A flurry of trades was executed on Monday as the NHL trade deadline rolled around
A total of 55 players were traded on Monday in one of the busiest trade deadlines in NHL history. The NHL trade deadline presented all 31 teams with their final opportunity to improve their roster as they head into the final portion of the season and the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here are my winners and losers of the trade deadline.
Carolina was the biggest winner of the deadline. The Hurricanes showed the NHL that they mean business and a second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearance is in their sights.
The Hurricanes added two reliable defensemen who know their way around the ice in Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen who were acquired in two separate trades from the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, respectively. In addition, the Hurricanes upgraded their forward group by trading Erik Haula and other pieces to the Florida Panthers for Vincent Trocheck. Trocheck, who has tallied 36 points in 55 games this season, provides more firepower for a deep forward group and that will be much needed as the Hurricanes look to fight their way into the playoffs.
Although the Oilers already have two of the fastest skaters in the NHL, they added another incredibly talented skater and scorer in Andreas Athanasiou. The possibility of having Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Athanasiou on the same line should scare the entire NHL including any team that finds itself going up against this Oilers squad in the playoffs. Although this was just one move, it’s big enough to make Edmonton a definite deadline winner.
Considering that the Bruins are already one of the best teams in the NHL, you would think that they would find it difficult to improve their team further. However, in two separate deals with the Anaheim Ducks, the Bruins were able to acquire two wingers in Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie while also relieving themselves of some heavy salary by giving up David Backes to the Ducks. A pair of great trades, the Bruins might have lost a first-round draft pick in the process, but considering they’re looking towards a Stanley Cup Championship, that’s a small price to pay for two solid players who will certainly positively contribute to their already existing success.
The Predators had much higher expectations than the way they have performed so far. Sitting two points out of the playoffs, the Predators were expecting to be towards the top of their division at this point in the season. The Predators made one move at the deadline that will do little to nothing to truly make a difference on the ice. The lack of activity at such an important time in the season could prove disastrous as we inch closer to the postseason. All Nashville can do now is hope that the squad they have is good enough to push its way into the playoffs.
The Coyotes made a big trade in January acquiring Taylor Hall from the Devils in exchange for some key rebuilding pieces sent the Devils’ way. That was a huge boost to their offense, but most people felt that there was more work to be done. Considering the Coyotes lost their first-round draft pick in that trade, their resources were limited but moves still could have been made. I feel as though the Coyotes missed an opportunity to improve an already talented roster. Similar to the Predators, the Coyotes can only hope now that their current roster is good enough to push them into the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Stanley Cup hopefuls, the Avalanche weren’t necessarily in panic mode at the deadline. However, the fact that they have a decent amount of salary cap space led many to believe that they would be one of the more active teams at the deadline given that their window is open to win the Stanley Cup title this season. Acquiring a goaltender from the Toronto Maple Leafs did nothing to improve their, at times, banged-up offense or the defense that could use some more depth. Either way, this team is still going to make noise going forward. It just seems as though they had a great opportunity to do more and didn’t.