CRACKS OF DON: Teams reluctant to “sell the farm” with trade deadline approaching

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Don Brennan Forward Brett Connolly was traded from the Florida Panthers to the Chicago Blackhawks in a multiplayer deal on April 8, 2021.Forward Brett Connolly was traded from the Florida Panthers to the Chicago Blackhawks in a multiplayer deal on April 8, 2021. Photo by Jerome Miron /USA TODAY Sports

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Wanna know what’s kinda interesting about the big, six-player-and-a-pick exchange Thursday between the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks?

The one that sent Brett Connolly, Riley Stillman, Henrik Borgstrom and a seventh from the Sunshine State to the Windy City for defenceman Lucas Carlsson and centre Lucas Wallmark?

Other than the fact that in their 94-year history, the Blackhawks have never tradedtwo guys named Lucas on the opening day of the Masters?

And that the Tampa Bay Lightning made Connolly the sixth overall pick of the 2010 entry draft while Stillman’s father, Cory, was selected sixth overall by the Calgary Flames in the 1982 draft?

The answer is nothing, really.

Three of the gentlemen moved four days before the deadline are former fourth-rounders. Perhaps Wallmark plays some for the Panthers. Couple of years back he did have 51 points for the Hurricanes. Over two seasons.


  <p> This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. </p>     <h2>Article content</h2> <p>Stillman, a defenceman, did play for D.J. Smith in Oshawa. How he didn’t wind up in Ottawa is a mystery.</p> <p>Borgstrom, a Finnish-born centre, was a first-rounder (23rd overall) in 2016. Maybe this was all about the ‘Hawks bringing in Ian Mitchell’s former University of Denver teammate, just to do something nice for one of their bright young defencemen.</p> <p>Or maybe they really do see some value in Connolly, who had 19 goals for Florida last season but, in 21 games in ’21, only has two.</p> <p>Could the Panthers have been looking at it as a salary dump?</p> <p>Possibly, but Connolly’s cap hit is in the $2.4 million neighbourhood and they have plenty of space, with only Ottawa, Detroit, Los Angeles and New Jersey closer to the floor.</p> <p>The Panthers can afford to bring in Tony DeAngelo as a replacement for the injured Aaron Ekblad. In fact it’s a surprise they already haven’t agreed to take a chance on the ex-Ranger, given they’re in a slugfest with Carolina and Tampa Bay for first in the Central.</p> <p>Meanwhile, it’s hard to say how much activity there will be around the league leading up to D-Day.A lot has already been decided, even though there’s no little x’s indicating “clinched” in the standings.</p> <p>In the Central, there’s still a race between Nashville, Chicago, Columbus and Dallas for the final playoff spot.</p> <p>In the North, all that’s left is determining playoff matchups.</p> <p>In the East, Boston, Pittsburgh, Rangers and Philly are fighting for two spots.</p> <p>In the West, Arizona, St. Louis, San Jose and Los Angeles are vying for the last reservation to the post-season dance.</p>  <h2>Advertisement</h2>      <p> This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. </p>     <h2>Article content</h2> <p>The three teams above them are two serious Cup contenders, Colorado and Vegas, along with the surprising Minnesota Wild, who blasted the Avalanche 8-3 on Wednesday.</p> <p>“We’re all-in because we want to win and expect to win,” Wild GM Bill Guerin said of his approach to the deadline while a guest on ‘The Chirp With Daren Millard’ podcast. “I’m not going to sell the farm just for a rental that’s going to blow town in a couple of months. We still want to build, we still want to accumulate draft picks and things like that, because we’re kind of building on the go.”</p> <p>If other teams take that stance, there could be a few more trades like the one between Florida and Chicago on Thursday.</p> <p>Given the uncertainties brought on not just by parity but also COVID, who can blame them?</p> <p>STARTS AND STOPS</p> <p>Take Tanner Pearson’s name off the bait board. The veteran winger declined an opportunity to test the UFA market by signing a three-year, $9.75 million extension with the Canucks. His value to Vancouver is the experience of winning a Cup in L.A. an his leadership … Here’s why teams are wary of traded players coming back to bite them. Heading into Thursday’s game, Hurricanes C Vincent Trocheck had scored in each of his past five games against the Panthers, the team that made him a third-round pick in 2011 then dealt him to Carolina two years ago. The last player to score in six consecutive games against one team was Trocheck’s coach, Rod Brind’Amour, who enjoyed such a successful run against Washington in 2005-06.