SHL Offseason Trade Summary

The following trades took place in the offseason before Season 3:

The Quebec Tigres made a huge deal at the top of the draft after their planned choice went awry.  The Tigres had planned to take scoring winger Rod “Money” Argent with the #2 pick, addressing their major shortcomings on offense.  But after the Seattle Sailors surprisingly drafted Argent with the first pick, Quebec found themselves with no obvious choice.  So they traded down, dealing the #2 pick to the Hamilton Pistols in exchange for the #5 pick, a second-round pick, and D Dmitri Kalashnikov. Hamilton sought the #2 pick in order to grab G Lasse Koskinen, who immediately became the team’s top netminder.  While Quebec did not wind up with an impact player of Argent’s caliber, they traded quality for quantity.  With the #5 pick, they plucked RW Rupert MacDiarmid, who put up 15 goals and 39 points in juniors last year.  In Kalashnikov, the Tigres added an elite and ferocious defender, whose 109 penalty minutes were the second-most in the SHL last season.  The Tigres used the second-round selection to nab D Hal Pugliese, who took Penn Tech to the NCAA tournament three times in his collegiate career.

The Dakota Jackalopes also dealt a first-round pick, sending the #6 selection to the New York Night along with C Phil Miller in exchange for C Mike Rivera.  The trade represents a bold gamble for both teams.  For Dakota, adding Rivera augments their high-flying offense, as the Jackalopes attempt to catch up with their division rivals in Michigan and Anchorage.  Last season, Rivera banged home 23 goals and collected 39 points with New York. He is expected to anchor Dakota’s second line this year.  For New York, the trade reflects new coach Nick Foster’s desire to build a more balanced club.  Although Rivera was a strong contributor on offense, he is widely considered a defensive liability.  Miller, who put up 18 goals and 30 points between Saskatchewan and Dakota in ’16, is regarded as more of a two-way player.  With the sixth pick, the Night grabbed goaltending prospect Sherman Carter, who recorded a 2.27 GAA and a .930 save percentage in juniors last season.  In addition to drafting Carter, New York signed the top free-agent netminder, Jesse Clarkson, to complete an overhaul of one of their weakest positions.

After the draft, the Night made a pair of deals aimed at improving their third line.  First, they swapped G Oliver Richardson to the Saskatchewan Shockers for the rights to G Hector Orinoco, then sent Orinoco’s rights along with F Dill Howlter to Hamilton for winger Andrei Volodin.  Richardson, who posted a 6-10-0 mark with a 4.37 GAA for New York last season, became expendable after the Night drafted Carter and signed Clarkson.  He represents an upgrade for the Shockers, who have struggled to find a solid backup for Zeke Zagurski since the league’s inception.  Orinoco played last season in the German league, where he record a 17-11-2 record with a 3.06 GAA.  He will likely spend the season in the minors for Hamilton, barring an injury.  The 25-year-old Volodin should bring a little extra scoring punch to New York’s third line.  He scored 18 goals and 34 points for Hamilton in the 2016 season.  The 20-year-old Howlter failed to record a point in 9 games for New York last season.

The Washington Galaxy sent longtime backup goalie Gus Parrish to the Seattle Sailors in exchange for F Yann Eberlein.  The deal was a bit disappointing for the fans, as Parrish was a beloved figure in Washington, adored for his boyish enthusiasm and flair for colorful quotes.  Last season, Parrish went 7-6-0 with a 3.21 GAA as the Galaxy defended their Eastern Division title.  But after Washington signed free agent Ron Mason in the offseason, Parrish found himself without a job.  Eberlein struggled in limited action with the Sailors last year, recording 2 goals and 7 points in 34 games.  Washington hopes that the 25-year-old Swiss forward can provide a solid presence off the bench.  The Galaxy suffered from poor third-line and bench production last season, as rookies Henry Van Alpin, Barry Sullivan, and Oliver Wallington all turned in disappointing campaigns.

