The conference finals are upon us, which means that the NHL season is almost over. Hockey fans have about one more month of hockey before the off-season, and a new year will begin for each franchise. As the playoffs start winding down, I’ve spent some time looking at trades from this past deadline. Some teams made fantastic trades, other teams made trades that have just been average, and some teams were flat-out terrible at the deadline. So which trades were good trades, and which ones fell flat on their face? Let’s take a look at trades that occurred during the month of February!
The Phaneuf Trade
This one was weird because it happened right in the middle of a 7-3 Hurricanes win over the Kings. The Kings pulled Marian Gaborik out of the game, and the rumor was he was headed to Ottawa. LA ended up receiving Nate Thompson and Dion Phaneuf in exchange for Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore. So who won this trade? The Kings added a defenseman that helped them make the playoffs as well as a depth forward. They added some pieces that allowed for them to get swept by Vegas in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Now this trade wasn’t terrible for the Kings. They shed the Gaborik contract, which was looking worse and worse as the years went by. Gaborik has been a liability for the past two seasons, and still has three years left on his current contract. He may get more playing time and be an effective player for the Senators, but it’s unlikely. He’s 36 right now, and will only continue to decline. Phaneuf is on a much more expensive contract with the same term. He’s 33, and has been just okay for the Senators since they traded for him. Phaneuf can be a liability on defense at times, but he’s good for one good hit a game. The Kings value that sort of thing, so more power to them, I guess. After six games with the Senators, Nick Shore was traded to Calgary for a 2019 seventh round pick. He wasn’t going to fetch very much at the deadline, and Calgary didn’t end up making the playoffs. The final piece in the trade, Nate Thompson, has one more year left on a pretty cheap contract. He’s not going to produce very much, but he may be an effective fourth line player on the Kings next season. So who won this trade? You’d have to go with the Kings short term but the Senators in the long run. The Senators got an older, worse player in the deal along with a seventh round pick. The two benefits for them that came of this trade are:
- They shed some salary to re-sign Stone and potentially Karlsson
- They can add a prospect to their weak prospect pool
The Kings get some help on defense and on their fourth line, but will be stuck against the cap ceiling due to the Phaneuf contract. They made the playoffs this season, but was adding that much salary really worth getting swept in the first round? Only time will tell.
Kempny and Jerabek
One surprising trade came from Chicago when they sent Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a third round pick in the upcoming draft. Chicago was looking to sell, and managed to get a decent pick in exchange for Kempny. It’s not likely that their third round pick will be very high since Washington is currently playing in the conference finals, but adding to their prospect pool is a must. This trade worked out well for both teams. Kempny is easily replaced, and getting a late third round pick for him makes it a good trade. Washington gets a reliable third pairing defenseman that can chip in a goal here and there. He’s not going to make many mistakes, and going with a reliable defenseman has worked out for the Caps. Even if the Capitals don’t win the cup, the asset they gave up in order to acquire Kempny is fairly inconsequential. It’s not likely that a late third round pick will have success in the NHL, and the Capitals can almost certainly find a similar player elsewhere. This is a rare scenario where both teams win a trade! Imagine that!
The Caps also acquired Jakub Jerabek from the Canadiens just two days later, sending a fifth round pick in 2019 to the Habs. Jerabek was decent for the Caps in the few games that he played in, (4 points in 11 regular season games) but has only played in two playoff games. They only gave up a fifth round pick, so it doesn’t hurt them too much. It’s a pretty even trade for both teams.
Mrazek Traded for Conditional Picks
This trade was not a good trade for the Red Wings. While it’s true that their prospect depth is subpar, the most that they can acquire in this trade is two third round picks. They have already received the third round pick in 2018 thanks to Philly making the playoffs and Mrazek appearing in five games, and could receive a third round pick in 2019 if Mrazek re-signs in Philadelphia. While it’s nice that Detroit gets to add to their prospect pool with a mid-third round pick, the fact that they couldn’t get more than third round picks stings. Ken Holland knew that his team had to sell this year, and getting a couple of third round picks for a 26 year old starter* is not a good look. Mrazek could’ve fetched them at least a second and a third, but Holland settled for a guaranteed fourth round pick. The pick has now been upgraded to a third round pick, and there’s a chance that Detroit could receive another one in 2019. Still, it stings knowing that they could have gotten more. Philly ended up losing in the first round, but could sign Mrazek to be their starting goalie next season. It wasn’t a great trade for Philly, but this was a trade that left a lot of Red Wings fans upset with their GM.
