Now that the NHL trade deadline has came and went, let’s take a look back at the major trades that occurred leading up to the deadline. I’m only taking a look at the major, blockbuster trades that involve significant roster moves for teams currently, so minor transactions will not be examined here.
January 28-D Jake Muzzin to TOR for 2 prospects and a 1st round pick to LA
The first real blockbuster that kicked off the trade season saw the Maple Leafs acquire some much-needed depth on the blue line. The Leafs got a defenseman capable of playing a top 4 role in Jake Muzzin, taking some pressure off the rest of the back end. The price may have been a bit steep, but for a good defenseman who can make a big defensive contribution for the Leafs, it was a solid deal. LA got some future assets in the prospects and the first-round pick, which is exactly what they needed to acquire for their rebuild. Overall, I think it’s a solid deal for both sides.
February 1-Forwards Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan + a 2019 2nd and 2 2019 4th round picks to FLA for forwards Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann to PIT
In a blockbuster swap of struggling centers, Pittsburgh shipped off Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan to Florida for Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann. For Florida, the deal was more of a cap dump, as they get rid of two contracts still with a couple years on them for two expiring contracts. This allows them to clear all this off the books and create some major cap space come July 1st, when they intend to make a splash in free agency (namely one or both of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky). As for the players, Brassard was subsequently flipped later at the deadline to Colorado for a third-round pick, while Sheahan is now fulfilling the role of 3rd line center for the Panthers. On the Pittsburgh side, Bjugstad and McCann are suitable bottom six forwards for a Penguins team that needs depth after their vaunted high-end talent. All-in-all, it seems the deal has accomplished what it was meant to do: cap dump for Florida, depth for Pittsburgh.
February 22-F Matt Duchene and a prospect to CBJ for 2 prospects and 2 conditional 1st round picks in 2019 and 2020 to OTT
The first of two major deals between Columbus and Ottawa, and the beginning of Columbus’s buying spree and Ottawa’s fire sale, saw superstar center Matt Duchene traded from a struggling Senators squad to a Columbus team gearing up for a playoff run. Duchene was a good first line center who was still able to produce at a good clip despite the team around him being largely bad. The Blue Jackets significantly bolster their center depth and scoring prowess with this acquisition. Meanwhile, the Senators finally get a first-round pick in 2019 (unless somehow the Blue Jackets miss the playoffs and win a lottery pick, in which case the pick moves to 2020) plus potentially another first-round pick in 2020 (or 2021 if the first pick moves to 2020) if Duchene re-signs in Columbus in free agency this year. While it looks like Columbus has won this trade in the short-term for getting Matt Duchene, Ottawa did a good job of recouping some good assets for their rebuild.
February 23-F Mats Zuccarello to DAL for conditional 2nd and 3rd round picks in 2019 to NYR
The Stars decided to try and bolster their scoring depth by acquiring Mats Zuccarello from New York for a couple picks. Zuccarello was a good scoring forward for the Rangers, and certainly would boast the scoring depth on a top-heavy team. However, in his first game with the Stars, he suffered a broken arm and is now out about four weeks, meaning that they potentially gave up two draft picks for someone who will be unavailable until around the playoffs. They traded for Zuccarello to shore up their forwards and hopefully make a run at the playoffs; without him, they may fall back out of the chase.
February 23-F Ryan Dzingel to CBJ for F Anthony Duclair + 2019 and 2020 2nd round picks to OTT
The second deal between these two teams saw the Blue Jackets pick up the speedy Ryan Dzingel for the skilled Anthony Duclair and a couple picks. The Blue Jackets add another 20 goal scorer to boast in their lineup that had five already (the most in the league), plus get a forward who can both score and be defensively responsible. He also has some good chemistry with Matt Duchene from their stint together in Ottawa, so don’t be surprised to see them on the ice together in Columbus. For Ottawa, they pick up a forward with some good skill and speed in Duclair, but also take on a guy who has already been given up on by several organizations already. Overall though, to get a roster player and a couple of picks is not a bad return in their fire sale.
