The NHL trade deadline is one of the busiest days of the year in hockey. Almost every team gets involved in a trade and it had huge repercussions for the rest of the season and the postseason. Who did well and who didn’t? Let’s look at the winners and losers.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning made the biggest trade of the deadline, getting Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the Rangers for Vladislav Namestnikov, prospects Libor Hajek and Brett Howden and two draft picks. The Lightning are front-runners to win the Stanley Cup and they went all in.
The Penguins didn’t do much on deadline day, but they made waves Friday night by acquiring Derick Brassard from the Senators in three-team deal where they lost defenseman Ian Cole, forward Ryan Reeves, a first round draft pick and goaltender prospect Filip Gustavsson. Brassard was one of the top available centers and Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford found a way to get him despite not having much cap space. The Penguins now have the best group of centers in the league and maybe the best group of forwards.
It looked as though the Jets were going to miss out on all the big targets at center but when the Blues went into a losing streak and became sellers, they made center Paul Stastny available. The Jets got Stastny for two draft picks and forward Erik Foley.
The Bruins and Rick Nash might be a perfect match. Nash, 33 is having a good year with 18 goals and 10 assists and should help the Bruins on their second line. The Bruins are having a great year and they needed to make a big acquisition to keep up with the Lightning.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are surprise contenders in the Metropolitan Division and they decided to be buyers at the deadline. They acquired Patrick Maroon from the Oilers and Michael Grabner from the Rangers. The cost wasn’t substantial – they gave up a couple draft picks and prospects.
New York Rangers
The Rangers decided to go into rebuilding mode and they didn’t do it half-hearted. They traded three players on expiring contracts – Michael Grabner, Rick Nash, and Nick Holden, plus captain Ryan McDonagh and center J.T. Miller. In return they got 2 current NHL players – forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Ryan Spooner, plus many draft picks and prospects.
The Stars needed a winger but GM Jim Nill said the prices were too high. It’s one thing to stand pat but when the other teams make major acquisitions, you fall behind. The Stars are barely holding on to a playoff spot so they should’ve done more.
The Flyers were in desperate need of a goaltender and did get one by acquiring Petr Mrazek from the Detroit Red Wings. Besides that, they did nothing. The Flyers have been red hot lately but this was another case of falling behind because other teams made acquisitions.
The Sabres didn’t get much of a return for Evander Kane – two conditional draft picks and a prospect. Gm Jason Botterill said he only received one offer for Kane. They also weren’t able to trade Benoit Pouliot or Josh Gorges.
The Capitals are usually big buyers at the trade deadline, but this year they were quiet. They acquired Michal Kempny from Montreal for Jakub Jerabek. Why didn’t they try to get ex-Cap Mike Green from the Red Wings?
While they did get a good return for Derick Brassard, they didn’t get anything for Mike Hoffman or Nick Shore. Then there was the Erik Karlsson drama. He’s likely to be dealt in the summer but it seems like a very dysfunctional situation.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues decided to become sellers because they went 0-5-1 in their last six games. Okay, but they’re also one point out of a playoff spot. Why become a seller and trade one of your best players when you’re so close to making the playoffs?