The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone and although Monday was not that interesting, the entire week was full of trades. Here are some winners and losers of the week.
1. Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks seem to do it every year somehow. From being right up against the salary cap to acquiring talented players to improve their club mid-season. GM Stan Bowman strikes again acquiring former player Andrew Ladd from the Winnipeg Jets. Although paying the steep price of a first round draft choice, it will ultimately be a low 20s pick which is fair considering Ladd comes back to somewhere he’s comfortable playing and where he’s won a Stanley Cup.
Chicago also made some depth moves adding Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann from the Montreal Canadiens and Christian Ehrhoff in a separate deal from the Los Angeles Kings. These deals shore up the bottom six forwards on the team to provide a solid penalty kill to an already great penalty killing team and adds depth to the defence.
2. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets were on the other end of the Andrew Ladd trade, trading away their captain for prospect Marko Dano, a first round pick in 2016 and a conditional third round pick in 2018. The Jets are poised to miss the playoffs this year and after not being able to reach a deal with their captain who is a pending unrestricted free agent, they traded him away for a big haul for the future.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs
Who plays for the buds anymore? Seemingly trading their whole team away, the future is now the present. The Leafs traded their captain, Dion Phaneuf, to Ottawa, Shawn Matthias to the Avalanche, Daniel Winnik to the Capitals, and James Reimer, Roman Polak and Nick Spaling to the Sharks. The Leafs had seven players making their Toronto debuts — four of them making their NHL debuts — last night against the Lightning.
Toronto goes into the 2016 draft with 12 picks and two in each of the first four rounds. The club is heavily investing in the future by stocking up on draft picks and clearing cap room. The future is looking bright in Leaf Land.
4. New York Rangers
The New York Rangers traded for a brother. Eric Staal joins his brother Marc after being traded from the Carolina Hurricanes. Staal joins an already potent team for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Giving up two second round draft picks is not a hefty price to pay someone with all the experience that Eric has — a Gold Medal at the Olympics, a Stanley Cup and scoring well over 700 points in the NHL. He brings another strong skating and skilled center to the Rangers to allow them to be a team to be reckoned with offensively.
5. Florida Panthers
Florida’s rebuild was a quick rebuild as they have a bunch of youngsters as well as seasoned veterans to build a great balance to continue the path to a great season. Jiri Hudler, Teddy Purcell and Jakub Kindl were all acquired by the Panthers in order to give them the extra push they needed. Not giving up highly touted prospects and — other than a second round pick — no high draft picks, the Panthers are in a great situation.
A big disappointment in Vancouver as they failed to make an impact at the deadline. Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhius are both slotted to be unrestricted free agents at season’s end and, because Vancouver is not in a position to be making the playoffs this season, the goal was to get something in return for those expiring contracts. Instead of building up the farm system, the Canucks stood pat at the deadline and now need to make other moves to try and improve the club going forward.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning’s major downfall is their failure to trade disgruntled forward Jonathan Druin. Druin is a former third overall pick with a load of talent but has requested a trade from the team. He is not helping the team at any level and a return would have helped the Lightning in a playoff push and possibly even in the future. Captain Steven Stamkos also is set to become a unrestricted free agent at season’s end and contract extensions talks are dead between the sides. Although this makes them a better team now by keeping him, he could walk away at the end of the season for no return.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins acquired Justin Schultz for a third round pick. The already offensive-minded defence corp of the Penguins just added the same type of player that they already have many of. Schultz has the worst plus minus rating of any player in the last three seasons combining for a minus 82. Playing on Edmonton did not help that, but instead of getting better defensively, the Penguins got worse and have become one dimensional on defence. Very disappointing for Penguins fans.
4. Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens didn’t do a lot, just trading away Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. After a record breaking start to the season, the Canadiens now find themselves well out of the playoff picture. Not improving at all at the deadline was a complete mistake because, with signs of injured goalie Carey Price on the mend, they could saddle up and make a strong push for the playoffs.
5. Edmonton Oilers
After having top picks in the draft the last few seasons, things should have already gotten better for the Oilers. Since they have not, they find themselves being sellers at the market each year. Other than getting two third round picks for Teddy Purcell and Justin Schultz they haven’t done much. The talk every year is about bringing a blue chip blue liner to Oil Country and with the amount of talent they have at the forward position they still failed to fulfil their need making them losers at the deadline.