Well, that was interesting. For a trading season with this many teams still teetering on the playoff bubble and an expansion draft looming later this summer, the 2017 NHL trading deadline was a busy one.
It took a while for the snowball of transactions to finally gain some steam, but once it did, 11th hour deals were being made left and right, as teams bartered on a pro hockey marketplace that nearly rivaled the trading floor of the hectic New York Stock Exchange.
Once the dust finally settled, there were plenty of familiar faces in some unfamiliar places. But most of the biggest names tossed about in the pre-deadline rumor mill stayed put. The wild speculation about blockbuster moves and multi-team deals to change the face of a franchise went predictably unfulfilled, although there were some other surprises here and there that came seemingly out of Left Field.
Some teams made a splash and invested in a facelift heading into the stretch run, while others sold the farm and packed it in for the season with their sights set on a rebuild in the future. And while the anatomy of a trade in the world’s best hockey league can become quite a complicated puzzle considering things like conditional draft picks and salary retention, the idea is to strike a deal that benefits both parties mutually.
Still, there were a handful of clubs that came away from the trade deadline much better than when they went in, while others missed the boat and landed on the wrong side of some bad deals. So here are eight winners and seven losers of the 2017 NHL trade deadline.
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15 Winners: Nashville Predators
Smart move by the Predators. They added some capable scoring to the lineup in P.A. Parenteau in exchange from the New Jersey Devils for the low-low bargain price of one sixth-round draft pick.
Parenteau will be a 30-point third- or maybe fourth-line forward by the time the season is over, and that’s good depth to have with a handful of prominent Predators forwards having somewhat disappointing seasons.
The 33-year-old soon-to-be unrestricted free agent is just one year removed from a well-balanced 40-point season in which he scored 20 goals and added 21 assists in 77 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015-16, and before that, he spent some productive years with the Colorado Avalanche and New York Islanders.
Parenteau will play to his potential through the stretch run of the season in hopes of drumming up extension talks, and that can only bode well the playoff-bound Predators as they seek their franchise-first Stanley Cup title.
14 Losers: Dallas Stars
Um, how in the world did the Dallas stars not reel in goaltender Ben Bishop? Since as far back as the summer, it was a foregone conclusion that Bishop would be shipped out of town as a prized trade piece since the younger, less-expensive Andrei Vasilevskiy was already primed to take over the starting role – and Dallas was the most obvious landing spot. The Stars’ netminding situation leaves a lot to be desired, and Bishop had always been their No. 1 trade target.
The Stars also traded forward Patrick Eaves and defensemen Johnny Oduya and Jordie Benn away for peanuts, so apparently they’re dumping salary and starting a rebuild, but it was a net loss considering the shape they’re in and the fact that they didn’t get any solid pieces in return to help out between the pipes or up front with Tyler Seguin.
13 Winners: Toronto Maple Leafs
Don’t let me jinx this for them, but things seem to really be coming together in Toronto lately. The Leafs have a stockpile of young, fast, talented goal-scorers and a vast well of potential, and just they added some depth and quality veteran leadership at the deadline that will pay dividends in the playoffs.
The Leafs picked up Brian Boyle from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for one of their three second-round picks in 2017, as well as young prospect Byron Froese. Though Boyle will be an unrestricted free agent coming up on July 1, it was a fairly small price to pay to add quality playoff leadership to a promising young team finally back in the playoff hunt with a chance to turn some heads.
12 Losers: Colorado Avalanche
The wallowing Colorado Avalanche had a real chance to move some highly sought-after trade pieces in order to bolster their hopelessly porous blue line. Instead, GM Joe Sakic got too greedy with his supply of young forwards and asked for deals that multiple teams reportedly balked at.
If the Avalanche want to claw their way out of the league basement any time soon, moving Jarome Iginla for a mid-round pick and swapping a couple no-name forwards at the deadline ain’t gonna cut it. The Avs were big losers without really losing anyone. They just didn’t gain the pieces they should have gotten with the opportunity that they had.
Whether or not Sakic has an ace up his sleeve is still yet to be seen, but he’d better do something soon, or he might not be the GM for long.
