It was a busy day on the trade front in the NHL today with the host of the draft, the Chicago Blackhawks, making the most noise.
Before teams even headed to the United Center to draft the future of the league, the Hawks pulled off two big trades sending Nicklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Laurent Dauphin. Before everyone could collect themselves to the shock of trading a long time member of the organization, Hawks GM Stan Bowman pulled off an even bigger deal. They sent Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Brandon Saad and Anton Forsberg.
These two moves change the Hawks complexion drastically after a what many described as a disappointing season. The argument could be made they lost both deals but it gives the Blackhawks some cost certainty for years to come and adds to their forward depth with the addition of Dauphin.
Shortly after that the New York Rangers made a splash sending goaltender Antti Raanta and Derek Stepan for the 7th overall pick at the 2017 NHL Entry, who they later used to select Lias Andersson, and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.
The Arizona Coyotes were players in two of those deals in the morning as they looked to shore up some holes in their lineup next year. Adding Stepan brings some certainty to their centre position, while Hjalmarsson is an instant upgrade on the backend. Lastly, Raanta will be given every chance to seize the number one job.
There was a minor deal between Minnesota and Columbus that sent former first round pick Jordan Schroeder to the Blue Jackets for prospect Dante Salituro.
Then there was silence. No trades happened for hours.
This is common, as teams may have agreements in place but wait until the draft to start to make it part of the event. But there weren’t any deals until the Blackhawks were set to pick at 26th overall. Gary Bettman introduced the host with the next pick, then shortly returned to the podium to announce the Dallas Stars had moved up to 26th to select Boston College goaltender Jake Oettinger.
Then finally a big deal happened with the Philadelphia Flyers sending center
Brayden Schenn to the St Louis Blues for 27th overall, Jori Lehtera and conditional 2018 pick.
The Flyers used that pick to select Morgan Frost (pictured above, photo by Sportsology).
To close out the day, the Pittsburgh traded down from 31st overall to 51st overall, acquiring Ryan Reaves from the St Louis Blues while sending Oskar Sundqvist the other way. The Blues used that pick to select Russian forward Klim Kostin.
Usually the first day of the NHL Entry Draft sees a flurry of moves but this year lacked the pizz-zazz. Hopefully day 2 of the draft will provide a little more fireworks.