2018 SSG NHL Trade Deadline: The Walkin’ Blues Edition

It was an eventful trade deadline day this year in the NHL as 23 players,2 unsigned prospects and 4 draft picks changed hands over the course of the day. Fans in the city of St. Louis were stunned and in disbelief as GM Jeff Copeland surprisingly conceded any chance of a playoff run this year and fully embraced the reality of a rebuild. Some pundits were in agreement that this was the best course of action, although respected former GM Craig Button was left wondering if the Blues could not have got more or given up less if they had not got into contract trouble in the late stages of the day. When the dust settled in Missouri there were few veteran players that were not on a Boeing airliner out of town.

Breaking down the trades as they were announced we start with the Blues and Canucks.

Canucks Trade: LW Martin Frk, RD Andrei Pedan & 2018 5th Round Pick
Blues Trade: LW James Neal & RW Garrison Sanipass

The Canucks and Blues pulled off a big trade last season sending veteran center Brandon Sutter and young Tobias Lindberg to the state of Missouri in a rebuilding move that netted the Canucks some veteran cap dumps and notable prospect Ivan Barbashev and defense man Colton Parayko. This year the tables turned as the teams respective management groups decided to go in opposite directions. The Canucks traded LW Martin Frk, hulking defense-man Adrei Pedan and a 2018 5th round pick to the Blues for sniper James Neal and prospect Garison Sanipass. Neal has been a consistent scoring threat through the years and is expected to give the Canucks a boost in scoring as they look to make the playoffs in a pitched battle in the west for the final two playoff spots.  Heading back to the Blues were a couple of young players. The man with no last name vowels Martin Frk had been a nice pickup for the Canucks this season but was deemed expendable. Frk is just hitting his prime at 24 and should be able to crack the top 6 in the Blues forward group. Andrei Pedan had fallen out of favor in Vancouver and not seen much ice time. He could get another chance in St Louis were his toughness and abrasive style of game could make him a fan favorite. It had been rumored that RW Kevin Labanc was also apart of this deal but the finalized deal was a 2018 5th round pick heading to the Blues and fringe prospect Garison Sanipass headed to Vancouver’s farm system.

Blues Trade: LW Jaden Schwartz
Oilers Trade: G Ken Appleby, LW Hudson Elynuik, and RW Radek Koblizek

The Blues were just getting started at this point but you started to get the feeling it was going to be a big moving day once LW Jaden Schwartz was moved. The Oilers and Blues had been rumored to be talking all night and finally settled on a trade. Heading to Oil country LW Jayden Schwartz gives the Oilers a fast, skilled winger who will fit right in as they hunt down the top seed in the western conference. Schwartz has been a consistent 20 goal man the last few years and should see time with either McDavid or Draisaitl.  Going to the Blues a trio of young prospects that should help a struggling farm system were G Ken Appleby, LW Hudson Elynuik, and RW Radek Koblizek. Appleby looked to be a solid option to develop down in the AHL but further moves means he will begin his tutelage under starter Jonathon Quick. Elynuik was 4th round pick in 2016 who had seen some success this year and plays a rugged game but needs to work on his skating. Koblizek is a smaller skilled forward who has seen time in the ECHL and AHL this year with the Bakersfield Condors.

 

Lightning Trade: D Alex Pietrangelo and G Jake Allen
Blues Trade: C Joel Eriksson Ek,Rights to LW Ostap Safin, D Ryan Suter and D Duncan Siemens

In a trade that shocked the NHL and came out of nowhere the Lightning swooped in and got one of the top defenders in the League in Alex Pietrangelo and a great backup in Jake Allen. Bold moves are second nature to Tampa GM Patrik Lovberg and he struck once again at this deadline adding more to an already dominate Lightning team.  The 28 year old Pietrangelo can log heavy minutes in all situations and quarterback a power play at an elite level. Well off his normal production pace this season, you have to believe he will more then pick it up slotting in as a major factor in the Lightning attack. Jake Allen also helped address one of the noticable weaknesses the Lightning had in not having a solid backup for goaltender Seymon Varlamov. The key to this deal for the Blues was receiving highly touted center Joel Eriksson Ek. Ek looks to be a true #1 center in the league for years to come and will benefit from being able to dish the puck to Vladimir Tarasenko once he returns from a broken hand. A big man with great skating and hands, Ek was a tough prospect for Tampa to part with. The Blues also added the rights to top prospect LW Ostap Safin who currently was playing for HC Sparta Praha in the Tipsport Extraliga in the Czech Republic. Another big bodied talent he could join the Blues as early as next season. Defenders Ryan Suter and Duncan Siemens also join the Blues. Siemens has yet to make good on his talent that had him drafted in the first round and could be on his last chance,but will have a chance to prove himself on the Blues blue-line. Ryan Suter was shocked to be moved but both the Lightning and Blues needed to avoid cap problems for opposite reasons. The Lightning needed to avoid the cap ceiling and think about long term issues in moving Suter, while the Blues now began to experience life as a floor dweller.

