NHL's quartet of rookie GMs hit ground running at trade deadline

The league's four rookie GMs — three of whom have been on the job a matter of months — all had eventful lead-ins to the league's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline on Monday.

Canadiens, Canucks among biggest movers; Fleury 1st reigning Vezina winner dealt

Montreal Canadiens rookie general manager Kent Hughes was among the busiest team executives at the NHL trade deadline. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes and Anaheim Ducks counterpart Pat Verbeek accumulated plenty of assets ahead of the NHL trade deadline.

Vancouver's Patrik Allvin, meanwhile, started to put his stamp on the Canucks.

And Kyle Davidson of Chicago dealt the reigning Vezina Trophy winner as that franchise pivots to its rebuild.

He also appeared to ruffle some feathers.

The league's four rookie GMs — three of whom have been on the job a matter of months — all had eventful lead-ins to the league's 3 p.m. ET cutoff Monday.

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Hughes, who was hired Jan. 18, scooped up a boatload of picks and prospects in five separate trades since the middle of February, including sending winger Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames and defenceman Ben Chiarot to the Florida Panthers. Montreal also waved goodbye to winger Arturri Lehkonen (Colorado Avalanche) and blue-liner Brett Kulak (Edmonton Oilers).

The Canadiens now own four first-round picks the next two years, and 10 selections in the first four rounds alone of the upcoming July draft at the Bell Centre.

Verbeek, who got the Anaheim job Feb. 3, also shipped veterans out, turning winger Rickard Rakell (Pittsburgh Penguins), defenceman Hampus Lindholm (Boston Bruins), forward Nicolas Deslauriers (Minnesota Wild) and blue-liner Josh Manson (Colorado) into 12 combined assets.

"You have to evaluate the situation you're in and where you are in your process," Verbeek told reporters in Anaheim. "This is the decision the organization made."

The deal sending Hampus Lindholm, left, from the Duck to the Bruins may have been the biggest of Verbeek's first trade deadline in Anaheim. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Allvin was in a slightly different position compared to the league's three other recent GM hires with Vancouver still in the Western Conference playoff conversation.

The Canucks did, however, trade veteran defenceman Travis Hamonic to the Ottawa Senators and acquire a younger blue-liner with more upside in Travis Dermott from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The team also shipped bottom-6 winger Tyler Motte — a pending unrestricted free agent — to the New York Rangers for a fourth-round pick, but held onto centre J.T. Miller and forward Brock Boeser, who had both been mentioned in trade rumors.

Hired on Jan. 22, Allvin said prior to the deadline the approach heading into Monday had been a collaborative effort in Vancouver's front office.

"I've been fortunate to watch the team closely and been surrounded with a great staff," he said. "I get a lot of information ... taking calls and making calls around the league to see what we can do here short-term and long-term to improve our hockey club."

Miller, left, and Boeser, right, were among players the Canucks elected to keep past the trade deadline. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Davidson had been Chicago's interim general manager since June after Stan Bowman resigned in October in the wake of the Kyle Beach sexual assault scandal.

He was only hired into the top job on a permanent basis March 1, but quickly went to work by first dealing forward Brandon Hagel and his team-friendly contract to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a package that included two prospects and two first-round picks.

Chicago then sent Vezina winner Marc Andre-Fleury to Minnesota for a second-round selection that becomes a first if the Wild make the conference final and the veteran goaltender plays a significant role.

Davidson also drew the ire of Toronto GM Kyle Dubas following a detailed leak of the teams' discussions about a possible Fleury trade.

"I'm disappointed that that conversation is public," Dubas said Monday after the deadline passed.

"I'm aware of his comments," Davidson told reporters in Chicago when asked about the remarks. "That's something I'll address in private with Kyle."

If they so choose, the pair should get that chance at the NHL GM meetings in Florida next week.

Deadline facts

Fleury became the first reigning Vezina Trophy winner to ever be traded on deadline day.

Meanwhile, Montreal acquired defence prospect Justin Barron from Colorado in the Lehkonen trade, while the Winnipeg Jets received forward Morgan Barron from the Rangers as part of the deal for centre Andrew Copp.

The Barron swaps marked just the second time since 1980 that brothers had switched teams on deadline day. The only other instance came back in 2008 when Marian Hossa went from the Atlanta Thrashers to Pittsburgh, and Marcel Hossa was traded from the Rangers to the Arizona Coyotes.

Sliding Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights owned a four-point cushion atop the Pacific Division on Feb. 9.

Just six weeks later, they find themselves outside the West's playoff picture.

Decimated by injuries, Vegas has gone 6-12-1 over its last 19 games to sit one point out of the conference's second wild-card spot thanks to the NHL's fourth-worst points percentage (.342) over that span.

Frozen Four begins

The NCAA opens its men's hockey tournament bracket this week as 16 teams look to make the Frozen Four in Boston.

Michigan, led by 2021 first overall pick Owen Power, enters as the No. 1 seed followed by Minnesota State, Western Michigan and Denver.

The Frozen Four semifinals go April 7 at TD Garden followed the title game April 9.

Manson marvels at Makar

Colorado's Cale Makar became the fifth defenceman aged 23 or younger in the past 30 years to reach 70 points in a season earlier this week.

Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators also recently cracked the 70-point mark, making the 2021-22 campaign just the third in NHL history to see multiple blue-liners secure 70 points in fewer than 60 games.

Manson joked he needs to temper his praise of Makar after joining the Avalanche from Anaheim.

"Every time he comes off from a shift I'm like: 'Good play ... good play ... good play ... that was a nice play,"' said the veteran defenceman. "You gotta start picking and choosing when you say stuff to him.

"Every time he comes off the ice, it's like well, he made a good play there, and a good play there."

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