The trade deadline isn’t until Friday but the activity around the league has picked up in a big way over the past few days with many of the key stories of the week coming on the trade front.
Meier To New Jersey: The Devils have added a significant piece for this season and beyond, acquiring winger Timo Meier from the Sharks as part of a nine-player trade that also included four draft picks. The highlight of the return to San Jose is prospect defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin (a 2020 first-round pick), New Jersey’s 2023 first-round pick, and a conditional 2024 second-rounder that becomes a first if New Jersey makes the Eastern Conference Final in 2023 or 2024. Meier is a power forward in his prime, a legitimate top-line winger that will remain under team control this summer as a restricted free agent with arbitration eligibility. However, he’ll be owed a qualifying offer of $10MM if they can’t reach a long-term agreement beforehand. He’ll be a big addition to what has become quite the arms race in the Eastern Conference while San Jose picks up some pieces for the future.
Injury News: The Islanders are in a battle for a Wild Card spot in the East but that task is going to be harder now with New York losing Mathew Barzal on a week-to-week basis due to a lower-body injury. While they expect him back before the end of the regular season, losing their second-leading scorer for an extended stretch at this time of year is certainly going to hurt. Meanwhile, the Predators will be without Ryan Johansen for the rest of the season after he underwent surgery to repair a leg injury. Officially, the timeline for recovery is 12 months but with Nashville selling, they won’t be needing him in the playoffs. Lastly, the Golden Knights transferred winger Mark Stone to LTIR, allowing them to spend up to an additional $9.5MM in cap space, some of which was used to acquire Ivan Barbashev from St. Louis. The captain is out indefinitely due to another back injury.
Bruins Make A Splash: The Bruins opted to make their big splash early, acquiring defenseman Dmitry Orlov and winger Garnet Hathaway from Washington. In return, Boston sent the Capitals a 2023 first-round pick, a 2024 third-rounder, a 2025 second-rounder, and Craig Smith while getting 50% of Orlov’s contract retained. The Bruins also flipped a 2023 fifth-rounder to Minnesota to get them to retain an additional 25% on Orlov’s deal. Orlov is a pending unrestricted free agent but is undoubtedly a big acquisition for their back end as a veteran that can log big minutes and play in all situations while Hathaway gives them some extra grit in their bottom six. The Caps, meanwhile, get some future assets although they seem unlikely to go through a full-scale rebuild. Speculatively, some of those picks could be in play for a non-rental player at some point.
Trotz Back To Nashville: Barry Trotz is on his way back to the Predators, just not in the role you might have been thinking. Instead of going back behind the bench, he instead will be taking over as their new general manager effective July 1st as long-time GM David Poile is stepping into an advisory role. Trotz has been a head coach for 23 years and is third all-time in wins but opted not to coach this season to spend time with his family. This will be his first foray into management. Meanwhile, Poile has been the only GM the franchise has ever known, taking over the team back in 1997 before they even began play in the league. While one franchise icon is leaving, another will be returning with Trotz having coached in Nashville before for 15 seasons.
Niederreiter To Winnipeg: The Jets made a move to shore up their forward group, acquiring Nino Niederreiter from Nashville in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick. The 30-year-old has been a consistent secondary scorer for most of his career and that is the case again this season as he has 18 goals in 56 games so far. He’ll help fill the vacancy created by Cole Perfetti who is out for at least eight weeks due to an upper-body injury. While a lot of deals at this time of year are for rentals, this isn’t the case here as Winnipeg will have Niederreiter under contract through next season at a $4MM AAV. Meanwhile, the Predators appear to be selling and pick up a useful draft pick for the future.
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