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):
* 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.
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
* 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…