11 Winners: Phoenix Coyotes
One of the biggest deadline movers and shakers this year, the Phoenix Coyotes, finally put to bed the Martin Hanzal saga and made quality moves that have major future implications. In one of the worst-kept secrets of the league, it was all too obvious Hanzal was on the way out; the question was what can the Phoenix get for him as they try to move out of their rebuilding phase.
Well, Coyotes GM John Chayka did a pretty fine job in getting value out of the soon-to-be free agent Hanzal and shipped him off to the Minnesota Wild for a first-round pick later this year, a second-round pick in 2018, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2019 and 24-year-old prospect forward Grayson Downing.
It wasn’t the immediate installation of a high-impact forward that would have been ideal for the ‘Yotes, but this will definitely give them options in the very-near future.
10 Losers: Calgary Flames
I’m not quite sure what the Calgary Flames thought they were getting in the Curtis Lazar for Jyrkki Jokipakka swap, but it’s too late now to take it back.
Lazar, a 22-year-old who went 17th overall in the 2013 draft, has played in 176 NHL games since joining the Senators in 2014, with only 12 goals and 36 points to show for it. That’s… not great – and definitely not worth a second-round pick, plus defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, which is exactly what they gave to the Ottawa Senators for him.
To add insult to injury, the Flames were rumored to be one of several teams the Colorado Avalanche were looking at to move veteran forward Jarome Iginla for one last shot at a title. It would have made for a great homecoming and a valuable playoff presence, but obviously that didn’t pan out either.
9 Winners: Vancouver Canucks
Did you really think Jim Benning was going to trade the Sedin twins in a deadline deal with one more year left on their contracts? That would have been career suicide. Instead, Benning learned from his mistakes last year at this time and made some smart moves that will help the Canucks in the long-term, while offloading some cap space in the process.
Granted, it couldn’t have been easy to pull the trigger to move longtime Canucks Alexandre Burrows and Jannik Hansen to playoff contenders, but what he got in return sets the future of the franchise up for success, possibly in the Sedins’ contract year next season, and definitely beyond.
For Burrows, the Canucks acquired prospect Jonathan Dahlen, a promising 19-year-old prospect, and for Hansen, they picked up forward Nikolay Goldobin, a first-round pick by the Sharks in 2014 who has 85 points in the AHL over the past two seasons. The rebuild is on in Vancouver, and these moves are a great place to start.
8 Losers: Boston Bruins
It’s not so much that that the Boston Bruins got hoodwinked by a bad deal at the 2017 trade deadline and ended up with the short end of the stick. Although, the lone move they made, obtaining veteran forward Drew Stafford from the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional 2018 draft pick, added a sizable if unnecessary cap hit.
The thing about the Bruins is that they lost out on a prime opportunity to secure top-line talent to shore up their offense as they teeter on the edge of this season’s playoff picture.
Bruins GM Bob Don Sweeney and Avalanche GM Joe Sakic were seen having some lengthy chats in Boston leading up to the March 1 cutoff, and the two would have made perfect bargaining partners, but the lack of any agreement on deadline day leaves both teams worse-off.
7 Winners: Los Angeles Kings
It doesn’t matter how old a guy is or the fact that he’ll be a free agent in a matter of months, anytime you acquire a six-time NHL All-Star who is third in points among active players and has over 600 career goals, you’re immediately going to be a better team. That’s what the Kings got in Jarome Iginla, and they only had to give the Avalanche a conditional fourth-round pick to get him.
The Kings also landed coveted goaltender Ben Bishop from the Lightning in exchange for goalie Peter Pudaj, who had become the odd man out after the return of regular starter Jonathan Quick. Bishop carries a larger salary cap hit but offers longer-term stability in the crease.
Throw in some depth at forward and some late-round draft swaps, and the Kings are set up to steal a wild-card spot as the playoffs come into view.
6 Losers: New Jersey Devils
It’s not a steadfast rule in the crazy world of the NHL trade deadline that for every winner there’s gotta be a loser, but in the New Jersey Devils’ case, that theory holds up. On the flip side of the P.A. Parenteau trade that sent the serviceable goal-scorer to the Nashville Predators, the Devils still lie in ruins, but really, what else is new?
