The NHL trade deadline has passed. The prices were unexpectedly high. Some expected names moved. Some unexpected names moved, signaling to players and fans that the general manager’s perception of his was radically different than previously conceived.
Here’s the report card for all 31 teams, based on what happened at the deadline, current context and future plans:
Key addition: LW Jason Chimera
Key subtraction: C Chris Wagner
Tough call here. The Ducks are in playoff position, with 10 players over the age of 30. So the argument could be made that GM Bob Murray should have been more aggressive in bolstering this group instead of fretting about the inflated prices at the deadline. But the argument could also be made that trading a first-rounder for a player worth a second, or dipping into their prospect pool, was counterintuitive for a Ducks team that has to keep one eye on the current standings and other eye on Father Time. So I’m OK with standing relatively pat here, believing that an underachieving team will have to reach its potential without outside assistance.
Fun fact: I originally had some of these names reversed and wondered, if only for a moment, if anyone would notice. Getting Kuemper is fine, but he was going to be a UFA, so they could’ve probably waited to sign him this summer. The rest of it is whatever. But kudos to the Coyotes for not doing anything dumb like moving Max Domi at the deadline. Yeah, that’s where the bar is.
Nash had the Bruins atop his trade list, and one assumes the feeling was mutual. He’s an ideal fit with David Krejci on the B’s second line. Did they pay a hefty price for a rental? Yeah, but it could have been heftier still if it had included a player like Jake DeBrusk. But it didn’t, and getting Beleskey off their books was a coup, too. Holden is fine for what he’ll be asked to do. And hey, maybe Wingels and Gionta find a fit on the fourth line for a playoff run. Good deadline for GM Don Sweeney.
Key additions: C Danny O’Regan, 2019 conditional first-round pick, 2020 conditional fourth-round pick
Key subtraction: LW Evander Kane
For all the chatter about GM Jason Botterill looking for a first-round pick, a prospect, a roster player and a conditional pick for Kane, he got a second-rounder that might become a first, a middling prospect and a fourth-rounder in 2019 or a third-round selection in 2020. He told the Buffalo News that he received one legitimate offer for Kane at the deadline. Which is either an indication that other teams viewed Kane as toxic or that the Sabres held on to this asset way too long and the market shifted at the deadline. Either way, given the prices for other rentals at the deadline, this was indefensible. (And good luck trying shake off that “player-as-GM” finger-pointing at Jack Eichel when the only player they acquired was his college linemate.) The Sabres needed to do so much more than this, and they didn’t.
Key subtraction: 2018 seventh-round pick
Interesting deadline for the Flames. They added Stewart on waivers, which we’re sure put a smile on Brian Burke’s truculent face. They added Shore as a fourth-liner. They didn’t add a goalie, which would seem to indicate Mike Smith is OK; likewise, they did not add a winger like Mike Hoffman. GM Brad Treliving continues to play a patient long game, and he didn’t find an impact “hockey trade” he liked.
Key addition: C Greg McKegg
Key subtraction: RW Josh Jooris
“I don’t think we’re at the point where we can trade a first-round pick or eight prospects for a rental,” said GM Ron Francis, who said there was nothing there for a team that’s five points out of the postseason, is scoring 2.60 goals per game and giving up 3.00 per game. We’ll give a C, with the hope that this inaction is followed by a Tom Dundon spending spree and trade flurry this summer.
Key additions: 2018 first-round pick, 2018 fourth-round pick, C Victor Ejdsell, 2018 third-round pick
GM Stan Bowman knew he had a coveted asset in Hartman, and he waited it out until the Predators offered a first-rounder and a good prospect for him. All the Blackhawks need are about 10 more of those deals, and they’re back in business. That third for Kempny wasn’t bad, either. Enjoy this one, Chicago fans, before getting back to your Carrie Mathison “Homeland” string board of Brent Seabrook trade possibilities.
Key additions: D Ryan Graves, D Mark Alt
Key subtraction: D Chris Bigras
Extraordinarily quiet deadline from GM Joe Sakic. But that injury to Erik Johnson probably changed his perception for what the team should do, sitting two points out of the wild card. But c’mon, man: Not even a draft pick for Blake Comeau‘s expiring contract?
Nice deadline from GM Jarmo Kekalainen: Three veteran rentals, no players from his roster leaving and no significant future assets moving. All three will help, especially in the postseason. (Well, OK, two of the three will help in the postseason.) Plus, he didn’t move defenseman Jack Johnson for the asking prices he was receiving, leaving the puck-mover on his blue line for a playoff run. Not bad at all.
