Deadline Day

By Brad Constant, March 5, 2014

We’re only a couple of hours away from the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, which is today at 3 p.m. Eastern. But NHL teams have been busy over the last week or so, and some big names have already been moved.

St. Louis to Rangers

The latest trade has taken Tampa Bay Lightning star Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers in exchange for the now former Rangers’ captain Ryan Callahan, a 2014 conditional second-round draft pick and a 2015 first-round pick. It was well known that St. Louis had put in a request to be traded. We aren’t sure of all of the reasons, but it’s safe to say the St. Louis original exclusion from the 2014 Canadian Olympic Team didn’t help. That decision came from Canadian General Manager Steve Yzerman, who just so happens to be the Lightning’s GM.

This decision makes sense for both teams in our opinion. St. Louis will provide scoring for the Rangers while Callahan is a gritty, hard-working forward that can put the puck in the net too. Plus the Lightning are getting Steven Stamkos back from injury, which more than makes up for losing St. Louis’ goal scoring.

Luongo to Panthers

Tuesday’s big deal included Roberto Luongo returning to the Florida Panthers. He was traded from the Vancouver Canucks along with forward Steven Anthony. The Canucks received goalie Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthais. To be honest, this trade only makes sense for the Panthers and Luongo, who still owns a home and has family in Florida.

The Panthers are looking to become Stanley Cup contenders and now have the financial backing to make that happen. So taking on Luongo’s huge contract was feasible. The trade now gives them a potentially stellar goaltending tandem, depending on whether or not Tim Thomas can keep performing well. We know Luongo will remain consistent as he has year after year.

For Vancouver this could spell the start of a rebuilding era. When we look back to last season, when they had stud goaltenders Luongo and Cory Schnieder, the team had to make a decision on which guy to go with. Luongo’s contract was too big to move at the time, so the team moved Schneider, who is now the main guy for the New Jersey Deveils. Now they’ve gone and moved the guy that they stuck with as their number one. It doesn’t make sense!

The Canucks are now left with the young Eddie Lack, who has potential but hasn’t shown that he can provide the type of consistency that Luongo has, and the young Markstrom, who has had plenty of opportunities in Florida to shine but hasn’t really stepped up. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Canucks moving forward, especially since there are rumors that they are trying to move forward Ryan Kesler.

More goalies moved

More goalies were moved yesterday with Ilya Bryzgalov going to the Minnesota Wild and Viktor Fasth being shipped to the Edmonton Oilers.

Bryzgalov’s move now gives the Wild a veteran goalie to back up young Darcy Kuemper, who has shined since taking over for the injured Niklas Backstrom and the sick Josh Harding. You really can’t go wrong with Bryzgalov and his experience. Just don’t get him talking about the universe.

For Edmonton, the acquiring of Fasth now gives them a major upgrade over what the team started the season with. Especially after the Oilers just signed Ben Scrivens to a contract extension. The Oilers traded a 2013 third-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings for Scrivens in January. The move has turned out to be a smart one now that they’ve added Fasth. Scrivens and Fasth have the potential to be a great goalie pairing going into the future.

Sens get busy

The Ottawa Senators have also been busy today as they make a push for the playoffs. The team has signed defenseman Chris Phillips to a two-year contract extension, they’ve put Cory Conacher on waivers – he has been picked up by the Buffalo Sabres – and they acquired forward Ales Hemsky from the Edmonton Oilers.

Putting Conacher on waivers doesn’t really make sense. But signing Phillips to an extension and adding Hemsky does, especially since the team is fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Ryan Miller moved

The other really big trade happened last Friday, February 28, when the Sabres traded star-goalie Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues. In return the Sabres got goalie Jaroslav Halak, – who may very well be moved again – forward Chris Stewart, forward William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 conditional third-round pick.

Way to go St. Louis! Miller is a stud, arguably one of the best goalies in the NHL, and now he is on one of the better teams in the league. This is a great move by the Blues.

Stay tuned for more trade action. There are two hours left and we can guarantee that there will be some more news.

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Why an NHL team in Seattle makes sense

Here is the logo of the Seattle Thunderbirds, a junior hockey team in the Western Hockey League.

Here is the logo of the Seattle Thunderbirds, a junior hockey team in the Western Hockey League.

By Brad Constant, Dec. 3, 2013.

There has been talk of the National Hockey League expanding and adding a new franchise in Seattle. Investor Chris Hanson has been trying to build a new arena that could host both National Basketball Association and NHL teams. But the latest push comes from former NHLer Jeremy Roenick, who wants to get on board if the League forms a new team in Seattle (check out the CBS Sports report here).

Seattle makes sense, and here’s why.

First, Seattle itself has an estimated population of over 610,000 as of the 2010 census. Throw in the more than three million people that make up the surrounding Seattle area and you find a nice market in which a franchise could survive. (Check out Seattle.gov for the facts.)

Second, and most importantly, the fans in the Seattle area are passionate. The Seattle Seahawks have averaged over 68,000 fans during the 2013 season according to ESPN. That only ranks them 19th in the National Football League, but the Seahawks faithful sure do make a lot of noise, so much noise that they’ve been dubbed the 12th man. Want proof? Watch this video.

How about the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer? The team set the record by averaging over 44,000 fans this past season. That’s pretty impressive considering soccer isn’t the biggest of sports here in the U.S. And like the Seahawks 12th man, the Sounders fans can get pretty loud too, and yes, we have a video as proof.

The truth is a Sounders game may be the closest one can come to experiencing an atmosphere at a soccer game like those found in Europe. Check out this video of the Tottenham Hotspurs’ fans celebrating after their team scored a goal and you’ll know what we mean.

So imagine all of the Seattle fans singing and cheering their hearts out, in an arena. We’re talking about a large open area that funnels sound down to the ice surface and has a big roof to keep all that noise in. That would be one loud building.

But more importantly, if an NHL team is formed in Seattle that can compete from the get go then the Seattle fans will flood to every game, which a proven formula to make money. So the financial stability is there to support a team if the team is built properly.

However, the thing that has us, the hockey fans, the most excited is the potential rivalry that would form with the Vancouver Canucks. The two cities are only a few hours apart. Think about it, an American team versus a Canadian team only three hours apart, divided by a border, and both with passionate fan bases. This is something that dreams are made of!

So why, Gary Bettman, is there not a team in Seattle yet? Get behind Hanson and his push for an arena. Once it is built – and it will most likely be a state-of-the-art facility – then all parties involved can enjoy the fruits of a Seattle-based NHL team. But most importantly, the fans in Seattle will finally have the NHL team they deserve.

Check out this site covering everything you’d want to know about the potential NHL team in Seattle.