The great puck swap meet is done, thank the big guy upstairs.
Not that it hasn’t been interesting, but we would rather watch hockey than listen to well-paid talking heads drone on about the minutiae and hype of each and every deal, right down to AHLer for AHLer.
As with any trade deadline, some teams get a whole lot better with moves, while others get worse, but stock up for the future. There are teams, too, that by virtue of doing nothing are winners, while some that make curious moves are losers (now and in the long run).
Last year, the Pittsburgh Penguins were winners, picking up D Justin Schultz and F Carl Hagelin, both solid contributors to a Stanley Cup victory. San Jose fared well too, nabbing James Reimer as a solid back-up to no. 1 Martin Jones. On the flip side of the coin, Chicago fell flat with moves (for the first time in recent memory), as acquired players like Andrew Ladd had minimal impact. Ditto Washington, as they re-tooled a bit but still couldn’t get past the Pens in the East.
With the trade ticker shut down, here are the winners and losers of trade deadline day (eight and five, respectively, starting with winners). Those teams not mentioned neither won, nor lost, in our opinion.
13. Washington Capitals – Winner
The rich, as in the case of the Capitals, just got a whole lot richer. We’ve asked it before and we’ll ask it again: Is this finally (finally!) the Caps year? Well, trading for the biggest fish in the free agent pond, Kevin Shattenkirk, certainly ups the ante on Washington finally breaking through to the finals. Third year GM Brian McLellan shipped the team’s first round pick this season (a late one), a conditional 2019 second round pick and spare parts F Zach Sanford (three points in 26 games for the Caps this season) and F Brad Malone (20 points with Hershey) to St. Louis for Shattenkirk and G Phoenix Copley (a former Caps free agent signee). In Shattenkirk, who is a UFA this year, the Capitals get one of the most mobile defenders in the league and a guy who can run their powerplay like no other. He has averaged 44 points the last three seasons and already has 42 in 61 games this year. A clear winner.
12. Minnesota Wild – Winner
The Wild, with Bruce Boudreau at the helm, have made great strides this season. They are first in the Central Division with 86 points, which is just one point off their final total for the 2015-16 season (where they scraped into the playoffs as the eighth seed). So, with his team so well placed, GM Chuck Fletcher took a page out of his old man Cliff’s book and swung a deal with Arizona that brings them scoring and grit, for draft picks. Fletcher sent the Wild’s first round pick this year (likely bottom eight), their second round pick in 2018 and a conditional fourth rounder in 2019 for big centerman Martin Hanzal (26 points in 52 games) and plugger Ryan White (13 points in 46 games). Interestingly, it was White who had an outstanding debut in a 5-4 OT win over Los Angeles Monday night, as he potted his eighth goal of the season and added an assist playing on the third line.
11. Toronto Maple Leafs – Winner
And here we thought the Leafs — on the cusp of the playoffs — were going to stick to the “Shana-Plan” and do nothing. But, with Lou Lamoriello at the GM helm, the Leafs made a bold move on Monday, acquiring centerman Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning, for a 2017 second round pick (they have two of them) and minor league forward Byron Froese. In Boyle, Toronto gets a playoff hardened veteran — no one has played more playoff games since 2011 than his 100 — who can score, hit and win face-offs. This season, the soon-to-be UFA has 13 goals (10 event strength) and nine assists in 54 games, is +5, has 83 hits and has won 53 percent of his draws. As of Tuesday and because of the Leafs’ glut of players at center, he is penciled in on the fourth line (according to Daily Face Off) with fellow gritty vet Matt Martin and rookie speedster Nikita Soshnikov. Expect Boyle to be front and center in a renewed Leafs’ playoff push. Picking up former first round pick Eric Fehr, D Steve Oleksy and a 2017 fourth round pick from Pittsburgh at the end of the deadline for little used D Frankie Corrado was also an astute pick up.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning – Winner
Some would think we’ve fallen and hit our collective heads by suggesting the Bolts are winners, having given up all-world goalie Ben Bishop in a trade with L.A. Hear us out, though. The L.A. Kings, who are gunning for the playoffs, aren’t losers either, as they get a no. 1 to help out just returned Jonathan Quick. But, Bishop is a free agent at the end of this season, and if Tampa GM hadn’t have dealt him, they could have lost him for nothing. And the return they got on him and a 2017 fifth round pick was pretty sweet. First, they got the Kings’ starter for this season, Peter Budaj, who’ll split time with Andrei Vasilievskiy. They also got 19-year-old D Erik Cernak, the Kings second round (43rd overall) pick in the 2015 draft, as well as a 2017 seventh round selection and one as-yet-to-be-determined 2017 conditional pick. Tampa is far from out of the playoff picture with 64 points, but Stevie Y did a good job on this trade and with the late deadline day trade for offensive defenceman Mark Streit (21 points in 49 games), who he subsequently flipped to Pittsburgh for a fourth rounder, he made the most of it.
