After a long day of following the NHL’s deadline deals, here’s my top winners and losers from on trade market (in no particular order):
* Montreal -
The Canadiens needed to solidify their offense in hopes of making a deep Stanley Cup run this season. They acquired F Thomas Vanek
, one of the league’s top offensive performers who instantly becomes the club’s leading scorer with 21 goals and 53 points. And they got him for a prospect and a second-round pick (a conditional one at that). If G Carey Price
returns healthy, the Canadiens will be in good shape to make that run.
* Los Angeles -
The Kings do everything well…except score goals. If F Marian Gaborik
stays healthy (and with him, that’s always a big if), he provides that dangerous offensive threat that has big, strong forwards like Dustin Brown
, Jeff Carter
and Mike Richards
up front. Better yet, the Kings reportedly got Columbus to pick up half of Gaborik’s contract.
* Buffalo -
The Sabres are still the worst team in the league
standings. Expect them to rank near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, if not the league, next season. But the Sabres took a big step forward thanks to new GM Tim Murray
‘s deals before and at the deadline.
Murray moved players he needed to move – G Ryan Miller
(St. Louis) and F Matt Moulson
(Minnesota). He also stockpiled picks that should lead to some top players – Erie Otters C Connor McDavid
, perhaps? – over the next three years.
* N.Y. Islanders - GM Garth Snow waited until the last second to trade Vanek…and got way too little in return. Sadly, it could have been worse. The deadline could have passed without a deal, and the Islanders would have lost Vanek to free agency without getting absolutely nothing in return.
* Vancouver -
GM Mike Gillis
traded G Cory Schneider
to New Jersey during last summer’s draft, presumably to alleviate the Schneider-Roberto Luongo
controversy in net. Then Gillis trades Luongo to Florida this week, leaving his team with inexperienced Eddie Lack
Meanwhile, Gillis didn’t trade F Ryan Kesler
, who apparently doesn’t want to stay in Vancouver. It all makes sense, doesn’t it?
* Winnipeg –
The novelty surrounding the NHL’s return to Winnipeg has worn off. It’s time for the Jets to make the playoffs. So what was done for the stretch run? Nothing. Worse yet, the Jets lost promising rookie F Mark Scheifele
to a reported knee injury.
Meanwhile, the jury is still out on…
* N.Y. Rangers - They need the offense newly
Martin St. Louis
acquired F Martin St. Louis
provides. But he’s 38 years old, and the deal that sends F Ryan Callahan
to Tampa Bay also includes first-round and second-round picks. So the Rangers need to win the Stanley Cup this season, because the future appears tenuous.
* Pittsburgh – It’s difficult to second-guess an organization as successful as the Penguins. But they needed help on D, given the absence of Kris Letang
and Paul Martin
. Yet they acquired a pair of role players up front – Marcel Goc
and Lee Stempniak
*** McDavid and the 2015 NHL Entry Draft was a topic of conversation on the NHL trade deadline day. How did McDavid feel about that? Find out here…