The Jackalopes and the Hershey Bliss made a minor deal just before the start of the season, swapping bottom-pairing defensemen.  Dakota sent Pierre Chappelle to Hershey in exchange for Scott Hexton.  The Jackalopes were looking to strengthen their blueline corps a bit, and Hexton (3 goals, 12 points last season) grades out as an above-average defender.  On the other hand, the Bliss were looking to enhance their offensive production beyond their loaded top line.  Chappelle (5 goals, 20 points last year) provides an upgraded scoring threat relative to Hexton.  The 28-year-old Montreal native is on his third team in as many seasons; Dakota picked him up from Hamilton during last offseason.

Rapids, Shockers Make Minor Deal

Dakota SmallSaskatchewan SmallAlthough the Dakota Rapids made one deal with an eye on the future, trading away their starting goaltender, they made another minor deal designed to make the team stronger now.  A few minutes before the deadline, the Rapids acquired center Phil Miller from the Saskatchewan Shockers in exchange for rookie forward Dwight Flynn and a second-round pick.

phil-miller
Phil Miller

The deal plugs an ongoing hole for Dakota at the third-line center position.  The Rapids picked up Florian Theroux from Hamilton at the deadline last year to play the position, but Theroux was claimed by Quebec in the expansion draft.  Dakota has struggled to replace him all season.  Vonnie McLearen had gotten the bulk of the work centering the third line; while he has had a good season overall, he is a natural winger and has had a hard time adjusting.  Rapids fans had taken to calling the third line the “Donut Line,” because it had a hole in the middle.

In the 27-year-old Miller, the Rapids add a capable passer and defender (8 goals, 13 points on the season) who should fit well with Dakota’s uptempo style of play.  “This is a move that helps us now and later,” said GM Paul Mindegaard.  “Phil’s been on our radar for a while as a guy who could help us.  Saskatchewan hadn’t wanted to part with him, but finally we got to a point where the price was right.”

For his part, Winnipeg native Miller took the deal in stride.  “I’m a good loyal Canadian, so it feels wrong to be traded south of the border,” said Miller.  “But on the other hand, I’m probably closer to home now, and I’m going from one small Midwestern city to another.  Dakota is sort of an honorary Canadian state anyway.”

dwight-flynn
Dwight Flynn

For the Shockers, who are much improved over last year’s dismal performance but are still building, this deal was all about stockpiling assets.  The 23-year-old Flynn, a Syracuse native who was drafted out of SUNY-Rochester this season, didn’t appear much for Dakota, recording 3 assists in 9 games.  Scouts consider him a rangy, promising prospect with excellent speed, although they feel that he will need to bulk up some in order to compete physically at the professional level.

“We’re at a stage where we can afford to let guys grow with us,” said Shockers GM Cooper Matthews.  “We know what Phil Miller can do. We don’t know what Dwight Flynn can do yet, but I’m looking forward to find out.”

 

Night Spring Surprise Blockbuster

New York smallHamilton SmallRight at the trade deadline, the New York Night made arguably the biggest deal of the season.  Despite being in third place in the East and trailing by 11 points, the Night made a blockbuster deal to acquire – oddly enough – yet another scorer, acquiring C Rod Remington from the Hamilton Pistols.

rod-remington
Rod Remington

“As awesome as our offense is, we’re always looking for ways to make it even better,” said Night GM Royce McCormick.

In addition to Remington, New York also acquired forward Diego Garcia from the Pistols.  In exchange, the Night shipped out veteran winger Kenny Patterson, rookie C Edgars “Edz” Zalmanis, and their first-round pick in next year’s draft.

By all accounts, it was an odd deal for the Night.  There is no doubt that Remington is a highly skilled player; in fact, he’s one of the league’s top scorers.  With the Pistols this season, the 28-year-old Remington put up 16 goals and 46 points, centering Hamilton’s high-powered first line between LW Steven Alexander and RW Claude Lafayette.  He is in the top 10 in the league in both assists and points.

“It’s not often that a player of Rod’s caliber is available in trade,” said McCormick.  “So naturally, when we found out he was out there, we jumped at the chance.”

But the question remains: How does he help the Night?  New York’s playoff chances are slim at best, as they trail both Washington and Hershey by significant margins.  And offense is the last area where the Night need to improve; they’ve scored 148 goals on the season, most in the league.  The area where New York struggles is defense: they’ve surrendered 165, most in the league, worse even than expansion Seattle.  Yet the Night didn’t seek a better goalie, or to bolster their blueline.  Instead, they snagged a scoring forward who does not have a reputation as a stellar defender.

