Grading Teams At The NHL Trade Deadline

By: Brian Berry

The most wonderful time of the year for fans of action amongst NHL rosters, the trade deadline has come and gone. A time when Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, comes onto TSN and discusses the trade deadline and making it a holiday in Canada. Who won and lost their respective trades this year? Let’s look and grade all the big deals that happened this past weekend and on Monday before the 3 PM EST deadline.

Image result for winnipeg jetsImage result for kevin hayes rangers

Winnipeg Jets acquire Forward Kevin Hayes from New York Rangers for Brendan Lemieux, 2019 First-Round Pick and 2022 Conditional Fourth-Round Pick

Grades: WPG: B+  NYR: A

Winnipeg gears up for a deep push into the playoffs by acquiring 6’5, 216 pound centreman Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers. Hayes can slot with Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, or a multitude of the other talented Jets wingers. and provide a big body to sit in front of the net.

The cost was high though. Brendan Lemieux, a goal-scorer while also being a tough player, will head to the Big Apple. Lemieux has played 44 games this year amounting to 9 goals and 2 assists. He will more than likely fit into the bottom 6 forward group for the Rangers and be a player that they keep down the road. The first-round pick will help the Rangers re-tool on the fly while still trying to be competitive before goaltender Henrik Lundqvist calls it a career.


Columbus Blue Jackets Acquire Goaltender Keith Kinkaid from New Jersey Devils for 2022 Fifth-Round Draft Pick

Grades: CBJ: B  NJD: A-

No, this doesn’t mean that superstar goalie and Columbus Blue Jacket Sergei Bobrovsky is on the move at the deadline. However, this move is to bolster the goalie depth chart for Columbus following his likely departure this summer in free agency. It’s also to improve the backup position for Columbus as Bobrovsky has historically been shaky in the playoffs and provides a good second option for Columbus if Bobrovsky does falter.

Joonas Koripaslo, the Blue Jackets backup netminder, is having a rough year to say the least. Across 21 games played he’s recorded a 3.07 GAA and a .896 Sv% amounting to a 9-5-2 record. The Finnish goaltender will more than likely have more than enough chances next year after the departure of Bobrovsky to prove his worth to Jarmo Kekalainen and staff, but for now, Kinkaid takes the mantle as backup. Until Danil Tarasov or Image result for keith kinkaidElvis Merzlikins are ready to make the jump to the NHL, the Blue Jackets future at goaltender is murky at best.

Returning to the New Jersey Devils is a 2022 fifth-round pick. This is most likely the best they could’ve gotten for Kinkaid, a goalie who is having his own struggles on a poor Devils team. The Devils will move on with the duo of Corey Schneider and MacKenzie Blackwood as they look forward to a high draft position this June. However, I do think the Devils and all fans will miss his legendary social media presence

Image result for ryan dzingelColumbus Blue Jackets Acquire Forward Ryan Dzingel and 2019 Seventh-Round Draft Pick From Ottawa Senators for Forward Anthony Duclair, 2020 Second-Round Draft Pick and 2021 Second-Round Draft Pick


Grades: CBJ: A      OTT: A+

This could be a rare good trade for both teams. Dzingel, one of the three crown jewels from Ottawa this trade deadline, escapes the cellar and joins a bustling Columbus team that is pushing for a playoff spot. Does Columbus re-sign him after the season? That will be seen, but Dzingel will fit very nicely into the Columbus top 6 along with Ottawa teammate Matt Duchene.

Returning to Ottawa is Anthony Duclair, a fast offensively talented player, but lacks a complete game. The two second-round draft picks will help speed up the rebuild in Ottawa, and turning Dzingel, a former seventh-round draft pick, into two second-round draft picks is nothing to scoff at. Duclair, a restricted free agent this upcoming free agency period, will more than likely return to Ottawa this summer. Are his consistency issues as bad as Columbus head coach John Tortorella says? Time will tell.

Image result for gustav nyquistSan Jose Sharks Acquire Forward Gustav Nyquist From Detroit Red Wings for 2019 Second-Round Draft Pick and 2020 Conditional Third-Round Draft Pick.

Grades: SJS: A      DET:  B+

The whole Western Conference takes a big laboured sigh as the Sharks get quicker. In the running for the best team in the Western Conference as is, the Sharks add Gustav Nyquist, an extremely fast playmaking winger, hopeful for him making a difference in a deep playoff run. Doug Wilson further cements his legacy as a great deal maker, however the Sharks are quickly running out of picks to use in the next two drafts, but all those worries will be put to rest with a Stanley Cup trophy.

