The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone and every year there are those who look like they are primed for a Stanley Cup run and those who came out with the short end of the stick. Only one team can win the Stanley Cup each year and the trade deadline is a turning point for a lot of teams. Here are your winners and losers of the NHL Trade Deadline.
Tampa Bay Lightning
By far the biggest trade of the deadline, the Bolts grabbed defenseman Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller from the New York Rangers without giving up their best young players. The Lightning now boast three defenceman from the 2014 Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers in McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman. General Manager Steve Yzerman is hoping that experience rubs off on this group.
Kevin Cheveldayoff has finally turned into a buyer and he surprised everyone. Paul Stastny waived his no trade clause to join the Winnipeg Jets from the St.Louis Blues. It was a move that nobody saw coming. Stastny’s tenured career will only help this young Jets team down the stretch and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Columbus Blue Jackets
GM Jarmo Kekalainen did an outstanding job by acquiring three veteran rentals in Thomas Vanek, Ian Cole and Mark Letestu. The three upgrades only cost a mid-level prospect, mid-round picks and two fringe NHL players. For a bubble team fighting for a wild card spot it was the best strategy to take and the execution was flawless.
Vegas Golden Knights
Being able to add a winger that has three more years left on his contract is rare. Getting a 27-year old winger that’s averaged more than 20 goals the last three seasons is even better. Yes, McPhee had to give up a slew of draft picks. But when you consider James Neal leaving at season’s end and the price of touted unrestricted free agents, the move makes sense.
Two points out of a playoff spot and you trade away a cornerstone of your team in Paul Stastny. It’s a head-scratcher especially for a team that hasn’t been able to score lately. The siliver lining is if the Blues finish in the bottom 10 of the league, they can differ the first round pick they gave up to Philadelphia in the Brayden Schenn trade, to next season.
Young General Manager Jason Botterill traded forward Evander Kane for less of haul than anyone expected, a conditional first which is likely to be a second, a mid-round pick and an older prospect. Now, we don’t know what other teams were offering. But there is no way that there were no teams offering up a first round pick for the scoring winger. San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson gets full marks on this one.
Despite all their injuries, General Manager Joe Sakic decided to stand pat at the deadline by not acquiring any pieces. The team is only a few points out of a playoff spot so it’s a little confusing that they did nothing. Sakic is basically telling his team that they are the pieces that have to get the job done, but you have to wonder what the locker room morale would have been like with the low-risk addition of a veteran.