“They really seem to think they can win every game 11-10,” said a rival GM.  “It’s just nuts.”

Also, for the second straight year, the Night dealt away their top pick.  Last year, they shipped their first-rounder to Saskatchewan for RW Daniel Bellanger in a futile attempt to catch Washington atop the East.  The Shockers used the pick to draft LW Troy Chamberlain, who has starred while Bellanger has underwhelmed.

For Remington, the deal was bittersweet.  He grew up in Kitchener, like Hamilton a part of the greater Toronto area, and he frequently had several family members and childhood friends attend his games at the Gunpowder Armory.  “It’s tough to leave,” said Remington.  “Playing in front of your hometown crowd, that’s pretty special.  But it’s a business, and that’s how it goes.  Besides, now I get to play in the greatest city in the world.”

diego-garcia-ny
Diego Garcia

In Garcia, the Night pick up a winger with modest numbers (8 points in 33 games) and a reputation as a malcontent.  Last year, playing for Dakota, he feuded with coach Harold Engellund and demanded a trade after losing his starting job.  He’s been quieter since getting more regular playing time with the Pistols, but has been knocked for a lack of hustle in practice and sometimes in games.

“I just want to play,” said Garcia.  “Where doesn’t really matter.  It’s just a name on the front of your jersey.”

Hamilton, despite being only two points behind New York at the time of the deal, was in selling mode, actively shopping several key players ahead of the deadline.  They made Remington available both because they felt he could yield a big return, and also because they wanted to make room for rookie C Calvin Frye to the top line.  Frye has been a dynamic scorer, putting up 21 goals and 39 points, and has amply earned the promotion.

“There’s a couple things that made it possible for us to make this deal,” said Pistols GM Marcel LaClaire.  “Obviously, we’re still in the process of building for the long haul.  But the fact that Calvin has been so great, he’s played his way up to the top line.  And that gives us the confidence that we can trade away Rod.”

edgars-zalmanis
Edz Zalmanis

In exchange, the Pistols snagged an intriguing prospect in Zalmanis, a 20-year-old Lithuanian center. Drafted in the second round by New York, Zalmanis has posted solid numbers in his debut season (7 goals, 15 points in 32 games) while displaying excellent speed and a knack for making crisp passes.  In fact, he reminds many observers of a younger Remington.

“We kind of feel like we’ve got Rod 2.0 in the making here,” said LaClaire.

kenny-patterson
Kenny Patterson

The 30-year-old Patterson provides a veteran presence on a young team.  The winger had fallen out of favor in New York, and was a frequent target for the boobirds at Neon Sky Center.  A natural right winger, he struggled after being shifted to left wing this season, which has been reflected in his disappointing numbers (5 goals, 13 points in 38 games).  In Hamilton, he will return to his natural position, and should have a chance at more shot opportunities.

“I feel like this is a great move for me,” said Patterson.  “I had some great experiences in New York and I’ll always love the city, but this seems like a better fit at this stage of my career.  I look forward to not having to fight for the puck so much, and I’m really excited to help the young guys develop here.  Hamilton’s a great hockey city, and we’re going to build a great champion here.”

 

 

 

Bliss Nab Goalie at Deadline

Hershey SmallDakota SmallUnlike last year, there were some significant deals made at the trading deadline this year.  Perhaps the most significant deal involved the Hershey Bliss acquiring goalie Jesse Clarkson from the Dakota Rapids in exchange for netminder Buzz Carson and a first-round pick.  With the trade, Hershey patched their biggest hole to prepare for a playoff run, while Dakota finally pulled the trigger on a move they’ve seemingly planned to make since the SHL began.

