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Prices too high for Bruins GM Chiarelli at deadline

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 7:51 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made the calculation that prices were so high on rental players leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday that it would be better to spend on a player the Bruins could control beyond this season.

That player turned out to be 22-year-old forward Brett Connolly, who the Bruins acquired early Monday morning from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade for second-round picks in the 2015 and 2016 NHL Drafts. Connolly has 12 goals and 15 points in 50 games this season.

The Bruins didn’t have a lot of maneuverability below the NHL salary cap to make a bigger trade without also trading a player with a large salary. Connolly carries a salary-cap charge of $851,000 this season, according to

"For us, we’re obviously under a cap crunch. But it’s just hard to get a deal done," Chiarelli said at TD Garden on Monday. "And you see that the prices are so high that it makes it prohibitive. And that’s really why we ended up going towards Connolly rather a rental. We looked really across throughout the forward rental market. He’s a young guy. He’s going to be with our group for a while. We will control his rights and he’s going to grow into a good player and he can help us now. So looking to the future but also to the present. And that’s necessitated by the prices. And what we looked at was, if we’re going to spend the picks that we’re going to spend, let’s look at all options, not just rental options."

Small deadline moves reveal confidence of Islanders

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 7:25 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Judging by the smiles and the lack of nerves at Islanders Iceworks on Monday, one never would have known it was a few hours away from the NHL Trade Deadline.

It felt like a routine practice for the New York Islanders, who skated for about an hour before heading to the airport to board a flight to Dallas, where they will begin a four-game road trip Tuesday.

One could understand why the Islanders seemed so relaxed. They entered Monday with 41 wins and were atop the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the New York Rangers.

"We're really excited about the group we have in here," defenseman Travis Hamonic said. "... If (general manager) Garth [Snow] decides to do something, it's not up to us.

"We're certainly a very tight-knit group. A big group of us have been together for a long time now. We've been through some of the down years and it's certainly been a lot of fun winning together and it's been a good atmosphere around this room (this season).

"I understand there's decisions to be made, [but] it doesn't necessarily come into our minds. Obviously it's done for us, but we hope we can do something really special with this group."

Blue Jackets sign Atkinson to three-year contract

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:59 PM / News

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Cam Atkinson to a three-year contract Monday.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Columbus Dispatch reported it's worth $10.5 million.

Atkinson, 25, has 13 goals and 25 points in 58 games this season. He would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"It’s the same process with everybody who is coming close to unrestricted free agency," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "It’s about protecting the franchise and its future and we can’t just let players walk into the unrestricted free agency without getting anything for them at the stage were in with our club."

Analysis: Trading frenzy creates little clarity in East

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:54 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

It is fair to suggest that every team in the top nine of the Eastern Conference standings is better than it was a week ago.

If that's true, it is also fair to suggest all of the activity in the past few days was more about keeping pace with the competition than providing any clarity on what should be a fascinating fight to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Everyone got a little better, so the Stanley Cup Playoff picture remains murky.

The top seven teams in the East entered the day of the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline within nine points of each other. Prices were high in a seller's market, and teams were willing to pay. Given how close the teams are, there was an opportunity for one or two to pull out in front of the rest, but at this point it doesn't feel like anyone did.

"Predicting is a tough thing to get into; if we stay healthy and have enough depth and everyone performs and we get the good goaltending we think we will have, then we can go all the way," New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather said. "But there are a lot of teams thinking the same thing that I am thinking, everybody made deals, and we are all optimistic about where we will end up."

Yandle has Rangers focused on Stanley Cup run

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:51 PM / NHL Trade Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- There's no doubt the New York Rangers and their fans are hoping for a long and successful run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After making three trades in a span of a few hours Sunday, general manager Glen Sather would expect nothing less.

The biggest was the acquisition of defensemen Keith Yandle and Chris Summers, and a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, from the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman John Moore, forward prospect Anthony Duclair, a second-round pick in 2015 and a conditional first-round pick in 2016.

Five underrated trades made prior to 2015 deadline

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:28 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The blockbuster trades, and even the ones that never get made, are the attention grabbers on Trade Deadline day in the NHL, but they are far from the only ones that can make a big impact.

Sometimes it's the lesser-known trades that enhance a team's chances of either securing a Stanley Cup Playoff berth or going deep in the postseason.

Take, for example, the impact forward Michal Handzus made with the Chicago Blackhawks after they acquired him at the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline for a fourth-round draft pick. Handzus was a cheap addition, filled a hole at center, and helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

Similarly, in 2012 the Blackhawks got defenseman Johnny Oduya for two draft picks. He has played a significant role in Chicago ever since, making the price of a second- and third-round pick seem well worth it.

Forward Chris Higgins has been a worthwhile contributor for the Vancouver Canucks since they acquired him prior to the deadline in 2011 for a defense prospect and a third-round pick. Higgins helped the Canucks reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

Here are five examples of underrated trades made prior to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline (note they weren't all made Monday) that could be talked about as having a significant impact at some point this spring:

Islanders acquire goalie Neuvirth, forward Kennedy

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:18 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

The New York Islanders made two trades leading into the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday, acquiring goalie Michal Neuvirth from the Buffalo Sabres and forward Tyler Kennedy from the San Jose Sharks.

The Islanders traded goaltender Chad Johnson and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft for Neuvirth.

"It was shocking. I was enjoying my sushi and one of my teammates told me to look on the TV and I saw it," Neuvirth said. "It was a little bit of a shock but it's a great opportunity to be in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]."

Rangers, Zuccarello agree on new contract

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:15 PM / News

Forward Mats Zuccarello has agreed to terms on a contract to stay with the New York Rangers.

It is for four years, $18 million, according to Zuccarello would have been an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The contract reportedly includes partial trade protection.

Penguins trade Despres to Ducks for Lovejoy

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:12 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks swapped defensemen Monday, with Simon Despres going to Anaheim and Ben Lovejoy going to Pittsburgh, where he started his NHL career.

The Penguins also acquired defenseman Ian Cole from the St. Louis Blues for Robert Bortuzzo and a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

"The reasons for these trades is that when we looked at our defense, despite the fact that it's played pretty well to this point, we were concerned about the experience of our defense," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. "We were looking to upgrade it a little bit, more from a veteran presence.

"Since Ben Lovejoy left here, he has gained great experience in Anaheim and has played extremely well and that will continue when he comes back to Pittsburgh. And in Ian Cole's case, he's been in the League and has some good experience and has played extremely well this year."

Ducks acquire Sgarbossa from Colorado for Clark

Monday, 03.02.2015 / 6:06 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

The Anaheim Ducks have acquired center Michael Sgarbossa from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Mat Clark.

Sgarbossa, 22 (7/25/92), has earned one assist (0-1=1) with 14 penalty minutes (PIM) in nine career NHL games with Colorado. Sgarbossa appeared in three games with the Avalanche this season, recording his first career NHL point on Dec. 4 at Calgary.

A native of Campbellville, Ontario, Sgarbossa collected 4-19=23 points with 35 PIM in 40 games with Lake Erie, Colorado’s primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL). Sgarbossa has appeared in three AHL seasons with Lake Erie, posting 28-59=87 points with 162 PIM in 146 career games with Lake Erie. The 5-11, 180-pound center was selected to play in the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic and finished his rookie season with 19-25=44 points in 57 games. Prior to joining Lake Erie, Sgarbossa won the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) scoring title with 47-55=102 points in 66 games for Sudbury in 2011-12.

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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter