• Vintage Hockey League
  • Day 162Game 972
    WHALERS4
    LIGHTNING2
    Boxscore 0 Likes
  • Day 163Game 978
    WHALERS0
    PENGUINS0
    Preview 0 Likes
  • Day 167Game 1004
    WHALERS0
    SENATORS0
    Preview 0 Likes
  • Day 162Game 972
    Carolina HURRICANES3
    Orlando THUNDER2
    Boxscore 0 Likes
  • Day 163Game 978
    Carolina HURRICANES0
    Muskegon LUMBERJACKS0
    Preview 0 Likes
  • Day 165Game 991
    Toledo WALLEYE0
    Carolina HURRICANES0
    Preview 0 Likes
  • Day 167Game 1004
    Carolina HURRICANES0
    PEI SENATORS0
    Preview 0 Likes
  • Day 169Game 1015
    Muskegon LUMBERJACKS0
    Carolina HURRICANES0
    Preview 0 Likes

S15 - Whalers Deadline Review [WB9]

2020-06-25

The VHL trade deadline has now passed, with the Hartford Whalers amongst the busiest teams in the league.  When the dust settled, the Whalers would complete five trades in the three days leading up to the deadline, with four roster players, five draft picks and one prospect being moved out.  In return, the Whalers would pick up what could be the biggest single haul in a deal with Los Angeles and adjust their AHL depth in the remaining deals.  So how did the Whalers do?  Let's break it down deal-by-deal (leaving the big one for the end).

 

To Hartford: Brendan Bell (D)
To Montreal: Ville Nieminen (LW)

A minor move made with Montreal, however one that became necessary with the news that the Carolina Hurricanes could be losing both Joel Bouchard and Duncan Keith off of their roster to the pro ranks.  In Bell, the Whalers get a defenseman that has spent more time in the press box during his AHL career then on the ice, however he becomes necessary depth for the Hurricanes.  Meanwhile, the Canadiens get a good skating left-wing that can play up their line-up a bit, something he wasn’t able to do in Raleigh.

“Montreal approached us with this deal, it wasn’t something that we were looking to do, but it became something that we thought made a lot of sense for us.  Bell will likely not be a big player for us, but he is young, able to get better, and we will give him the opportunity to grow his skill set.”

 

To Hartford: Jeremy Williams (RW)

To Milwaukee: Chad Larose (RW), S17 3rd (HFD)

The best way to understand this move, is it resets the Hurricanes right-wing position, while moving the prospect line back a year.  It seems strange for Hartford to give up on Larose at this point of his career, particularly after spending time all year to build up his skill set, yet the Whalers still did this deal and included a draft pick to boot.  In Williams, the Whalers get a RW that should be heading to Raleigh next season and will likely get the same, or similar role with the club (middle-six winger).  This move also opens a more consistent roster spot for the likes of JP Vigier, Mark Greig, Matthieu Dandeanault and Mariusz Czerkawski.

“We have liked Jeremy for a bit here, we think that he is a very similar player to Chad, just a year younger.  This is a move that resets our AHL club a bit, and it does weaken us a bit, something that we are cognisant of despite being in third place in the conference.  We just feel this is a good long-term move for the organization.”

 

To Hartford: Daniel Tjarnqvist

To San Jose: Joel Bouchard

In a deal that had the best interest of the Carolina Hurricanes written all over it, the Whalers sent recently called up defenseman, Joel Bouchard to the California heat, while getting Daniel Tjarnqvist in return.  A couple of key things have happened with this deal, first off, the Whalers get out from a near $2M contract they committed to this past offseason for a number eight defenseman, and secondly they pick up a guy that they hope will be able to play on the farm.  WIth that said there is a gamble at hand, as Tjarnqvist will have to clear waivers to get to Raleigh.  With Tjarnqvist in the mix, the Whalers have another puck moving defenseman that they can put on the power play and really create offense, essentially plugging in the role Bouchard vacated.

“We like Daniel, we like his ability to create offense with us, we like that he can play in his own zone, there is a lot to like with him.  With Duncan (Keith) and Joel moving on, we had a big hole we needed to fill within that club, so this is a move that we felt we had to make, and will be happy if we can get him to Carolina.”

