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Shap Shots Mailbag: Can you assign a player to another NHL team's AHL team?
Plus future considerations, the Stars offense, and some trade deadline predictions
Happy Thursday, let’s get into the mailbag.
Gemel Smith got loaned from one organisation to another AHL team? Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before in NHL/AHL hockey. How common is it? And what is the incentive for teams to do it? (From Hannah)
For those who don’t know, Gemel Smith is on a contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but has been assigned to the Henderson Silver Knights in the AHL.
Henderson is the AHL affiliation of the Vegas Golden Knights.
It’s not super common, but it happens, and it happens more this time of year effectively acting as a way AHL teams can make trades.
For example, during the 2013-14 season when I was covering the Texas Stars, the team made an AHL “trade” to send Francis Wathier to the Milwaukee Admirals and brought Kevin Henderson to Texas.
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Henderson was on an NHL contract with Nashville, so he wasn’t technically traded, he was just re-assigned by the Predators to the Texas Stars. The next season, even though he was still under contract with Nashville, Henderson was assigned back to Texas and was effectively paid by the Predators to play for the Stars minor-league affiliate.
There are a couple incentives.
For starters, it’s easiest the AHL trade mechanism, simply re-assigning a player to another AHL franchise in exchange for another.
There’s also logistical and some human reasons for it. During the 2017-18 and 2018-19 season the Buffalo Sabres assigned Matt Moulson to the Ontario Reign after he cleared waivers, instead of their AHL affiliate the Rochester Americans.
Buffalo didn’t want Moulson taking ice time from young players in Rochester, but were looking for a spot where Moulson could actually play. The Kings were interested in having Moulson around their AHL team, and basically took a free AHL asset that was being paid by Buffalo.
What is to prevent two GMs who really trust each other to make a trade that includes future considerations and then post playoffs the future considerations is an actual player, but one of the teams needed them for the playoffs? (From Jason)
Technically I think you could find the loophole to make it work, I’ve got a call out to maybe get a better answer on this.
But from a simplest answer, I think the easiest way to do this would be a pair of future consideration trades. Where one trade is made for future considerations and then another trade is made in response in the offseason also featuring future considerations.
Many thanks for what you have done and are doing. What has caused the scoring drought? Is it the system, the personnel, or has the league caught up with the Stars? (From Gerald)
It’s kind of funny answering this question today, because the Stars offense didn’t let them down last night, but the defense crumbled in a 4-3 setback against the Chicago Blackhawks.
But, overall, the Stars have been struggling to find answers beyond the first line offensively and they once again are being exposed as a one-line team.
It’s not the system, Rick Bowness’ system had the same problem, it’s the personnel.
The Stars have made bets that certain players will become secondary goal scorers, and this season (and in past seasons) they simply have proven they are not finishers.
It’s why Dallas is and should be in the market for a true top-six forward before the March 3 trad deadline.
The Stars also have missed having a second puck moving defensemen with confidence.
While John Klingberg’s departure was addition by subtraction for Miro Heiskenan, Nils Lundkvist hasn’t found the confidence or consistency to be a frequent threat with the puck on his stick.
It’s why I think the Stars should heavily consider trading for Jakob Chychrun.
Coming into the trade deadline, what are your predictions for some of the the big names (Patrick Kane, Karlsson, Chychrun, etc.)?
What will the Stars and the Red Wings do? (From Em)
First some predictions on the big names.
It feels like Patrick Kane will end up with either the New York Rangers or not get moved at all to me. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think he’s actually enjoying this no-pressure showcase and stardom down the stretch and isn’t opposed to returning to the Blackhawks in the summer.
I don’t think Erik Karlsson gets moved, I think the contract becomes too much of an obstacle and it’s more likely he gets move in the offseason or at the NHL draft in June.
The Stars should be in on Chychrun, but he’ll probably end up in Boston. That’s just a gut feeling I have.
The Red Wings are likely going to stand pat, they aren’t selling and they aren’t buying. They are essentially willing to give this group a chance to make the playoffs and bring postseason hockey to an arena that’s never had it.
Dallas needs to add another forward, and I keep circling back to James van Riemsdyk now. I don’t think Kane will pick Dallas, and with some other names already gone, I think the Flyers forward may ultimately be the piece Jim Nill acquires.