Looking Back: 2015 NHL Summer Trading

The summer of 2015 was incredibly active across the NHL with some big names changes places. In the wake of the Ryan Johansen-Seth Jones trade, and with everyone trying to name one of the two teams an instant winner, it’s worth looking back now at how some of the bigger trades from the summer have turned out so far.

Ryan O'Reilly

  • Buffalo acquires forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn
  • Colorado acquires defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forwards Mikhail Grigorenko and J.T. Compher and a 2nd round pick (#31 – Jeremy Roy) in 2015

A deal that was intriguing for many but didn’t move the needle across the league has turned out to be a fantastic trade for Buffalo. O’Reilly has as many goals (17) in 41 games as he did last year in 82 with Colorado and has become a central figure in the Sabres’ offense. Grigorenko has just 12 points in 38 games this season and Zadorov played 11 games with the Avs before being sent to the AHL. Compher, perhaps the best asset going back to Colorado, has 25 points in 18 games for the University of Michigan.

Milan Lucic

  • Los Angeles acquires forward Milan Lucic
  • Boston acquires defenseman Colin Miller a 1st round pick (#13 – Jakub Zboril) in 2015 from LA, forward Sean Kuraly and 1st round pick in the 2016 draft from San Jose
  • San Jose acquires goaltender Martin Jones

The moving pieces here were in two separate transactions. The Lucic trade happened on June 26, and Boston subsequently flipped Jones to the Sharks four days later. To date, Lucic is on pace to match his disappointing numbers from last season in Boston; he has 11 goals and 12 assists in 40 games. Miller, who somewhat surprisingly made the jump to Boston’s lineup, has three goals and 11 assists in 30 games with the Bruins. Jones, meanwhile, has taken the spot on top of the Sharks’ depth chart in net and has a .910 save percentage and 16-13-2 record with three shutouts in 32 appearances this season.

Brandon Saad CBJ

  • Columbus acquires forwards Brandon Saad and Alex Broadhurst and defenseman Mike Paliotta
  • Chicago acquires forwards Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin and Corey Tropp and a 4th round pick in 2016

The surprise deal of the summer had Chicago fans blown away, but with half of a regular season behind us the pain of losing a future star in Saad has diminished for many. The Hawks immediately signed Anisimov to a five-year extension and he has become a solid, reliable center on the best offensive line in Chicago. Dano has spent most of the season in Rockford but still has a lot of promise, and adding a pick in the upcoming draft helps. Tropp’s rights went to Albany of the AHL, where he has spent the season. Morin was traded recently for Richard Panik.

Saad has been good for the dysfunctional Blue Jackets this year. He has 16 goals and 13 assists in 41 games, but the center most envisioned him spending the next decade with – Johansen – fell out of favor with the new coaching staff and is no longer in Columbus. Paliotta and Broadhurst are both with Lake Erie in the AHL.

Phil Kessel

  • Pittsburgh acquires forwards Phil Kessel and Tyler Biggs, defenseman Tim Erixon and a conditional future draft pick
  • Toronto acquires forwards Nick Spaling and Kasperi Kapanen, defenseman Scott Harrington, a 3rd round pick in 2016 and a conditional future draft pick

Toronto got Spaling (4 assists in 24 games), Kapanen (10 points in 17 games in the AHL) and Harrington (split time between the Leafs and Marlies; has played 15 NHL games with one assist) and may have actually won this trade. Kessel was supposed to make Pittsburgh an unstoppable offensive team, and they’ve been far from that this year. For his part, Kessel has contributed 23 points in 50 games, and is on pace for the worst full 82-game regular season of his NHL career. Biggs has two points in five games in the AHL, and Erixon has 12 points in 30 AHL contests. What makes this deal worse for Pittsburgh is Kessel’s cap hit, and giving up a third round pick to get it done.

Ryan Garbutt

  • Dallas acquires forward Patrick Sharp and defenseman Stephen Johns
  • Chicago acquires forward Ryan Garbutt and defenseman Trevor Daley.

