherford felt they could boost their core. Especially after their second-leading goal-scorer, Jake Guentzel was lost for the year to injury.

I really like that the Penguins went after Zucker. He’s a really solid goal-scorer and would fit playing alongside Malkin or Crosby, who wouldn’t? Zucker is having a decent year, with 16 goals and 15 assists through 47 games (he’s already scored two goals in two games with the Pens). He’s in the second year of a five-year contract with a $5.5 million AAV. The Penguins won’t have a ton of cap-space each year seeing as their stars make so much money, but if Zucker produces it shouldn’t be an issue.

For the Wild, they finally made a move that made sense. There was no point in paying Zucker to rot away in Minnesota. They did the right thing and started their rebuild with this trade. They acquired Alex Galchenyuk who is in the last year of his three-year contract with an AAV of $4.9 million. He’s not having a great year, with five goals through 48 games, but it doesn’t really matter.

For Addison, he was a second-round pick of the Pens two years ago. He’s dominated the WHL this year with 45 points in 41 games.

The more I think about it, the more I love this trade for the Wild. They did exactly what rebuilding teams are supposed to do, shed long-term contracts to gain flexibility and acquire assets. They dumped Zucker’s contract for an expiring contract, a prospect, and a first-round pick. That’s textbook. I like this deal for the Penguins, too. But the Wild really needed to do something smart and they went out and did the damned thing.

5. A Must Watch Shootout Goal

When I write every week, I like one of my takes to be a bit easier to consume. Something fun and new that I think you all would enjoy to watch or read about. This week, I saw one of the coolest shootout goals ever that I needed to share with everyone.

This goal is downright nasty. I have never seen a player lift the puck out of the air and then bat it in the net like a baseball. This year has been the year of the lacrosse-style goal, but I think this goal is more impressive. This guy had to have the hand-eye coordination to bat the puck out of the air and hope he could still beat the goalie. The balls to do this in a shootout is another thing entirely. Props to this kid for scoring the best shootout goal I’ve ever seen.■

Blake Isaacs is a die-hard Red Wings fan that doesn’t go to as many games as he should. He is also a big fan of 7-Eleven Slurpeees, Chipotle, and all things Michigan State. Follow him on Twitter @bisaacs1995.

 

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