NHL Prospects

Prospect Updates From the NHL Trade Deadline

Prospect Updates From the NHL Trade Deadline

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and except for the Llamas it was business as usual. While the common currency in deadline deals is rental players and draft picks, there were a number of prospects whose NHL rights were transferred. How the trade will effect each player is unique and depends on the situation, let’s take a look at some of the players who were dealt.

Perhaps the most prominent prospect moved was Anthony Duclair who was traded from the New York Rangers to the Arizona Coyotes in the Keith Yandle trade. Duclair appeared on some fans radar this season as he made the New York Rangers out of training camp with a strong preseason performance. For the first half of the season he was a healthy scratch at times before being loaned to team Canada for the World Junior Championship where he played a prominent role helping Canada win the Gold. After the tournament he was returned to junior and has 25 points in 20 games with the Quebec Ramparts. At the World Juniors, Duclair scored four goals and had four assists in seven games playing on a line with Max Domi and dominating.

The pair will be reunited in Arizona in the future as soon as next season as both players are very likely going to make the Coyotes roster and begin their NHL careers full time next season.

The Coyotes made several other moves including the addition of 2014 second round pick of the St. Louis Blues, Maxim Letunov who was acquired in the Zbynek Michalek trade. Letunov is a prospect whose stock is growing as fast as he is. Letunov grew four inches in his draft year to 6’3” which was a boost but also at only 168 pounds made him easy to push off the puck. He needs to continue to build strength and fill out his tall lanky frame, but the skill is already there. He is playing in the USHL for the Youngstown Penguins where he has 53 points in 47 games played. Next season he has committed to play for Boston College.

Maxim is a big, skilled center with excellent upside. He will play at Boston University next season who do a great job developing players. We are excited to have him join our organization.

Coyotes GM Don Maloney

Sven Baertschi, a former first round pick of the Calgary Flames was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for a second round pick. After only four years the Flames have given up on Baertschi despite having room on a rebuilding roster. After an early strong start his numbers have been underwhelming with only four assists and no goals in his 15 games with the Flames this season. The Canucks still have enough confidence to give up a second round pick for Baertschi as General Manager Jim Benning continues to replenish the prospect cupboard in Vancouver adding Baertschi to the likes of Jake Virtanen, Hunter Shinkaruk, Cameron Gaunce and Linden Vey. Baertschi is a good two-way player, but it’s his offensive upside that made him a first round pick. He’s not the biggest guy on the ice, but uses bursts of speed and shifty moves to get passed defenders and get open. A fresh start in a new organization that has confidence and faith in Baertschi could allow him to realize his potential.

I don’t like giving up draft picks, but Baertschi is going to be a top six player one day

Canucks GM Jim Benning

Mattias Backman was acquired by the Dallas Stars from the Detroit Red Wings in the Eric Cole trade. It’s well known that the Red Wings have a tendency to develop their prospects in the AHL for several years and the defensive depth chart is a little deeper in Detroit than it is in Dallas. This trade will provide the 22 year old puck moving defender with an opportunity to fast track his NHL career. Expect Backman to playout the balance of the season for Texas in the AHL but he will have a better opportunity to challenge for an NHL roster spot out of training camp for next season with Dallas. Stars GM Jim Nill is very familiar with Backman from his days as the assistant GM for the Red Wings who has upside compared to Alex Edler. His offensive production has not been evident in the AHL where he had only four points in 18 games and Backman has since returned to Europe where he has 16 points in 23 games in the Swedish Hockey League.

The Carolina Hurricanes acquired Roland McKeown from the Los Angeles Kings in the Andrej Sekera trade. The Kings traded up to acquire McKeown at the 2014 draft moving Linden Vey for the 50th selection. This is McKeown’s first official trade, “It’s shocking but it’s definitely fun to have that opportunity and obviously Carolina wants me if they’re trading for me so I very privileged to be a part of that” Said McKeown. While it may be difficult to be traded from a Stanley Cup defending team, the opportunity for McKeown in Carolina is much greater. McKeown was an early first round projection for the 2014 draft but fell slightly to the 50th pick in the second round and has not increased his offensive numbers in the OHL with the Kingston Frontenacs this year and failed to make the Canadian World Junior team after captaining the U-18 team. While some may see this as a regression John Hoven of Mayors Manor Blog is not worried.


 

Is it the end of the world? No, not really. In fact, the decline in his offensive output is to be expected after being told he needs more structure to his game. We remain confident in the process. Let him build the structure and then the offense will come again. Currently, the wrap on McKeown is that he doesn’t compete the right way, or enough, or consistently. Once he learns to compete the proper way, there is a big ceiling on his future. If the Kings Development Staff can get through to him over the summer, there is a strong possibility he could be a real mover up this list next season.

NHL Prospects
@pharling

Peter Harling is a fantasy hockey aficionado who is featured on McKeens providing the weekly waiver wire and was featured in the McKeens yearbook. Peter can usually be found in OHL rinks near his home town of Kingston Ontario where he provides the Kingston Frontenacs with editorial for the game program. Peter has previously been a contributor to such sites as Dobber Hockey, The Hockey Writers and Fantasy Hockey Coach.

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