Capitals and Rangers Exchange Ryan Bourque, Chris Brown

The Washington Capitals and New York Rangers have exchanged a pair of AHL forwards. The Capitals acquire 25-year-old Ryan Bourque, while the Rangers get 25-year-old Chris Brown.

 

Bourque was a 3rd round pick in 2009, who made his NHL debut with a single appearance last season. This year he has served as captain of the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. The 5-foot-9 forward has posted 10 goals and 24 points through 55 games with this season.

 

In Hersey, he’ll join his brother Chris Bourque, who currently leads the AHL in scoring with 61 points in 54 games.

 

Going the other way is Brown, who was a 2nd round draft pick for the Arizona Coyotes back in 2009. He’s played 23 NHL games in his career, including six for the Capitals over the last two seasons. He’s put up three goals and nine points for the Hersey Bears in the AHL this season.

 

Bourque and Brown previously played together as a part of the U.S. National Development Team Program in Michigan before Brown moved on to the University of Michigan and Bourque began playing for the Québec Remparts of the QMJHL.

 

RELATED: Eric Staal Traded to New York

 

Follow all of The Hockey Writers’ trade deadline coverage here

 

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Gerard Gallant Replaces Peter DeBoer on Team North America

The NHL and NHLPA announced Sunday that Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant will replace San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer as an assistant on Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

 

DeBoer is relinquishing his role due to personal reasons, according to the league’s press release.

 

The eight-team tournament will begin in September with six nation-based teams and two non-nation teams, including Team Europe and Team North America. Team North America will feature Canadian and American players 23 and under.

 

DeBoer is in his first year as the coach of the San Jose Sharks and was chosen back in November to serve as an assistant to former Sharks coach and current Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan. Gallant is in his second season as the coach of the Florida Panthers.

 

Other assistant coaches will be Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper, Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett and Edmonton assistant coach Jay Woodcroft. The team’s general manager is Peter Chiarelli and he will be assisted by Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, who serves as the team’s associate general manager.

 

Team North America, along with the other seven World Cup teams, will announce the first 16 players of each roster on Wednesday.

 

PROJECTED WORLD CUP ROSTER:

 
 

Team Canada World Cup Roster Projection

 
 

Team Czech Republic World Cup Roster Projection

 
 

Team Europe World Cup Roster Projection

 
 

Team Finland World Cup Roster Projection

 
 

Team North America World Cup Roster Projection

 
 

Team Russia World Cup Roster Projection

 
 

Team Sweden World Cup Roster Projection

 
 

Team USA World Cup Roster Projection

 

 

Senators’ Wiercioch, Chiasson, Prince On The Block

With the hours counting down to the Trade Deadline, the Ottawa Senators are surveying their options.

 

It seems to depend on the day as to whether they are competing for a playoff spot. After going on a four game winning streak, all hope seemed to be lost after a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. Just two days later, a come-from-behind victory in Calgary brought little hope back and now the Senators sit four points out of the 2nd Wild-Card playoff spot with three other teams standing in their way.

 

As the clock continues to tick, the pressure is on for Ottawa to make some deals.

 

Ottawa Senators’ Deadline Possibilities

 

If there is one thing Senators’ GM Bryan Murray has made clear, he is not looking for a rental. He is looking for a younger player who is ready to make a longer term commitment to an organization. For months, the rumours surrounding the anticipated move of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin have been flying. As of late, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has shown lots of patience and the Drouin watch has stayed fairly cold. On Saturday night, talks surrounding the 20-year-old forward heated back up.

 
 

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And as the deadline draws closer, news continues to come in.

 
 

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The waiting now draws close to an end as Drouin is expected to be moved sometime before the deadline. It would be particularly interesting if Ottawa landed him, as Murray confirmed in an interview on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night that he is “nowhere” in regards to a deal with landing the 3rd overall pick in 2013.

 

Among the Senators’ potential deadline activities, nothing is more anticipated in the nation’s capital than the chance to land Drouin.

 

Senators That Are On The Trade Block

 
 

Outside of the Drouin madness, one player whose name has continued to come up throughout the year is Senators’ defenceman Patrick Wiercioch. While it would be no surprise if he was moved at the deadline – having been largely underused in Ottawa for quite some time – a few other names rose as “available” on Saturday that came as a surprise to some.

 
 

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23-year-old Shane Prince comes as the most alarming, considering his potential at such a young age. In his first year of NHL action, Prince has 12 points in 42 games. Alex Chiasson, on the other hand, comes as a shock for a different reason. Chiasson has struggled since arriving in Ottawa from Dallas in the deal involving Jason Spezza. This season he has just 10 points through 58 games. If there is interest, Ottawa would do best to part ways with the struggling 25-year-old who serves as a bad memory of the trade of Ottawa’s former captain.

 

Tick, tock. Time is running out.

 

Ron Hextall Shows Awareness In Michael Raffl Extension

With the trade deadline less than 24 hours away, the Philadelphia Flyers and GM Ron Hextall have yet to make a trade. But that doesn’t mean the team hasn’t been thinking about the future in the process.

 

On Sunday afternoon, the team announced a three-year extension for impending unrestricted free agent Michael Raffl, averaging a cap hit of $2.35 million per season:

 
 

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Raffl was reportedly being shopped by the Flyers according to TSN’s Travis Yost as the team tried to acquire more draft picks toward the future:

 
 

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Whether Hextall was able to get that return or not, he decided to hold on to Raffl for a few more seasons at a reasonable cap hit, and Philly should be better off for it.