*Mrazek has the potential to be a starter, but he was so damn inconsistent with Detroit that it’s hard to tell.
Arizona Fleecing LA
The Coyotes made a really good trade at the deadline, and there were no picks involved. They sent Scott Wedgewood and Tobias Rieder to the Kings in exchange for Darcy Kuemper, who they immediately signed to a two year extension. Kuemper is a good backup goalie, which is what Arizona was lacking last season. All that they gave up for Kuemper was an AHL goalie and an underperforming forward. Great trade for Arizona, and another not so great trade for the Kings. Luckily for them, they didn’t give up any picks at the deadline.
Was it worth it? The Penguins made it to the second round of the playoffs before falling to the Capitals in six games. They made a huge move at the deadline by acquiring Derick Brassard, but was it worth it? In this three team trade, the Pens sent Ryan Reaves and a fourth round pick to Vegas in exchange for Vegas taking on 40% of Brassard’s contract this season. It’s not a great return for Vegas, but they made it to the conference finals and get a fourth round pick out of it, so who’s complaining? That’s a win for them. The Penguins were given Tobias Lindberg from Vegas, who was loaned back to Vegas’ AHL affiliate anyways. The Senators sent Vincent Dunn, Derick Brassard, and a 2018 third round pick to the Penguins in exchange for Filip Gustavsson, Ian Cole, a 2018 first round pick, and a 2019 third round pick. So let’s go into the benefits for the Penguins here.
- They acquire a good player that will help them in the playoffs.
- They upgrade their 2018 fourth to a 2018 third, moving up over 40 spots.
- They don’t have to worry as much about cap space since Vegas took 40% of the cap hit
Now here are the cons after the Penguins have been eliminated:
- Brassard had only four points in twelve playoff games.
- They gave up a good goalie prospect
- They lost a first round pick and didn’t make the conference finals.
So Ottawa won here. Gustavsson is a good goalie prospect, which the Senators need with Anderson getting older. He’ll be NHL ready in a year or two, which is perfect timing. They also get a first round pick to improve their shallow prospect pool, which is always a good thing. The 2019 third round pick is fairly inconsequential, but could turn into a decent prospect if he’s developed in the right way. The Senators ended up getting even more out of this trade, acquiring an AHL forward and a 2018 third round pick from Columbus in exchange for Ian Cole. Ottawa definitely came out ahead in the Brassard trade, while Pittsburgh lost some valuable assets.
Pittsburgh’s only other deadline trade was when they sent Greg McKegg to the Hurricanes in exchange for Josh Jooris. McKegg was excellent for the Checkers, but neither team can really say that they won this trade. The Canes just cleared up a little bit of salary for whatever reason.
Boston’s Crazy Deadline
Man, Boston had a weird deadline. At first, the internet was going crazy because “lol Boston traded for Nick Holden.” Yeah, Holden isn’t great, but all Boston gave up was a third round pick. Boston then upgraded that pick by acquiring Florida’s third in exchange for Frank Vatrano. So Boston looks smart here by cutting off some dead weight and by potentially improving their defense. Holden wasn’t utilized all that much, but Boston still looks good by moving up a few spots in the third round. Boston then acquires Rick Nash from the Rangers in a huge trade.
To BOS: Rick Nash
To NYR: Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, Ryan Lindgren, 2018 first round pick, 2019 7th round pick
- Boston gets an impact forward
- They get rid of that awful Matt Beleskey contract
- Nash was effective in the playoffs
- A seventh round pick is inconsequential
- Boston was eliminated in the second round, which doesn’t look good considering what they gave up.
- Spooner was a tough loss, but the Bruins may not have wanted to re-sign him. Not sure if it’s a con or not.
- Losing Lindgren and a first round pick is a tough blow.
