Yesterday was a busy day around the league as GMs continue to get deals done well before Friday’s 3:00 p.m. ET trade deadline. The New York Islanders got involved in the action, acquiring forward Pierre Engvall from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Engvall wasn’t acquired early enough to make it for last night’s road game against the Minnesota Wild, so the Islanders had to dress their skeleton crew again, and they still managed to earn a point out of the contest. On a night where the Buffalo Sabres lost a surprising game in regulation and the Detroit Red Wings got waxed for the second night in a row, we’ll take that point. They do need to try harder to score in OT, though, because the shootout is an automatic loss for this team. But they have been playing tight defense since losing Mathew Barzal—Trotzian defense, even—and that is an encouraging sign down the stretch.
Engvall shores up a bottom six besieged by injuries and a lack of skill and footspeed. He’s a large man, though apparently not overly physical. He’s “speedy,” as described by Lou, and a strong forechecker. Also, as noted by Dan in our article, linked below, boy does he raise the team’s handsomeness. And there’s always a Lou connection to his acquisitions: He wasn’t working for the Leafs when they drafted Engvall, and Engvall didn’t play much or at all in the NHL during that time either, but Lou remembers everyone in his organizations.
He is a pending UFA. However, we know Lou generally doesn’t trade for rentals—although that typically applies to more marquee names than Engvall’s—and he would be a good piece to have stick around. He’s only 26 and shouldn’t cost too much.
The Isles still have some cap room to play with ahead of Friday’s deadline, so it will be interesting to see if Lou has anything else up his sleeve.
About last night:
- You have to wonder if they ever even practice the shootout, although the Wild are the best shootout team in the league. Josh Bailey had the lone Isles’ goal, and Ryan Reaves, after earning a TKO on Ross Johnston, had Minnesota’s goal. [LHH]
- They’re now 0-5 in shootouts, with literally just one successful attempt out of 15, but they got a much-needed point. [Islanders]
- Three out of four points and encouraging play are good things to take away from this two-game trip. [Newsday]
- And though they still have played more games than any other team in the league, the three points from this trip have bolstered their chances. [NY Post]
- Overall, Lane Lambert liked what he saw. And I’m liking what I’ve been seeing the last few weeks, too.
Lambert Postgame Availability pic.twitter.com/juQfTrIw7A— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 1, 2023
About the new guy:
- The deal was Engvall for a third-round pick in 2024, a perfectly fair price. Dan has more on the deal, including some charts and scouting reports. [LHH]
- He can play all three forward positions but is primarily a winger and is great for depth. Also, he’s Swedish. A Swede named “Pierre”; now I’ve seen it all. [Islanders]
- He has 12 goals and nine assists on the year. [Newsday]
- Like every new Islander, he gets the 7 Facts treatment from the team site. I wonder how they settled on seven.
- But wait, there’s more (potentially): Lou still has cap space and 55 hours to work with before the deadline, and he wouldn’t say yesterday that he was done dealing. [Newsday]
- The New York Rangers officially traded for Patrick Kane, giving up a conditional first-rounder and a fourth-rounder to the Chicago Blackhawks and laundering him through the Arizona Coyotes for another third-round pick. Here’s hoping it backfires spectacularly. [NHL]
- The other really big deal from yesterday was the Edmonton Oilers finally getting a shutdown defenseman that can move the puck, trading for Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators. The package going back to Tennesee includes a first-round pick and Tyson Barrie, who presumably will be flipped for more assets. [NHL] In Ekholm, the Oilers get exactly what they have been missing. [Sportsnet]
- To clear the cap room to acquire Ekholm—who is quite excited to be an Oiler—they had to trade former fourth-overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi to the Carolina Hurricanes for some guy. [NHL | Sportsnet]
- The Engvall trade was one of a flurry of moves the Leafs made yesterday: They also traded Rasmus Sandin to the Washington Capitals in exchange for the Boston Bruins’ first-round pick and Erik Gustafsson. [NHL]
- And after clearing more space by trading Engvall, they acquired Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a third-round pick. [NHL | Vancouver Is Awesome] But what does this mean for the Leafs? [Sportsnet] Well, for one, the pressure ramps up on the stars. [Sportsnet]
- He’s in just the first year of an eight-year contract with a full no-trade clause, but apparently, action is picking up on St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko, who might be willing to go home to Alberta. [TSN]
- And overnight, a trade was completed but not yet officially announced between the Los Angeles Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets: Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo (having a nice bounceback year) are going to LA in exchange for an undetermined package that includes a first-round pick and... Jonathan Quick. Talk about unceremonious, and the players are allegedly not happy with it. [Daily Faceoff]
- Somehow, the Maple Leafs might not be done. And now that Edmonton and LA have found their left-shot defensemen, what market remains for Jakob Chychrun? [TSN]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Sabres losing in regulation, at home, to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Red Wings getting shellacked for the second night in a row visiting the Ottawa Senators. However, both the Florida Panthers (over the Tampa Bay Lightning) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (over the Nashville Predators) earned regulation wins on the road.
- After last night’s action, the Islanders remain in the first wild card by points, four clear of the cut line, and are now up to ninth by points percentage.
- It’s not yet Timo Time: The new New Jersey Devils winger probably won’t make his debut tonight when they visit the Colorado Avalanche as he deals with a nagging injury. [NHL]
- Jaromir Jagr is 51 years old and still playing professional hockey in Europe. Many Islanders fans hate him, and deservedly so given the fact that he played for most of their rivals, but that’s impressive no matter how you slice it. [NY Times]