This was a pure salary dump for the Hawks, and Stan Bowman was able to convince Dallas to retain half of Garbutt’s cap hit. Daley tried to carve himself a role in the Hawks’ lineup but it didn’t work out, and he was later traded to Pittsburgh for Rob Scuderi in another deal in which Bowman talked another team into retaining salary. Sharp has been everything Hawks fans loved for nearly a decade for the Stars, and has been a big part of the Stars’ run to first place in the Central. Johns is still in the AHL. Garbutt is still working in a fourth line role for the Hawks.

Jimmy Hayes

  • Boston acquires forward Jimmy Hayes
  • Florida acquires forward Reilly Smith and Marc Savard’s cap hit

An intriguing deal at the time, the biggest news when the deal was announced was Savard’s cap hit moving. But Hayes was coming off a 19-goal season in Florida and Smith was coming off a nice 40-point campaign in Boston. This deal has worked out fairly well for both sides. Smith is among the team leaders with 12 goals for the first place Florida Panthers (say that a few times), while former Hawks prospect Hayes is on pace for the best season of his career with 20 points in 37 games for the Bruins.

19 thoughts on “Looking Back: 2015 NHL Summer Trading

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Inevitably people are going to come on here and say that Bowman was fleeced by Dallas in this trade. Dance from across the NHL on other sites have been praising nail as some sort of genius or hero for getting Patrick Sharp so cheaply. I view this trade more as an indictment against other GM’s across the blue lake who were who were afraid to pay a reasonable price for sharp thinking he was in decline. I think about Montreal who instead of trading for sharp who would seriously help their team this year went forward to sign league bust Alexander Semin on a one year contract. Owners of every team that did not trade for Patrick Sharp should be seriously questioning their general managers as to why they didn’t inquire after the elite forward

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Good god…

    Dance = Fans
    blue lake=league

    Talk to text.

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:15 am


    Miss ya Sharpie!!

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Sorry guys,

    Huge game tonight. Both teams are hot at the moment. The Avs will be looking to cushion their newly earned wildcard spot; while the Hawks can pull within 4 pts of Dallas (tied with Dallas if the boys weren’t already on Christmas break three weeks ago).

    Not to mention how these teams have played each other recently. Should be a good one. Go Hawks!

  • January 10, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Dallas GM is Jim Nill. Just signed an extension there. As far as the Sharp trade. It was a lot of things in why the return was low. He’s getting older, and was injured is one. A lot of teams don’t have the space to add a 5.9 million dollar hit. Probably the biggest reason is the pinch the Hawks were in. They had to dump salary. Sharp had to go from a salary perspective. His salary being vanquished would help the Hawks. Why would any team want to help the team that just won the cup unless the deal was in their favor. Hawks had no leverage and every team in the league knew it.

  • January 10, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Yoda- way to keep some perspective… I have/can Bitch about this mis-step (10 to Dallas)… but SB can’t be right 100% of time… and we still don’t know what other teams were trying to fleece SB with… But- even giving him up for couple Draft choices ( would have seen bad at the time…) – but looks pretty good now.

    And SB/scouts have done an excellent job on some others… especially 72,52…

    I know it’s early… but Gus- looks like Keith lite- especially- in moving the puck…
    besides the pass to 4 for the Goal… he had 2 A+++ passes for Grade A scoring chances… impressive!!! and Cheap ELC deal!!!

    Just hope 10 doesn’t bite us in PO’s!!!!

  • January 10, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Moving Sharp had to be done to keep Saad. The overwhelming opinion on this blog was keeping Saad was a priority. The kick in the teeth came when Saad left. Stan redeemed himself with the signing of Panarin. Can you imagine what this team would look like if Panarin did not come to the Hawks or he turned out to be a bust?

  • January 10, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Hawks1961- Now that is a very good point. The Breadman has been instrumental on the team’s current position and Kane doing his thing. In addition the guy seems to be improving. His shot is phenominal.