Boston has a good defense already, but losing a good defensive prospect hurts. Lindgren could have been good for the Bruins, and he’s now signed with the Rangers ready to start his professional career. Losing a first round pick is also a tough blow, but the Bruins are young enough where it won’t matter just yet. In the short term, the trade definitely benefits both teams. The Bruins lost a terrible contract, and also got a good player for their playoff run. The Rangers get a first round pick and a good prospect to speed up the rebuild. In the long term, the Bruins might be kicking themselves.
The Bruins also traded Tommy Wingels for a conditional fifth round pick that is now a fourth round pick. Wingels was decent for the Bruins, and Chicago adds another pick in the 2018 draft. Good trade for both teams.
My Other Deadline Losers
Nashville has to be a big loser at the deadline. Aside from some minor depth trades, Nashville acquired Ryan Hartman from Chicago in exchange for Victor Ejdsell, a 2018 first round pick, and a 2019 fourth round pick. The Predators are eliminated from the playoffs, and that first round pick looks like a hefty price for a player that had just three points in nine playoff games. This was a tough one for the Predators, and Hartman is now free to sign elsewhere. Remember when the Hurricanes were rumored to be in on Hartman? Be glad that they didn’t go through with those plans.
Vancouver lost at the deadline. They didn’t get any picks or good prospects in return for Thomas Vanek, and their only good pickup was Leipsic. The franchise has been bad for quite some time now, and aquiring some picks would have been a start. It wasn’t a great deadline for a franchise that desperately needed some change.
New Jersey made some trades at the deadline, sending a prospect and a third round pick in 2019 to Edmonton in exchange for Pat Maroon. J.D. Dudek, the prospect involved in the trade, is a former sixth round pick that has had just an okay college career. The Oilers may not sign him, but still managed to get a pick out of it. New Jersey traded for Grabner as well, sending prospect Yegor Rykov and a 2018 second round pick to the Rangers. Rykov could be a good prospect to have on defense, and still has a year left on his contract in the KHL. New Jersey giving up two picks and prospects to lose in the first round isn’t a great look, but their prospect pool is decent already. Still, the trades that they made weren’t good in hindsight, so they’re wrapped up in this category.
New York has to be one. They traded JT Miller, Ryan McDonagh, Nick Holden, Michael Grabner, and Rick Nash. These players were huge parts of the Rangers, but needed to be traded in order for the team to rebuild. Here’s what the Rangers received in return:
- Rob O’Gara
- 2018 3rd (BOS)
- Yegor Rykov
- 2018 2nd (NJ)
- Ryan Spooner
- Matt Beleskey
- Ryan Lindgren
- 2018 1st (BOS)
- 2019 7th (BOS)
- Vladislav Namestnikov
- Libor Hajek
- Brett Howden
- 2018 1st round pick (TBL)
- 2019 conditional 2nd round pick (TBL. Becomes a first if the Lightning win the cup in either 2018 or 2019)
That’s a lot. They receive three great prospects to develop in the minors, one NHL player that they could re-sign, an NHL player that’s done extremely well, two first round picks, two second round picks, a third round pick, and a seventh round pick. New York’s rebuild won’t take long at all thanks to these moves.
Winnipeg was a winner at this deadline with their acquisition of Paul Stastny. They’re in the conference finals right now, and Stastny has been a huge part of that. He has 15 points in 14 playoff games for the Jets, who have been dominant in the playoffs. Their team is young and they have decent prospects, so losing Erik Foley and a 2018 first isn’t going to hurt. The Blues did well in this trade, acquiring a late first round pick and a really good prospect.
Not everything was terrible for the Wings at the deadline. They traded Tomas Tatar to the Golden Knights for a 2018 first, a 2019 second, and a 2021 third round pick. Tatar has time left on his contract, but the Wings get plenty of picks in this trade that can help them build a prospect pool. This was a good trade that made up for the Mrazek trade.
Who else won the deadline? Were there any other losers? Continue the discussion on twitter by replying to the tweet with your opinions on the article! If you have any time whatsoever, we’d also appreciate your feedback! We here at CBTS are always looking for ways to improve the blog, so providing your suggestions here would be huge for us!