A lot has happened since we recorded and posted yesterday. There will be plenty more to come with the draft tonight, but here are some thoughts on the big moves that have happened in the last 24 hours.
Dave Tippett's tenure in Arizona is over
(Photo Credit: Christian Peterson: Getty Images)
Last night, the Coyotes fired Head Coach Dave Tippett. This was a power shift move considering Tippett had been there for eight seasons. GM John Chayka and ownership (Andrew Barroway) are clearly looking to give this team a new identity. I don’t think anyone can argue that the Desert Dogs needed to go in a different direction, but the way they've gone about it is rough around the edges (ie: the Shane Doan release). Lindy Ruff, Dallas Eakins, and Willie Desjardins are some names that could fill the vacancy (especially since Jack Capuano officially signed on to be Bob Boughner’s assistant in Florida). Arizona continued to make moves today as they sent the seventh overall pick in tonight’s draft and D prospect Anthony DeAngelo to the New York Rangers in exchange for C Derek Stepan and G Antti Raanta. Stepan’s name has been out there for a couple of weeks in the rumor mill, and some thought Raanta would be taken by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft. Arizona gets a very good second-line center/mediocre top line center and a goalie who is capable of starting. Stepan can also provide some leadership to a young group. As for the Blueshirts, they get a much-needed right-handed shot on the blueline in DeAngelo, and could bolster their defensive prospect depth with tonight’s pick. They haven’t had a first round pick since 2012 (Brady Skjei-28th), and haven’t had a pick as high as seventh since they took Dylan McIlrath with the tenth overall pick in 2010. The Rangers last single digit first round pick was the sixth overall pick in 2004, when they took the immortal Al Montoya. The Coyotes also added D Niklas Hjalmarsson (presumably to play on the top pair with Oliver Ekman-Larsson), but more on that in a second…
Antti Raanta and Derek Stepan are heading to the Western Conference
(Photo Credit: Adam Hunger - USA Today Sports)
CHANGES IN CHICAGO
Marian Hossa (left) and Niklas Hjalmarsson (right) won't be in a Blackhawks uniform this season, but Brandon Saad (center) will be
(Photo Credit: Blackhawks.com)
Stan Bowman said there would be changes after the way the Blackhawks season ended (first round sweep by the eventual conference champion Nashville Predators), and he wasn’t kidding. It started with the firing of Assistant Coach Mike Kitchen, and then trading G Scott Darling to Carolina. Nothing earth-shattering there, but Bowman got out the sledgehammer today. In his first move, he sent D Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona for D Connor Murphy and F Laurent Dophain. While many Hawks fans are up in arms about this move, Murphy provides a younger, cap-friendly D-man with some term (signed through 2021-22). You can also make the argument that Hjalmarsson’s style of hockey could cause his game to slip a bit in the coming seasons. The Blackhawks weren’t done there, sending Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte, and a sixth round pick in tonight’s draft to Columbus for Brandon Saad, Anton Forsberg, and 2018-5th round pick. This was another move that had Hawks fans scratching their heads, but Saad is signed through 2021 at $6 mill per, and Panarin is up at the end of 2018-19 (also $6 mill per). Saad is more of a complete player and will help fill the void left by Hossa. As Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times puts it “Jonathan Toews hasn’t been the same without Brandon Saad. Patrick Kane can still be highly productive without Artemi Panarin”. I completely agree, and getting Forsberg allows them to have a backup behind Crawford. Columbus gets a needed offensive weapon up front that should slot in to their top line from day one.
Also the Edmonton Oilers signed Kris Russell to a four year contract extension worth $4 million per season. It’s a smart move for a team that’s looking to build on the foundation already in place for years to come. Russell slots in nicely on the second pairing and kills penalties.