2017 has been quite a busy year in the hockey world. There have been several big trades, the first expansion team in over 15 years, and much more. Over the coming days, PHR will take a look back at the top stories from around the game on a month-by-month basis. Next up is a look at the month of November.
Duchene Trade: After months and months of rumors about the destination of Colorado Avalanche’s disgruntled center Matt Duchene and a highly publicized failed trade between the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators, a three-way trade with those three teams was finally completed one day later. Ottawa picked up Duchene, while Nashville acquired veteran center Kyle Turris. Colorado picked up a large haul of prospects and picks, adding defenseman Samuel Girard, winger Vladislav Kamenev, 2016 first-rounder Shane Bowers, goaltender Andrew Hammond, Ottawa’s 2018 first-round pick (top 10-protected), Nashville’s 2018 second-round pick and Ottawa’s 2019 third-round pick. If Ottawa finishes among the bottom 10 teams this year (which suddenly seems likely), Ottawa will give Colorado a 2019 first-rounder. While the deal seems to have vaulted Nashville to the top of the Central Division after the trade, the Senators have gone in the opposite direction as they stand in seventh place in the Atlantic Division. Turris has five goals and 13 assists in 23 games since arriving in Nashville, but Duchene has struggled. He has just three goals and three assists in 23 games for the Senators.
Prospects Returned To Junior Teams: With many teams evaluating the play of some of their top draft picks as NHL teams can observe their young players for 10 games before they burn a players’ first year of their entry-level contract, many players found themselves heading back to their junior teams in November. The Edmonton Oilers were the first to send 2017 first-rounder Kailer Yamamoto back to the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL. He had three assists in nine games with the Oilers. Other teams followed suit as Florida sent 2017 first-rounder Owen Tippett back to Mississauga Steelheads after putting up just one goal in seven games for the Panthers. Other players were also sent back including the New Jersey Devils’ Michael McLeod and Los Angeles Kings’ Gabe Vilardi.
Vegas Goaltending Woes Continue: The Vegas Golden Knights surprising on-ice success hit some roadblocks when they lost their starting two goaltenders in Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban. The team instead turned to AHL goaltender Oskar Dansk, who was injured as well, forcing the team to go with Maxime Lagace as their starting goaltender. Even he went down and the Golden Knights were forced to recall 2017 seventh-rounder Dylan Ferguson from his junior team on an emergency basis to play some minutes for the Golden Knights. Little by little, the Vegas netminders began to heal with the eventual return of Subban and Fleury. Only Dansk remains on injured reserve. Despite those woes, the Golden Knights rarely faltered.
Extensions Signed: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed winger Cam Atkinson to a seven-year, $41.125MM ($5.9MM AAV) extension, a big signing for a player who was headed for unrestricted free agency this summer. Atkinson had scored 105 goals in the previous four seasons before this one. Ironically, Atkinson has struggled this year as he’s put up just six goals and has been benched for a game by head coach John Tortorella. The extension makes him the third highest-paid player on Columbus’ roster behind only goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Artemi Panarin. The Golden Knights also got into the act, locking up defenseman Brayden McNabb to a four-year, $10MM extension. That gives Vegas a physical presence on the blueline for years.
Devils-Ducks Swap: The Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils completed a trade as the Ducks sent defenseman Sami Vatanen to the Devils in exchange for center Adam Henrique, Joseph Blandisi and a 2018 conditional third-round pick. The deal is one of those equal moves as the Devils needed help on the blueline, while having an excess of forwards with the impending return of Travis Zajac. Anaheim had excess defense, while desperately needing center help as they had to deal with injuries to Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf. Henrique started strong, but still has eight points in 14 games for Anaheim. Vatanen has a goal and three assists in 14 games for New Jersey.