Detroit on the other end are in no position to make a deep run at the Cup anytime soon. Nyquist was more than likely going to bolt during free agency to a contender, so getting a second (Detroit will receive either San Jose’s or Florida’s 2019 second-round selection, whichever is lower) and a conditional third-rounder in 2020. However, if the Sharks reach the 2019 Stanley Cup Final or re-sign Nyquist, the pick becomes another 2020 second-round selection. The Red Wings also retain 30 percent of Nyquist’s salary, however this won’t matter as his contract is up this Summer. Overall, Detroit gets a good return for a player that was probably on the way out anyways.

Image result for brendan guhleBuffalo Sabres Acquire Defenseman Brandon Montour from Anaheim Ducks for Defenseman Brendan Guhle and 2019 First-Round Draft Pick

Grades: BUF: B      ANA: A-

This deal is a risky one for both parties. Montour, the 24-year-old right shot defenseman who is on a decent contract, saw a severe decrease in ice time while under Interim Head Coach Bob Murray. Could Montour turn into a consistent 50 point defenseman? Maybe. A team outside of the playoffs trading a first-round draft pick is a bit quizzical at first, but Montour does fit a need for a puck moving right handed defenseman. The Sabres gave up one of their three first-round draft picks this year which lessens the blow if this deal does bite the Sabres back. The draft pick is San Jose’s (The pick came in last year’s deal for Evander Kane). The Ducks have the option to take St. Louis’ first-round draft pick (Which the Sabres got in the Ryan O’Reilly deal) if it’s between draft positions 20 and 31 instead of taking San Jose’s.

Anaheim also receives Brendan Guhle, a former second-round draft pick of the Sabres, has seen an increased level of production in the AHL with the Rochester Americans and will help the Ducks in a time of them retooling the team. The Ducks get cap relief in this trade and receive Guhle, a top prospect from the Sabres organization.

Image result for mats zuccarelloDallas Stars Acquire Forward Mats Zuccarello From New York Rangers for Conditional 2019 Second-Round Draft Pick and Conditional 2020 Third-Round Draft Pick

Grades: DAL: Before Injury: C+ / After Injury: D+       NYR: A++

I love this trade from the stance of the Rangers. The Rangers get a very good return for a player that has a pretty high chance of returning to the Big Apple this summer in free agency. Zuccarello lived, breathed, and loved New York and it should surprise no one to see him return to the Rangers. The two picks are conditional on two things: If the Stars win two playoff rounds this year, the second becomes a first-round draft pick this year. If the Stars happen to re-sign Zuccarello this upcoming summer, the third-round pick becomes a first-round draft pick. Dallas receives a quick and energetic winger hoping to make a playoff run after years of mediocrity. However, disaster struck in Zuccarello’s first game. In his Stars debut against the Chicago Blackhawks, he broke his arm while blocking a shot and is likely going to be going into surgery. The expected time to return is 4 weeks.

Let’s look at this through two lenses, before and post injury. Before the injury, this trade is meh. The Stars clearly aren’t a huge threat going into the playoffs. Adding Zuccarello makes them an interesting team, but he won’t push this team over the limit and turn them into one of the big dogs of the west along with Calgary, San Jose, Nashville, and Winnipeg. Post injury, this looks bad. Real bad. There will be 7 games left in the regular season for the Stars when Zuccarello returns.

The Stars are standing at 67 points and only ahead of the Minnesota Wild in terms of the wild card race. The west is an absolute circus and could see Dallas on the outside looking in by as soon as next week. There are slight chances they catch the St. Louis Blues and maybe the Nashville Predators, but it’s extremely unlikely seeing the surge of wins for the Blues.

The Stars took a huge gamble and may have lost out.

Washington Capitals Acquire Defenseman Nick Jensen and 2019 Fifth-Round Draft Pick From Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Madison Bowey and 2020 Second-Round Draft Pick

Grades:  WSH: B-            DET: A-

Image result for madison boweyThe Capitals acquire a right handed defenseman in order to slot with either Christian Djoos or Brooks Orpik on the third pairing for Washington. The Capitals did overpay in this deal for a player in Jensen who does have good advanced metrics on a poor Detroit team, but probably isn’t worth Madison Bowey and a second. However, this is an over-payment that the Capitals can afford. The Capitals have defensive talent coming up the ranks at rapid rates through their AHL team, the Hershey Bears as well as in Alexander Alexeyev with the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL.