 

The Flyers’ Weaknesses

 

Philadelphia has been far from perfect this year. But things are much better than last season, especially on the backend, where there’s hope from rookie Shayne Gostisbehere.

 

The biggest deficiency has been a lack of depth scoring among the forwards. There has been a maximum of five reliable scorers among the group, while the rest have been lackluster, to say the least.

 

The biggest culprits have been Matt Read, Sam Gagner and R.J. Umberger with his one goal in 38 games. Raffl could also be counted among this collection, but he tends to bring more to the table as he can be moved around the lineup and still has found chemistry with several different linemates.

 
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

R.J. Umberger has been a major disappointment in his second season back with the Philadelphia Flyers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

 

 

 

 

 

Hockey has become a game of pairings, on defense and offense, and while Raffl doesn’t fit into any of the established ones on the Flyers, he has completed lines effectively during his tenure with the team. Trading him for future draft picks when the team could be ready for playoff contention next season doesn’t make much sense. Hextall showed he’s aware of those issues by signing Raffl to an extension.

 

The Austrian forward won’t be the only answer to fix those problems in the depth scoring among the bottom six, but he’s the one that has shown the most among the current roster. Flyers fans should hope that this is the first step in solving the bottom two lines.

 

Possible Solutions

 

As noted earlier, the trade deadline isn’t over yet, so the Flyers could make an addition still before the offseason. But more than likely, it will take some offseason signings to get that done.

 

However, there’s players still in the system that could fill in for the underperforming roster players. Nick Cousins and Scott Laughton have shown flashes of taking those roles, while Taylor Leier is perhaps more than a dark horse for a role next season.

 

Revamping the fourth line is also a big importance. Chris Vandevelde and Ryan White haven’t done much, even on the penalty kill where they’re more known for their defensive play.

 

Fixing the bottom six, won’t be easy, but Hextall showed he knows what he’s doing on Trade Deadline Eve.

 

Featured image provided by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers

 

Chicago Blackhawks Trades Only Add To Strong Roster

In the first game since the trade announcements have been made, the Chicago Blackhawks faced off against league leaders the Washington Capitals. With new addition Tomas Fleischmann, traded from the Montreal Canadiens, and Hawks returnee Andrew Ladd both playing in the clash, they really helped to show that GM Stan Bowman does know exactly what is best for his team, and how to add even more strength to his roster for this season.

 
(Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)

The Hawks Were Stanley Cup Champs Last Season (Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Repeating History?

 

The Blackhawks are well on their way to becoming Stanley Cup Champions for the second time in as many years, with Bowman strengthening his team in such a way. Ladd has already proven himself to be a good choice for the Hawks in the trades as he had a hand in captain Jonathan Toews’ power play goal, earning him his first point in his first game back in Chicago since 2010. Fleischmann has also made a great first impression for the home fans as his front of the net presence gave the visiting Capitals something to worry about.

 

Team Work is Key

 

It wasn’t just the new faces giving the Mad House something to cheer about. In previous years, the Blackhawks have relied heavily on their big stars, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and the like. This season has been different though. Even with Kane leading the team, and the league, in points, it hasn’t been a one man show this season. Several Blackhawks players have been making names for themselves. Number One Star of Sunday afternoon’s

 
Teuvo Teravainen

Teravainen Proving to be a Valuable Player – Can the Trades Help? (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

 

game, Teuvo Teravainen had some great chances to get on the scoreboard. Although he maybe hasn’t had the best record in terms of scoring, he certainly has had his opportunities and very much remains a threat to the opposition. Hawks coach Joel Quennville has been putting together some rather dangerous line combinations, each one offering something different in levels of skill, power and speed. One such line has been the grouping of Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov. On their own, each player has something to offer: Kane with his enviable stick and puck handling skills; Panarin with his speed and quick shots; and Anisimov with his ability to read the game and be in the right place and the right time. Together, they have contributed to the Blackhawks with an impressive 176 total points.

 

With the latest additions to the Blackhawks roster over the past few days during the trade window, they have only made themselves stronger. The Blackhawks have proved that they will, yet again, be contenders for the Stanley Cup in June.

 

Kris Versteeg Traded to Los Angeles Kings

The Carolina Hurricanes have added another trade to their Sunday activity, moving Kris Versteeg to the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings will send Valentin Zykov to the ‘Canes as well as give up a conditional 5th round draft pick.

 

Acquired in September 2015 in a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks that also brought Joakim Nordstrom to Carolina, Versteeg has 11 goals and 22 assists in 63 games this season. He has been a very positive veteran presence in the Hurricane’s locker room.

 

Versteeg is set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. He has been a part of two Blackhawks teams that have won the Stanley Cup.

 

The 20-year old Zykov is playing for the Ontario Reign in the OHL, and has 7 goals and 7 assists for 14 points in 43 games this season. Zykov was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Kings.

 

The trade gives insight as to what Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is looking for, young offensive skill players. Zykov and Aleksi Saarela of Finland who was part of the ‘Canes return for Eric Staal in their deal with the New York Rangers are both young, potentially prolific goal-scorers.

 

It is widely known that the Kings need some help at the forward position, particularly with Marian Gaborik out due to injury. Versteeg brings help to the Kings up top. He is however, distinguished in the NHL for his success on another level:

 
 

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For more on the NHL Trade Deadline, stick with The Hockey Writers by checking out the official THW Deadline Day page.