Key additions: None
Key subtractions: None
GM Jim Nill indicated that the moves the Stars made last summer — including Alexander Radulov, Ben Bishop, Marc Methot, Martin Hanzal and coach Ken Hitchcock — will suffice. Yet that group has only elevated Dallas to a tenuous grasp on the first wild card, with many of the Western Conference’s contenders improving their teams at the deadline. Maybe we look back at this and say, yeah, the left wing situation on this team was actually OK and not in need of a significant deadline piece. Or we look back and say that Nill’s deadline punt wasted another season of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in their primes.
Key additions: 2018 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick, 2021 third-round pick
As Emily Kaplan noted, GM Ken Holland could be both a winner and a loser at this deadline. Turning Tatar into three draft picks from Vegas, including a first, is frankly amazing. He flipped Mrazek into two conditional picks from the Flyers. These were good. The fact that defenseman Mike Green wasn’t moved was one of the deadline’s biggest surprises, considering he was talked up as a coveted rental. Did the Erik Karlsson and Ryan McDonagh talks muck up the works? Was his recent injury too much of a deterrent? Or maybe the one place that he could have gone (Toronto) wasn’t a place he wanted to go, using his trade protection to block it? (I’m here for the “Green doesn’t like Mike Babcock for leaving him off the 2010 Olympic team” speculation.) In the end, a great return and a missed opportunity even this thing out at a B-minus.
Key additions: LW Pontus Aberg, C J.D. Dudek, 2019 third-round pick, 2019 third-round pick
Meh. Turning a waiver find like Davidson into a third-rounder might be the first trade Peter Chiarelli has ever won with Garth Snow. Getting Aberg in the Letestu three-way dance is … fine, maybe. The return for Maroon was rather low given the rest of the trades on Monday, but he may boomerang back to the team next season in free agency. The Oilers did nothing to dramatically change their outlook for next season. But maybe that wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Key addition: C Frank Vatrano
Key subtraction: 2018 third-round pick
GM Dale Tallon went all “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in explaining his deadline: “We were unwilling to give up our top prospects, and that’s the bottom line.” (He then climbed the turnbuckles and cracked open a couple of Dale-weisers to spray the crowd.) They were in on Ryan McDonagh, but nothing materialized. They get a C-plus because any trade Tallon doesn’t make is a probably a good one.
Key additions: C Tobias Rieder, G Scott Wedgewood
Key subtraction: G Darcy Kuemper
The Dion Phaneuf-for-Marian Gaborik swap falls just outside our “deadline” parameters, but obviously that was the key deal for GM Rob Blake. Rieder was a good low-cost addition. The Kings had the team they wanted, so this dabbling any further in this deadline didn’t interest them — especially with a returning Jeff Carter being better than anything available, anyway.
Key addition: 2019 fifth-round pick
Key subtractions: RW Chris Stewart, D Mike Reilly
“We felt it necessary to give our scouts a first-rounder. I took it away from them last year,” said GM Chuck Fletcher, still feeling the sting from that Martin Hanzal burn last year. So the Wild stayed out of the fray, shipping away third-year defenseman Mike Reilly for a pick, and giving Chris Stewart the same chance to find more ice time away from Minnesota. This was quiet, but understandably so given the context. Somewhat surprised to not see a Matt Cullen reunion with the Penguins.
I felt the return for Plekanec was a little underwhelming from the Leafs, given the salary retention and the marketplace for centers. The bigger issue now is with captain Max Pacioretty, whom Sportsnet reported “wants out,” and that’s going to fester for the rest of this lost season instead of his being flipped for a return at the deadline. Perhaps the worst news of the deadline: Year 7 of GM Marc Bergevin‘s five-year plan will begin at the draft, where he will oversee their 10 picks. Prayers for Habs fans.
Key additions: RW Ryan Hartman, LW Brandon Bollig
Key subtractions: LW Pontus Aberg, C Mark Letestu (technically), 2018 first-round pick, 2018 fourth-round pick, C Victor Ejdsell
“We played a hefty price,” said GM David Poile, “but Hartman ticks all the boxes we were looking for.” That would be a young right wing that can play top-nine minutes and bring some scoring and some physicality. Was that worth a first-round pick? No, and that’s why the other teams chasing him didn’t land him. But that was the ante from Poile. He’s a solid player, and young enough that the first-rounder is an investment rather than a rental, but it’s still a first-round pick for Ryan Hartman.
Key additions: LW Patrick Maroon, RW Michael Grabner
Key subtractions: 2018 second-round pick, 2019 third-round pick, D Yegor Rykov, C J.D. Dudek
While other Metro teams decided to stand pat — some for the better, some for the worse — GM Ray Shero rewarded his group with two high-profile rentals at the deadline. Grabner cost them a second and a KHL prospect to the Rangers, the first time these two teams had ever made a trade; and Maroon was a surprise addition for a third in 2019 and an NCAA prospect to the Oilers. The Devils bolstered their lines behind Taylor Hall‘s top unit, sitting seven points ahead of the Islanders in the first wild-card spot.
