The NHL Trade Deadline was one of the best in years as the push to the playoffs is on. Eastern Conference teams continue to load up for the gauntlet that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There have been a lot of moves, especially by the contenders in the weeks and days leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that this is the busiest it has been pre-deadline in a long time with names like Patrick Kane, Timo Meier, Ryan O’Reilly, Dmitry Orlov, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Bo Horvat all being moved. Let’s dive into who the winners and losers were from this past year’s NHL Trade Deadline.
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Like with surprises to start the season, the Bruins top the list as a winner at the trade deadline. The best team in the NHL got better. The moves general manager Don Sweeney made were excellent. Every player he added was a perfect fit and exactly the type of player suited for the Boston Bruins. Dmitry Orlov has nine points in four games with the Bruins. Garnett Hathway and Tyler Bertuzzi each fit their role on the bottom six perfectly. And oh yeah they extended David Pastrnak. A pretty good job at the deadline by the Bruins.
New Jersey Devils
Following the Bruins are the New Jersey Devils. The Devils got the player they wanted from the start and the biggest shark on the board. New Jersey traded for Timo Meier, an excellent, physical, top-six, scoring winger. Meier has already made an impact on the line with Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt recording a goal in his first game. Fitzgerald also picked up a depth player who is versatile in Curtis Lazar. All in all the Devils did an excellent job at the deadline.
New York Rangers
Across the Hudson, the Rangers can be classified as a winner grabbing Vladimir Tarasenko, Niko Mikkola, Tyler Motte, and of course Patrick Kane. The Rangers solidified their top six, which still has some to do to get on the same page. Defensively the Rangers will need to get better, which will come when players come back from suspension and injuries, but to say they don’t have one of the best top-six in the East would be an understatement.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Though it may not feel like the Maple Leafs are winners, they can be classified as one. General manager Kyle Dubas went out and added grit to his team. Not only at the forward position, but on the backend as well. Ryan O’Reilly had been playing great, before breaking his finger, Noel Acciari, a perfect bottom-six guy has fit in nicely. Jake McCabe, Sam Lafferty, Erik Gustafsson, and Luke Schenn have found roles on this team. It is now on the players to perform. But how much was too much tinkering for Toronto? We will find out in the playoffs.
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You can argue what the Ottawa Senators did by adding Jakob Chychrun, what the New York Islanders did by adding Bo Horvat, and what the Minnesota Wild did by moving out Jordan Greenway and adding John Klingberg, Marcus Johansson and Oskar Sundqvist can constitute winning moves. Even what the Carolina Hurricanes did by adding Jesse Puljujarvi and Shayne Gostisbehere can be put in the win column.
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The Calgary Flames needed to do something more than they did at the deadline. Maybe general manager Brad Treliving decided standing pat was the best decision because he did all of his work in the summer. But there were other teams like Nashville, St. Louis, Detroit, and Washington that sold. Calgary needed to move some assets because they were not making the playoffs. Just not consistent enough. But if the Flames do run it back, they better hope for different results next season.
Like the Flames, the Florida Panthers needed to do something at the deadline. And they did nothing. Did not sell. Did not buy. We all knew the Panthers were going to take a step back this year. However, with teams calling on players, the Panthers needed to make a move. It is a tough road in the East with Buffalo, and Ottawa, especially the Senators playing the way they are. Florida had to show a sense of direction and did not.
You can throw the Vancouver Canucks on this list as well. Yes, they moved Luke Schenn and Bo Horvat, but they could have done more. Brock Boeser‘s name was out there. J.T. Miller‘s name was out there. Along with so many others. The Canucks needed a more active deadline than they did. Maybe they will save these moves for the summer, but Vancouver needs a direction and this deadline was the perfect time to do it.
How can you say the defending are a loser, well they did not address a glaring need at the center position. Nobody knows when Gabriel Landeskog is coming back. Maybe it will be playoff time. But they had a chance to fix that problem sooner rather than adding depth players like Jack Johnson and Lars Eller. These players are nice, but not what they needed. Hopefully, Landeskog returns before the playoffs. If not, it is a missed opportunity.
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