A few weeks have passed since the NHL trade deadline, and we can already see a few players shining in their new roles.
We now know which teams are pushing for the Stanley Cup and which teams unofficially folded on the season. However, some players such as a Ryan Spooner, have been pleasant surprises, giving teams who thought they were done with the season, new life.
Based on the trades made and the results of the players and teams since the deadline, we are going to determine which teams won at lost at the NHL Deadline.
Winner: New York Rangers
The Rangers declared a few weeks before the deadline that they were going to be going into a rebuild.
They traded away Michael Grabner, Rick Nash, Nick Holden, Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. They received in return Vladislav Namestnikov, Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, Rob O’Gara and prospects Brett Howden, Libor Hajek, Ryan Lindgren and Yegor Rykov.
OFFICIAL: #NYR have acquired Vladislav Namestnikov, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, a first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, and a conditional first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from Tampa Bay in exchange for Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. pic.twitter.com/qmfOW2i2CZ
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 26, 2018
Along with that mix of prospects and players, they acquired numerous draft picks, and now have three in the first round of this years draft.
What the Rangers did ensured that if they draft wisely, they will have a plethora of talented prospects heading toward the NHL in just a few seasons. Furthermore, they freed up over $25 million in cap space with the trades made, giving them a chance to sign a couple of solid free agents after their Restricted Free Agents (RFA’s) are handled.
Newly acquired RFA’s like Ryan Spooner (1 goal, 6 assists) and Vladislav Namestnikov (1 goal, 1 assist) have both looked impressive since joining the Blueshirts and if resigned, will bolster what increasingly looks like a suitable four lines come next year.
The New York Rangers have ushered in a rebuild era that, because of this deadline, may actually end as soon as next season!
With a solid four lines including first-round picks from last year Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, one of the greatest goaltenders in the world in Lundqvist, a good core of young prospects, and maybe one or two free agent signings, the Rangers could be back in contention soon.
They did well this deadline, and if their draft picks pan out then this will be viewed as one of the better deadlines in recent NHL seasons.
Loser: Edmonton Oilers
Another year, another deadline sell for the Edmonton Oilers.
After what was a great season last year, everyone, including myself, thought that 2017-2018 could see the Oilers go just as deep in the playoffs if not farther. However, lack of depth production, sub-par goaltending and historically brutal special teams play has lead Edmonton back to familiar territory.
Trading away Letestu, who was in the last year of his contract was a “no-brainer”, and acquiring Pontus Aberg who is younger and more affordable gives the Oilers some cap room. However, the leadership group in Edmonton is still young and there are a lack of veterans on this team, something every young team should have.
I’m not saying Mark Letestu was the answer to that problem, but trading him away just removes one more veteran from the locker room.
Patrick Maroon was the main piece traded from Edmonton, as he was dealt to New Jersey for J.D. Dudek and a Third round pick in the 2019 draft. Dudek, who has 17 points in 33 games at Boston College could fill a depth forward role for an NHL club in a few seasons.
However, that return really does not suffice for a player who meant as much to the Oilers as Maroon did. Maroon who is a free agent next season could resign with Edmonton, but I do believe that the Oiler’s would be better off bringing in more seasoned players who can fill support roles for the extremely talented McDavid.
Overall, Edmonton was able to move the pieces they had to but got very little in return for both their players, leaving them in an in-between stage in their efforts to reach the playoffs next season. They definitely had a rough deadline.
Winner: Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings traded their winger, Tomas Tatar, to the Vegas Golden Knights for a 2018 1st round pick, 2019 2nd round pick, and a 2021 third round pick.
Tatar has played 7 seasons with Detroit. His best season was in 2014-2015 when he had 29 goals and 27 assists for a total of 56 points. This season he only has 28 points, which is on pace for his worst season yet. Tatar is signed for another 3 seasons after this current season at a cap hit of $5.3 million.
That is a very high cap hit for a player with only 28 points. Detroit is also rebuilding and needs to get younger, so those three picks will help them greatly. Especially the 2018 first round pick because the 2018 draft class is expected to be very good. Overall, Detroit got a high value return for an underperforming forward.
Loser: Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks traded their winger, Thomas Vanek, to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Tyler Motte and Jussi Jokinen. Vanek in 61 games has 41 points.
While Jokinen has 7 points in 46 games and Motte has 5 points in 31 games. Jokinen and Vanek are both unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Due to Jokinen being 34 years old and bouncing from team to team this year, it looks like he might retire at the end of the season. Motte is a semi-promising prospect that has not been able to produce in the NHL yet.
The Canucks could have received a lot more for Vanek especially since he was one of the best rentals on the market this trade deadline. For example, Paul Stastny was traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2018 first and fourth-round pick and prospect Erik Foley. Stastny in 63 games had 40 points which is two games more and one point less than Vanek.