Bowey never fit in with the Capitals and struggled finding ice-time in a clogged up defensive system. Bowey was also unimpressive in his time with the Capitals, logging one goal and five assists through 33 games. The former second-round pick will have more than enough chances to prove that he is worthy of being that while in Detroit. The 2020 second-round pick is a nice compliment too for a Red Wings team that is diving into a rebuild.

Image result for matt ducheneColumbus Blue Jackets Acquire Forward Matt Duchene, defenseman Julius Bergman From Ottawa Senators for forwards Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, 2019 or 2020 First-Round Draft Pick

Grades: CBJ: B               OTT: A

Pierre Dorion has gotten a very good return for a superstar in Matt Duchene. First, let’s talk about what Columbus receives in this deal. They receive game-changing forward Matt Duchene who will help the top 6 forward group of Columbus greatly. Duchene has put up 27 goals and 31 assists across 51 games this season, impressive on a lowly Ottawa team. They also receive minor defenseman Julius Bergman, who was one of the pieces who came over in the Erik Karlsson trade earlier last year. Duchene will hopefully help turn the tide for Columbus, who hasn’t won a single playoff series in their 17 year existence. Getting past one round will not make this trade worthwhile though for the Blue Jackets. It’s time to put up some serious results for the Blue Jackets. However, the Blue Jackets may find themselves in a wild card position come April.

Is this team good enough to go against a juggernaut in Tampa Bay in the first round? What about the New York Islanders or Washington, who they may face in the first round if they stay in their current position at third in the Metropolitan division. Duchene is also a free agent this summer. Will he want to re-sign with the team following the high likelihood that Columbus loses both superstar winger Artemi Panarin and stalwart goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky?

Ottawa stocks up the cupboards for a full on rebuild with this trade. Abramov, a winger, has posted 12 goals and 10 assists in 54 games for Columbus’ AHL affiliate. He’s fast and offensively gifted. Davidsson, the other prospect coming back in this deal, has 10 goals and 10 assists in 35 games with Djugarden of the Swedish Hockey League, Sweden’s highest form of competition. Davidsson is a solid two-way forward with a good hockey IQ. Both players will factor into the future of the Ottawa Senators and will likely be playing on the roster as soon as next season. Is their ceiling as high as other prospects in the system? No, but they’ll serve a purpose in the future.

The picks coming back also make the trade even sweeter for Ottawa. Ottawa replaces their first-round selection that they lost to the Avalanche last season also. The 2019 first-round selection is kept by the Blue Jackets if it’s a top-three lottery pick, which is extremely unlikely as the Blue Jackets are in a position to make the playoffs. The 2020 first-round pick is conditional on if Duchene re-signs with Columbus. If he re-signs it goes to Ottawa, if he doesn’t the pick stays with Columbus.

Image result for adam mcquaidColumbus Blue Jackets Acquire Defenseman Adam McQuaid from the New York Rangers for Defenseman Julius Bergman and a 2019 Fourth-Round Draft Pick and a Seventh-Round Draft Pick

Grades: CBJ: C+          NYR: A-

There’s a sense of familiarity with this trade. It might be that I’ve written more about the Columbus Blue Jackets today than I have my whole life. Anyways, big right handed defenseman Adam McQuaid is heading to help Columbus in their hope to make a push. McQuaid will help shore up the loss of Ryan Murray to the IR and will bring experience to a team that is otherwise lacking players with experience in deep runs in the playoffs.

The Blue Jackets have only two picks left this upcoming draft. If this isn’t an all in effort, I don’t know what is. Losing those two picks doesn’t hurt Columbus too much, but this team is in it for the fans, which you’ve got to respect. Oh, and Julius Bergman got traded, again. He’s very much a minor part of this deal and is a compliment to the picks received. The Rangers moving on from McQuaid was only a matter of when at this point, and this return isn’t too bad considering his age and productivity.  

Image result for mikael granlundMinnesota Wild Acquire Forward Kevin Fiala from the Nashville Predators for Forward Mikael Granlund

Grades: MIN: D            NSH: A

I’m not entirely sure what Fenton and Co. are doing up in Minnesota with this one. This trade has come out of left field entirely and is a surprising one to all. Fiala has put up 10 goals and 22 assists with the Predators across 64 games this past season while Granlund, in a much larger role with the Wild, has scored 16 goals and potted 34 assists across 63 games. This just seems like a downgrade in all ways for Minnesota, as Granlund is locked in until next year and Fiala is a restricted free agent this upcoming summer. Granlund makes Nashville extremely scary down the middle if Granlund lines up as a centre or on the wing if he positions himself there.

