Winners, Losers, and “Business as Usual” in 2020 Deadline

Defenseman Marco Scandella was one of many players shipped to a new team just before the February 24th deadline. (Photo courtesy: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY Sports)

Another trade deadline come and gone, and this one actually proved to be a little more exciting than anticipated. After months of hype, rumors, tweets, fake news, and stories in the NHL, the trade deadline finally came to pass at 3pm ET today. Most teams in “sell” mode got their fill of youth prospects and/or draft picks, while Stanley Cup competitors bolstered some of their rough edges with high-profile trades.

Of course, what casual hockey fan can keep up with the lunacy that is the 24 hours leading up to the deadline?? Never fear – I’ve got you covered. Alphabetically, here’s every single team and how they fared at the deadline – whether they came out on top, lost big time or if it was just another Monday (and yes, I’m making you scroll all the way down to St. Louis so you at least skim the article).

All the trades I’m discussing are courtesy of CapFriendly, where you can find the full details of every transfer that happened during the trade deadline.

Anaheim Ducks – Winner (6th in Pacific)

Notable Acquisitions – David Backes, Picks, Sonny Milano

I barely give the winning edge to the Ducks on this one, and I would probably name them losers if not for small pickups like Sonny Milano, Danton Heinen, or Matt Irwin. The primary issue is the Ducks are a young team – almost too young. They got Boston’s first-round pick in the Ondrej Kase trade, but still had to take that uber-rich David Backes contract (even with retention).

They also gave away Derek Grant for a no-name AHL-er and a fourth-rounder. I would like to have seen them get way more draft picks based on how this deadline went, but I’d watch out for Anaheim come free agency this summer.

Arizona Coyotes – Business as Usual (5th in Pacific)

Notable Acquisitions – Taylor Hall (back in December)

Ah, the salary cap – where the number is made up and never favors the GMs. Arizona made one move today – acquiring Markus Hannikainen – only because they couldn’t spend a single dollar if they wanted to. Arizona’s gonna have some real cap trouble in the immediate future, with Clayton Keller’s contract kicking up from 885k to 7.15 million. Tack that on with the fact that Taylor Hall (who almost was rumored to be traded again) and Carl Soderberg’s contracts are the only ones even close to expiring. Hey, at least Darcy Kuemper’s finally back.

Boston Bruins – Winner (1st in Atlantic)

Notable Acquisitions – Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie

Dear NHL – stop helping the Boston Bruins. Sincerely, everyone but the Boston Bruins. After talks for Ondrej Kase were supposedly out of the question, Boston got the promising right winger and dumped off David Backes’ contract in one fell swoop. Sure, they lost their first-round pick, but is the Stanley Cup runner-up and the best team in the league really all that concerned about it?

Buffalo Sabres – Loser (5th in Atlantic)

Notable Acquisitions – Dominic Kahun, Wayne Simmonds

Hey, they’re only six points out of a playoff spot, right?

Alright, Duane and all Sabres fans, I will say this – Both of the trades were good. The question remains – why…? In my mind, Buffalo should have been in sell mode, yet they grab Wayne Simmons and Dominic Kahun. Again, both decent trades, and they get Conor Sheary’s slightly rich contract off the books, but with Linus Ullmark’s return still up in the air, the only hope is that Florida and Toronto continue their consistent inconsistency down the stretch. Besides Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, and maybe Rasmus Dahlin, I don’t see a lot of playoff potential in the current roster. Have fun trying to negotiate your 15 expiring contracts this summer.

Calgary Flames – Business as Usual (4th in Pacific)

Notable Acquisitions – Erik Gustafsson, Derek Forbort

Calgary’s an interesting team this year. After the Battle of Alberta has every single hockey fan willing to commit murder to get Edmonton against Calgary in the playoffs, the Flames have hot flashes for 5 or 6 games, then falter heavily. Thankfully, the Pacific division is a circus mixed with musical chairs, so their chances of getting to playoffs even without captain Mark Giordano are still positive. I do love the Erik Gustafsson trade to try and relieve some of the pressure for their injured blue line. Though I can’t make heads or tails of just dropping Brandon Davidson…