9. Vancouver Canucks – Winner
We’ll declare the Canucks a winner here, solely for the fact they got a young guy who could be a pretty good NHLer someday for aging forward Alexandre Burrows. Some have said on social media that GM Jim Benning would have done well getting a third rounder for Burrows. Instead, he gets Jonathan Dahlen, a 19-year-old center whose numbers compare favorably to Filip Forsberg at the same age. Dahlen, who is in his third season with Swedish second tier team Timra IK, has 39 goals and 32 assists in 100 games, a pace of 0.71 points per game. Forsberg, now a star with Nashville, also played three seasons in the Allsvenskan with Leksands IF. In 91 games there, he had 24 goals and 27 assists, or 0.56 PPG. Dahlen also fared well at this years world junior championships, potting five goals (fourth best in the tournament) and adding an assist in seven games for Sweden. The Canucks also win with Jannik Hansen trade to San Jose. They got rid of the veteran’s $2.5 million cap hit (through 2018) and got good young F Nikolay Goldobin in return.
8. Anaheim Ducks – Winner
When the Ducks sent a conditional second round pick to the underachieving Dallas Stars for Patrick Eaves on Feb. 24, he instantly became their second highest goal scorer with 21 (Rickard Rakell has a team high 24). For that, the Ducks are a winner at the deadline, having increased their scoring ability down the left wing, for ostensibly nothing. Tied with Edmonton for second place in the Pacific with 70 points, Anaheim, the Ducks will need Eaves to continue on his path to a career year in goals, if they are going to hold off Edmonton, the surging Calgary Flames and a re-tooled Kings team that now has two no. 1 goalies (and are nine points pack of the Ducks). For now, Eaves is part of a pretty dynamic third line on the Pond, skating with center Rakell and right winger Corey Perry.
7. Calgary Flames – Winner
The Calgary Flames are having a heck of a year, given that they are in the first wild card spot in the Western Conference (six points clear of ninth place L.A.), a year after missing the post-season. Prior to the deadline, the Flames got the ball rolling on a facelift, sending a 2018 third round pick and conditional fifth rounder to Arizona for D Michael Stone. The sixth year defenceman was not doing well with a bad Coyotes’ team after a great 2015-16 campaign (36 points in 75 games), scoring just nine points in 45 games. The trade to Calgary gives the Flames another decent two-way puck-mover who has two assists and a +4 rating in five games (all wins) so far. Late on deadline day, the Flames brought in some further depth, plucking under-performing F Curtis Lazar and veteran D Mike Kostka from Ottawa for D Jyrki Jokipakka and a second round pick (TBD). Lazar, who has averaged just under nine minutes a game this season, should be able to resurrect a promising career that has been off the tracks a bit since he was selected 17th overall in 2013.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins – Winner
The Pens were our last addition to this list, as they pulled off a couple of late deadline deals that make sense. Earlier, they got veteran D Ron Hainsey from Carolina for F Danny Kristo and a second round pick in this year’s draft. While he’s a little longer in tooth, Hainsey is hungry, having never played a playoff game in his career. He’s a good two-way guy who will block shots and do the little things the Pens will need if they hope to repeat. With the clock ticking down on deadline day, Pittsburgh management added more blueline depth, getting little used D Frankie Corrado from Toronto for depth forward Eric Fehr, D Steve Oleksy and a 2017 4th round pick. Then, with a stroke of genius, they grabbed D Mark Streit — who had just minutes earleer been dealt to Tampa — from the Lightning for a 2018 fourth round pick. Having a great forward corps, the Penguins saw the need for depth on the blue line and with Hainsey, Streit and to a lesser extent Corrado, they got it.
