The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and while it wasn’t the most exciting deadline day in recent memory, there were quite a few notable moves. Here are the winners and losers of the neck-and-neck Atlantic Division:
GM Don Sweeney did not want a repeat of 2016, when he gave up second, third, fourth, and fifth-round picks for Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles, only for the team to miss the playoffs. In 2017, he succeeded in bringing in a reliable depth player and goal-scorer, Stafford, without having to pay the price of a top pick or any of Boston’s numerous high-end prospects. Sweeney deserves credit for not panicking when his divisional rivals all began making multiple moves, holding to his word of not overpaying and eventually getting a last-minute deal done at a bargain price for a good player.
Detroit Red Wings:
- Acquired 2017 third-round pick from Chicago Blackhawks for Tomas Jurco
- Acquired 2017 third-round pick and 2018 second-round pick from New York Rangers for Brendan Smith
- Acquired 2018 sixth-round pick from Montreal Canadiens for Steve Ott
- Acquired 2017 third-round pick and Dylan McIlrath from Florida Panthers for Thomas Vanek
As hard as it is to imagine, the Red Wings are going to miss the playoffs and were in a complete fire sale at the deadline. For as long as it has been since they were in such a position, the team did pretty well. GM Ken Holland may have been able to get a better deal for Vanek earlier in the season, but getting two high picks for Smith and anything at all for Ott was nice maneuvering. The Red Wings in essence added five picks for four players that were unlikely to be on the team in 2017-18 anyway. Could they have dealt Riley Sheahan and Drew Miller too? Possibly, but they did enough as is.
- Acquired Jordie Benn from Dallas Stars for 2017 fourth-round pick and Greg Pateryn
- Acquired Brandon Davidson from Edmonton Oilers for David Desharnais
- Acquired Steve Ott from Detroit Red Wings for 2018 sixth-round pick
- Acquired Dwight King from Los Angeles Kings for conditional 2018 fourth-round pick
- Acquired Andreas Martinsen from Colorado Avalanche for Sven Andrighetto
Whether GM Marc Bergevin’s obvious plan to tailor his roster to new head coach Claude Julien’s style works out remains to be seen. However, adding five NHL-caliber players is a feat in itself, and doing so without losing much is even more impressive. The numerous Expansion Draft questions aside, the Habs added too long-term defensive options for two players they had grown tired of and a mid-round pick. The same applies to Martinsen for Andrighetto. King for a fourth-rounder could also end up as a bargain for a tough, postseason battle-tested player.
Tampa Bay Lightning:
- Acquired Peter Budaj, Erik Cernak, and a 2017 seventh-round pick from the Los Angeles Kings for Ben Bishop, a 2017 fifth-round pick, and another conditional 2017 pick
- Acquired 2017 second-round pick and Byron Froese from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Brian Boyle
- Acquired Mike McKenna from the Florida Panthers for Adam Wilcox
- Acquired Mark Streit from the Philadelphia Flyers for Valtteri Filppula, a 2017 fourth-round pick, and a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick
- Acquired 2018 fourth-round pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Mark Streit (flipped)
Like the Red Wings, the Lightning are not familiar with fire sales, but GM Steve Yzerman got the job done. Dumping Filppula by flipping Streit was a genius move and, all things considered, really only left them down a conditional last-round pick. A second-round selection for Boyle was also an excellent deal. The Bishop trade was strange (for both sides), but the Bolts were ready to let him walk anyway and now have promising blue line prospect Cernak to show for it. Yzerman tried to move Jason Garrison as well, but it’s no surprise there were no takers.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
- Acquired Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a 2017 second-round pick and Byron Froese
- Acquired Eric Fehr, Steve Oleksy, and a 2017 fourth-round pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Frank Corrado
Many fans were afraid that the young Toronto Maple Leafs would overpay in promising prospect talent or multiple draft picks, but GM Lou Lamoriello, one of the greats, did no such thing. Boyle solved a season-long problem at fourth-line center and brings a much-needed veteran, two-way presence. A second-round pick was well worth it to them for that addition. Corrado was hardly playing in Toronto and had become a nuisance really, so getting Fehr, who solves an Expansion Draft exposure problem, and a fourth-round pick for him was nice deal.
The Buffalo Sabres are out of the playoff hunt and should have been full-blown sellers at the deadline. Instead, they made one minor hockey trade. There was interest in defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson and golatender Anders Nilsson, but GM Tim Murray didn’t get any offers that he likes. Unfortunately, he’s not really in any position to be picky. Both Kulikov and Franson have been disasters in Buffalo and you take whatever you can get for them. Unless you’re committed to re-signing Nilsson, you move him too. Murray treated deadline day like a lazy Sunday.
- Acquired Thomas Vanek from Detroit Red Wings for 2017 third-round pick and Dylan McIlrath
- Acquired Adam Wilcox from Tampa Bay Lightning for Mike McKenna
- Acquired Reece Scarlett from New Jersey Devils for Shane Harper
Does Vanek improve the Panthers? Absolutely. Was a third-rounder a good price for his services? Yes. Are the Panthers a player away from being a contender? No. In fact, Vanek may not even help them make the playoffs. Scoring and the power play are Florida’s biggest weaknesses and those will improve with Vanek. However, the Panthers face a brutal schedule the rest of the way and just one player likely won’t help them win enough games to make a difference. They needed to go all out if they were buyers. As it stands now, they still need help from other teams just to get into the postseason. A team in that situation should have given more though to trading one of Mark Pysyk or Alex Petrovic before they lose him for nothing in the Expansion Draft.
- Acquired Alexandre Burrows from Vancouver Canucks for Jonathan Dahlen
- Acquired Viktor Stalberg from Carolina Hurricane for 2017 third-round pick
- Acquired 2017 second-round pick and Jyrki Jokipakka from Calgary Flames for Curtis Lazar and Mike Kostka
Burrows for Dahlen has shades of Martin Erat for Filip Forsberg. Then extending the aged and somewhat ineffective veteran for two years made it worse. Meanwhile, the Panthers get Vanek for a third-rounder and the Bruins get Stafford for a sixth-rounder and you give up a third-round selection for Stalberg, who is objectively worse than either of those players? Bad over-payment on the part of GM Pierre Dorion. You can’t blame the team for moving on from Lazar, but you can blame them for letting it get to that point and for not holding off for a better offer. After three notable trades, have the Senators really gotten any better?