“Going into the deadline, our #1 target was picking up a top-quality goalie,” said Bliss GM Scott Lawrence.  “Jesse was far and away the best guy available, and we got what we needed.  Now we’re ready to make a run at the division.”

jesse-clarkson
Jesse Clarkson

Goaltending has been a consistent problem for Hershey since the SHL’s inception.  Last year, the Bliss shuffled between Riley Lattimore and Milo Stafford between the pipes, with neither producing consistent results.  So in the offseason, the Bliss shipped Lattimore to Anchorage and drafted Carson, a highly-regarded prospect from Lake Ontario State.  The 22-year-old has shown flashes of promise (10-11-2, 2.88 GAA, .901 save percentage) and has improved with experience, but the Hershey front office felt that neither he nor Stafford was capable of providing playoff-caliber netminding.

“This wasn’t an easy deal for us to make,” said Lawrence.  “We really like what Buzz has shown, and he’s really blossomed with experience.  I believe he could be a goaltender in the Finals someday.  But we’re ready to get to the Finals right now, and Buzz isn’t quite there yet.  Jesse’s the guy we need now.”

buzz-carson
Buzz Carson

Dealing Clarkson represents a victory of sorts for Rapids GM Paul Mindegaard.  The 27-year-old Clarkson has provided solid netminding for Dakota since the league’s inception (including a 15-10-3 record, 3.21 GAA, and .914 save percentage this season), but Mindegaard has reportedly never been sold on him as an elite goaltender.  The GM has expressed a clear desire to give more playing time to youngster Christien Adamsson, a South Dakota native.  Rapids coach Harold Engellund, on the other hand, preferred Clarkson.  This created a rift between the two that reportedly put the coach’s job in jeopardy after a lackluster start to the season.

The Rapids’ recent 10-1-1 streak was enough to save Engellund, but it apparently wasn’t enough to spare Clarkson.  Mindegaard noted that the Rapids trail division-leading Michigan by 17 points as justification for the deal.  “Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to contend right now,” said the Dakota GM.  “With that in mind, we made a deal that will open up some more opportunities for Christien, sure.  But we’ve also got another high-quality goalie prospect in the deal, plus we’ve got a pick that will allow us to land another top young player.  We’re looking down the road at what it’s going to take to get by Michigan and Anchorage.”

Clarkson expressed relief that the deal had finally been made and expressed excitement at joining the Bliss.  “It feels like I’ve been on my way out of town for two seasons now,” said Clarkson.  “That really wears on a guy, so I’m glad that it finally happened.  And I’m really glad to go to a team that’s got a real shot to go all the way.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do.”

Carson, meanwhile, had a more mixed reaction.  “I really liked it in Hershey,” said the young goalie.  “I liked my teammates and the chemistry, and I really liked the chocolate.  But I’m hoping to have a good opportunity where I go next.  I think Christien Adamsson and I will inspire each other to get better.”

Injury-Plagued Sailors Grab Leonard from Hershey

Hershey BlissSeattle SailorsIn their first week on the ice, the Seattle Sailors struck the first deal of the SHL’s second season.  Thanks to an onslaught of early injuries, the Sailors found themselves with a critical lack of defensive depth.  They plugged that hole by picking up D Adam Leonard from the Hershey Bliss in exchange for F Gene Kennedy.

The league has seen a significant number of players hurt over the week, but Seattle has been hit the hardest.   The Sailors lost players to injury in three straight game.  Sunday’s 3-2 win over Saskatchewan was marred by the departure of D Wayne Snelling, who suffered a lower-body injury that is expected to keep him out for a couple weeks.  In Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Michigan, RW “King George” Lane fell awkwardly against the boards and left with a lower-body injury; the team lists him as day-to-day.  On Wednesday, Seattle lost both another game — 5-3 against Anchorage — and another player, as rookie D Benny Lambert was felled by yet another lower-body injury that could put him out of action for up to a week.

Lambert’s injury sent the Sailors into crisis mode, as they looked to grab the first available blue-liner.  The Bliss, who were looking to enhance their forward corps, were a willing trade partner.

adam-leonard
Adam Leonard

“Obviously, we were hoping not to have to make a move this early in the season,” said Sailors GM Jay McKay.  “But we didn’t let ourselves get held up.  Adam is a promising young player who fills a need for us now, but has a chance to grow with the team later on.”