  • January 10, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Significant players the Hawks lost off the playoff roster: Sharp, Saad, Oduya, Vermette, Richards.

    Significant players the Hawks added: Panarin, Anisimov, Gustafsson, Danault.

    On “paper”, it looks like the Hawks are weaker. Adding a first line LW would probably even up the scales.

  • January 10, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    You have to look at the overall work by Bowman/Scouts not just one trade/fa/. Just like the guy who mentioned trading a 2nd for 5 was the same as using that 2nd for Goosetafsson. I like to combine the Sharpy, Saader and Panarin trades/fa. Sample size is large enough to see that like Saader, Anisimov is really good, has size and is a good defensive FW. Same with Sharpy, another shooter/bob lee swagger, is like 10 years younger. Bread man for his 10 prime years (when Anisimov and Kaner are started the prime of their prime years). Overall Bowman already knew we got Panarin so when we had to do what we had to do to make it work, we did.

    Caphits, way better
    Sharpy 5.9 Panarin 3.0 (with player bonus?)
    Saader 6.0 Anisimov 4.2

    Age, same and 5yrs younger
    Saader 22 Panarin 23
    Sharpy 32 Anisimov 27

    Other, assets
    Paliotta Dano/Panik/4th

    Some of the other top teams that have to contract raise top/or core players (Kopitar/Stamkos, etc.) arnt going to be as deep as they were. The other top teams arnt going to be able to keep everyone like us as well but will those teams get players like 57/52/72 and where are their farms at.

  • January 10, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    ER, and that ’15 group of FWs was deepest in league. Need good LW FW and we have 4 awesome lines, again.

  • January 10, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    I love Hawks fans justifing some of the piss poor moves but im not buying it sorry.
    Saad trade C, yes the Hawks got some nice pieces back but Saad is the best player, and younger.
    Sharp trade F, no no no way am i buying any other grade besides F. Garbutt is barely a 4th liner and Daley was horrible and has already been moved.

    SB is a strong w the cap and drafting, his offseason via trades is a D in my book

  • January 10, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Sharp trade gets an F, Saad was the best player in that trade, why didn’t he trade Bickell, blah blah blah blah blah. Same old shit. Pretty damn fine job by Stan assembling this roster in my opinion. There’s plenty of bitching but not one single comment about how Stan could have or should have kept any of those guys. Not one. How would you have kept the team under the cap while keeping Sharp and/or Saad? Anyone have a more logical plan? Anyone at all?

  • January 10, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    If it were me, I would have signed Saad to a ten year deal at 990K/year, kept Sharpie, and traded Bickell for 4 first round picks. Bowman didn’t even try any of that. He sucks.

  • January 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Austin, I agree with you. You should be the Hawks’ GM. Maybe Dallas wouldn’t have bent YOU over in the Sharp deal.

    I love it. Keep the faith, my C.I. brothers. The boys up front, with or without Austin, know what they’re doing.

  • January 10, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks Mr. Human…I guess. No disagreement on who won the trade. I just think it’s funny that people assign a letter grade to a trade that Bowman made when in reality, he probably didn’t have a choice.

  • January 11, 2016 at 9:39 am

    @ Austin

    Sorry managing a professional hockey club isnt a small task and when SB lets talent out the door for pennies on the dollars he should get called out. SB was lucky to walk into his job with a strong support cast and tons of NHL front line talent.

    SB should also be praised when he finds talent in the FA market. Panarin, TVR and Gus have all been excellent adds. SB has also managed the Hawks cap better then any GM in the league. However, the Sharp trade was abysmal. Call a spade a spade.

  • January 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Fair enough Mr. SouthSide. It is a salary cap league so I think it’s a better trade than you give him credit for. When the league’s got you by the balls, you’ve got to dump $5.9 million somehow someway.

  • January 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I am satisfied with the Saad trade. Anisimov has been very productive and gives us the second line center that we were looking for. He goes to the net, plays sound defense, is outstanding on PK, and has scored 15 goals. Q loves him. Dano might be a valuable asset also. Time will tell.

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