Maple Leafs answer Lightning by making trade with Blackhawks Barry Trotz returns to Nashville, will replace Poile as GM Lightning add grit in acquiring Jeannot from Predators Devils acquire Timo Meier in blockbuster trade with Sharks Jets acquire Niederreiter from Predators for 2nd round pick

Toronto Maple Leafs acquired striker Sam Lafferty and protector Jake McCabe from Chicago on Monday, their latest big deal, which came after division rival Tampa Bay made another surge ahead of the deadline.

Toronto posted a conditional 2025 first-round pick, 2026 second-round pick, prospect Pavel Gogolev and winger. Joey Anderson to the Blackhawks for Lafferty, McCabe, and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2024 and 25. Chicago withholds half of McCabe’s salary.

The Leafs are hoping to get a crash course again to face the Lightning in the first round of the playoffs after losing a seven-game series to them last year. Tampa Bay on Sunday paid a hefty price for the forward Tanner Jeannotsending a young defender Cal Foot and five draft picks, including the first in 2025, to Nashville.

The Lightning have won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 21 and reached the Finals in 2022. This move can set them up for another deep run at any cost.

“The reality is that at the deadline of the deal, you will have to overpay,” Lightning General Manager. Julien BreezeBois said at a press conference on Monday in Tampa. “We had to go through a lot to immediately amass such a critical mass of good players. My job, my responsibility as guardian of this group, is to take risks sometimes to maximize our returns in this era.”

Lafferty and McCabe in Toronto continued the flow of talent from Western Conference sellers to contenders in the East. Also on Sunday, New Jersey acquired a big winger. Timo Meyer from San Jose, and NHL leader “Boston” received a defender Dmitry Orlov and go Pomegranate Hathaway from Washington on Thursday.

“Everyone wants to trade all the really good players from the East,” Fitzgerald said with a chuckle. “It’s amazing”.

Earlier, the New York Islanders received a 30-point center. Bo Horvath from Vancouver and the Rangers acquired a high-scoring striker Vladimir Tarasenko and clumsy protector Niko Mikkola from Saint Louis. The Leafs have already traded the Blues captain. Ryan O’Reilly and depth ahead Noel Accari to improve their chances of winning the playoff series for the first time in nearly two decades.

But getting past the Atlantic Division with the Lightning and taking the Bruins’ top spot, as well as the East as a whole with one of the Carolina Hurricanes, Devils, or Rangers probably waiting for the conference finals, will not be easy.

“The East is a powerhouse,” Fitzgerald said Sunday night. “It really is. It’s really a powerhouse.”

And that’s before the Rangers Patrick Kane out of Chicago, the last long-awaited deal before the deadline on Friday, which depends on the situation with the salary cap in New York. But Fitzgerald also noted that the Lightning are still the best in the East until someone beats them.

The Leafs would love to do this, and McCabe, signed for two more seasons after that, is certainly solidifying the blue line, which has been one of their weaknesses. Lafferty, who also has a contract after the end of this year, gives Toronto more depth.

The same goes for Jeannot with Tampa Bay in a deal similar to how Brisebois gets Brandon Hagel from Chicago on time a year ago. Brisebois acquired a defender in previous years David Savard (2021) onwards Barclay Goodrow And Blake Coleman (2020) and raised the Cup every time.

Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde, the Lightning’s assistant during their three Finals appearances, told reporters in Ottawa, “I will never doubt Julien Brisebois.” And Tampa Bay may never end.

“Never say never,” Brisebois said. “Recently, the focus has been on this deal. Now that we can bring this to the final line, we’re going to get together again today and see if there are other possibilities worth exploring.”

Barry Trotz became the first coach of the Nashville Predators back in 1997.

He will now become the team’s second general manager effective July 1.

On Sunday, David Poyle announced his plans to step down as CEO on June 30 after 26 years with the Predators.

Trotz and Poyle reunited at the Bridgestone Arena on Monday when Trotz was introduced as his replacement. Poile, 73, will remain an adviser.

The two men have known each other for 41 years, going back to when Poyle was general manager of the Washington Capitals.

“It was my first training camp with the Capitals[in1982]and Barry was not drafted,” Poyle said of their first meeting.

Trotz was fired, but Washington hired him as a scout before he became a coach.

