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Over The Boards

Mailbag: Trade Deadline recap, Panarin, Bobrovsky outlook

NHL.com's Dan Rosen answers weekly questions

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Here is the Feb. 27 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which runs every Wednesday. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

 

After trading away many core players on the Minnesota Wild, including Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle, is this the start of a full-on rebuild for the Wild or just a little retool of the team? -- @TJRinger1

This is the Wild getting younger but doing so with players already in the NHL. It's a retooling of the core, not a full-on rebuild. If they were in a full-on rebuild, they would be trading for picks and prospects, and they wouldn't have re-signed 34-year-old center Eric Staal to a two-year, $6.5 million contract. Instead, the Wild got Kevin Fiala from the Nashville Predators for Granlund and Ryan Donato from the Boston Bruins for Charlie Coyle. Fiala and Donato are each 22. Granlund turned 27 on Tuesday and Coyle will turn 27 on Saturday. They got younger and the long-term upside of having Fiala and Donato instead of Granlund and Coyle is arguably better for the Wild. 

Fiala isn't as good as Granlund yet, but he projects to be as impactful. Granlund had 49 points (15 goals, 34 points) in 63 games with the Wild this season; Fiala had 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists) in 64 games with the Predators, after he had 48 points, including 23 goals, in 80 games last season. Donato has already shown flashes of a top-six forward. I don't think Coyle is a top-six forward.

 

Why didn't the Los Angeles Kings sell at the deadline? -- @swandad

Because they don't have much to sell right now. Sixteen of the Kings players on the active roster are under contract at least through next season, including eight through the 2020-21 season. That's not including the pending restricted free agents who remain under club control. It's harder to rebuild at the deadline when you don't have a lot of players on expiring contracts. I expect Kings general manager Rob Blake to try to remake some of the roster in the offseason, when more teams will get involved in larger-scale negotiations. 

The good news is they did move their pending unrestricted free agents, sending left wing Carl Hagelin as a rental to the Washington Capitals and defenseman Oscar Fantenberg as a rental to the Calgary Flames. Don't forget they acquired a first-round pick and prospects Carl Grundstrom and Sean Durzi in the trade that sent defenseman Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 28. 

Video: Division leaders are staying quiet at the deadline

 

Is chemistry the reason why the New York Islanders didn't make any moves at the deadline? -- @eriic_1995

Precisely. 

I applaud Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello's decision to stand pat at the deadline. Nobody expected the Islanders to be in the position they're in now, in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 20 games to play. I've used the term playing with house money in conversations with colleagues and other people around the League. But most importantly, adding at the deadline to a team that has obvious chemistry could be detrimental. One addition could have a domino effect and throw the Islanders off course. They don't have any glaring weaknesses or holes. That doesn't mean they're perfect, but why tinker with something that isn't broken? Lamoriello sent a terrific message to the players that he believes in them. I like it.

 

Can the Winnipeg Jets sign Kevin Hayes long term or is he merely a rental? -- @BartlettBrando

He's a rental. It'd be foolish to rule out the possibility of Hayes re-signing with the Jets, but I don't see how it's going to be possible with the salary cap implications they're going to face by having to re-sign pending restricted free agents forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, and potentially defenseman Jacob Trouba. Right wing Blake Wheeler's contract extension also kicks in next season, increasing his salary cap charge $2.65 million, from $5.6 million to $8.25 million. Hayes could demand a six-year or seven-year contract worth upwards of $6 million or more per season. With all the business the Jets have to do, I don't see how they can afford him.

 

Thoughts on the Philadelphia Flyers return for Wayne Simmonds? -- @YeagsSportsHubU

Getting right wing Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft as a return for Simmonds from the Predators seems somewhat underwhelming, but that's not surprising. Hartman has many of the same attributes as Simmonds. He's an in-your-face, gritty, hard-nosed forward who goes to the net and can contribute on the scoresheet. He should be able to play in the Flyers top-nine forward group. He has 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 65 games this season, and is 24 years old, six years younger than Simmonds, who wasn't exactly lighting it up for the Flyers this season with 27 points (16 goals, 11 assists) in 62 games. Hartman isn't flashy or a huge impact player, but on the ice, he can do for the Flyers what Simmonds was doing, at least in 5-on-5 play. He's not nearly as much of a threat on the power play as Simmonds, at least not yet. I never thought the Flyers were going to get a first-round pick for Simmonds, but in Hartman they got a still-young player who was a first-round pick (No. 30 in 2013) and who has already played more than 200 NHL games. They know exactly what they have in him and he can contribute right away.

Video: Elliotte Friedman on this year's trade deadline deals

 

New York Rangers fans seem to be divided about what to do with Chris Kreider. Some want to sign him long term while others wanted us to sell high at this deadline. In your opinion, what's the best course of action? -- @MattyWill7

Keeping Kreider, who has one year left on a four-year contract, was the best course of action at the deadline because the market for him could open up in the offseason. The Rangers had to be blown away by an offer for Kreider to trade him before the deadline. They were not. They have time to re-evaluate what they want to do with him. However, I think they must make a firm decision in the offseason; re-sign him or trade him. I don't think going into next season with uncertainty surrounding Kreider's future in New York benefits the Rangers. It doesn't necessarily hurt them, but why wait? I doubt the trade offers for Kreider will improve as next season goes on, when he becomes merely a rental, and the cost of re-signing him will increase if he plays even better than he has this season. What they do with Kreider could also depend on what they do in free agency. For instance, if they sign Artemi Panarin, maybe that makes Kreider expendable. It's all hypothetical at this point.

 

If Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets win the Stanley Cup, do he and Sergei Bobrovsky consider staying? Maybe short term? -- @hawkeystix88

Maybe, but not short term. Why would they? Panarin and Bobrovsky are in position to sign for seven years if they go to free agency or eight years if they stay with the Blue Jackets. It makes zero sense for them to take a shorter-term deal, especially if they help the Blue Jackets win the Stanley Cup. That would only enhance their value. Now, I will give it to you that winning the Cup could sway them to want to remain in Columbus, but they're not going to take less than their market value to do it. And, anyway, if the contract was shorter than seven or eight years, the salary cap charge would have to be higher, which would hurt the Blue Jackets' efforts in trying to keep a winning team together, especially if they also want to try to re-sign forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. Don't forget defenseman Zach Werenski will need a new contract after this season, when he can become a restricted free agent, and center Pierre Luc-Dubois will need one after next season, when he can become an RFA.

 

Though the Washington Capitals made a move to help both offensively and defensively, they didn't address the need for face-off help. Do you think they missed out at the trade deadline and how do they correct this moving forward? -- @RyanFines

One thing they could do is give Nic Dowd more face-offs. He's actually been their best center this season when it comes to face-offs, winning 51.1 percent (182 of 356). Evgeny Kuznetsov has really struggled, winning 38.6 percent (309 of 801). This is the area where the Capitals most miss center Jay Beagle, who is now with the Vancouver Canucks. He won 58.5 percent of his face-offs (584 of 998) last season. He won 60.1 percent of his face-offs (184 of 306) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and was their face-off specialist. They don't have one this season, which is probably why they are 31st in the League in face-offs at 45.9 percent. And, yes, it's fair to suggest the Capitals struggles at the face-off dots are a reason why they're 25th in the League in shot-attempts percentage (47.93) and why they've been outshot in 38 of their 64 games. Getting help in that specific area would have been good, but it's not a killer that they didn't. They're still one of the best offensive teams in the League (3.39 goals per game) and they're still good on the power play (22.2 percent) despite losing more face-offs on the power play (157) than they win (175). They can still win without a face-off specialist.

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