The NHL Trade deadline has passed and there were a number of key moves made. While some teams are starting to blow it up and start over, others are acquiring key depth for potential playoff pushes.
Kevin Gesterling and I are going to list all the moves of note and declare (from our perspective) who won and lost each trade. He handled the winners and losers in the Eastern Conference and I took on the Western Conference.
2018-2019 NHL Trade Deadline Review
Eastern Conference Winners
The Blue Jackets added some serious depth for a playoff run. There were some questions on what they were going to do with Artemi Panarin and the answer simply is, they are going all in. Since Friday, Columbus has added Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Adam McQuaid, and backup goalie Keith Kinkaid.
The Blue Jackets are aiming to win and aiming to win now and might just have enough to pull off an upset. They already have a solid core of defensemen and Sergei Bobrovsky, so they could very well make some noise.
Part of me is hoping for a Pittsburgh Penguins rematch come April. That would be fun to see. Columbus has a chance in that series if it happens. In just about a week, the Blue Jackets have gone from big sellers to become a dark horse team no one wants to mess with.
The Bruins get here because they added depth to a team that needed it. They managed to pull in Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle over the last week and they only gave up one organizational player in the process. Given the Bruins drafting record, I am not worried about the second, fourth and fifth round picks that were shipped away in those deals. The moves give the Bruins a right winger for David Krejci in Johansson and a great third line centre in Coyle. He has already found good chemistry with David Backes and Peter Cehlarik on their line.
The Bruins now have valuable depth at forward ready for the playoffs. The Bruins will have to win the Cup by playing strong defence, but the depth they added at forward will be a positive moving forward.
The Sabres traded for Brandon Montour from the Ducks in exchange for a prospect defenseman and a conditional 2019 first round pick. This move helps solidify the defense for the Sabres and fills a component necessary to fight for a playoff spot.
I am still not convinced that the Sabres are a legitimate contender this season, but getting Montour was a great move for Buffalo moving forward. This is a positive deal.
Eastern Conference Losers
The Penguins sitting back and watching idly is surprising. They did add Erik Gudbranson but I expect more out of the Penguins who are typically a team that is very active. This year, they didn’t do anything of note.
Speaking of Philly, they traded Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators for Ryan Hartman and a 2020 fourth round pick. The Flyers were reportedly looking to get a first for Simmonds. So the truth is that either the reports were misleading or the Flyers overvalued Simmonds and got less than what they expected to get out of the deal. Either way, the Flyers might as well have kept Simmonds.
I think the most stunning part is the Flyers didn’t add to their roster for a playoff push. Philadelphia has made a lot of headway recently and going out doing nothing at this point is a shame.
The Leafs added Jake Muzzin a bit ago, but I would have liked to have seen them do more to build on their depth on defense. Defence is still an area of concern for the Maple Leafs. Muzzin is a nice piece and will be a great asset but they needed to add more to a defence that might be the worst of any playoff team out in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto also lacks size and that lack could be a very bad thing for them. Most of the Eastern Conference has bigger, and badder lineups than Toronto and over time, potentially wear the Maple Leafs down moving forward. If they get past Boston in the first round, they still have to get past the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last year, the Lightning put a hurting on the Bruins and the Bruins have a bigger roster than Toronto. In the NHL, size still does matter. Not as much as before but it does and Toronto might find out the hard way.
Western Conference Winners
The Jets are looking to be frightening come playoff time. They acquired centre depth at the deadline in Kevin Hayes which they needed anyway. Now on paper, the Jets have all the pieces together. Patrik Laine recently snapping his goal drought is definitely encouraging for the fans and coaching staff. They’re going to be in a dogfight in a ridiculously tight western conference though.
The Sharks are making a big all in push with the moves they made Monday. Acquiring Gustav Nyquist for little to nothing of note truly makes me believe this might be the year the Sharks finally take it all. They’re deep in all areas of the ice and that’s critical in the playoffs. They’ve obviously taken cues from the 2006-2007 Anaheim Ducks in having one of the most stacked defensive cores in the league.
This could be the Sharks year but there is still concern around their crease. Martin Jones has been streaky again this year and he’ll need to be at his best come playoffs.
The Golden Knights have had some struggles this year. It seems like they’re trying to recreate the magic of last year. Acquiring Mark Stone from the Ottawa Senators in midst of a huge fire sale should give their top-six a new needed dimension come playoff time. The move doesn’t really hurt them too much in the long term as well. They have plenty of draft capital to utilize to replenish the team with youth should the need arise. Signing Stone to an eight-year deal after acquiring him makes more than a lot of sense. He won’t be getting paid in Ottawa.
Western Conference Losers
The Wild… oh how the wild have struggled this year. It’s a shame they doomed themselves by signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to those two giant contracts in 2012. The team desperately needs to blow it all up and start over but can’t due to the contracts. I’m not faulting them for taking them in the slightest, they have families to think of. Besides, who wouldn’t take 13 years and a little under 100 million overall? The problem is while it paid off in the short term, it shot them in the foot in the long term.
Giving up Coyle is a clear sign the team is finally starting the fire sale that’s been long overdue.
Nashville is still a scary team that’s going to give any team in the West headaches, but they truly made a questionable move this year. Acquiring Wayne Simmonds from the Flyers would have been a savvy move about four years ago but he clearly isn’t the same anymore. He’s still good in more of a depth position but his top-six days are done. Nashville had to give up an efficient young player in Ryan Hartman to get him as well. That doesn’t seem like the best move in my opinion.
The Stars made a move that seemed great on paper. They took advantage of the Rangers fire sale and acquired a playoff warrior in Mats Zuccarello. Unfortunately, he got injured in his first game with the team. It’s a shame, but the haul they gave up to get him is going to look pretty substantial if they don’t get out of the gridlocked Western Conference into a strong playoff push. Maybe this is the sports gods method of paying Dallas back after they fleeced the Vikings out of their future for Herschel Walker.
Think we read this completely wrong? Feel free to tweet @kevingesterling1 or me @nero_Alucard or @LWOsports. We thank you for your time and hope you enjoyed the article.
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