He is the third NHL coach with 914 wins, including with Washington, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2018, and with the New York Islanders from 2018-22.

Poyle said Trotz, 60, turned down several coaching positions during the off-season, and Poyle told Trotz that this would be his last season as general manager.

“Somewhere, I would say around Christmas, he kind of said I wouldn’t be coaching anymore and asked if I could talk to you about being a candidate for the CEO position,” Poyle said. “And from that time things went pretty fast when we talked to him and the owners intervened, and probably by mid-January we probably did it.”

Trotz is confident he can go from coach to general manager.

“I thought about it long and hard,” Trotz said. “The way coaches work, the way managers work, you have to work together and I always tried to do that with David. He taught me.”

Nashville made three deals over the weekend, but Trotz plans to fold rather than recover.

“We are rebooting, we are collecting assets,” Trotz said. “There are good players. Milwaukee (Nashville’s AHL affiliate) could have six first-round picks next year, so people are coming.”

Trotz has an open mind about Predator coach John Hines, who is 121-86-16 in his fourth year with Nashville.

The Predators are six points behind second place on the wild card list after losing in the first round of the playoffs over the past three seasons.

“I have been a coach for a long time, so I know when the team is well coached,” Trotz said. “John is a really good coach. The most important thing for me is the time before the end of the season, I will just evaluate.

Nashville will accept the NHL Draft for the second time in June.

“We couldn’t get this franchise-changing center iceman,” Trotz said. “We weren’t poor enough to get it, and there’s some luck involved. There are guys who changed the franchise that they chose later.”

Trotz will get a chance to help shape the future of the Predators in the draft with his input, but warned that it takes patience.

“It’s not like football,” Trotz said. “Football, guys are coming out of college. They are 22, 23, 24, 25 and they are men. We’re recruiting 18 year olds.”

Trotz said it takes six years for many promising candidates to make an impact.

Poyle retires as the NHL’s top grandmaster with 1,519 wins in 39 years, but Nashville has only won one playoff series since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017.

“There are two loves in my life: my family and hockey,” Poyle said. “I’m so lucky.”

The fallen Tampa Bay Lightning added an element of guts to its roster to bolster its late-season playoff rush by acquiring forwards. Tanner Jeannot in a trade with the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.

And the Lightning paid a heavy price for it by trading the third-year quarterback. Cal Foot, as well as five draft picks, including a 2025 protected top 10 first-round pick. Tampa Bay also traded their 2024 second-round pick, as well as third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks this year.

The trade was completed shortly after the Lightning fell to 2-2-2 in their last six games after a 7-3 loss in Pittsburgh, less than a week before the NHL trade deadline on Friday.

At 6ft 2in and 208lbs, Jeannot is completing the third and final year of his rookie contract and is eligible to become a restricted free agent this summer. Jeannot scored 24 goals and 41 points in 81 games last season, but this season his performance has declined. He was limited to five goals and 14 points in 56 games.

Signed by Nashville as an undrafted free agent, the 25-year-old is better known for his tough playing style and defensive play. This season, he leads the Predators with 213 hits and among the team’s forwards with 51 blocks.

In total, he has 34 goals and 62 points with 217 penalty minutes in 152 career games.

The Lightning are firmly in third place in the Atlantic Division and are likely to open the playoffs against Toronto in a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series, which Tampa Bay won in seven games. The Lightning, who have made the Stanley Cup Finals in each of the past three seasons and won in 2020 and 21, are four points behind Toronto in the race to determine which team will have home-ice advantage early in the postseason.

The Predators continue their talent sale with the deal taking place the day after the forward deal. Nino Niederreiter to Winnipeg in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2024 draft.

Nashville is retooling for the future while still on the fringes of the Western Conference race – 10th and six points away from a playoff spot. The Predators traded Jeannot after they improved to 4-1 in their last five games after a 6-2 win over Arizona.

The deal also comes with an impending leadership change set for June, with Barry Trotz rejoining the franchise to replace general manager David Poyle, who has held the position since the team’s 1998 inception.

In a separate move, Nashville abandoned future considerations of acquiring minor league forward Isaac Ratcliffe in exchange for the Philadelphia Flyers. Ratcliffe, a 2017 second-round pick, scored a goal and had three assists in 10 career games for the Flyers.


Source: nhl.nbcsports.com

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