NHL Trade Deadline winners, losers: East loads up, GM beefs
After all of the speculation and rumors the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is now in the rear view mirror. Now instead of talking about rumors and potential landing spots for players, we get to do the next fun thing: Analyze the winners and losers from all of the roster moves over the past couple of weeks.
Here Adam Gretz and Sean Leahy take you through their winners and losers.
Winner: Colorado Avalanche. The rich get richer. The Avalanche already had one of the best, deepest teams in the league and they only added to it over the past couple of weeks by getting Josh Manson, Artturi Lehkonen, and Andrew Cogliano. All three players boost the team’s defensive presence, while Lehkonen can also chip in some offense on a newly formed third line with Alexander Newhook. -Adam Gretz
Winner: Ron Francis. The Kraken aren’t making the playoff this year so the future was the focus for this trade deadline. Francis shipped out Marcus Johansson, Mason Appleton, Jeremy Lauzon, Mark Giordano, Calle Järnkrok.
After all the moves the Seattle GM has made this season, the Kraken now have nine picks in the opening four rounds of the 2022 and 2023 NHL drafts. That includes four seconds and three fourths this season and three seconds and two thirds in 2023. As important, $8.5 million in cap space has been opened up. -Sean Leahy
Winner: Marc-Andre Fleury and the Minnesota Wild. Fleury gets to play in the playoffs again for a pretty good team, while the Wild address a position that was starting to become a concern -Adam Gretz
Loser: Trying to slide players through waivers. Harri Säteri signed for the Maple Leafs but will end up on the Coyotes. With Petr Mrzek struggling and Jack Campbell still out a little while longer, Toronto GM Kyle Dubas wanted to help his goaltending depth by bringing in the Finnish netminder, who most recently won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.
But because Säteri played in Europe this season with Novosibirsk Sibir of the KHL, he needed to pass through waivers before fully joining the Maple Leafs. Well, with Scott Wedgewood on his way to Dallas, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong needed a backup for newly-signed Karel Vejmelka.
Säteri’s contract is only one year with a $750,000 cap hit. -Sean Leahy
Loser: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending. For the reason listed above, and because they still have some major, major question marks here. Better hope Jack Campbell returns soon and plays like he did in the first part of the season. -Adam Gretz
Loser: Hoping for unexpected blockbuster trades. Also even some expected trades not happening. Vancouver did not trade Brock Boeser, Conor Garland, or J.T. Miller. Detroit did not trade Tyler Bertuzzi. Arizona did not trade Jakob Chychrun or Phil Kessel. No P.K. Subban trade, Tomas Hertl re-signed, and Filip Forsberg stayed in Nashville. We should not be surprised because that is the nature of the trade deadline lately, but most rumored trades never happen. Or are close to happening. -Adam Gretz
Winner: Claude Giroux. Yeah, it stinks for a team when it has to trade one of its franchise icons like the Philadelphia Flyers had to do with Giroux, but now Giroux gets to go from a team that has been mired in mediocrity for the past decade to go to the Florida Panthers for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. He now has meaningful hockey to play for one of the league’s best teams and a pretty good chance to chase that championship. -Adam Gretz
Loser: Florida’s defense. The popular consensus is to make Florida big winners at the trade deadline because they added a lot, but I am going to play contrarian here and say I do not like what they did to their defense. They paid an extremely expensive price for Ben Chiarot and added Robert Hagg from Buffalo, all while Aaron Ekblad is sidelined for the foreseeable future. Are Chiarot and Hagg upgrades? They do not really fit Florida’s style of play, and they just seem like moves that are going to do more to slow them down than help put them over the top. -Adam Gretz
Winner: Jake DeBrusk suitors. His new two-year, $8 million extension means that any team that tries to trade for him will have some cost certainty going forward. DeBrusk has not rescinded his trade request and has been productive since news went public that he wanted out of Boston. -Sean Leahy
Winner: Ron Hextall. Hextall wanted to add some scoring depth to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup and he did not want to trade his first-round draft pick. He accomplished both things by acquiring Rickard Rakell from the Anaheim Ducks for Zach Aston-Reese, Dominik Simon, Calle Clang, and a 2022 second-round draft pick. Rakell should upgrade their second line, while they still have enough depth to be able to trade Aston-Reese and Simon. -Adam Gretz
Indifferent feeling: Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders. Had they been active the Islanders would have been sellers. But the goods they had to offer weren’t very attractive. Zdeno Chara (45)? Andy Greene (39)? Zach Parise (8 goals, 24 points)? Cal Clutterbuck (6 goals, 15 points)?
Now Parise (1 year) and Clutterbuck (2 years) have extensions. GM Lou Lamoriello wants to improve his team through “hockey trades,” as he put it this afternoon.
The one real asset they had was goaltender Semyon Varlamov, but he has a 16-team no-trade clause, which could really hinder shopping around for a move. After two deep playoff runs and little upgrades, the Islanders need a roster refresh this summer. -Sean Leahy
Winner: Rangers depth. The Rangers were in a position to be major buyers at the trade deadline given their salary cap space, and while they did not swing for the fences or hit a clear home run, they did make a couple of really smart moves in Andrew Copp, Tyler Motte, and Justin Braun to add some much needed depth to their lineup. They still may not be on the same level as some of the other top contenders, and a lot of their success will still probably depend on their goaltending, but they did improve. -Adam Gretz
[Related: Copp, Braun make Rangers more balanced]
Winner: Kyle Davidson. His hands were tied a bit in trying to deal Marc-Andre Fleury. The goaltender would have to approve any trade following their agreement last summer. Only so many Stanley Cup contenders needed an upgrade in net, but the Wild wanted Fleury and they got him. Bill Guerin targeted Fleury two years ago and managed to negotiate a win-win move for the Blackhawks and Wild to send the goaltender to Minnesota. Now, while Chicago is without a first-round pick in 2022, they could have a second first-round pick in either 2023 or 2024 depending on how certain trade conditions go.
Davidson has already stated the franchise is going to go through a rebuild, so that could mean Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and maybe others move on this summer. That would only add assets to be used to turn the franchise around. -Sean Leahy
Losers: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Just because it is another season where the front office just does not seem willing or able to do something meaningful around them. Brett Kulak is a smart pickup from Montreal, but does he really move the needle much against the other top Stanley Cup contenders? No. This is still an extremely top heavy team with no goaltending, questionable depth, and problems on defense. -Adam Gretz
Winner: General manager beefs. Kyle Dubas did not like that word leaked out about his attempt to acquire Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Hagel and put the blame on Kyle Davidson in Chicago. Kyle Davidson quipped back that he would handle it in private with Dubas. This is the best general manager beef since the time Brian Burke and Kevin Lowe were going to fight in a barn. -Adam Gretz