The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline came and went yesterday and Micheal Ferland remained with the Carolina Hurricanes. Ferland seems destined to test the free agent market this summer, but the ’Canes opted to hold on to the power forward in the midst of a career years as an “own rental”, writes Pierre LeBrun for The Athletic. However, he adds that it wasn’t an easy decision for GM Don Waddell and company. Early on this season, Ferland’s play was exceeding that of his team and the trade market began to develop for the likely deadline casualty. However, Carolina has been one of the league’s hottest teams since the calendar turned to 2019 and they are now in the thick of the Eastern Conference wild card race. That improvement all but took them out of “seller” status, but LeBrun states that the team continued to field calls on Ferland write up until the deadline. Specifically, LeBrun says the Nashville Predators made a hard push and he speculates that Ryan Hartman, who was eventually traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for Wayne Simmonds, was the likely offer. Yet, Waddell stuck with Ferland, who has fit in so well in Raleigh, and hopes that the decision will help the team end their nine-year playoff drought. LeBrun also adds that Carolina, who largely stood pat at the deadline, had interest in Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker. Given the early results of the trade those two teams made earlier this season, it’s no surprise that the Wild weren’t eager to make another deal with the Hurricanes.
- To no surprise, The Providence Journal’s Mark Divver reports that Urho Vaakanainen, Jack Studnicka, and Trent Frederic were hot names in the trade talks that the Boston Bruins had with sellers at the deadline. The trio are arguably Boston’s top three prospects, each one an early draft pick over the past few years. Both Vaakanainen and Frederic have made their NHL debuts this season while mostly playing in the AHL, while Studnicka has been tearing up the OHL. In particular, Divver hears that Vaakanainen was a “non-starter” for the Bruins; the team was unwilling to give him up regardless of the return. The 20-year-old defenseman was the No. 18 overall pick in 2017 and his poise and vision as a two-way, puck-moving defenseman have been apparent both in Providence and with the gold medal-winning Team Finland World Junior Championship entry. With 42-year-old Zdeno Chara potentially retiring at the end of the season and Torey Krug’s contract expiring at the end of next season, the Bruins likely see Vaakanainen as having a regular role on the Boston blue line sooner rather than later. Not only did Boston avoid trading any of these three, but they landed Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson without surrendering any of their young prospects. The pair came at the cost of second-, fourth-, and fifth-round picks and Ryan Donato, who will be 23 next month.
- The Bruins were an outlier in that regard at the deadline, as the trend this season ended up with teams favoring moving players and prospects rather than picks. On deadline day, 35 players were moved compared to just 16 draft picks. In recent years, those numbers have been much closer as teams have been more conservative with their current assets and more willing to move out the unknowns of a draft selection instead. The change of course could be a reflection of the strength of this draft class; after all, of the picks moved yesterday only six were 2019 selections. The upcoming draft class is considered one of the deepest in recent years with high-end talent likely available even into the middle rounds. As such, even deadline buyers weren’t willing to gamble many of their 2019 picks. Except for the Columbus Blue Jackets, of course, who have just two draft picks remaining this June – a third- and seventh-rounder – after their all-out deadline.