Key additions: C Chris Wagner, D Brandon Davidson
Key subtraction: LW Jason Chimera
As some point, inaction becomes malfeasance. Outside of Wagner being an upgrade over Chimera and Davidson being added to a third pairing, Islanders GM Garth Snow did nada at the deadline, as is his wont. That includes a decision not to trade center Brock Nelson when his value might be highest — 26 years old, on the cusp of restricted free agency, at a deadline when the prices on centers were crazy high. The Islanders are four points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. There was more talk at the deadline about teams positioning themselves for a run at John Tavares than talk about how his current team had bettered itself for the playoff race. That’s messed up.
Key additions: C/LW Vladislav Namestnikov, C Ryan Spooner, D Libor Hajek, D Yegor Rykov, C Brett Howden, D Ryan Lindgren, two 2018 first-round picks, 2018 second-round pick and a 2019 second-rounder that becomes a first if the Lightning win the Stanley Cup this season or next
Key subtractions: LW Rick Nash, RW Michael Grabner, D Nick Holden, D Ryan McDonagh, C J.T. Miller.
I have no idea why so many observers are down on what GM Jeff Gorton did to kick off the team’s rebuild at the deadline. This is a haul that included two roster players, including a 25-year-old top liner in Namestnikov; a bevy of better-than-average prospects, especially on the blue line; and the potential for three first-round picks in the next two drafts (in addition to the Rangers’ own picks). This was for three rentals, a top-pairing defenseman who wasn’t in their plans after next season and Miller, which admittedly stings, but you have to give to get. I think they did really well here, and many criticisms to the contrary are based on players who were thought to be potentially available Monday (Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev).
Key additions: D Ian Cole, G Filip Gustavsson, 2018 first-round pick, 2019 third-round pick, 2020 third-round pick
Key subtractions: C Derick Brassard, D Ian Cole
So they didn’t trade Erik Karlsson after all. Which is terrible news for Erik Karlsson, and maybe slightly better news for GM Pierre Dorion, who should have a larger field of teams angling for him in the summer — and perhaps some that could help facilitate a way to remove Bobby Ryan from their cap. (And hey, maybe they hit Erik with a “Men In Black”-style neuralyzer, convince him Eugene Melnyk is a great owner and he re-signs.) The moves Dorion did make were fine, including adding Gustavsson, whom he believes is the goalie of the future for the Senators. (We should also mention his biggest “deadline” deal was made a few weeks before it, when he shipped out Dion Phaneuf to the Kings. But that didn’t factor into this grade.)
Key addition: G Petr Mrazek
Key subtractions: 2018 conditional fourth-round pick, 2019 conditional third-round pick
My colleague Emily Kaplan had the Flyers as a trade deadline loser for not doing anything to bolster their playoff chances outside of the necessary trade for Mrazek, given their goaltending injuries. That’s one way to look at it. The other is that the Flyers are ahead of schedule and GM Ron Hextall is playing the long game here, and anteing up for rentals is not part of that game. So it’s a B from me.
Key additions: C Derick Brassard, C Josh Jooris, LW Tobias Lindberg
Key subtractions: D Ian Cole, G Filip Gustavsson, 2018 first-round pick
With the help of Vegas GM George McPhee, who picked up $2 million of Brassard’s cap hit for the next two season, the Penguins found their solution on the third line. He’s a known quantity from his days with the Rangers, has plenty of postseason experience and will thrive with Phil Kessel on his wing. Will the Penguins miss Cole, who found another gear in last postseason? Potentially. But GM Jim Rutherford didn’t make another move to bolster his blue line, apparently happy with rolling Matt Hunwick and Jamie Oleksiak out as a potential third pairing in search of a third straight Cup.
Key addition: LW Evander Kane
Key subtractions: C Danny O’Regan, conditional 2019 first-round pick — if the Sharks re-sign Kane, it’s a 2019 first-round pick; if they do not, it’s a second-round pick — 2020 conditional fourth-round pick
Kane gives the Sharks a lot to like on the left side. He’s fifth in the NHL in average shots on goal (3.7 per game), he pushes the rest of the wingers down a spot in the lineup for better depth and he can hang with a center like Joe Pavelski. The concerns, outside of the baggage he lugs with him for legal entanglements and whatever happened in the Winnipeg dressing room, are whether than can re-sign him next season and how a player who has never been to the playoffs will perform in them. But given the price, which was crazy low, this was a worthy addition.
