Brief Comments on Every Single NHL Deadline Trade

Oh god what am I doing.

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and we’ve had a couple days to let the dust settle. It was a fairly slow deadline overshadowed by the prospect of the best defenseman in the NHL being traded by his skinflint owner. Which, of course, never happened. But we have trades, trades, trades!

To CBJ:
Ian Cole

To OTT:
Nick Moutrey
2020 3rd Round Pick

Options, options, options! That’s what we’re getting here for a stumbling Blue Jackets team. Despite already having upwards of 8 nominally NHL-ready defensemen, the team was stalling down the stretch, and their playoff position was in peril. So GM Jarmo Kekalainen went out and got someone who would slot into the top 5 or 6 of those 8 or 9 NHL defenders with ease to provide some stability on the bottom pair, for now. And they did so while giving up very little Moutrey is a 22 year old forward who hasn’t played an NHL game, so take that for what it’s worth. 2020 is a year the Blue Jackets, fairly or otherwise, expect their window to be open, and hoo boy it had better be, as CBJ are down 4 picks in the next 3 drafts.

To NSH:
Ryan Hartman
2018 5th Round Pick

To CHI:
2018 1st Round Pick
Victor Ejdsell
2018 4th Round Pick

Alright, what compromising evidence does Stan Bowman have against almost every other GM in the league? This isn’t a “fleecing” in the traditional sense of the word, but if Ryan Hartman is worth a first round pick, I don’t understand player valuations in the least. Nashville picks up a depth forward to help make that Cup run and Chicago puts some picks in their cupboard that they can either use to draft new players, or entice teams to take on some of the woeful contracts that slammed their cup window shut perhaps a year or two ahead of schedule. I understand Poile’s position that he doesn’t intend on Hartman being a rental, and as a pending RFA without arbitration rights, Poile basically gets to dictate his salary, but if that’s your intent, at the very least make that draft pick conditional in some manner. For Ejdsell, he’s a productive 22 year old forward playing in Sweden. I really don’t have much on how productive he would be in the NHL, but age is going to quickly become a concern if he doesn’t fly across the pond shortly.

To WPG: 
Paul Stastny

To STL: 
2018 1st Round Pick
Erik Foley
Conditional 2020 4th Round Pick

Ohhhhhhh boy what on earth is this. This is nearly identical to what Chicago got for Ryan freakin Hartman. The Blues have completely thrown in the towel while being genuinely competitive for a playoff spot. Stastny has slotted in centering the third(!) line with Laine(!) and Ehlers(!!!) in Winnipeg. This is easily, easily the scariest top 9 in the NHL. Winnipeg gets much needed reinforcements down the middle, create a more balanced third line of attack allowing Laine and Ehlers to create more space because they have a genuine playmaker between them. Foley, for his part is a promising 20 year old player on a strong Providence squad. The biggest knock against him is that he’s not big enough. And we’ve all seen how well that narrative holds up when dealing with skill forwards.

To VAN: 
Brandon Leipsic

To VGK: 
Philip Holm

Vancouver is such a friggin mess I don’t even know what to think. There are three main factors here with Benning’s current stock of assets. First, for a rebuilding team, they are woefully short on draft picks. Second, they do have some depth at NHL-quality defensemen. Third, they have far, far too many middling young-20’s forwards. Which means, if you’re keeping score at home, NHL defensemen and middling young 20’s forwards should be traded out for draft picks, or at the very least 19 year old prospects who still have room to grow. Instead we get this. Trading away something he has an overabundance of for something else he has an overabundance of. Vegas adds depth, Vancouver adds… I mean I guess it’s still called depth when you already have more of it than you could possibly need.

To CBJ:
Ryan Kujawinski

To PHX:
Jordan Maletta

Couple of 22 year old AHL guys switching spots. Doesn’t seem to be anything more than a minor league trade. Neither of these guys strike me as having a particularly strong case to make full time NHL transitions, but you never know.