February 24-D Brandon Montour to BUF for D Brendan Guhle and a 2019 1st round pick to ANA
The only real notable trade on Sunday saw a swapping of defenseman on teams that probably won’t make the playoffs this year. To the Sabres goes Brandon Montour, a solid defenseman who led the Ducks’ defense in scoring. To the Ducks go Brendan Guhle, a prospect who was supposed to be a nice supplement to Dahlin and Ristolianen on the back end that never really panned out, and one of two 2019 first round picks, either the one that St Louis gave up in the Ryan O’Rielly deal or the one San Jose gave up in the Evander Kane deal. The Sabres obtain another solid young defenseman on their blue line while the Ducks get a couple assets to help them in their rebuild.
The rest of these deals happened on deadline day, February 25th
F Gustav Nyquist to SJ for a 2019 2nd round pick and a conditional 2020 3rd round pick to DET
The Sharks got the party started in the overnight hours with a trade that further bolsters their scoring by sending some picks for Gustav Nyquist. The Sharks get a solid middle six forward to add to their wealth of forwards, who are already second in the league in scoring. This further adds to what was already a major strength for them up front, making them an even bigger threat in the West. Detroit, like many other sellers, recoups some assets for their rebuild.
F Kevin Hayes to WPG for F Brandon Lemieux, a 2019 1st round pick, and a conditional 2022 4th round pick to NYR
The morning was not all that active, with the only major trade before 1pm seeing Kevin Hayes shipped off from New York to Winnipeg for Brandon Lemieux and picks. Kevin Hayes is another solid forward who can provide some good depth to the Jets, although with reports that they were in on bigger names like Mark Stone or Matt Duchene, he was probably not their first choice. Consequently, they ended up somewhat overpaying for their depth scorer, giving up a potential bottom six guy in Lemieux plus a first and potentially a fourth (if they win the Cup). The Jets do indeed bolster their depth, but is it enough to put them over the top?
D Adam McQuaid to CBJ for a prospect and 2019 4th and 7th round picks to NYR
The CBJ continued their spending spree into the deadline, acquiring goalie Keith Kinkaid from the Devils in the morning to add to their goalie depth and nabbing defenseman Adam McQuaid from the Rangers for futures. The Jackets get a veteran bottom pair defenseman who plays tough and hard each night to shore up an already decent back end. He was not much of a scoring threat with the Rangers, but was rather more of a stay-at-home defenseman and should be a nice add to the Jackets’ blue line. With this add, the Blue Jackets now boast their best squad in franchise history and one of the most complete teams in the East, with balance and firepower up front, a solid back end, and one of the better goalie tandems in the league in Bobrovsky-Kinkaid-Korpisalo. The Rangers meanwhile continue to recoup assets as they rebuild.
F Mikael Granlund to NSH for F Kevin Fiala to MIN
In one of the more interesting deals of the day, the Predators and Wild decide to swap Granlund and Fiala one-for-one. Right now, Granlund is the more prolific scorer and more consistent forward, and will bolster the center depth on a Nashville squad that struggles at times to score. Fiala has not been as good as Granlund, but is four years younger than him and has shown flashes of being a high-end scorer in the league, so Minnesota does get some value out of him. However, as it stands now, Nashville wins this deal by a good margin.
F Mark Stone and a prospect to VEG for 2 prospects and a 2020 2nd round pick to OTT
The final piece sold off from Ottawa at the deadline was Mark Stone, who was sent to Vegas for futures. Like Duchene and Dzingel, Stone was a forward who made major scoring contributions despite a bad team around him in Ottawa. Vegas gets a top 6 guy who is capable of being a major contributor to a team that is somewhat lacking in goal-scoring this year. They also signed him to an 8 year extension, meaning he will be around as a top contributor for Vegas for years to come. However, they do give up a couple of their best prospects in order to acquire his services, so Ottawa does get good value back for him.
F Wayne Simmonds to NSH for F Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 4th round pick to PHI
Another major boost to the scoring depth of Nashville came in the form of a last-minute trade for Wayne Simmonds from the Flyers. Simmonds was both a tough and physical forward, but one who could score a lot of goals. The Predators add to their scoring depth and toughness all at once, while only losing a middle six forward who was largely underachieving to the Flyers. With this and the Granlund trade, the Predators make some significant upgrades at forward without giving up any picks or their best prospects, a stroke of genius by GM David Poile.
How will these trades pan out over the next couple of months? How does this affect the free agent market come July 1st? Only time will tell.