Winners and losers of NHL trade deadline season
By Kevin Allen
Chris Kreider fooled us. Joe Thornton stayed put. The Detroit Red Wings quit on Andreas Anthanisiou. The Colorado Avalanche didn't trade for a goalie. The Vegas Golden Knights did. Matt Dumba wasn't dealt. Vincent Trocheck was. The trade deadline season never goes exactly the way we think it will.
Here are winners and losers...
Winner:Tampa Bay Lightning: Teams are always striving to become harder to play against and the Lightning took steps to achieve that with the acquisition of spunky Blake Coleman and big center Barclay Goodrow. They gave up two first-round picks in the process, but they have these players for this season and next. Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois’s aggressiveness is what you want to see in a contender.
Loser: Joe Thornton’s hope of winning a Stanley Cup: Maybe Thornton is too loyal for his own good, or maybe he had a limited market. But Thornton deserves another good shot at winning a Stanley Cup. Could have been an interesting story to follow. But it was not to be.
Winner: Carolina Hurricanes: They added center Vincent Trocheck, plus defenseman Brady Skjei. Given that goalie Petr Mrazek could be out a while, the ‘Canes looked at acquiring a goalie. But clearly they found the Robin Lehner price too high.
Loser: Any Minnesota Wild fan looking for a trade deadline shake-up: Those rumors about Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin were just that. Bottom line: The trade deadline is never the best time to move veteran players. The best time is at the NHL Draft. Count on Bill Guerin being aggressive in June to renovate his team.
Winner: Washington Capitals: GM Brian MacLellan understands his team. Adding Ilya Kovalchuk for a draft pick spices up their offense. Earlier, he acquired Brenden Dillon who makes the Capitals more difficult to play against.
Loser: Colorado Avalanche: Thought they would do more than acquire Vladislav Namestikov. This is a dynamic, talented team. Joe Sakic has done a good job of bringing this group together. He believes in his group. But they could have benefited from an extra push.
Winner: Edmonton Oilers: GM Ken Holland wanted to add a dynamic scorer and he didn’t want to give up a first-round pick. He accomplished that with the acquisition of Andreas Anthanisiou from Detroit. Should be fun to watch Anthanisiou streaking up ice with Connor McDavid. Veteran Mike Green will help more than you think.
Loser: Every team that was in the Chris Kreider sweepstakes: The Rangers made a good decision to re-sign Kreider to a long-term deal. They may be rebuilding, but they are close enough that Kreider’s goal scoring ability won’t be wasted. This team could be, maybe should be, a playoff team next season.
Winner: Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion: Received a good haul (a first, second and third-round pick) for trading Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders. That’s another first-round pick the Senators are adding to their first-round pick and San Jose’s first round pick.
Loser: Florida Panthers: Now that the deadline has come and gone, the Panthers aren’t a better bet to make the playoffs. They didn’t land the defenseman they hoped to find. Trading Trocheck didn’t make the Panthers a better team.
Winner: Pittsburgh Penguins: The always-active Jim Rutherford added Conor Sheary and Patrick Marleau on trade deadline days. Earlier, he added Jason Zucker. The Penguins were an elite level contender before. Now, they are deeper up front. Rutherford never disappoints.
Loser: Chicago Blackhawks: If you are a hard grader, you can give the Blackhawks a “C” for their trade deadline moves. Despite rumors that they might get a first rounder for Lehner, it didn’t happen. They only got a third rounder for Erik Gustafsson