Each year at the NHL trade deadline, there are winners and losers. They could be a player or team whose situation has either changed for the better or for worse after the dust settles on the NHL trade deadline.
This year’s deadline was no different. Many players changed teams in the weeks leading up to the March 3rd deadline and almost every trade had clear winners and losers in the process.
With this year’s trade deadline, there are some obvious themes. The gap between the Eastern and Western Conference was only enhanced as several of the best players in the West are now wearing sweaters of teams in the East.
The postseason push, and subsequent playoffs, in the Eastern Conference should be fascinating. Many of the contenders have improved their team for the postseason in an arms race that the NHL hasn’t seen in one conference for quite some time.
In both the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions, the top three are pretty set and you could argue that each of those teams improved post-trade deadline.
The NHL’s Western Conference, for other reasons, is also exciting as just nine points currently separate the top seed from the team currently occupying the last Wild Card spot.
So who emerged as the real winners at the trade deadline? In my mind, there are three teams that I feel best positioned themselves for success in this year’s Stanley Cup run following the trade deadline.
That isn’t to say that other teams didn’t have a successful trade deadline if they weren’t on this list. The Detroit Red Wings, for example, took a step back this year by dealing some players but should be better positioned in the next few years as they continue their rebuild in the Motor City.
This list moreso focuses more on the teams that made themselves better for a cup run this spring.
The 2023 NHL Trade Deadline Winners
The Boston Bruins are currently winning at a historic pace this season. They have been far and above the best team all year and at the time of this post they have 15 more points than the next closest team in the league.
When this happens, one could ask why ruin a good thing? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and adding a potentially good piece could mess with the chemistry they have going on in Boston.
BERTUZZI ✈️ BOSTON
— NHL (@NHL) March 2, 2023
The Bruins didn’t follow this guidance and instead kept their foot on the gas by improving their team at the deadline by acquiring Tyler Bertuzzi, Dmitry Orlov, and Garnet Hathaway. While the team gave up their next two first rounds of picks, the addition of these players will provide tremendous depth for the team during their postseason run.
Boston has been one of the best and most consistent teams in the NHL during the salary cap era, yet only has one Stanley Cup to show for it. This year they are aggressively pursuing a second one for Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Company.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers were able to grab two of the biggest names on the trade block this year in Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko. These two players were mainstays for the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, respectively, so to see them wearing the Rangers jersey is strange.
However, they both bring Stanley Cup pedigree to a team that is looking for a deep playoff run this year. Last season New York made it all the way to the Conference finals and is hoping that these two players can get them to play for the Stanley Cup.
What makes this haul even more impressive is that the Rangers still have a first-round pick in the upcoming NHL draft. Typically when acquiring a couple of big names as they did it can be difficult to hang on to that type of draft capital. The Rangers were able to do so, largely taking advantage of Patrick Kane’s insistence on playing in New York if he was to be moved from Chicago.
New Jersey Devils
While the Rangers got the biggest names at the deadline, the New Jersey Devils may have gotten the best player in Timo Meier. The Devils currently find themselves competing for the top spot in the Metropolitan division a year after finishing second to last.
That type of year-over-year success would make many teams get complacent with the progress they’ve seen on the ice and continue building toward the following year. The Devils have shown that they are serious about contending this season by adding Meier, a winger that will contribute to what is already one of the NHL’s best offenses.
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