Cullen: Breaking Down Deadline Deals

Scott Cullen
4/3/2013 8:40:10 PM
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Scott Cullen breaks down all the NHL Trade Deadline action from a statistical angle.

 Here are are links to recent Numbers Game columns covering the trades leading up to the deadline, as well as all the NHL trade deadline deals:

Stars, Penguins swap Morrows

Penguins add veteran sniper Iginla

Blues bring in Bouwmeester from Flames

Jagr moves to Bruins

Rangers reel in Clowe from Sharks

Lightning deal Conacher to Sens for Bishop

Gaborik goes to Columbus

Wild pry Pominville from Sabres

Capitals add Erat; deal Forsberg to Predators

A 34-year-old veteran defenceman, Scott Hannan returns to San Jose, where he played from 1998-1999 through 2006-2007. He's played significant minutes (19:30 per game, still his lowest ATOI since 2000-2001) for Nashville this season, while facing the highest quality of competition among Predators defencemen, which is taking the positive side for a player who has struggled in the possession game and is minus-11 in 29 games.

With more than 1000 NHL games (937 regular season, 82 playoffs) under his belt, Hannan should still be able to help the Sharks, in a depth role, maybe playing a little less.

Taking Hannan out of the mix in Nashville leaves more room for young defencemen Victor Bartley, Jonathon Blum as well as potentially Ryan Ellis or Mattias Ekholm (the latter two currently in the AHL) to get more playing time for the Predators.

Jerred Smithson, 34, has played a strictly checking centre role throughout his NHL career, scoring a career-high 16 points with Nashville in 2007-2008. He has struggled this year in Florida, but has five points and a minus-4 rating in 35 games.

Where Smithson particularly excels, however, is in the face-off circle, having won at least 54% of his face-offs in each of his last four seasons. He's also tied for 30th among NHL forwards in hits this season, with 81. Slap him into a fourth-line role and he can kill penalties and win face-offs in the defensive zone.

30-year-old Jussi Jokinen cleared waivers last week, as he's in the midst of a disappointing season (6 G, 5 A, -8 in 33 GP) and has a contract that comes with a $3-million salary cap hit through next season. That economic consideration was important for Carolina.

There are some reason to like the Jokinen addition, however. He can play centre and wing. He has won 59.4% of his face-offs this season (55.1% last year, 52.8% in 2010-2011) so he can fill in a spot in the middle while Sidney Crosby is sidelined with a broken jaw.

Additonally, Jokinen hasn't been terrible this season, more unlucky than anything else considering that he had the best shot differential among Hurricanes regular forwards. With some luck, and better linemates in Pittsburgh, it's not unreasonable to expect offensive production out of a veteran who has scored more than 40 points in six of the past seven seasons. When all are healthy, Jokinen does have the flexibility to move around, to play the wing if need be, and he can kill penalties.

The Hurricanes retained part of Jokinen's salary and will receive a conditional sixth or seventh-round pick depending on how many playoff games he plays and whether or not the Penguins win the Cup.

After an impressive rookie season, posting 10 shutouts and a .916 save percentage in 61 games in 2008-2009, 24-year-old G Steve Mason has struggled. Since then, his .899 save percentage ranks 39th among 39 goaltenders to have played at least 100 NHL games in that span.

Mason has good size, at 6-foot-4, and the Flyers are probably willing to roll the dice given the kind of play they've received from Ilya Bryzgalov. He comes with a $2.9-million cap hit and will be a restricted free agent at season's end.

The Blue Jackets get Michael Leighton and a third-round pick in return. Leighton can be the backup goaltender, with the understanding that the Blue Jackets will be riding Sergei Bobrovsky (thanks, Flyers!) for the rest of the season as they push for a playoff spot.