Canucks Trade: LW Ronald Kenins and a 2018 4th Round pick.
Jets Trade: LW Brandon Pirri.

In a smaller deal the Canucks and Jets hooked up to exchange depth left wingers in Brandon Pirri and Ronald Kenins. Pirri had not been able to consistently crack the Jets lineup this year and GM Damon Macioce was able to turn him into an asset as they picked up a 2018 4th round pick from the Canucks. Pirri had been a player the Canucks had liked in the past and has the ability to move up and down the lineup as needed. Kenins was moved to the Jets for contract slot purposes and was expected to be waived to the AHL by the Jets as they look to have several players return from injury soon.

 

Sabres Trade: LD Devante Stephens and RD Mikhail Sidorov
Blues Trade: LD Kevin Shattenkirk

The craziness continued in St. Louis as veteran Kevin Shattenkirk was traded to the Sabres for a pair of young defense-men. At this point you had to wonder who was safe on the Blues and some thought a team might make a run at Tarasenko or Quick perhaps. Shattenkirk had struggled mightily this year and a change of scenery could bring his game back around as a solid top 4 rearguard. His power-play production especially should see a boost with the Sabres as they look to solidify a playoff spot in the tough eastern conference. Devante Stephens and Mikhail Sidorov gave the Blues another couple of young defenders who will battle it out next season for a job with the big league club, but at this point panic would set in for the Blues GM as he realized he was over the allowed contract limit of 50 contracts with just minutes to spare. Also TV insider Craig Button called out this deal ” How do you trade Shattenkirk and not only not get a solid prospect or draft pick, but you put yourself in big trouble with your contract limit with such little time. I really feel like fans in St. Louis are wondering now is this the right direction and leadership we need running this team?” GM Jeff Copeland had not responded to these criticisms by the former NHL GM at this time.

Jets Trade: D Chad Krys, LW Smith-Pelly and C Justin Kloos
Blues Trade: RW Dimitrij Jaskin.

While the Blues were busy moving Shattenkirk they also had another deal dropping at the same time. The Jets called on Dimitrij Jaskin and were able to consummate a deal in the later stages of the day. Jaskin was a player Jets scouts absolutely loved and they were able to offer up enough to pry him away from a Blues team that surely could use a young winger such as him.  With incredible speed and soft hand, Jaskin had not put up the points expected of him but was still highly regarded by some teams.  He was expected to join the top line with Malkin and Foley in Winnipeg which surely will see an uptick in scoring. The Blues were able to feel good about this trade in getting young LD Chad Krys’s rights in addition to Smith Pelly and Kloos. Krys currently plays for the US National Development team and is putting up nearly a point per game as a 19 year old. While slightly undersized his puck handling skills are elite and he could be a top power play quarterback one day. Devante Smith-Pelly has moved around to quite a few teams in the last few years as he continues to tantalize GM’s with his size and speed. Coming off a career year in 2016-2017 Pelly has had a nightmare season so far with no goals and just 2 assists to show. The Blues hope a change to coach Hitchcock’s systems will see a turnaround for the big winger. Justin Kloos is an undersized center who was sent to the AHL Chicago Wolves to continue his development. After a great NCAA career the 24 year old had struggled to adapt to the pro game.

Blues Trade: 2019 6th round pick and RD Dimitri Sergeyev and LD Mac Bennett
Maple Leafs Trade: 2019 7th round pick

The final trade of the day came with just seconds to spare as the Blues scrambled into DEFCON 1 trying to get to the 50 contract limit. Finally able to reach a deal, any deal!, the Maple Leafs moved up a full round in the 2019 draft by taking on 2 depth defenders on expiring contracts. Said one unnamed GM ” I would have played hardball with the Blues myself, they were in full panic mode at this point trying to unload 2 contracts to anyone who would listen.”

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