Hershey selected the 22-year-old Leonard, a recent graduate from Peninsula State, in the fourth round of this year’s entry draft.  He has a reputation as a stay-home defenseman and a good shot-blocker, although he is not an especially heavy hitter.  He had yet to appear in a game for the Bliss at the time of the trade.  He made his debut with Seattle on Friday in the Sailors’ 7-4 loss to Dakota.

gene-kennedy-hsy
Gene Kennedy

Seattle claimed the 24-year-old Kennedy from Washington in the expansion draft.  Kennedy was a reserve for last year’s division-champ Galaxy squad, putting up 5 points in 23 games.  Though he was only occasionally saw the ice, Kennedy’s fun-loving spirit made him a fan favorite.  The Sailors planned to use him as part of a third-line forward platoon with Yann Eberlein and Randy O’Connor.  He had appeared in one game for Seattle before being dealt.

“This was a great opportunity for us,” said Bliss GM Scott Lawrence.  “I’ve been a Gene Kennedy fan for a while now.  I always liked him when he was with Washington.  When I realized we had a chance to get him, I didn’t hesitate.”

With Leonard on board, the Sailors now find themselves hoping for better health in the upcoming games.  Until Lane is able to return to action, Seattle’s only available reserve player will be their backup goaltender.  As Sailors coach Stewart “Popeye” Corrigan said in his postgame press-conference Wednesday, “I don’t know if I’m running a hockey team or a sick ward.”

SHL Offseason Trade Summary

The following trades took place in the offseason before Season 2:

Seattle SmallHamilton SmallThe expansion Seattle Sailors made a splash and landed some veteran talent to guide them in their inaugural campaign.  The Sailors acquired C Cliff Derringer, RW “King George” Lane, and D Hylton Windham from the Hamilton Pistols in exchange for first-round and third-round picks and F Elmo Jacobson.  In Derringer, the Sailors land a solid scorer (21 goals and 35 points last season) who is expected to anchor their top line.  Lane, meanwhile, is a capable passer (23 assists in 2015) who may be placed on the top line to feed Derringer and top draft pick Vince Mango.  Windham appeared in limited action for Hamilton last season, scoring 4 points in 22 games, but is best known for being the first native of the Bahamas to play professional hockey.  The Pistols are rebuilding under new coach Keith Shields, and the picks (which were used to draft D Clayton “Crusher” Risch and LW Norris “Beaver” Young) will help position the team for the future.  The 24-year-old Jacobson spent last season with Saskatchewan, for whom he scored 9 points.

Quebec SmallNew York smallThe other expansion team, the Quebec Tigres, made several moves after the expansion draft. First, they dealt RW Kenny Patterson and D Teddy Morrison to the New York Night in exchange for LW Pascal Royal.  The Tigres have made a point of acquiring as many Quebec natives as possible, and Royal certainly qualifies.  He will also provide the Tigres with a dose of badly-needed offense, having put up 15 goals and 40 points in New York.  Patterson is being reunited with his former club, as Quebec plucked him from New York in the expansion draft.  The winger scored 13 goals and 37 points for the Night last year.  Morrison was a gritty defender who spent last season with Washington, putting up 12 points in 56 games.

Quebec SmallSaskatchewan SmallThe Tigres also strengthened their blue line by acquiring Viktor Babykin, a rugged stay-home defenseman, from the Saskatchewan Shockers, along with F Alois Rodney in exchange for rookie D Brody “Bruiser” McCallan.  Babykin is known as one of the SHL’s meanest players, a man who never hesitates to drop the gloves and was one of the league leaders in penalty minutes last year.  His pugnacious personality also created some friction in the Shockers locker room, however.  The 21-year-old McCallan, the Tigres’ third-round draft pick, spent last season in the Quebec junior league, where he put up 12 points.  Rodney, who was the last player selected in the draft,  put up 6 points in limited action in the Swiss league last season.

Quebec SmallHamilton SmallIn their final deal, the Tigres picked up another left winger, Stellan Fisker, from the Hamilton Pistols.  Fisker put up 17 goals and 30 points for Hamilton last season.  The Pistols sent Fisker and the just-acquired Jacobson to Quebec in exchange for a pair of rookies, LW Magnus Gunnarson and the aforementioned Rodney, and a second-round pick in next year’s draft.  Gunnarson, who was selected in the second round by Quebec, scored 15 goals last season for Lake Erie State.

