Hey everyone! Last year's trade deadline post was a hit so I'm back updating all of the latest trades and providing instant analysis. Reid will also be giving his thoughts as well that I will add into this post with mine. An hour or so after the deadline, we will record a podcast that will go up Thursday morning recapping everything in more detail. Anyways, I'll recap everything that happened before 1 AM EST now and starting around 10-11 AM later today, I will start updating this post as trades happen. As always, post any questions or comments in the section below or we will answer them. Let's get to it!
There have been plenty of defensemen this season who have frustrated their owners due to lack of performance. A player who looked on the verge of a breakout after last season was Rasmus Ristolainen. The Sabres agreed with that take giving him a 5 year deal and early dividends were not there. Risto was accumulating assists but not much else. However, things are starting to change and it's no coincidence that it has occurred when Jack Eichel returned to the lineup. On Tuesday night, Ristolainen scored his first goal of the season, an amazing slapshot in overtime, and added two assists and three shots in the 4-3 OT win against the Oilers. That gives Ristolainen 1 goal and 6 assists in the 5 games with Eichel in the lineup. He played almost 30 minutes in each of the last two games showing how important he is to the Sabres depleted blue line and with how the top power play unit moves the puck, I expect Ristolainen to be a #2 defenseman the rest of the way with the upside to be a #1. Let's take a look at what else developed over the last two nights.
It certainly hasn't been consistent on a game to game basis but T.J. Oshie's overall production can't be denied. He had his best game of the season on Wednesday with two goals and two assists (one shorthanded, two power play points) with three shots in Washington's 7-1 beatdown of the Penguins. That brings Oshie's totals on the season to 8 goals, 2 assists, 10 PIM, +10, 6 STP (4 PPP, 2 SHP) and 37 shots in 16 games. The big games have been there; 10 of Oshie's points are in his 4 multi-point games while he was 2 in the other 12. If he starts to put some games together, which I expect with the Capitals power play due for a hot streak, Oshie owners will get a guy who easily settles in the top 75 with the potential to push the top 50 if the plus-minus keeps progressing. Here's what else I saw around the league the last two nights:
Due to popular demand and a number o’ requests I’ve put together my list of guys to watch out for breakout seasons or, failing that, another step forward in young but promising careers. I am a benevolent god, what can I say? The people speak and I listen. I have a feeling this is going to be a series of posts because there’s just too much to say about too many guys. As such this list isn’t exhaustive and if I didn’t touch on one of your guys let me know in the comments and I’ll assemble another list or just tell you what you need to know directly. For now these are the top guys I think you should be targeting in mid to late rounds. Every one of the names on this list are keepers so if you’ve got room consider adding a few of them; you’ll thank me in a few years. If you don’t have room, well, make some! How? I don’t know. What am I, some kind of expert? Puh! Anyway, there’s a lot to cover in this lists so without further ado (I love the word ado, I don’t know why), here are my 2014-2015 Players to Watch:
Kyle Palmieri’s natural hat trick was more than enough offense for the Anaheim Ducks as they handled the Nashville Predators 5-1. Nick Bonino and Saku Koivu had the other goals for Anaheim while Craig Smith was the lone goal scorer for Nashville. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Another rough night for Martin Brodeur leads me to believe it could be official. Most declared him dead after last season but I was still holding out hope. Unfortunately Hope turned out to be a 300lb alcoholic. Please, blog, may I have some more?