Related, at least tangentially, to the much bigger Marian Gaborik deal, in which the Blue Jackets traded two more forwards, Comeau provides adequate depth for Columbus. He has seven points and a minus-9 rating in 33 games. He hasn't been able to build on a 24-goal, 46-point season he had with the Islanders in 2010-2011 and has been a depth player for the Flames. As long as the Blue Jackets aren't expecting more than that, Comeau can fill a depth forward role for them.

31-year-old LW Raffi Torres is notorious for his borderline (and sometimes far across the line) hits, but that doesn't entirely erase his value. He's struggled in possession terms this year, but five goals, 12 points and a minus-1 rating in 28 games is fine production for a third-line winger.

He's not the kind of contributor that Ryane Clowe can be, but Torres can fill a role in which he plays 12-15 minutes a night, chips in a little offence and makes opposing defencemen a little extra nervous when they go back to get the puck.

It makes sense that the Coyotes would get what value they could (a third-round pick, it turns out) in exchange for a player with an expiring contract with a $1.75-million cap hit. There will be some changes to the Coyotes forward lines with Torres, Steve Sullivan and Matthew Lombardi moving on deadline day.

Few defencemen seemed as automatic to move for this trade deadline as O'Byrne, a pending unrestricted free agent (with a $1.8-million cap hit) playing for a team that sits in last place in the Western Conference.

The 28-year-old is a huge physical presence, going 6-foot-5 and 234 pounds, and has played more than 19 minutes per game since arriving in Colorado in the 2010-2011 season. He's struggled, by possession metrics, this season, but O'Byrne can kill penalties, play a lesser role in Toronto if need be and his size could help in more physical matchups.

The Avalanche have a bit of a logjam on D anyway so, while they might miss O'Byrne's right shot, a vet like Shane O'Brien could take on a bigger role now that O'Byrne has moved on.and the fourth-round pick is at least something of value in return.

35-year-old D Wade Redden returned to the NHL for the first time since 2009-2010, playing a very limited role for the St. Louis Blues, averaging less than 15 minutes per game and playing very sheltered minutes. To his credit, he was successful in that role and that gives him value to a Bruins lineup that could use him in a depth role. Currently, with Adam McQuaid out, Redden could play on the Bruins' third pairing.

Redden has a contract that is a $1-million salary cap hit and expires this summer. He's fared well enough this year to think he could earn some interest as an unrestricted free agent, but a strong finish/playoff with Boston certainly would help his case.

St. Louis' blueline was sitting with nine NHL defencemen after acquiring Jay Bouwmeester, so they could easily let Redden go and they didn't ask much, getting a conditional seventh-round pick in 2014 in exchange.

Sullivan, 38, has played 1002 NHL games in his career, and scored 742 points along the way, but his production (5 G, 7 A, -8 in 33 GP) is down this year, even though he's been slotted in a predominantly offensive role with the Coyotes. To be fair, he's also been notably unlucky at both ends of the rink, so some natural regression might help improve his numbers.

In New Jersey, he'll get a chance to play an offensive role, but he's going to be battling the likes of Alexei Ponikarovksy, Dainius Zubrus, Matt D'Agostini and David Clarkson for playing time (assuming that Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk, when healthy, are plenty secure in their spots) as a scoring winger.

Sullivan's contract, a $2.6-million cap hit, expires this summer.

31-year-old Matthew Lombardi hasn't been able to recapture his form as an offensive player, ever since missing 80 games in teh 2010-2011 season with a concussion. He's filled a depth role since, for Toronto and now Phoenix, and eight points with an even rating in 21 games for the Coyotes doesn't suggest he's due for more responsibility.

However, he does provide veteran depth for a Ducks team that has rotated a lot of rookies and prospects through its bottom six forwards. Lombardi could play a third or fourth-line role in Anaheim, which isn't much for a $2.0-million cap hit, but the pro-rated portion at this point in the season isn't very significant.

In exchange, the Coyotes get LW/C Brandon McMillan, a 23-year-old checking forward who has 26 points in 91 career NHL games, and 49 points in 112 career AHL games.

Scott Cullen can be reached at and followed on Twitter at For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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