As the trade deadline passed, we got a sense of the teams that are trying to fill whatever depth holes that they had. There wasn't a ton of action on deadline day itself, but the weeks preceding it were filled with big trades that have major implications as we progress towards the playoffs.
The Canadiens were able to add quality depth to their team by trading for Devante Smith-Pelly, Jeff Petry, Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell. The first two add the most to their team with Smith-Pelly adding a physical edge to the game that they didn't have before with Jiri Sekac. They were able to add Jeff Petry at a very fair price considering what other defenseman were going for and he is a true top four defenseman. Montreal is a team that is out-possessed most of the time but have the probable Hart and Vezina trophy winner in Carey Price. These moves definitely help while Flynn and Mitchell are most likely on the fourth line or won't be playing.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning made one significant move this deadline and that was acquiring defenseman Braydon Coburn. They paid a heavy price by dealing a first round pick for him (NYR from the MSL trade) but they addressed a need that will only help them as they go into the playoffs as one of the favorites to win the cup. They also dealt former high first round pick Brett Connolly to the Bruins for a few second round picks. Replenishing picks while also adding to the team now is huge as we see more smart moves from Steve Yzerman.
Detroit Red Wings
Detroit made two deals acquiring veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky and veteran forward Erik Cole. The Cole trade is a bit of an overpay as they included two quality prospects in Mattias Backman and Mattias Janmark as well as a second round pick. They paid a fair price of a second round and conditional third round pick for Zidlicky who adds a lot to an already lethal power play. The team is definitely better now so this a move that would help them back into that contender category.
Boston didn't do a whole lot to improve the team beside adding Brett Connolly for a pair of second rounders picks. They also acquired Max Talbot from Colorado but he won’t add a whole lot considering he has been a very negative possession player for years now. They got very unlucky with the Connolly trade as he ended up suffering a broken right index finger in his second practice with the Bruins. If the team does make the playoffs he might be able to play then.
The Panthers had a fun deadline acquiring aged star Jaromir Jagr. Despite Jagr being on a poor Devils team, he had great possession numbers posting 5.5 Corsi Relative to his team. Which means that when he was on the ice, the team controlled 51% of play. When he was off the ice they controlled a lackluster 46%. Jagr is 43 years old and this was an odd trade because they aren't sure to be in the playoffs. They are dealing with injury issues and are behind Boston in the wild card race but still have a solid chance of gaining ground.
Ottawa did not make a single move at the deadline as they are most likely out of the playoff picture. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 but that is mostly due to the surprising goaltending performance of Andrew Hammond. Hammond stepped in and has been dominant but this is most likely a smoke screen as he really has never been good anywhere else. This is a team that will continue to build as they approach the draft.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto continued to blow up the team by trading away assets like Daniel Winnik, Cody Franson, Mike Santorelli as well as other depth players for future picks. No trade is as big as dealing David Clarkson to the Blue Jackets for Nathan Horton. Clarkson has easily one of the worst contracts in the league and the fact that they were able to ship him off is astounding. They now take on Nathan Horton who has a similar deal but will most likely never play an NHL game again. This creates great cap flexibility as they will have him on LTIR for the rest of his contract. This was a great deadline for them as they head into the draft with a probably top five pick.
Buffalo has played the tank card to perfection so far this season as they are approaching historic levels of being bad. They continued to trade off assets like Michal Neuvirth, Chris Stewart, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn in order to secure the best odds come lottery time. Most of the returns were fine but they were able to get a future second round pick for Chris Stewart. The most interesting storyline in this was that they traded for Chad Johnson because Neuvirth was playing too well. They are well beyond being out shot-attempted by over one thousand just at even strength. This draft will be huge as they attempt to secure Connor McDavid.
New York Islanders
The Islanders were in a spot that they didn't really need to do much this deadline. They did add Tyler Kennedy who is a quality bottom six forward who posts terrific possession numbers. Islanders have consistently dealt with injuries to their forwards so this is good insurance. They also added Michal Neuvirth for Chad Johnson which is a pretty significant upgrade. Neuvirth adds a much better option to ease some of the pressure off of Jaro Halak as they approach the playoffs.
New York Rangers
Perhaps the biggest move of the deadline was the addition of Keith Yandle to the already deep Rangers blueline. Yandle is a premier offensive defenseman who adds a legitimate powerplay threat to an average powerplay. The big stipulation to Yandle is that his cap hit sliced in half due to the Coyotes retaining half of his salary. That alone makes the trade that more valuable for the Rangers which is also why the had to pay such a steep price. A future first round pick, second round pick, John Moore and prospect Anthony Duclair is a big package for the defenseman but the Rangers see an opening to be the biggest threat to come out of the east. They also got James Sheppard from the Sharks who can be a valuable fourth line option.
