As of 11:59pm last night (Eastern time), the NHL’s annual holiday roster freeze kicked in.
While there were some rumors kicking around prior to the freeze, there wasn’t anything that seemed imminent. However, we have seen trades made within days of the roster freeze ending. Here are the previous post-roster freeze trades of past few years.
2015-16: On December 28, 2015, the Edmonton Oilers traded former starter Ben Scrivens to the Montreal Canadiens for Zack Kassian. Both teams were looking for a comeback story: Scrivens had fallen to fourth on the Oilers depth chart, while Kassian had just cleared waivers after completing the NHL’s substance abuse program. Scrivens played 15 games in Montreal, winning just five times. While one of those was a 5-1 win for Scrivens over his former team, the Oilers have likely won this trade. Kassian has gotten his act together and is a solid bottom six energy forward/ penalty killer with 15 points in 67 games so far. Scrivens is now playing in the KHL.
2014-15: Just a day after the roster freeze ended, the Oilers acquired Derek Roy from Nashville for Mark Arcobello. Roy had just cleared waivers and had 10 points in 26 games with the Predators. He found immediate success with the Oilers, scoring 22 points in 46 games. He remains one of the few centers to ever get consistent results from Nail Yakupov, who scored 25 points in 35 games with Roy as his center. Arcobello had 12 points in 36 games for an Oilers team with almost no depth at the center position: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Boyd Gordon were the only legitimate NHL centers on the roster, with Leon Draisaitl just days away from being sent to the WHL. Arcobello played just four games in Nashville before bouncing around to Pittsburgh and Arizona before the end of the season.
2013-14: On December 30, 2013, the Calgary Flames traded former OHL scorer Greg Nemisz to the Carolina Hurricanes for tough guy Kevin Westgarth. Nemisz, a former first-round pick of the Flames and double Memorial Cup champion with the Windsor Spitfires, played parts of two seasons for the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate. However, after suffering three season-ending injuries in as many seasons, Nemisz retired. He’s now an assistant coach for the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. Westgarth played 36 games for the Flames, which were his last in the NHL. He failed to stick with the Oilers on a PTO the following year, and ended up playing his last year of hockey for the Belfast Giants of the Elite Ice Hockey League in the U.K.
Interestingly enough, only one of the six players (Kassian) is still in the NHL. Scrivens and Roy are now in the KHL, Arcobello is playing in the Swiss League, and Westgarth and Nemisz are retired.
If you’re handicapping this year’s post-roster freeze movements, expect the Oilers to make a minor trade and for both players to be out of the NHL within two years.