5. Ottawa Senators – Loser
Here’s the deal on why we think the Sens lost out in three trades this week. First, the Alexandre Burrows trade for promising young forward Jonathan Dahlen may have been right, for this year at least. The Sens are in second place in the Atlantic Division, have a few injuries up front and can use Burrows grit and tenacity come the post-season (should they get there, they are only four points clear of ninth place in the Eastern Conference). However, Swedish high scoring winger Dahlen, who the Sens drafted 42nd overall in the deep 2016 draft, could turn out to be a real good one for the Canucks. Just 19, Dahlen has scored 24 goals and added 18 assists in 44 games for Timra IK of the second tier Allsvenskan league. To top it off, they gave an aging Burrows a two-year contract extension worth $2.5 million per season. Second, the Viktor Stalberg deal with Carolina for a third rounder this year doesn’t hurt them too much, but they only got unproven young defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second round pick for F Curtis Lazar and D Mike Kostka in a late deadline swap.
4. Montreal Canadiens – Loser
It’s been an up-and-down season for a Montreal Canadiens team many expected to contend this season. They have 78 points, but have Ottawa (72 pts.), Boston (72) and Toronto (69) breathing down their necks into the stretch drive. Lately, while the Habs are skilled enough up front, they have been proven to be just a little too small and soft. That’s why the Monday deal to bring in D Jordie Benn seems curious, as they didn’t really need to swap D Greg Pateryn and a 2017 fourth round pick for him. On paper, Benn is marginally better (15 points in 58 games compared to Pateryn’s six points in 24 games), but Montreal could use a sizable player up the middle with good skills. The other deals they made on Tuesday, getting 34-year-old pest Steve Ott from Detroit and sending David Desharnais to Edmonton for D Brandon Davidson hardly make them more of a contender. The acquisition of big winger Dwight King from Los Angeles is OK, but he doesn’t address scoring (he had 15 points in 63 games with L.A.), neither will Andreas Martinsen, picked up from Colorado for Sven Andrighetto.
3. Winnipeg Jets – Loser
The Jets are losers by virtue of doing nearly nothing. Just five points out of a playoff spot on deadline day, the Jets have some things to be happy about with their line-up, like a core that includes forwards Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers along with defencemen Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien. Beyond them, however, the team’s depth going forward will be a concern and their goaltending is below average. By neither being a buyer, to help with a playoff push, or a seller, to facilitate a bit of a re-build for 2017-18, the Jets did themselves a disservice, since this line-up isn’t ready to contend. They have tradeable, and aging, assets in Drew Stafford, Tobias Enstrom and Mark Stuart. They were able at the last minute to send Stafford, a UFA in the last year of a two-year, $8.7 million contract to Boston, but got just a conditional sixth round pick in return. Enstrom, 32, has a no movement clause, but may have been willing to waive it for a run at the Cup. Stuart, also 32, has a modified NTC and could have been moved as well.
2. Boston Bruins – Loser
Another relatively inactive team before and during the deadline, the Bruins can neither be really happy with their current configuration nor too concerned at this point. However, if they are thinking of solidifying for a playoff push, there are some glaring holes and future trouble. Outside of their top two lines, the B’s are thin, especially on the right side, where third and fourth line wingers Jimmy Hayes and Riley Nash, respectively, have four and two goals. Acquiring Drew Stafford from Winnipeg at the deadline was good from the standpoint they only had to relinquish a 6th rounder, but he is having a mediocre year (13 points in 40 games). They also don’t get a lot of scoring from the back end, taking away Torey Krug’s 41 points. They could have also used a reliable backup goaltender, since neither of Anton Khudobin (.896 save percentage, 2.84 GAA) or Zane McIntyre (.858, 3.97) have gotten the job done in relief of Tuukka Rask. Remaining content with this line-up is not a recipe for success and while they don’t have that many tradeable assets, even one other move of significance to add a depth defenceman or a back-up goalie could have further boosted their fortunes.
1. Nashville Predators – Loser
One year after going the distance in two rounds of the playoffs (nearly beating finals bound San Jose), the Preds find themselves in third place in the Central Division with 73 points. However, they are just seven points clear of a Kings team (ninth in the West), who improved significantly at the deadline. Now, they will probably make the playoffs, but once they get there, they aren’t necessarily better than they were last year. Where they will probably falter is in net. Other than Calgary (first wild card) and St. Louis (second wild card) they have given up the most third most goals (177) of all teams in a playoff position (one less than the Flames and two less than the Blues). Pekka Rinne, 34, is still a good goalie, but is starting to show some rust and if he eclipses 60 games played for the third season in a row, could be too burnt out to perform well in the post-season. In 20 playoff games the last two seasons, his goals against and save percentages were not in line with regular season totals. Plus, should he falter, thrusting unproven Juuse Saros into the fray wouldn’t bear fruit. They needed a proven back up and didn’t pull the trigger.