Well it is official, the NHL Trade Deadline has come, and gone, seeing numerous teams make trades in attempt to solidify their chances as a contender in a chase for the Stanley Cup.
Although several teams made steps they feel would increase their chances towards a Stanley Cup, several teams failed to make improvements, and take advantage of the trade deadline opportunity.
First we’ll take a look at the winners, then we’ll take a look at the losers of the trade deadline.
There is one obvious weakness this Oilers’ team has, depth, or scoring from players other than McDavid, and Draisaitl.
Despite having both Connor McDavid, and Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton only has three other players with at least 30 points on the season.
Adding Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Ennis to the offense will certainly increase their scoring as Ennis has 33 points on the season, and Athanasiou has 24 points in 46 games played.
On Defense the Oilers added Veteran Mike Green from Detroit.
Green, 34, will bring experience, and leadership to the Oilers as he has eight playoff appearances under his belt.
All of this cost Edmonton 2020, and 2021 second round draft picks, a 2021 fifth round draft pick, a 2020 fourth round draft pick, Kyle Brodziak, and Sam Gagner.
Currently in second in the Pacific Division, GM Ken Holland has set the Oilers up for a much easier path the Western Conference Finals, if not further.
Vegas Golden Knights:
Another Pacific Division team, Vegas made tremendous improvement in their goaltending situation.
Sending backup Malcolm Subban, prospect Slava Demin, and a 2020 second round pick to Chicago in return for Goalie Robin Lehner.
Lehner won the Bill Masterton Award, the Jennings Trophy, and was a Vezina Finalist for the Islanders just last year before signing with Chicago this off-season.
Vegas now has arguably one of, if not the best, goalie duo in the NHL with Lehner backing up Marc-Andre Fleury.
Add Veteran Defenseman Alec Martinez to the roster for a 2020, and 2021 second round pick, Vegas suddenly appears to be a much stronger team defensively.
Currently first in the Pacific Division by three points over Edmonton, the Golden Knights are seeking to prove that last year’s first round exit was not a fluke, and anything shorter than going back to the Stanley Cup is a failure.
The 2018 Stanley Cup Champions did not make the most moves at the trade deadline, however they did make very smart moves.
First, acquiring Defenseman Brenden Dillon from San Jose in exchange for a 2020 second round pick, and a conditional 2021 third round pick is a big boost to their Defense core.
Then just last night for only a 2020 third round pick, Washington acquired Russian super star Ilya Kovalchuk.
Kovalchuk, yes past his prime, will be a solid addition to an already stacked Capitals’ offense including fellow Russian teammates Alexander Ovechkin, and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The Capitals just proved Sunday they are currently the superior team in their division as they took down the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 to take over first place in the Metropolitan Division.
This one is touchy to some people.
The Hurricanes made incredible trades by acquiring Forward Vincent Trocheck from Florida in exchange for Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, Eetu Luostarinen, and Chase Priskie, Defenseman Sami Vatanen from New Jersey in exchange for two AHL players, and a conditional 2020 fourth round pick, while only receiving 50-percent of Vatanen’s salary, and Defenseman Brady Skjei from the Rangers in exchange for a 2020 first round pick.
However Carolina still has an enormous red flag, goaltending.
Just two nights ago Carolina lost both of their top two goaltenders indefinitely to injury.
Yes the Hurricanes made some of the best trades of the entire trade deadline period, but it certainly will be interesting watching a third string goalie at best start for the Hurricanes who sit in the second Wild Card Spot of the Eastern Conference, and are now geared for another deep playoff run player-wise.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
What is the one area the Maple Leafs needed to solidify the most? Defense.
What is the one area GM Kyle Dubas did not solidify? Defense.
The only Defenseman acquired by Toronto was Calle Rosen for Goalie Michael Hutchinson; in other words, another AHL/depth player that the Maple Leafs do not need.
Signing Jake Muzzin to a four year, $22.5-million extension was the only positive Dubas did on Defense.
Leafs’ fans, get ready for another first round exit at best as Toronto sits just two points inside the top three of the Atlantic Division, and will have a difficult time beating out any of the Metropolitan Division teams in the race for a Wild Card Spot.
New Jersey Devils:
The only thing New Jersey did this trade deadline is postpone their progress in their rebuild back to a perennial contender.
Starting off by trading Defenseman Andy Greene to the Islanders, the Devils acquired Defenseman David Quenneville, and a 2021 first round pick.
Next New Jersey sent Forward Blake Coleman to Tampa Bay for a 2020 first round pick, and prospect Nolan Foote.
Their first move today was sending Wayne Simmonds to Buffalo for a conditional 2021 fifth round pick; the pick turns into a fourth rounder if Buffalo makes the playoffs, and Simmonds plays at least ten games. New Jersey also retains 50-percent of Simmonds’ salary which is $5-million.
Before ending the day by exchanging goalies with Vancouver, sending Louis Domingue to the Canucks in return for Zane McIntyre, New Jersey would send Defenseman Sami Vatanen to Carolina for Janne Kuokkanen, Frederik Claesson, and a conditional 2020 fourth round pick. New Jersey will also retain 50-percent of Vatanen’s salary as well.
To sum this up the Devils traded Andy Greene, Wayne Simmonds, Blake Coleman, Sami Vatananen, and Louis Domingue away in return for two first round picks, a fifth round pick, a fourth round pick, and three AHL players.
Yes New Jersey was not expected to do much this season, maybe at most earn a Wild Card Spot, however with their season quickly becoming another failure from the start, the Devils have now simply postponed their road back to being a contender.
For a more in-depth trade-by-trade look, check out GCSN’s NHL Trade Tracker.
Photo Source: http://www.usatoday.com
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