To NYI: 
Chris Wagner

To ANA:
Jason Chimera

Anaheim “adds” a depth forward for a playoff run. Not sure this move was really necessary because I personally think Chimera has been over the hill for a while now. But he has experience, whatever that’s worth. But in the process give up Chris Wagner who I think is just as good? This feels like something Randy Carlyle pushed for. Don’t hate it for either side, but I just don’t understand why this had to happen in the first place.

To SJ: 
Evander Kane

To BUF:
Conditional 2019 1st round pick
Conditional 2020 4th round pick
Danny O’Regan

The 2019 pick originates as a second, but can become a first if Kane re-signs in San Jose, the 2020 has a convoluted condition that doesn’t really need to be expounded on. Danny O’Regan was Jack Eichel’s other linemate at BU. Looks like the gang is back together. Although I’ve stated before that most guys need to play at least one or two NHL games by age 23 or I don’t see full time in their future, there are exceptions and I think O’Regan may be in that mold. He’s picked up his play a lot this season and played in the insanely tough Hockey East conference for 4 years. I’m still not entirely sold the NHL is in his future, but I’m more confident in his promotion than, say, Jordan Maletta. Evander Kane is a guy we’re all familiar with. A strong and speedy forward who can slot into nearly anyone’s top 6 and make it better. He was the big fish of this year’s forward class and I think this return is just about fair for his abilities.

To CBJ: 
Thomas Vanek

To VAN: 
Tyler Motte
Jussi Jokinen

Remember that thing I said about Vancouver already having too many low-20’s forwards that don’t project to be much? Enter Tyler Motte. A 22 year old minor league forward who doesn’t project to be much. This trade has generated a lot of conversation because this is basically a straight up giveaway of a player who was at least slightly sought-after. I understand that Vanek has a history of underperforming in the playoffs, but Brandon friggin Bollig at least fetched a 6th round pick. And I think a 6th round pick has a better chance of being an NHL regular than Tyler Motte. Benning was hired from the Bruins where his job was basically overseeing the draft process. In the time he’s been in Vancouver, he’s traded away more draft picks than he’s acquired, and the team hasn’t made the playoffs once! This is bad asset management, folks. If the best offer you receive is barely more than nothing at all, probably turn it down so as not to advertise to 30 (soon to be 31) other GM’s that you’ll take a wildly undervalued asset package when it gets to crunch time. And that’s precisely what Jim Benning did here. Anyway, I think Columbus is just trying to give their woeful powerplay a boost, and I think Vanek is where you go to do that. Especially if you can get him for free.

To VGK: 
Tomas Tatar

To DET: 
2018 1st Round Pick
2019 2nd Round Pick
2021 3rd Round Pick

Not a bad bit of business here for Kenny Holland. The much maligned Detroit front office pulled a huge return for a player who will likely see third line minutes for an improved Golden Knights squad. I understand the Knights have more picks than anyone, and are in a position to offer them more freely to acquire assets this year, but this still feels steeper than it needed to be. It is worth noting that Tatar is signed through 2021, but at what appears to be a slightly inflated $5.3 million. This is a strong enough return that it frankly makes it forgivable for Detroit to fail to move pending UFA Mike Green, as this is a haul I would have reasonably expected the Wings to get from both players combined. It also allows Holland to tell owners this off-season that he “won’t be bullied into losing his players for less than they’re worth.” Owners love that shit.

Here’s the big one, boys and girls.

