The NHL Trade Deadline came and went on March 1 with some significant moves being made … hours, sometimes days, before the deadline.
Which meant that Wednesday’s deadline was filled with complicated smaller deals, dashed expectations and two Canadian networks doing their best to pass the time with NHL Awards-level comedy.
Here are Puck Daddy’s winners and losers for the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline:
WINNER: Steve Yzerman
The Ninja found “the only taker” (in his words) for Ben Bishop, pulling two draft picks, Peter Budaj and prospect Erik Cernak while clearing out salary cap space for bonuses this season.
He then managed to take center Valtteri Filppula, his no-move protection and his $5 million cap hit and flip all of it over to the Philadelphia Flyers. Which is amazing when you consider the barrel he’s over to sign Jonathan Droiun, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat this summer.
He then moved Mark Streit, whom he acquired from the Flyers, to the Penguins for a 2018 4th-round pick – essentially running a rival-laundering operation so the Penguins could acquire a Flyers.
LOSER: Los Angeles Kings
The Ben Bishop deal was, admittedly, an interesting acquisition. Peter Budaj played admirably for months for the Kings, and this trade makes it appear that that games down the stretch – with a somewhat healthy Jonathan Quick – are more important than games earlier this season, when there wasn’t the same urgency to address the position.
Even if they felt that Budaj was gassed, not having played this much in years, one assumes there were cheaper solutions. If Erik Cernak ends up being an NHL defenseman, this one could hurt.
The Jarome Iginla move, from a transaction perspective, is fine. There’s a chance the fourth-rounder they gave up might just disappear if they don’t meet the conditions, which are playoff-based or based on re-signing Iginla, who’s hinted at retirement. It’s what Iginla does to the lineup, which is add a plodding skater to a team that already plays a too much heavy hockey. He’s allegedly playing with Anze Kopitar – how long that does that last?
The Kings moved out Dwight King to make that deal.
On top of all of this, they didn’t find a way to move out the $4.875-million cap hit of Marian Gaborik they’re on the hook for through 2021.
WINNER: Jim Benning
Oh, how quickly the loathed become the liked! How quickly the bumbling become the competent! The Vancouver Canucks general manager flipped Alex Burrows for Jonathan Dahlen, a blue-chip prospect. He pulled a promising forward in Nikolay Goldobin from the San Jose Sharks for Jannik Hansen, who had another year on his deal. The only bummer was that he couldn’t move Ryan Miller, but that’s because …
The Bishop deal was the only significant goaltender trade we had at the deadline. Ryan Miller didn’t move. Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t move. Even Jaroslav Halak didn’t move, and he could have been had if a team took on his contract. The fact is that most teams in the playoff hunt like what they have between the pipes, and the teams that need goalies – COUGH Dallas Stars COUGH – will wait until the draft.
Deuce Shatts gets everything he wanted at the deadline: He’s moved to a Stanley Cup contender in the Washington Capitals, he’s moved to a team where he can feel like he’s part of the puzzle rather than a savior, and he has every option available to him on July 1 – including all the New York-area teams that would move him closer to home, which has been the objective. Nothing here can damage his value. If the Capitals win, it only increases it.
LOSER: New York Islanders
The Islanders are swimming hard to keep their heads above water in the playoff race, and didn’t do a thing to improve themselves. The talk was that they wanted to add a pending RFA or a player with term. Neither happened. The deadline was a bust, and there’s a chance the team’s playoff hopes went bust with it.
WINNER: Pittsburgh Penguins
GM Jim Rutherford added two veteran, serviceable defenseman for another Cup run Ron Hainsey of the Carolina Hurricanes and Mark Streit of the Tampa Bay Lightning (for like a minute). He also traded Steven Olesky, Eric Fehr and a fourth-rounder for Frankie Corrado. And the last time Rutherford pulled an under-appreciated player from the Leafs … well.
LOSERS: Everyone Involved In The Shane Doan And Radim Vrbata Debacle
The Coyotes got a nice return on Hanzal (see below) but wow, was the Shane Doan situation ever embarrassing.
Not only have the Coyotes dialed his ice time back to maybe try to “convince” him to move, but he then gave the Frustration Interview about the state of the team. Then he was willing to waive his no-trade, but only to one of maybe three teams. No dice.
The price on Vrbata was high and remained high, and the Coyotes balked on dealing the pending UFA. GM John Chayka said the team wants to resign him, and apparently the three months away from his family as a traded player would have been an insult or something. But the Coyotes need assets, and Vrbata and Doan could have provided them. Frustration continues to reign in the desert.
WINNER: Minnesota Wild
Yeah, Martin Hanzal and Ryan White cost a bit: a 2017 first-round pick, a 2018 second-round pick and a 2019 conditional fourth-round pick, along with Grayson Downing. But they didn’t have to dip into their prospect pool for this rental, while also adding a vital center to their team in preparation for war in the West.
LOSER: Buffalo Sabres
They didn’t move Dmitry Kulikov or Cody Franson. They didn’t move Evander Kane, who has one more year on his contract. They did nothing, which is an indication that GM Tim Murray overvalued his assets.
WINNER: Ken Holland
Yes, Ken Holland, another maligned general manager. The Detroit Red Wings boss knows he’s entering a “transition” period, and snagged a third from the Blackhawks for Tomas Jurco, a third for Thomas Vanek, a second and third for Brendan Smith, a sixth for Steve Ott i.e. “anything.”
LOSER: Philadelphia Flyers
Look, this is a tough one, because I like the Valtteri Filppula more than most. Especially because it shifts Sean Couturier back to a third-line center role, and maybe Filppula finds some chemistry with Jakub Voracek. That would be nice.
But that’s a $5 million cap hit for a player that has to be protected in the expansion draft, and the number game tells you that means the Flyers are going to have to expose someone they’d rather not. [/restrict]