The Penguins made a few moves to add some depth to their team by getting Daniel Winnik, Ben Lovejoy and Ian Cole. That being said they did give up a fair amount to make these moves. Simon Despres is a talented defenseman who has a fairly high ceiling but it seems Pittsburgh wasn't going to wait for him to continue developing. Lovejoy and Cole can step in and play well but aren't impact defenseman.
The Captials added some depth with Curtis Glencross and to a lesser extent Tim Gleason. Glencross is a good second or third line scoring option for the Caps who could use the extra depth on the wing. The price wasn't that large as they shipped off a few second and third round picks so it is a worthwhile addition. Gleason doesn't add much anymore but he is an upgrade over Jack Hillen so adding defensive depth never hurts.
The Flyers were finally read to admit they weren't contending and decided to ship off some assets. Flyers have a very expensive and clogged blueline so trading Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen were wise moves. They got a first round pick and Radko Gudas for Coburn which the highest price for a defenseman not named Keith Yandle at the deadline. Adding two picks for Timonen, who hasn't play a game this season, is a very strong move as they head toward the offseason.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils have not been good at all this season and if not for star goalie Cory Schneider they would be a bottom five team in the league. They finally realized that they should start to ship off some pending UFA's and they did so with Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky. They got a second round pick and two conditional third round picks for the both of them which is a good return. They should have sold more but they can still try to retool in the offseason.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets had an eventful deadline dealing the contract of Nathan Horton for David Clarkson. This was a desperation move for Columbus but they would rather have someone play for that high contract than have Horton who probably won't play again. They also dealt defenseman James Wisniewski and a third round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for prospect William Karlsson, Rene Bourque, and a second round pick. Wisniewski is a good top four option and the return isn't great but Karlsson is good prospect. Bourque is a throw in but this season was an injury disaster for Columbus and it is wise for them to restart next year. Lets also not forget the awesome trade that sent Minnesota native Jordan Leopold back to the Wild because of the letter his daughter wrote.
The Hurricanes have had a tough year this year and face the probability of picking top five in the draft. They have dealt with their fair share of injury woes but what really plagued this team was awful goaltending. That being said, they dealt Andrej Sekera, Jiri Tlusty, and Tim Gleason for prospect Roland McKeown, Jack Hillen, a first round pick, and later conditional picks all in separate deals. They played the rental market perfectly and had the assets to get back great value. The Sekera trade was terrific for them because you can add a good player with McKeown as well as a first round pick that can be used in finding a goalie.
Nashville didn't make a deadline move but had the big trade of acquiring Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli a few weeks prior. They currently sit at the top of the Western Conference and have no major hole so it wasn't a surprise that they stood pat.
St.Louis is another top team out of the West with cup aspirations so there wasn't a need for a major move. They added underrated defenseman Zbynek Michalek, Olli Jokinen, Robert Bortuzzo, and Adam Cracknell. They didn't give up much for these players, especially for Michalek. Blues sent prospect Maxim Letunov and a conditional pick that is contingent on Michalek playing after the concussion he currently has. Jokinen is also a nice depth piece for your bottom six and Bortuzzo can play while they wait on other players to return.
Right after Patrick Kane went down with an injury, the Blackhawks knew they had an opportunity to make a move. The cap will continue to be an issue for the Hawks but with Kane going on LTIR, they could use his cap space to spend on a few rental players. They did that by adding Kimmo Timonen, Antoine Vermette, and Andrew Desjardins. Timonen is still a great defenseman but there are some worries about his health since he hasn’t played in over a year. Vermette was probably overvalued by teams but Arizona got a great package for him including a first round pick and prospect Klas Dahlbeck. Desjardins was an interesting trade as it gives them more flexibility at center. This now sets up Chicago again for another run towards a cup.
The Wild have been active for a while and what started it was the trade for goalie Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk has had an interesting path as he reinvented himself in Arizona which warranted a trade to a team that needed a goalie desperately. Minnesota also made an extremely underrated move getting Sean Bergenheim from the Panthers for only a third and fifth round pick. They also made the move for some defensive depth by getting Jordan Leopold. The biggest move they made was acquiring Chris Stewart for a future second round pick. Stewart had an unreasonably high price tag from the start but Sabres GM Tim Murray got real value for him. Wild now move on as one of the hottest teams in the league since they made the move for Dubnyk controlling 53.1% of play at even strength.
