With the trade deadline just a week away and the stretch run for the play-offs right ahead of us, there’s been a lot of activity around the league these days:
- The New Jersey Devils were busy this weekend, completing two trades to stock up on picks and prospects. The first deal involved trading veteran defenseman Andy Greene to the New York Islanders for a second round pick in the 2021 draft, along with prospect David Quenneville. On the surface, this one reeks of Lou Lamoriello overpaying for an old familiar face: Greene’s spent his entire 14 year career with the Devils, many of those years under Lou. It’s hard to see why the Isles are paying a second round pick for a 37 year-old who is clearly on the downswing, but their defense group is awfully thin and it’s hard to fault management too much for wanting to take a swing at a play-off run given their surprising year to date. I don’t love it for the Isles, but maybe this was the price they had to pay for an upgrade they needed badly.
- Our pals at Lighthouse Hockey had a good piece analyzing the Greene deal from the Isles’ perspective. They’re more sanguine about it than I am.
- The bigger deal the Devils pulled off was trading Blake Coleman to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a first round pick in either 2020 or 2021, along with forward prospect Nolan Foote. Foote is the son of Adam, the long time Colorado Avalanche defender, and was taken 27th overall in the 2019 draft by the Bolts. For Sens fans dreaming of the haul that Jean-Gabriel Pageau might bring in, this Coleman deal is a perfect benchmark. Coleman is a checking centre with nearly identical counting stats this year, and only slightly better shot metrics. Coleman’s a year older than Pageau, but he’s also signed to one of the best value contracts in the whole league at $1.8M for this year and next. If I had to guess, Coleman’s contract would ultimately make him a bit more valuable than Pageau, but after seeing this deal there’s no reason to believe Dorion shouldn’t be able to extract at least a first round pick from any trading partner. As for the Lightning, well, they’ve won 10 in a row, are three points out of first in the East (with a game in hand) and just improved an already elite forward group. Watch out.
- Our sister blog All About the Jersey has a good breakdown of all the Devils’ activity, with the piece on the Coleman trade particularly worth a read.
- In Minnesota, Bruce Boudreau is out as the coach of the Minnesota Wild. Boudreau is generally regarded as one of the best bench bosses in the league, but the Wild are on the outside of the play-offs looking in after missing the postseason last year; it was clear his time was running out. Assistant coach Dean Evason will take over in the interim. Michael Russo has a good piece with some choice quotes from GM Bill Guerin as to his reasoning for the move. As a former player, Guerin offered an interesting perspective on the whole thing:
“If players are hurt by this, then maybe they’re not the players that we should have here,” Guerin said. “This is the business that we’re in. It’s unfortunate. It’s always a sad time when you do this, but this is the business. Just like I said the other day with the Jason Zucker trade, this is something where I fully expect our players to show up at game time (Saturday) and be ready to go.