With the SHL trade deadline approaching on Wednesday, the New York Night made the first move. With the team’s grip on a playoff spot slipping and with a crucial injury on the right wing, the Night picked up RW Nori Takoyaki from the Washington Galaxy in exchange for RW Mickey Simpson, D Andy Ruger, and a 3rd-round draft pick.
“Being hard up against the cap, there was only so much we could do,” said Night GM Royce McCormick. “But we saw a need, and we were able to fill it fairly cheaply.”
Takoyaki, who is the SHL’s only player of Japanese ancestry, had played with the Galaxy since the SHL’s beginning. He continued to produce solid numbers (6 goals, 15 assists) even in the midst of a disappointing season in the nation’s capital. He has a reputation as a weak defender, but he’ll fit right in with the Night’s shoot-first philosophy. With New York, Takoyaki will plug immediately into the open right-wing slot on the second line, which became vacant when Ivan “Trainwreck” Trujwirnek went down with a lower-body injury at the end of last week.
“Obviously, we all want Trainwreck to get healthy and get back in the lineup as soon as possible,” said Night coach Nick Foster. “But with Tako here, he should help us keep humming and keep the wins rolling in.”
When Trujwirnek returns, Takoyaki is expected to slot in on the third line, where Sylvester Catarino has struggled this season. “The deeper we are, the better we are,” said Foster.
The 22-year-old Simpson is the prize of the deal for Washington. Simpson has shuttled back and forth between the Night and their farm team in Utah this season. In 10 games with New York, Simpson recorded 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) and a -5 rating.
“Right now, we’re a team in transition,” said Galaxy GM Ace Adams. “We’re focused on picking up prospects and giving our young guys some opportunities to shine. We’ll miss Tako and everything he did for our team. But I can’t wait to see what Mickey can do for us.”
The 30-year-old Ruger was a solid defender for the Night (he put up 4 points and a +2 rating in 11 games this season), but he was included solely to help the deal fit under the salary cap for the Night. The Galaxy also retained $500,000 of Takoyaki’s salary for this reason.
Immediately after the deal was completed, Washington turned around and dealt Ruger to the perpetually defense-starved Kansas City Smoke in exchange for future considerations.