The Jets made their big moves before the deadline when they did the Evander Kane trade. That didn’t stop them from making some nice and cheap moves to add to their depth. Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty were the acquisitions and they are very solid depth options. Stempniak being a very solid third or fourth line defensive option and Tlusty being an incredibly underrated scoring line option. Tlusty is controlling 54.6% of play at even strength with a 96.0 PDO and they only had to send a third and conditional sixth round pick.
Colorado sits outside the playoff race and didn’t do a whole lot on deadline day. They sent Max Talbot and Paul Carey for Jordan Caron and a sixth round pick in 2016 as well as a few smaller prospect deals. They could have shipped some of their unrestricted free agents like Daniel Briere or Jan Hejda but decided to stand pat.
While currently out of a playoff spot, Dallas chose not to do anything beside dealing pending UFA Erik Cole and a conditional third round pick for prospects Mattias Backman and Mattias Jankmark as well as a second round pick. That’s a terrific return for an aging rental player and they will now have to address their other needs during the offseason.
Anaheim currently sits at the top of the Western Conference and they decided to go for it at the deadline. They acquired James Wisniewski, Tomas Fleischmann, Simon Despres, Jiri Sekac, Korbinian Holzer all in separate deals while giving up Devante Smith-Pelly, Ben Lovejoy, Eric Brewer, Dany Heatley, Rene Bourque and a few draft picks. Wisniewski is a big add with a big cap hit at 5.5 but is still a valuable top four defenseman who has a rocket of a shot which adds to their powerplay. Fleischmann is an interesting add because he is a versatile forward who can play both wing positions and fits in anywhere throughout the lineup. Despres seemingly lost the confidence of the Penguins but this is a smart add for a young player trying to establish himself as a regular NHLer. Same goes for Jiri Sekac who is a very different player than Smith-Pelly as he adds more skill than he does physicality. All in all this Anaheim team is a true contender in the West who made huge strides at the deadline while not giving up a whole lot.
Vancouver didn’t make any huge moves but did make an interesting risk/reward type of trade. They traded a second round pick for Calgary forward Sven Baertschi. Baertschi is a highly skilled 22 year-old former first round pick who just didn’t pan out in Calgary. For whatever reason he didn’t get many fair looks and it had been known that he wanted out of Calgary for some time. This is a pretty high price for a player who has yet to do anything substantial in the NHL but has played well at the AHL level. The Canucks also made a minor move trading Dustin Jeffrey to the Islanders for Cory Conacher. The Canucks currently sit second in the Pacific and await the return of Ryan Miller as they head toward the playoffs.
The Flames currently sit in the third spot of the Pacific Division while being the biggest statistical anomaly in the league. They didn’t do much at the deadline beside trading Curtis Glencross and Sven Baertschi for a couple of second round picks and a third round pick. They are the third worst possession team in the league controlling 44% of play but are shooting at an insane 10.34% in all situations. They weren’t buyers at the deadline but have started a bit of a hot streak since the deadline as they progress towards a potential playoff berth.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings didn’t make a move on deadline day but did make a huge move prior acquiring pending UFA defenseman Andrej Sekera for first round pick and defensive prospect Roland McKeown. The Kings have been struggling on defense since the loss of Slava Voynov, and this addition possibly makes them the best defensive core in the league. The price was high and it might not be easy to resign Sekera once the season in done but L.A. still has as good a chance as any to win another Stanley Cup.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks currently sit three points out of the wild card race but didn’t do much at the deadline to try and secure a spot. They traded for Blackhawks forward Ben Smith and gave up multiple depth players like James Sheppard, Andrew Desjardins, and Tyler Kennedy. These trades didn’t get back much return but they do create spots that players on their roster can now try to occupy.
The Coyotes played the beginning of a rebuild perfectly by trading off some of their bigger named assets for prospects and draft picks. The Coyotes were already nowhere near the playoff race and decided to move the likes of Keith Yandle, Antoine Vermette, and Zbynek Michalek for Anthony Duclair, Klas Dahlbeck, Maxim Letunov, John Moore, two first round picks and a second round pick. This not only adds to a talented group of prospects they have moving forward, but increases their odds of landing a top two pick in this upcoming draft.
Instead of keeping their most talented defenseman, the Oilers decided to move Jeff Petry for a very weak return at the deadline. They traded Petry to the Canadiens for a second round pick and a fifth round pick that can get higher as the Habs progress in the playoffs. Compared to what other teams were getting for rental defenseman, this is a loss for Edmonton as they attempt to regroup after another losing season.
(stats courtesy of war-on-ice.com, puckalytics.com, puckon.net, nhl.com)