Key additions: 2018 first-round pick, LW Erik Foley, 2020 fourth-round pick
Key subtraction: C Paul Stastny
Kudos to GM Doug Armstrong for making the tough decision to raise the white flag on a season slipping away. “We haven’t been to the level of competitiveness on enough nights recently to think that we were just a slight tweak away from getting it back,” he told The Athletic. Keeping 50 percent of Stastny’s salary might have Blues fans wanting a bit more back for a key rental like the veteran center than what amounts to a high second-rounder and Foley, who does project to be an NHLer. But we’ll give them a B-minus here not only for the return but for Armstrong opting to be “a little bit pregnant” at the deadline: Either you’ve surrendered or you haven’t; and if you have, then the cuts should have been deeper on Monday.
Key additions: D Ryan McDonagh, C J.T. Miller
Key subtractions: C/LW Vladislav Namestnikov, 2018 first-round pick, 2019 conditional second-round pick, C Brett Howden, D Libor Hajek
It’s hard to shake the idea that the Lightning could have rolled out Erik Karlsson and Victor Hedman for the next two Stanley Cup runs, but McDonagh is more than just a fallback position. At his best, he’s an elite two-way defenseman, whose mobility and hockey IQ are an asset to the Lightning. Add in the contract situation ($4.7 million annual cap hit, UFA next summer) and his familiarity with players like Anton Stralman and Dan Girardi, and this is a great fit. So too is Miller, whose versatility in the lineup and tenacious game are perfect for this Jon Cooper team — easing the pain of trading away a roster player like Namestnikov in the deal. The price was high, but worth paying for a contender.
Key additions: C Tomas Plekanec, RW Kyle Baun
Key subtractions: 2018 second-round pick, D Rinat Valiev, LW Kerby Rychel
The Leafs were in the mix to bolster their blue line, which is their greatest area of need, but they couldn’t stick the landing on acquiring McDonagh, instead watching him go to a division rival. (But hey, why pay that price when they can just sign Drew Doughty next summer, right Toronto fans?) While GM Lou Lamoriello swung and missed there, the Leafs snagged a nice rental in Plekanec to load up at center and compete with the conference’s other contenders.
Key additions: LW Jussi Jokinen, C Tyler Motte, LW Brendan Leipsic
Key subtractions: LW Thomas Vanek, D Philip Holm
So … yeah, the Canucks didn’t manage to pull a draft pick out of the trade deadline, which is a neat trick. But they dealt Holm from a position of strength (defense) in their prospect pool, and Leipsic has a tenacity (and ability to infuriate opponents) that might have GM Jim Benning gambling that the 23-year-old can be a Brad Marchand lite. The Vanek trade netted Tyler Motte, whom Jim Benning has chased before. He has 12 points in 64 NHL games, and at 22 this will be his third team. Probably better to have gotten a draft pick.
Key additions: LW Tomas Tatar, RW Ryan Reaves, 2018 fourth-round pick
Key subtractions: 2018 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick, 2021 third-round pick, LW Tobias Lindberg
There are two ways to look at the Knights’ deadline. The first is that after being in on Erik Karlsson until the very end — rumored to have offered up to six assets for the Ottawa star — GM George McPhee turned around and traded three picks, including a first, for Red Wings winger Tomas Tatar. He’s good for 25 goals per season, and makes $5.3 million through 2021, but this was overcompensation. That said, the Knights didn’t disrupt a roster that’s challenging for a President’s Trophy, so kudos for that. As for the Reaves move, which including salary retention to facilitate a Derick Brassard trade … well, that’s either draft pick buying or a sinister plot to keep Brassard away from the Jets and/or put him on a team that could (again) eliminate McPhee’s old employer.
Key addition: D Michel Kempny
Key subtraction: 2018 third-round pick
The Capitals added Kempny from the Blackhawks and actually had him playing with John Carlson after the deadline. But there was nothing else the cap-strapped Caps could do to bolster their blue line — despite some heavily rumored consideration of an Erik Karlsson blockbuster that would have broken the internet.
Key addition: C Paul Stastny
Key subtractions: 2018 first-round pick, 2020 fourth-round pick, LW Erik Foley
For a while there, it looked like the rest of the NHL was playing defense against the Jets as they lost out on every big-name center available at the deadline … well, all three of them. So the hockey world was shocked when Stastny was (a) available and (b) waived his no-trade to play with the Jets. It’s a great move for Winnipeg, giving them that essential three-deep center lineup and potentially a pivot for Patrik Laine. Plus, a player with some playoff experience for a franchise without a playoff win. Love it.