The 2019 NHL trade deadline passed Monday afternoon and there was no shortage of deals.
Many of the best players rumored to be available — including Mark Stone, Kevin Hayes and Wayne Simmonds — found new teams, while most of the top contenders for the Stanley Cup made at least one trade to bolster their chances of playoff success.
Here are the winners and losers of the 2019 NHL trade deadline.
The Jets are one of the best teams in the league and still sit atop the Central Division, but they have struggled of late with a 3-5-2 record in their last 10 games. The addition of Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers is a great move for Winnipeg. It gives the Jets a versatile forward who can score goals and create opportunities for teammates at both center and the wing, and he provides excellent size (6-foot-5, 216 pounds) down the middle of the ice. The cost — Brendan Lemieux, a 2019 first rounder and conditional fourth-round pick — wasn't a ton to give up, either. Winnipeg also acquired veteran forward Matt Hendricks for additional toughness and playoff experience.
The Jets added to their already strong depth and still kept valuable trade assets — that's a win-win deadline.
Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings are in a rebuild and entered the deadline in second-to-last place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit traded two upcoming UFAs in forward Gustav Nyquist and defenseman Nick Jensen. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland did well to acquire a second-round draft pick and a conditional third-rounder for Nyquist, as well as a good young defenseman in Madison Bowey and a 2020 second-rounder from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Jensen. Detroit could have as many as 10 picks in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights swung for the fences by trading for the best player rumored to be available at the deadline: Senators right winger Mark Stone. Vegas entered Monday ranked 19th in goals scored per game and 23rd in power-play percentage, so upgrading its offense was a huge priority at the deadline. Stone was having a remarkable season for Ottawa with 62 points (28 goals, 34 assists) in 59 games, and he should significantly bolster the Knights' top-six forward group. Vegas had to make a substantial move to have a realistic chance of returning to the Stanley Cup Final, and this trade could be the catalyst the franchise needs to rediscover last year's magic. The Golden Knights gave up top prospect Erik Brannstrom to make the Stone trade, but that departure stings a lot less after Stone said Monday on TSN that he has agreed to terms on a contract extension with Vegas.
Mark Stone says on TSN he's agreed to terms on an extension with Vegas. As per @TSNBobMcKenzie, will be 8 years and AAV around $9 million plus— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 25, 2019
The Preds have a genuine chance to win the Western Conference and addressed their offensive weaknesses with two bold deadline day trades. Nashville acquired power forward Wayne Simmonds from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round draft pick — not a steep price at all. The Predators also dealt forward Kevin Fiala to the Minnesota Wild for forward Mikael Granlund. The additions of Simmonds and Granlund improve the Predators' toughness and playmaking skill, and should bolster a power play that ranks dead last in the league with a 12.2 percent success rate.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets easily could have been sellers at the trade deadline and dealt upcoming UFAs Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Not only did Columbus keep both players, it swung a huge trade to acquire star center Matt Duchene from the Ottawa Senators, then traded for his teammate and Sens center Ryan Dzingel soon after. The Blue Jackets also acquired veteran defenseman Adam McQuaid from the New York Rangers, and he'll add toughness, depth and plenty of playoff experience to Columbus' blue line.
The Blue Jackets are barely holding on to third place in the Metropolitan, and they aren't likely to win the Stanley Cup this season. That said, going all-in still is a good strategy for them. They need to show their own free agents and players around the league that the franchise is serious about winning. And with no Metropolitan team looking invincible in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Columbus might as well swing for the fences and continue to build its fan base with postseason hockey excitement. Remember, CBJ is still looking for its first ever playoff series win.
The Penguins are on the outside looking in at the playoff race entering Monday, and they didn't make any big trades to bolster their chances of reaching the postseason. Meanwhile, some of the teams competing for a playoff berth in the Metropolitan Division and wild card races, including the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes, all made upgrades with deadline trades. The only deals Pittsburgh made were to acquire defensemen Erik Gudbranson and Chris Wideman, but these players likely are just third-pairing pieces.
The Penguins have a ton of frontline talent and a quality coaching staff, but they lack depth, and that could come back to bite them at the end of the regular season.
The Bruins traded for Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle and gave up forward Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick last week. On Monday, the B's acquired New Jersey Devils winger Marcus Johansson for two draft picks. These moves improve the Bruins' scoring depth a little bit, but they don't give Boston the additional top-six forward needed to compete with the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning in a potential playoff series. The Bruins have won six of their last seven games and look like a real Stanley Cup contender, so it made sense to be bold at this deadline and capitalize on the veteran core (Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, etc.) still being really good. Instead, B's general manager Don Sweeney made a couple small moves that aren't likely to shift the balance of power in the Atlantic.
The Flames own the Western Conference's best record at 39-16-7, but their only move was adding depth defenseman Oscar Fantenberg in trade with the Los Angeles Kings. The Jets, Predators, Sharks, Golden Knights and Stars all made more impactful trades for the playoff push. Calgary has a well-balanced roster and didn't need a major shakeup, but acquiring a second- or third-line winger would've been helpful for the playoffs.
The New York Rangers goaltender teared up when asked about Mats Zuccarello leaving the Blueshirts and going to the Dallas Stars via trade. Lundqvist and Zuccarello clearly were close, so it was a difficult goodbye after a decade of being teammates. The legendary netminder hasn't won a Stanley Cup in his storied career, and he certainly won't win one with the Rangers this season. It's going to be a long post-deadline stretch for Lundqvist in New York.
Columbus Blue Jackets' scouting department
The 2019 NHL Draft is in Vancouver, and the Blue Jackets' scouting staff might have a lot of free time to spend in one of Canada's best cities as a result of the team's barren chest of draft picks.
#CBJ now have just a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick (originally Calgary’s) in this year’s draft.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) February 25, 2019
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