 

To Hartford: Mattieu Darche (LW)

To Chicago: S18 3rd (CHI)

In a move that returns the Blackhawks draft pick back to Chicago, the Whalers get a left-wing that will certainly replace the spot vacated by the departure of Ville Neminen.  Darche has spent more time in his career playing in the VHL (172 vs 95 games), an experience that will most certainly help out the Hurricanes as they march towards the playoffs.  With Matthieu on board, the Whalers are getting a player that has played in all specialty team roles previously and will be looked upon to carry that role in Raleigh.

“We had a bit of a hole, so we filled it.  This move allows us the opportunity to move Mariusz to the right side where he has had more success in his career.  Matthieu has played in all roles in his short VHL/AHL career and will get the chance to earn a contract for next season with us.”

 

To Hartford: Calle Johansson (D), Zigmund Pallfy (RW)

To Los Angeles: Glen Wesley (D), Mike Craig (RW), Kris Versteeg (RW), S16 1st (HFD), S16 3rd (HFD), S16 5th (CGY)

Finally the big move made by Hartford, and likely biggest move of the deadline by any club in the league.  The Whalers put a package together to pick up what many consider to be the best defenseman in VHL history along with a potential top six winger to finally round out their top six forward group.  In Calle Johansson, the Whalers have a point-per-game defenseman, a three time Norris winner, and in spite of his age, one of the top defenseman in the game today.  With Calle on board, the Whalers can expect an enormous boost to their power play, but also a boost to their lagging penalty kill which currently sits at 75%.  In Zigmund “Ziggy” Palffy, the Whalers are hoping to finally have that top six right-wing to round out their lines.  To date the club has put Mike Craig, Cory Stillman and Bryan Smolinksi in the mix with near zero returns from the players on the score sheet.  The former first round selection should give the Whalers a shot on the right side that they have been desperately looking for this year, and is an upgrade talent wise over all of the previous players slotted into that role.

As per usual, in order to get something, one must give something and the Whalers did move six assets in order to pick up these two players.  For Glen Wesley, this is the second time the Whalers have moved him in a trade.  The offensively gifted defenseman has been a steady contributor to the club on the attack, however his lack of defensive awareness has created a bit of a black hole in his own zone as of late.  Mike Craig was a bit of a throw-in in the Kariya trade last season and is best suited as a bottom six guy on a lot of clubs.  By the time the trade went through, Craig was struggling to find himself in the starting line-up on a nightly basis.  Kris Versteeg is a former first round selection from the Whalers, picked up with a pick originally belonging to Ottawa.  The Whalers do not have a lot of positions of real strength in their prospect pool, but the right side may be the closest to that currently with Brent Burns headlining that group.  Finally, the first round selection this year will be a very late one.  With the Whalers already amongst the elite of the VHL, this move will at worst keep them in their current spot, with the potential to move higher in the standings.  Expect this pick to fall amongst the last five picks of the first round.

“This is a deal that took a long, long time to consummate.  I believe our first discussions around Ziggy happened two months ago, and it has been come and go since then.  We added Calle to the talks a few weeks ago, and thought nothing would come of it, but in the end this trade did come through.

We are ecstatic to add two great guys, two great players to the club.  We feel that Calle gives us one of the best win-now defenders in the game.  With the VHL being driven by defensmens contributions to the offense, and with our need to improve our own zone coverage, we love picking up Calle here.  Ziggy is a guy we have loved for a long time.  He is a gamer, he can really dish the puck, he is going to fit in amongst our top six.  Really he fills a hole that we have had since (Paul) Kariya left last year.  Sometimes it takes a bit to get back what you move on, and this is one of those instances.

Meanwhile we did have to move some guys out.  We will miss what Glen and Mike brought to us on the ice and off of it.  Unfortunately you have to move guys out to get guys in.  In the end, a strong piece in this was their contracts.  We needed to move guys out with a certain cap hit to bring in the two we got.  We also felt internally that there was a possibility that either of them could be bought out at season's end to open up a bit of cap space for us.  We wish them both the best in L.A.”

 

With the deadline gone by, this is effectively the roster that the Whalers and Hurricanes will have to work with.  On paper, both clubs have improved their respective rosters, on the ice; the games still need to be played.

 

WC: 1621