</p>  <h2>Advertisement</h2>      <p> This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. </p>     <h2>Article content</h2> <p>BETWEEN PERIODS</p> <p>Brad Marchand has never been called tall, but he’s a giant among men in shorthanded situations. When the Bruins winger scored on a dazzling effort while a teammate was in the box Thursday against the Capitals, it was his 30th career shorty, tops among all active players. A healthy cushion over the next two guys on that board — Frans Nielsen and Andrew Cogliano each have 20 — Marchand is still country miles behind the career leader, Wayne Gretzky, who scored 73 times with his team at a man-disadvantage. The goal also represented Marchand’s 49th career shorthanded point, making him the Bruins’ all-time leader in the category, with two more than Bobby Orr and Eddie Westfall.</p> <p>ON THIS DATE</p> <p>Exactly 41 years ago, Gordie Howe scored for the very last time, beating Montreal’s Denis Herron with a long backhand is the third period of Hartford’s 8-4 loss to the Habs in Game 2 of the best-of-five preliminary round. Adding to the historical significance of the goal is that while the 52-year-old “Mr. Hockey” had a goal and an assist, so did his son Marty, while his son Mark had two assists. It was the only time in their careers that all three Howes hit the scoresheet in the same game … Exactly 54 years ago, Wayne Connelly of the Minnesota North Stars became the first player to score on a playoff penalty shot. There were 10 misses before his, dating back to 1922. In playoff history there have been 83 playoff shots, of which 25 were successful attempts. Only one player has scored twice on playoff penalty shots — Michael Frolik of the Blackhawks in 2011 and 2013 — while Jonathan Marchessault of the Vegas Golden Knights was awarded most recent one, and he scored, on Colorado’s Philipp Grubauer, August 8, 2020 … Exactly 28 years ago Mario Lemieux scored five times and Joe Mullen had three in leading the Penguins to their NHL record-setting 16th consecutive victory, a 10-4 thumping of the New York Rangers. In this most remarkable of seasons, Lemieux won the scoring title with 160 points despite being limited to 60 games while undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Exactly 19 years ago, Canadiens captain Saku Koivu made an emotional return from his 79-game absence to treat a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma … Past and present NHLers celebrating birthdays on this Masters Friday include Rick Tocchet (57), Daniel Dore (51), Drew Bannister (47), Alexei Ponikarovsky (41), Brian Elliott (36), Michael Chaput (29) and Ryan Donato (25) … Jimmy (The Shadow) Roberts, a Toronto product who split his 1006 NHL game career between the Canadiens and Blues, would have turned 81 today. He died after a brief battle with cancer on Oct. 23, 2015.</p>  <h2>Advertisement</h2>      <p> This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. </p>     <h2>Article content</h2> <p>PARTING SHOTS</p> <p>Looked like Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) being interviewed by Roy Firestone all over again when Jack Campbell was asked about his thoughts after his 10th straight win by Sportsnet’s Shawn McKenzie on Wednesday. Campbell appeared to be determined McKenzie was not going to make him cry, but he nearly lost that battle a couple of times. “There isn’t a day I don’t thank the Lord for putting me here in Toronto with these amazing guys,” said Campbell. The Leafs should be saying prayers of thanks that the 11th pick of the 2010 entry draft now seems to be reaching his potential.</p> <p><a href="mailto:dbrennan@postmedia.com">dbrennan@postmedia.com</a></p>   <h2>Share this article in your social network</h2>       <h2>Advertisement</h2>      <p> This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. </p>         <h2>The Ottawa Sun Headline News</h2> <p>Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Ottawa SUN, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.</p>    By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. 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