Analysis of Notable Trades at 2018 NHL Draft
Here’s my take on the noteworthy trades of the 2018 NHL Draft.
Carolina Hurricanes trade center Elias Lindholm and defenseman Noah Hanifin to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Dougie Hamilton, forward Micheal Ferland and defense prospect Adam Fox.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big move by two teams that failed to reach the playoffs last season. Flames coach Bill Peters is also the former bench boss of the Hurricanes and knows Lindholm and Hanifin well, so I don’t doubt he had a hand in this. Both are restricted free agents but I expect the Flames will get them re-signed quickly. Lindholm has managed two straight 40-point seasons and is a strong two-way performer. Hanifin, 21, still has considerable upside as a puck-moving rearguard.
This is the second time in three years Hamilton’s been dealt. A skilled mobile defenseman, the 25-year-old netted a career-best 17 goals this season. He should provide an immediate offensive boost from the blueline. Ferland, a pesky physical winger, reached career highs in goals (20) and points (41). Fox could also eventually prove to be a solid addition to the Hurricanes defense corps
Los Angeles Kings reach agreement with free-agent left wing Ilya Kovalchuk on a three-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a trade but this signing could affect the trade market. Several clubs that were interested in Kovalchuk could turn to the trade market. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports it’s an annual cap hit of $6.25 million, same as Toronto’s Patrick Marleau. He cannot officially sign this until July 1 but it appears it will be a done deal.
Kovalchuk was the KHL’s leading scorer last season. He’s returning to the NHL for the first time since 2012-13. A former 40-50 goal scorer, the 35-year-old is probably no longer capable of reaching those heights again. If he can consistently reach 25 goals and 50 points per season over the course of this deal he could be a useful addition for the Kings, who are in need of experienced scoring depth, especially on the power play.
Washington Capitals trade goaltender Phillip Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round pick (47th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pure salary dump by the Capitals. Grubauer is a restricted free agent who wants to be a starting goaltender, something he won’t be with Braden Holtby entrenched as their starter. Orpik had a year remaining on his contract at an annual average value of $5.5 million. By shedding that salary, the Caps now have over $58 million invested in 15 players, giving them much-needed room to re-sign pending UFA defenseman John Carlson to what could be an eight-year deal worth over $8 million annually.
For the Avs, Grubauer could be a potential heir apparent to current starter Semyon Varlamov. The oft-injured 30-year-old Varlamov is a year away from UFA status. If Grubauer proves himself as a starting goalie in Colorado this season, the Avs could let Varlamov walk nexst summer. This move also likely means current backup Jonathan Bernier will be heading to free agency.
As for Orpik, the Avs will reportedly attempt to trade him again. Failing that, they could buy him out by June 30.