Hershey SmallAnchorage SmallThe Hershey Bliss and the Anchorage Igloos struck a major deal on draft night, with the Bliss sending G Riley Lattimore to the Igloos in exchange for RW Sven Danielsen.  Lattimore began last season as Hershey’s starting goalie, but struggled and wound up losing playing time to backup Milo Stafford.  Lattimore finished the season with a 12-18-1 record with a 3.70 GAA, as the Bliss stumbled to a disappointing third-place finish in the East.  He became expendable after Hershey picked netminder Buzz Carson in the second round of the draft.  Lattimore will serve as a backup in Anchorage, who lost their former second-string goalie, Ron Mason, to Seattle in the expansion draft.  Danielsen, meanwhile, spent last season on the second line for the champion Igloos, netting 11 goals and 28 points.  He lost his spot on the Anchorage depth chart to Remi Montrechere, as the Igloos found themselves with forward depth to spare.

Dakota SmallHamilton SmallIn a minor swap of defenders, the Dakota Rapids shipped Jose Martinez and rookie Fyodor Agrozonov to the Hamilton Pistols for Pierre Chappelle.  Chapelle was a solid two-way defenseman for the Pistols last season, putting up 10 points.  Martinez was an offensive-minded defender who struggled somewhat in Dakota, posting 7 points in 52 games.  Agrozonov is a 22-year-old who played the last two seasons in the KHL.

Bliss, Night Make Minor Deal

Hershey BlissNew York NightThe other deadline deal – completed about an hour after the Hamilton-Dakota trade – involved, oddly, two teams competing against one another.  The New York Night and Hershey Bliss are both struggling to catch up with the Washington Galaxy in the East, but they have complementary weaknesses: New York’s defense is virtually non-existent, while Hershey has struggled to light the lamp.  Therefore, the Bliss and Night rolled the dice on a deal that improved themselves as well as their strongest rival.

“When we’d finally worked out the terms of the deal, I think we both took a deep breath,” said New York GM Royce McCormick.  “Sort of like, ‘Yeah, this makes me better, but is it gonna help them beat us out?’  I said, ‘Okay, this is the trade.  Sure you want to do this?’  There was a beat at the other end, then, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’” Hershey shipped D Vitaly Dyomin and F Glenn Reichler to New York in exchange for winger Lee Fleming and D Alvin Catlett

Vitaly Dyomin
Vitaly Dyomin
Glenn Reichler
Glenn Reichler

In Dyomin, the Night pick up a rugged stay-home defender who instantly becomes the hardest hitter in their blue-line corps.  “Everyone knows we like high-flying firewagon hockey, but we’ve had to be honest with ourselves,” said McCormick.  “We realized that we need a little more grit if we’re going to make a run at this.  Vitaly’s a grinder, but he’s also a capable puck-handler (3 assists in 37 games) who will fit well into our offense.” 

Meanwhile, in Fleming, the Bliss add a scoring winger (7 goals, 3 assists in 35 games) who can slot in on the second or third line, hopefully providing some badly-needed offense on those line.  “Lee’s a veteran guy with a polished game,” said Hershey GM Scott Lawrence.  “He can create his own shot, or he can facilitate for our other guys.” 

Alvin Catlett
Alvin Catlett
Lee Fleming
Lee Fleming

For New York, the hope is that Dyomin’s added defense can help sustain the Night’s recent winning streak and allow them to take out Washington.  For Hershey, about to get a huge offensive upgrade in the return of LW Lance Sweet from a lengthy injury, coach “Chocolate Chip” Barber is betting that the Bliss will develop a newfound scoring surge that will help the team shoot up the standings. 

The primary question is whether the deal comes too late for both clubs.  New York has spent much of the season floundering at the bottom of the East; even with their recent winning run, they remain below .500 and trail Washington by 11 points.  As for Hershey, they have plummeted in the standings in Sweet’s absence, and even a late streak might not be enough to catch the Galaxy. 

“We’ve got to get everyone back healthy and take our best shot,” said Barber.  “The rest will sort itself out.”