Fleury Wilderness, Rangers add 3 players at trade deadline

The Minnesota Wild landed the biggest name at the NHL’s trade deadline by acquiring goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on Monday. The New York Rangers have made the biggest splash by improving an already deep formation.

Set to make their first appearance in a 16-team playoff format since 2017, the Rangers bolstered their blue line by adding Justin Braun from Philadelphia, and bolstered their secondary attacking needs by acquiring Tyler Motte from Vancouver and Andrew Copp from Winnipeg. .

They join a balanced roster that includes six players with 10 or more goals, led by Kris Kreider’s 41 goals, and a blue line that includes reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox.

“I’m excited where we are now, but there’s still a long way to go,” said Rangers general manager Chris Drury, while warning that his intention was to improve the team and not equalize what the other Eastern Conference contenders were doing. By swinging four trades, with the addition of San Jose forward Nick Merkley, the Rangers gave up five draft picks, including two conditional second-round Jets and two minor league prospects.

As for Fleury, unable to stop the Chicago Blackhawks from retooling, the three-time Stanley Cup winner heads to Minnesota to help the high-scoring Wild solve their inconsistent goaltending issues. While Chicago agreed to pay half of what’s left over from the final year of Fleury’s salary, Minnesota gave up a conditional first-round pick in this year’s draft to acquire the 37-year-old, who won his first Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender with Vegas a year ago.

“I love competing and playing, the fun of the game, but there’s not much to win,” said Fleury, who was 19-21-1 and four shutouts in Chicago. “You can ask anyone who’s won: you’re still chasing that feeling and that achievement. Yeah, I just wanna keep doing it again.

Fleury, who last missed the playoffs in his first full season in Pittsburgh 16 years ago, jumped 10 places in the Western Conference standings when he landed in Minnesota where he will share the duties of goalkeeper with Cam Talbot. He also reunited with his former Penguins teammate Bill Guerin, who is the Wild’s general manager.

Minnesota opened the day in fourth place overall — and third in the Central Division — in a hotly contested playoff race in which six points separate third-place St. Louis and ninth-place Dallas.

Of the 33 deals completed Monday involving 54 players, the Wild’s addition of Fleury may well be the most significant in an attempt to bridge one of the league’s biggest disparities: Minnesota ranks third in the NHL with an average of 3.67 goals per outing and 22nd in allowing 3.2 goals per game.

Meeting depth requirements was the primary focus of the majority of other competitors.

The West’s top nine teams made moves, starting with the conference-leading Colorado Avalanche, with Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen, considered one of hockey’s best 200-foot wingers, and the forward Andrew Cogliano of San Jose. The Avs have already strengthened their blue line by acquiring Josh Manson from Anaheim last week.

“We wanted to be tougher to play against,” Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said, recalling how the Presidents’ Trophy winners were upset in a second-round playoff loss to Vegas on Saturday. last year. “After that streak, it was something we thought we could do better. And hopefully we addressed that this year.

The Eastern contenders caught up after two-time defending champion Tampa Bay acquired forwards Brandon Hagel and Nick Paul in separate trades over the weekend, and the Florida Panthers landed the captaincy. Flyers Claude Giroux.

The East-leading Carolina Hurricanes acquired forward Max Domi from Columbus in a three-team trade that also involved Florida. Domi has exceeded 40 points in four of his seven NHL seasons.

The Pittsburgh Penguins landed potential top-six forward Rickard Rakell in a trade with Anaheim. Rakell’s 154 goals in 550 games ranks fifth on the Ducks’ list. In return, Anaheim acquired Zach Aston-Reese, Dominik Simon, potential goaltender Calle Clang and a second-round draft pick.

The eighth-placed Capitals targeted two-way forwards by acquiring Marcus Johansson from Seattle and Johan Larsson from Arizona. They sent defensive liability Daniel Sprong to the Kraken and three draft picks, including a 2023 third-round pick at Arizona. The addition of defensive-minded forwards was no coincidence given the talent the Capitals have seen in the playoffs.

“We were looking for versatile guys – guys who can play against good players,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said.

In other movements:

– After landing in Fleury, the Wild traded backup goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and a fifth-round draft pick to San Jose for defenseman Jake Middleton.

— The St. Louis Blues found the defenseman they were looking for, acquiring Nick Leddy from the Detroit Red Wings. St. Louis also got Luke Witkowski and sent forward Oskar Sundqvist, defenseman Jake Walman and a 2023 second-round pick to Detroit.

–The Coyotes acquired the contract of unsigned forward Nathan Smith and Bryan Little from Winnipeg for a fourth-round pick in 2022. Little is signed for two additional seasons with an annual salary cap of $5.3 million and will not expected to not play again due to concussion issues.

— The Edmonton Oilers acquired center Derick Brassard from Philadelphia and defenseman Brett Kulak from Montreal.

— The Toronto Maple Leafs failed to meet their goaltending needs. Toronto lost the signing of Harri Sateri after Arizona claimed the Olympic gold medalist Finn on waivers. Signed by Toronto to a $750,000 contract for the remainder of the season, Sateri initially had to rescind waivers because he played in Europe this season.

— A goaltender thought to be available left the market before the deadline when Anton Forsberg re-signed with Ottawa. Forsberg signed a three-year, $8.25 million contract.


AP Hockey writer Stephen Whyno, AP sportswriter Dave Campbell, Josh Dubow and Will Graves, and freelance journalist Denis Gorman contributed.


More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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