Tampa Bay Lightning
They didn’t land Erik Karlsson, but Ryan McDonagh is a pretty good consolation prize for a team that now has a top-four defence that includes Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman and Mikhail Sergachev. The fact that they also swapped Vladislav Namestnikov for J.T. Miller gives Tampa Bay a two-way forward who might actually be a better fit come playoff time.
New York Rangers
Pay attention, Ottawa: this is how you strip things down for the rebuild. The Rangers picked up two first-round picks in the Rick Nash and McDonagh deals; a second-round pick and a prospect for Michael Grabner; and a third-round pick and prospect for Nick Holden. Now, all they have to do is not screw it all up at the draft.
Picking up Derick Brassard from Ottawa might have been the trade of the season. Certainly, it made the Penguins a legitimate threat to win a third straight Stanley Cup. In addition to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh now has a No. 3 centre in Brassard who on most other teams would be centring one of the top two lines.
The Bruins picked up the No. 1 rental on the market with the addition of Nash. It was a necessary trade for a team that has relied on one line for the bulk of the offence this season. While the 33-year-old is far from the Rocket Richard Trophy winner he once was, he still provides Boston with much-needed secondary scoring.
After years of standing pat, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff finally went all-in and traded a first-round pick for Paul Stastny. It was a big-time gamble. But it sent a clear message to the rest of the league that Winnipeg is in it to win it. Stastny, who had to waive his no-trade clause, gives the Jets some much-needed playoff experience.
If only all GMs were as carefree as David Poile. The Predators boss, who traded for Kyle Turris earlier this season, made another splash on Monday when he signed Mike Fisher out of retirement and then acquired pending restricted free agent Ryan Hartman from Chicago in exchange for a package that included a first-round pick.
No one was willing to meet the Sabres’ demands of a first-round pick, prospect and a roster player in exchange for Evander Kane. The best GM Jason Botterill could manage was a second-rounder in 2019 (which could turn into a first-rounder if Kane re-signs with San Jose), a fourth-rounder in 2020 and a middling prospect who was drafted in the fifth round six years ago. Ouch. That’s not how you speed up a rebuild. Then again, teams weren’t exactly lining up for Kane.
Erik Karlsson and Max Pacioretty
Despite all the talk, it was a long shot that Ottawa or Montreal was going to be able to pull off a trade for Karlsson and Pacioretty at the deadline. These kinds of deals are usually done in the offseason. For Karlsson and Pacioretty, it means six more weeks of answering the same questions about their future while playing for a team that is going nowhere.
New Jersey Devils
Days after picking up Michael Grabner, the Devils continued to add to their forward corps with the acquisition of Patrick Maroon. They were the kind of moves you expect from a Stanley Cup contender — not a wild card team. On the plus side, neither deal cost much. But for a team still in the early stages of a rebuild, the second- and third-round picks they gave up could have been better used on future prospects.
St. Louis Blues
Most expected the Blues to be buyers at the deadline. Instead, after losing four straight GM Doug Armstrong pulled the chute and traded Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg in exchange for an impressive package that included the Jets’ first-round pick. The team that benefits the most, however, is Calgary, which is holding down the final wild-card spot and has one less team to worry about when trying to qualify for the playoffs.
While the Rangers went into full demo mode and stripped their team to the bare bones, the Senators were really only able to ship out Derick Brassard at the deadline. Maybe most of the heavy lifting will occur in the summer. But considering the prices teams were willing to pay at the deadline, the Senators might have missed an opportunity in not shipping out Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman or Zack Smith.
On a day when teams took chances on Kane and Thomas Vanek, it was strange to see rental defenceman Mike Green not moved. Maybe the price was too high or contending teams were leery about adding a one-dimensional offensive defenceman. Either way, the 32-year-old lost out on another chance to win a Cup.
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