To TBL: 
Ryan McDonagh
JT Miller

To NYR:
Vladislav Namestnikov
Libor Hajek
Brett Howden
2018 1st Round Pick
Conditional 2019 2nd Round Pick

The condition on the 2019 is TBL winning the cup. So they managed to do an all-in the right way. Lots of moving parts here, and we’ll have to see how it all plays out but from my perspective, I think TBL “wins” this trade, but I think both teams do extraordinarily well. Tampa has desperately needed a second pair defenseman for a while, and may finally be able to play without asking Vasilevskiy to make 40 saves a night. They also address a deficiency they’ve had in the faceoff circle by replacing Namestnikov with a very similar player in JT Miller who is just better at faceoffs. This was an ideal time to trade Namestnikov, because I would venture to guess that his counting stats were slightly inflated by spending so much time as the third player on the Stamkos/Kucherov line to start the season. He was by no means simply a passenger, but I don’t know how productive I expect him to be lining up with Mika Zibanejad or Chris Kreider. Tampa loses some valuable prospects who had recently shown well at the 2018 World Juniors but manage to hold on to their most valuable in Cal Foote. New York gets a pair of guys that we can expect to see in the NHL some day, and Tampa addresses one major concern and one minor. The Bolts catapulted themselves to cup favorites with this move, and managed to keep a lot of important pieces in the cupboard for the future.

To PIT: 
Josh Jooris

To CAR:
Greg McKegg

Looks like mostly a minor league deal for the WBS Pens and the Checkers, but Jooris could see himself called up for a playoff run. Similarly, in case of a few injuries, McKegg won’t look entirely out of place for the big club in Raleigh.

To WPG: 
Joe Morrow

To MTL: 
2018 4th Round Pick

Winnipeg adds an NHL quality defenseman to add some depth and stability on a blue line that has looked shaky at times. If Hellebuyck continues his hot play into the playoffs, the blue line will remain the weakest part of this roster, but this move improves it.

To CGY: 
Nick Shore

To OTT: 
2019 7th Round Pick

The Flames get in on the Ottawa fire sale and adds some injury depth for a potential playoff run. Nothing sexy here, just putting another body on the roster.

To MTL: 
Mike Reilly

To MIN: 
2019 5th Round Pick

The Wild give up on another former Gopher and send him to Montreal for, says here, “whatever the hell they can get.” I understand the compulsion by the Wild and Chuck Fletcher to try and get their hands on as many former University of Minnesota players as they can get, but maybe it’s time to give it up. The track record has not been stellar.

To NJD: 
Patrick Maroon

To EDM: 
JD Dudek
2019 3rd Round Pick

Wow, now that is a decline from Chiarelli’s stated valuation of a first rounder for Maroon. Dudek is a… fine if underwhelming prospect. Potentially an NHL player, but would take a miracle to find himself making an impact in any meaningful way. Other than that you get a third rounder. Edmonton is expected to take a run at Maroon in the off-season as a UFA, so this all may be free stuff. That said, you’d really expect to at least get a second rounder for a guy like Maroon, who may have been overvalued in the past due to inflated numbers based on Connor McDavid banking pucks in the goal off his ass. However I think Taylor Hall could find himself very happy with a player like that along side him this year.

To BOS: 
Tommy Wingels

To CHI:
Conditional 2019 5th Round Pick

I really like this move for Boston. I think Wingels has a chance to be a productive player when he’s a bit further down the lineup. And boy did they need someone to chip in a bit further down the lineup. The Bruins boast what may be the best line in the NHL but lacked depth underneath it. I believe they overpaid for Nash but found a good deal here to create some secondary scoring that will be invaluable when they inevitably play a similarly stacked Toronto team in the first round of the playoffs.

To NSH: 
Tyler Gaudet
John Ramage

To ARI: 
Trevor Murphy
Pierre-Cedric Labrie

Minor league move. Entirely for the AHL affiliates. Can’t help you with analysis here. Sorry.

To COL: 
Ryan Graves

To NYR: 
Chris Bigras

Another minor league move, but this time involving some players with potential upside. I think both of these players have a chance to crack an NHL lineup and perhaps this was simply two GMs deciding they liked the other guy more than their own. No real value to speak of here. If you want some actual analysis at all, I think Graves has a better chance than Bigras. That’s all I’ve got. See ya!

 

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