Goalie Tim Thomas, refusing to join his new teammates in celebration.
I’ll keep this short-ish and sweet-ish. We’re experimenting with new formats. Moves by the Rangers, Islanders, Panthers and Flyers below.
New York Rangers trade LW Mike Rupp to Minnesota for C/LW Darroll Powe and RW Nick Palmieri
People with long memories for NHL minutia will recall that Mike Rupp was actually drafted 9th overall in 1998 by the Islanders. That’s a thing that happened – take Tom Wilson and Hugh Jessiman and multiply it by 2. Where did we go wrong, NHL fans, to lose Mike Milbury as a GM and gain him as a television personality? Either way, Rupp has made a nice career for himself as a sometime enforcer and sometime scorer, but he got absolutely wrecked at even strength last year, and he’s still got another year left on his contract at 1.4M next season. Enter the Minnesota Wild, who consider such things unimportant – G.M. Chuck Fletcher says he’s ‘good in the room’. Powe’s no prize pig at 1.07M, but he at least is a capable penalty killer and 4th line energy bringer (aka also bad territorially). Palmieri is intriguing but is unlikely to figure in the Rangers’ plans – the Minnesota Wild reserve list was coming dangerously close to 50, and Palmieri was the designated sacrifice.
Los Angeles Kings trade C Andrei Loktionov to New Jersey for a 2013 5th round pick
Russian players have a value problem – if at the end of every contract they can use Russia as a threat, they can either demand money well above their worth, or simply return to play in Russia if they are unhappy with the organization they’re playing in. Loktionov played 39 games for the Cup champion Kings last year, but was on the outside for their playoff run and had demanded a trade during the lockout. Still, I don’t know if New Jersey is what he was looking for – they appear to have four NHL centers and Loktionov was assigned to the minor league squad. Regardless, he’s a player who can provide offense (97 points in 132 AHL games) and at 22 we’re still not sure what his ceiling is.
Pittsburgh Penguins trade D Ben Lovejoy to Anaheim for a 2014 5th round pick
Between losing Brian Strait to waivers and dealing Reverend Lovejoy, the Penguins sure are sloughing off a lot of defensive depth? Let’s not forget they traded Zbynek Michalek in the off-season either. Lovejoy’s ‘advanced numbers’ suggest a player who at least doesn’t go backwards. With 80 points in 218 AHL games, it also seems Lovejoy can help out on the power play. Anything more than that may be a bridge too far, but Anaheim is paying Luca Sbisa far too much money to do a job that can be taken care of by the Ben Lovejoys of the world. Pittsburgh’s been getting decent minutes out of Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo on the back end – better to trade than lose to waivers.
Boston Bruins trade G Tim Thomas to New York Islanders for a conditional 2nd round pick
A lot’s been written on this, so I’ll keep it brief – it’s a fine deal for the Islanders. If Thomas comes back to the NHL, they’ll have a fine goaltender for the year left on his deal. If he doesn’t, they have someone to prop up the salary floor for a year. The NHL has already ruled that Thomas’s contract cannot prop up the salary floor indefinitely – if he doesn’t show up to camp next year, his contract won’t keep counting towards the floor. I’m curious what the Bruins might do with this extra cap room.
Florida Panthers trade D Keaton Ellerby to Los Angeles for New Jersey’s 5th round pick in 2013
Keaton Ellerby was the 3rd defenseman drafted in 2007, behind Thomas Hickey and Karl Alzner. After Hickey was unceremoniously lost to waivers at the beginning of the season by L.A., it seems nostalgia for the ’07 draft has crept in. More seriously, Ellerby didn’t do terribly with the 3rd pairing minutes he got in Florida and his new defense pair mate in L.A. is Drew Doughty – taking one’s talents from South Beach to Long Beach has its advantages. Florida has a bunch of depth-y defensemen in Tyson Strachan and Erik Gudbranson – plus GM Dale Tallon can always hide behind the ‘I didn’t draft him’ defense if Ellerby develops into something better.
Philadelphia Flyers sign Kimmo Timonen to 1 year extension worth $6M.
I’m not a fan of signing older players to extensions mid-season, and even less of a fan to signing them for amounts that are the same as their cap hit now. Timonen will turn 39 next season and while he’s had a wildly unheralded NHL career as a top-pairing rearguard, his game will start to turn south soon, if it hasn’t already. While UFA defensemen on the market figure to be less than plentiful this off-season, I don’t see what the advantage to this move is, except limiting Philadelphia’s potential exposure to the dreaded 35+ clause. If Timonen hit the open market, maybe he gets multi-year offers and the Flyers are forced to match. However, if keeps signing 1-year deals, the Flyers won’t be up a creek if he suddenly goes bad. On the other hand, they have to deal with a guy taking up nearly 1/10th of their payroll who’s not the player he was 3 years ago.
Calgary Flames sign G Danny Taylor to NHL contract, recall him to NHL
This is where NHL goaltending comes from, at least sometimes. Taylor has a .928 SV% in his last 59 games in Abbotsford and with Miikka Kiprusoff laid up for several weeks, the Flames needed a netminder. The 26 year old Taylor has plied his trade in Hamburg, Gwinnett, and Wheeling, and was born in Plymouth, England, so at least he has the well-traveled part of his potential NHL narrative down.
Aaron Palushaj claimed by Colorado from Montreal
Palushaj was up and down so often from Hamilton to Montreal last season he should’ve just gotten an apartment midway between the two cities. He was nearly a point a game player in the AHL over the past two seasons, but had struggled this season, and Montreal has promising young forwards in Alex Galcheynuk and Brendan Gallagher, meaning they could afford to expose Palushaj to waivers. Colorado’s injury problems at wing should give him a better opportunity, and at 23, he could stick for a bit.
Calgary Flames recall C Ben Street
AHL statistics can be awfully misleading. I don’t follow the AHL closely and numbers don’t tell enough of the story sometimes, but what I do know is that when Ben Street was recalled, he had 3.81 shots per game in 44 AHL contests. That’s good enough to earn a trip to the NHL. Street turns 26 this week and while he’s never had more than 57 points in an AHL season, he might’ve made a quantum leap in his game this season, and Mikael Backlund’s injury gives the Flames the ice time to see if that’s so.
Tampa Bay Lightning recall C Alex Killorn
Alex Killorn was drafted by Jay Feaster when he was GM of the Lightning in 2007. He spent a year playing in some league that hockeydb isn’t aware of. In 2008-09, he played for Harvard in the NCAA. He played four years there, his point totals increasing every year, and was signed by the Lightning when he exited college in 2012. He was part of Norfolk’s run last season and put up 38 points in 44 games in the AHL this year. Sometimes it can take an awfully long time to develop a player, but sometimes all that waiting was necessary.