NHL Trade deadline came and went last night and after a slow start, there were some splashes in the pond. The biggest fish, Ottawa’s talisman defender Erik Karlsson stood still, but a decent school of quality fish were on the move.
The NHL trade deadline deals in the past years have been decreasing in number. This season was a delightful exception to the rule as almost 30 deals were concluded before the deadline. As usual this time of year, the strong teams got stronger and the weak, well… are “rebuilding”.
Instead of trying to figure out who won the NHL trade deadline, let’s have a look how the deals look as of now. We are not clairvoyant, so it’s useless to speculate if this and that draft pick was worth it – we’ll see in a couple of years.
NHL Trade Deadline Big Fish
Ryan McDonagh (and JT Miller) from New York Rangers to Tampa Bay Lightning
The league leading Tampa Bay Lightning bolstered their blue-line at the NHL trade deadline by acquiring Rangers’ captain Ryan McDonagh. Already impressive in their defense with the likes of Victor Hedman, Anton Strålman and Mikhail Sergachyov, Lightning got remarkably better. McDonagh, 27-years of age and a contract still going on for another season has been the captain of the Rangers for the past four seasons. He brings both point production and defensive talent. He’s scored over 30 points in past five seasons, with career high of 43 in 2013-14. His plus-minus stats are over +20 for the last three seasons, not counting the current one. With acquisition of McDonagh, Tampa Bay can ice arguably the best top-4 defenders in the NHL.
Addition of JT Miller is the cherry on top of this trade. Lightning sent away Vlad Namestnikov, who had produced great numbers playing with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. Skillfull offensive player, but lacks a bit of grit and intensity to be an impact player especially in the playoffs. JT Miller brings in more direct approach, being possibly a little less talented with the puck but probably better suited for playoff-hockey.
Rick Nash from New York Rangers to Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins seem to be all-in this year. And why not, they’ve been on fire and played better than in a long time. Addition of Nash was questioned by many, but it does make sense as Bruins’ Stanley Cup window is now open, but not for long. Sending away Ryan Spooner might prove costly in the future, but nobody cares if Bruins hoist the Cup in spring. Nash brings the experience and scoring prowess to support Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. Albeit Nash’s production seems to be in decline, he scored 18 goals this season in struggling Rangers. His career high of 42 goals was only three years ago in 2014-15. With addition of a scoring threat in Nash, Boston is able to ice at three offensive lines – which has proven to be crucial in the playoffs for the past couple of years.
Paul Stastny from St. Louis Blues to Winnipeg Jets
The move that surprised everyone at NHL Trade deadline finally brought Paul Stastny to Winnipeg. Jets were after the centerman four years ago when he was UFA, but missed out as Blues made an offer you can’t refuse. Addition of Stastny assures Jets three offensively capable centermen in Mark Scheifele, Bryan Little and Stastny. The young wingers Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers will likely slot in perfectly with the smart and hard-working playmaker. Stastny has produced solid 40+ point seasons in a defensively oriented Blues team, but more production is expected with offensively sound Jets. With Stastny, Jets got remarkably better and more balanced in the offense.
NHL Trade Deadline Medium Fish
Derick Brassard from Ottawa Senators to Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins added quality in the middle on the NHL Trade Deadline by acquiring an offensively talented former 60-point scorer. Although it was stated they were looking for more of a 2-way player, an opportunity to add even more scoring prowess couldn’t be overlooked. With Crosby, Malkin, Brassard and Riley Sheahan it’s hard to argue which team has the best centering crop of the NHL. Brassard’s production dropped somewhat after joining Ottawa from Rangers for 2016-17 season, but the talent is still there. He scored 39 points last season and 38 points in 58 games this season before getting traded. Taking Ottawa’s struggles into consideration, the numbers are not bad at all. If Penguins looked scary offensively before, now they’re a nightmare for the opponents.
Evander Kane from Buffalo Sabres to San Jose Sharks
Once a bad boy, always a bad boy – or maybe not. Evander Kane has a reputation and it might’ve affected the teams interest in the pending UFA. With strong leadership in San Jose, addition of Kane was a no-brainer on the NHL Trade deadline. A hard-working, physical 40-point scorer is always welcome in the hard-fought Western Conference and Kane is likely to fit perfectly in the Sharks system. There’s no abundance of scoring wingers in the Shark tank and Kane could be the missing link for creating more room and getting more production from the likes of Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi.
Ryan Hartman from Chicago Blackhawks to Nashville Predators
Blackhawks sending Hartman to divisional rivals Predators was somewhat of a surprise – no matter the return. The streaky 23-year old winger has taken small steps forward every season and scored 31 points last year. This season he was on the pace for a bit better with 25 points in 57 games. Harman will provide secondary scoring as well as speed and physicality to already jam-packed Predators offense. Predators are able to use any of their four linese in virtually any situation, which took them to the Stanley Cup final last year – maybe all the way this time around?
Michael Grabner from New York Rangers to New Jersey Devils
The first ever trade between these teams (in their current locations) saw a speedy Austrian move to southern side of the bay. Grabner has scored 25 goals and 31 points this season in a rather small role with the Rangers and will give Devils a nice punch behind Taylor Hall. Grabner can be used in flexible roles and slot into any line necessary. An experienced winger is great addition to young Devils team and can take a burden off from some of the more inexperienced players. Devils are definitely a force to be reckoned with come playoff-time.
Tomas Tatar from Detroit Red Wings to Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights were supposed to be selling and not buying during the NHL trade deadline, but their remarkable success totally turned the tables. Acquiring a speedy and offensively skilled 40-50-point scorer with a handful of draft pickss was still unexpected, but Tomas Tatar fits perfectly in the Golden Knights lineup of run-and-gun forwards. If Vegas has been a nightmare especially for a little bit slower d-men, now they’re even more so with three lines full of wheels and skill. Tatar’s production had somewhat fallen in Detroit this season, but as many have before him, he’s likely to find his stride in Vegas.
You can find all of the NHL Trade Deadline deals listed here in the NHL Official Website
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