Maybe there’s more to it than what we can see on the surface, but you wouldn’t think a team dead-last in the entire Eastern Conference in goals-scored would send away one of their top-six forwards who becomes an unrestricted free agent in July for a measly sixth-round pick in 2017, and yet here we are. Plus, you’d also think Parenteau would command a better reputation than a pick this low.
The Devils also traded proven defenseman Kyle Quincey on deadline day to the Blue Jackets for AHL-caliber D-man Dalton Prout, so at this point, I’m at a loss.
5 Winners: Chicago Blackhawks
Welcome back, Johnny Oduya, you’ve been missed in the Windy City. Essentially replacing himself after Chicago spent the entire past year searching for a new No. 4 rearguard, the Blackhawks got the old gang back together that carried them to a Stanley Cup championship in 2015 on the day before the deadline.
All it took to round out one of the better defensive lineups in the West was a swap of minor-league forward Mark McNeill and a fourth-round draft pick in 2018. While the Hawks are easily one of the top three teams in the West heading into the final push to the playoffs, the addition of Oduya for what amounts to barely more than a bucket of pucks and a six-pack of MGD, might just push them over the top as one of only a few serious contenders come April.
4 Losers: Detroit Red Wings
Look, I get what the Red Wings are trying to do. They need to re-stock for the future and return to their glory days and deep tradition of winning, but they let Thomas Vanek go for way below his value. Letting your team’s second-leading scorer walk away for a third-round pick and mediocre-at-best AHL talent in Dylan McIlrath is akin to highway robbery.
If the Wings wanted to move some cap bulk out and round up some assets for the future, I might have started with someone a little more expensive than a $1.3 million hit that comes off the books in the summer anyways, but if the wings are wanting to start from scratch, I guess they’ll cut their losses this year and move on.
The same applies for the Tomas Jurco and Brendan Smith trades, but hey, if it’s draft picks the Wings wanted, they oughtta be quite content.
3 Winners: Philadelphia Flyers
With their relative depth on the blue line, the Philadelphia Flyers could afford to move a good defenseman to get some scoring help down the middle, so that’s what they did. Top-4 D-man Mark Streit is headed to Tampa Bay in an exchange that brings in likely 40-point scorer Valtteri Filppula, as well as fourth- and seventh-round picks in 2017.
Filppula will be able to add the extra punch up front that the Flyers need to break into playoff contention and at the same time eases the pressure on Sean Couturier to carry the offense through the duration of the campaign.
Filppula is a bit of a pricey second-or third-line center, but Philadelphia will only have to deal with his $5 million cap hit for one more season, so adding up him with the two draft picks thrown in, the Flyers came out on top.
2 Losers: New York Rangers
The Blue Shirts were in the running for the Shattenkirk sweepstakes and needed him in a bad way to help shore up their defense, but it wasn’t meant to be. Then, the highly touted blueliner only made it worse when he rode into New York with his shiny new team the very next day and trounced the Rangers in a 4-1 victory.
The missed opportunity with Shattenkirk still leaves New York with a growing need on the blue line, and their goals-against numbers is really the biggest thing holding them back from competing for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
The Rangers did pick up a D-man on the day before the deadline, adding 28-year-old Brendan Smith from the Red Wings. But it came at a hefty price – a third-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick the following year – that still leaves them in a bind after the season, since he’ll becomes an unrestricted free agent with no obligation whatsoever to make the multiple draft-pick sacrifice worth its while.
1 Winners: Washington Capitals
It’s title or bust in D.C. The Washington Capitals are all-in for a historic run at the 2017 Stanley Cup Championship. They bet the house to win the Kevin Shattenkirk sweepstakes, one of the biggest gets of the season, and the best team in the league just got that much better.
It took a first-round draft pick in 2017, a conditional second-round pick next year and forwards Zach Sanford and Brad Malone to get the deal done – a risky price to pay for a talented rearguard that will enter free agency come summertime – but like I said, the Capitals are pedal-to-the-medal for the franchise’s first title in history, and they’ll seemingly do whatever it takes to make that happen.
The Caps also got pending free agent goaltender Pheonix Copley, and the Blues will retain around 39 percent of Shattenkirk’s salary, so this really was a homerun for an already odds-on Cup favorite.
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