The Florida Panthers were perhaps the most surprising team at the NHL Trade Deadline. Still competing for a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, the Panthers nevertheless traded away a top-six forward in Vincent Trocheck and failed to acquire a defenseman, which was considered their biggest need. As it turns out, they nearly got close on a major addition. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun writes that the Panthers were in on defenseman Brady Skjei for much of the day on Monday. After moving Trocheck, the team had hoped to fill his departed salary commitment with a term defenseman and Skjei was the top target, made available by the New York Rangers’ extension of Chris Kreider earlier in the day. However, Florida did not want to take on all of Skjei’s contract, preferring to make a hockey deal instead. LeBrun notes that Michael Matheson would have been part of the return to New York. However, taking on salary was contrary to the Rangers’ plans, and so they went for the Carolina Hurricanes’ offer of a first-round pick instead. Skjei would have made a huge difference in Florida, arguably more than on a deep blue line in Carolina, but the Panthers could not get the deal done. Expect Florida to continue scouring the trade and free agent markets this off-season for a long-term upgrade on the blue line.
- The biggest rumor that emerged on deadline day was a possible trade of Minnesota Wild star Zach Parise to the New York Islanders. Few expected that Parise, who at 35 years old still has five years left on his contract at over $7.5MM AAV, could be a potential trade candidate. Yet, both Parise and the Islanders’ Andrew Ladd had waived their respective trade protections and were merely awaiting the finalization of the deal. That of course never occurred, as Minnesota GM Bill Guerin stated that the deal was very complex and simply did not come together in time. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the two teams have actually been discussing the deal for some time, but concerns over balancing salary and potential cap recapture penalties should Parise retire before his contract expires halted the deal, at least for now. Guerin stated that the two sides could revisit a possible trade in the off-season, but meanwhile Parise is back to work for the Wild. Twincities.com’s Dane Mizutani writes that Parise was relatively tight-lipped about the situation and understands that trades, actual or theoretical, are part of the business. He reaffirmed that he enjoys playing in Minnesota and in no way requested a trade; he was simply willing to waive his No-Movement Clause if the Wild felt that moving him was the best decision. It will remain an interesting topic through the remainder of the season and into the off-season how well Parise and the Wild play in light of this near-blockbuster and whether the trade finally does come to fruition.
- Friedman writes that a number of players traded before the deadline nearly went elsewhere, while some players who stayed put were heavily pursued. Perhaps the most notable move could have been Robin Lehner to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Cane’s were anything but quiet at the deadline, acquiring Trocheck, Skjei, and Sami Vatanen, but failed to address goaltending, arguably their biggest need in light of recent injuries. Carolina has long been linked to Lehner dating back to the 2018 off-season (and could look at him as a free agent again this summer) but balked at the Chicago Blackhawks asking price for a rental. Two other teams that revisited players who they had previously pursued were the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. Both team made notable additions as they fight for a Western Conference playoff spot, but allegedly could have done more. Friedman notes that Calgary was in on veteran winger Wayne Simmonds for the second deadline in a row, but likely could not make the salary work, whereas Edmonton kicked the tires of Patrick Marleau after courting him as a free agent this summer. Finally, two players that received considerable interest per Friedman but did not move were Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening and Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton. Detroit has little to play for this season, but have always highly valued Glendening, who has another year left on his contract. A league source told Friedman that the asking price was simply too high. As for Laughton, the Flyers made only minor moves at the deadline and could not also trade away a key bottom-six piece with term remaining on his contract. It sound as though considerable interest did not sway the team into even considering offers for Laughton.