As for Fiala, he’s an extremely skilled forward, however he’s very hot and cold. Trading a player as consistent as Granlund for a player that isn’t nearly as consistent, but younger, in Fiala doesn’t make too much sense.

Image result for erik brannstromOttawa Senators Acquire Defenseman Erik Brannstrom, Forward Oscar Lindberg, and 2020 Second-Round Draft Pick From The Las Vegas Golden Knights For Forward Mark Stone

Grades: OTT: C           VGK: A+

Ottawa has offloaded the last piece of the puzzle that was the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline. Dzingel, Stone, and Duchene are all gone and these next few years for Ottawa are going to be brutal. However, after those few years, the Senators have the potential to be one of the better teams in the NHL. Defense prospect Erik Brannstrom is a blue-chip prospect and will be a superstar if he continues his development.

The rest of this trade is pure fluff and it doesn’t make sense. The only reason this is a C and not an F is because of Brannstrom. That’s how much potential he has. Stone can easily fetch a first round pick and a roster player, but Dorion dropped the ball on this one for Ottawa. Lindberg is a decent roster player, but the second seems like a disservice to a player at the calibre of Mark Stone.

On the other end, Vegas has hit a home run in a trade. Losing Brannstrom hurts greatly, but adding Stone, a premiere two-way forward who is extremely responsible in his own end and is capable of being an elite offensive talent will help this team tremendously in the playoffs. Stone can easily help the woes that have been plaguing the Knights these past few weeks and should plug any holes at right wing as a point a game player. He can slot in with Pacioretty and Stastny and anchor the right wing or line up with Pirri and Eakin on the third line. Whichever happens, the Golden Knights have committed a highway robbery.

UPDATE: Stone has signed an 8 year contract extension with the Golden Knights.

Image result for wayne simmondsPhiladelphia Flyers Acquire Forward Ryan Hartman and a 2020 Conditional Fourth-Round-Pick From The Nashville Predators for Forward Wayne Simmonds

Grades: PHI: D-             NSH: A

What? The Flyers trade Wayne Simmonds, a good net-front presence and big body that is a game-changer and can be put into any powerplay and make it work, only got a roster player and a fourth-round-pick that will become a third if Nashville wins a round in the playoffs. Don’t get me wrong, Hartman is a serviceable NHLer and a good one at that, and may very well turn into something more. Not getting a first round pick here, which is what the Flyers were reportedly asking for at first, hurts greatly and it feels like the Flyers could’ve gotten a much better return for a very good player.

Simmonds reunites with former Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. The Predators keep getting stronger and have come out of the trade deadline as a clear winner. Not much else to say here other than Nashville comes out of the deadline as huge winners.

Image result for marcus johanssonBoston Bruins Acquire Forward Marcus Johansson From The New Jersey Devils for a 2019 Second-Round Draft Pick and a 2020 Fourth-Round Draft Pick

Grades: BOS: B+            NJD: B

Good trade for both teams as Boston gets a good rental player and New Jersey offloads a player that wouldn’t provide anything to the team for the rest of the year. New Jersey continues their rebuild and Marcus Johansson will fit nicely with David Krejci and Charlie Coyle if that’s where the Bruins decide to put him. Johansson will help with secondary scoring, something that the Bruins severely lacked last playoff run. Johansson will also be able to step into the powerplay in Boston, one that ranks second currently in the league. He will also lessen the blow of losing goal-scorer David Pastrnak for the next few weeks.

Image result for derick brassardColorado Avalanche Acquire Forward Derick Brassard and a Conditional Sixth-Round Draft Pick From The Florida Panthers for a 2020 Third-Round Pick

Grades: COL: B-           FLA: B+

This is Derick Brassard’s fourth trade since July 2016. The centreman has seen a serious drop in production since scoring 60 points in 2014-2015 and 58 in 2015-2016, only being able to reach the 39 point mark in 2016-2017 with the Ottawa Senators. Recently he’s scored 10 goals and 9 assists across 50 games with both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers.

Brassard will look to add depth to a Colorado Avalanche lineup that has been fueled almost independently by the trio of Gabriel Landeskog, Nate MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen. Brassard is currently in the final year of his contract with a cap hit of $5 million. Although Brassard isn’t like his former self, this still should be an uptick in scoring for the Colorado Avalanche, who sit one point out of the second wild card position in the west.


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