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Wheeling and dealing as NHL entry draft nears; Leafs get goalie

By Marcus Hondro     Jun 20, 2016 in Sports
In the calendar year right now is the beginning one of the more interesting times in the NHL. Just days ahead of the entry draft, teams are starting to make trades and while off-season stuff doesn't match games, it can come pretty close.
NHL entry draft
The 2016 crop of junior players is one of the strongest ever, with the five players projected to go first, Auston Matthews, Patrick Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi, Matthew Tkachuk and Pierre-Luc Dubois, all touted to have enough talent to step into the league right away.
The remainder of the first round, and beyond, is also considered strong. To go along with the excitement of the 2016 entry draft, in Buffalo on June 24 and 25, there is also free agent frenzy, beginning on July 1 when teams start bidding on this year's crop of unrestricted free agents (UFAs).
And to go along with all of that is the yearly plethora of trades that take place from now right up until training camps. With the Stanley Cup final out of the way and the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrating their win over the San Jose Sharks, NHL teams can start pulling the trigger on trades and the wheeling and dealing has already begun.
Leafs trade for Andersen
The most notable NHL trade that took place today, June 20th, saw the Toronto Maple Leafs finally take care of their goaltending needs in a much-anticipated deal with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Leafs, who have bevy of draft picks this year, sent one of them, the 30th overall (obtained in the Phil Kessel deal) and a 2017 second-rounder, to the Ducks for the 6'4" athletic Frederik Andersen. Last season in the NHL, his third, Andersen was 22-9-4 with a 2.30 GAA, a .919 save percentage and 3 shutouts.
“I love his competitiveness,”Leaf GM Lou Lamoriello said. “He’s always played well in the playoffs. He gives us size which, today, is a necessity. But his athleticism is exceptional.”
Lamoriello said getting Andersen was needed and that he'll compliment veteran Jonathan Bernier nicely, adding that the deal does not alter their plans to move forward with young talent.
"The plan is still in place," he said. "We’re not pushing it forward. But we’ve said all along if we could put ourselves in place to get better without interrupting the plan, we would do it."
Panthers, Sabres deal
In two other deals on the day, the Florida Panthers acquired the negotiating rights to Keith Yandle from the New York Rangers for a 6th round pick this year and if Yandle, an UFA, signs with the Panthers they would also give up a 4th rounder next year.
And the Buffalo Sabres got highly-touted NCAA player Jimmy Vesey from the Nashville Predators for a third round pick in this year's draft. Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award this year playing with Harvard. The 23-year-old had told Predators GM David Poile he was not going to sign there so Poile had to move him.
Expect more trades as the week moves along toward the entry draft Friday.
More about NHL, nhl entry draft, entry draft in buffalo, keith yandle traded, 2016 entry draft
 
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