Carolina Hurricanes – Winner (5th in Metropolitan)

Notable Acquisitions – Vinnie Trocheck, Brady Skjei, Sami Vatanen

Splash. The Bunch of Jerks were probably the most active buyers in the deadline, making some pretty good deals for guys like Sami Vatanen and Trocheck. Brady Skjei was the other purchase to make up for the injuries of Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce, but Skjei was a huge overpay and huger gamble on the ‘Canes part, reliant on Skjei rebounding from back-to-back career lows. Also, both your goaltenders are hurt now, but David Ayres should be able to cover you as long as your competition is worse than Toronto, right?

Chicago Blackhawks – Loser (7th in Central)

Notable Acquisitions – Malcolm Subban, T.J. Brennan

As a Blues fan, nothing makes me happier than to see the “dynasty” enter total freefall. They gave away Erik Gustafsson for almost no reason. They get a garbage return on arguably the most underrated goaltender of the season, getting Malcom Subban and a 2nd round pick for Robin Lehner AND retain half his salary. And the cherry on top: Chicago takes a bonus cushion penalty of over 500k thanks to all of those performance bonuses with those youth players. Hey, you could try and bring Dustin Byfuglien back into the mix!

Colorado Avalanche – Business as Usual (3rd in Central)

Notable Acquisitions – Michael Hutchinson, Vladislav Namestnikov

Colorado has over $5 million in cap space right now, and that should terrify you. I’m a little surprised Colorado didn’t do a little more to account for all their injuries, but all the same this team is a bonafide wagon when they are healthy. I think the biggest concern in the Mile High City is goaltender Philipp Grubauer’s health and play, yet Michael Hutchinson is not the answer to that question. Phenomenal pickup for Vladislav Namestnikov, who should add even more depth to a very deep scoring roster. Does this mean Rantanen will be good to go by playoffs…?

Columbus Blue Jackets – Business as Usual (5th in Metropolitan)

Notable Acquisitions – Devin Shore, 7th Round pick

I’d call them losers if their two trades weren’t beyond boring. Credit where due to the Jackets, they are pulling off the impossible after about half their ship took off last offseason. They’re still in the topsy-turvy race for the Eastern wild card, but they are the one team I give the “injury derailment” pass as they’ve taken hit after hit after hit after hit after hit after hit after hit after hit…

How about Korpisalo and Elvis, huh?

Dallas Stars – Business as Usual (2nd in Central)

Notable Acquisitions – Pick

Not a lot of action from the Central Division teams. Dallas, for what it’s worth, still has a solid roster up and down, with pretty much no turnover from last season. Most of their stars are locked in for at least a couple more seasons and for dynamite contracts (Bishop until 2023 for 4.916M). The biggest news for the Stars was their expressed interest in “Jumbo” Joe Thornton, who would fit right in alongside his longtime teammate Joe Pavelski, but neither they nor Boston got the 40-year-old to change scenes. Hopefully Joe Pavelski can turn his $7 million-dollar contract into a positive come playoff time.

Detroit Red Wings – Business as Usual (8th in Atlantic)

Notable Acquisitions – Sam Gagner, Kyle Brodziak

Okay, look. Detroit’s not good. Historically not good. You know that, I know that, the world knows that. This is why I say “business as usual” because we expect them to actually start doing a rebuild under the big Y. I gotta say this is probably the most fascinating trade of the day, and Andreas Athanasiou alongside Connor McDavid will be must-watch television. Great returns for both Edmonton and Detroit in the two trades, probably the fairest deals of the deadline. No complaints here.

Edmonton Oilers – Winner (2nd in Pacific)

Notable Acquisitions – Andreas Athanasiou, Mike Green, Tyler Ennis

Again, fair trades by both Detroit and Edmonton today, but they weren’t nearly finished there. Tyler Ennis should be a great, versatile forward, and the Oilers are proving they can still get that playoff spot without McDavid – so long as Draisaitl is still a cheat code, too. If Mikko Koskinen or Mike Smith can elevate their game for the playoffs… I think this Edmonton rebuild is finally over. They got a pretty solid roster after today, man, hats off to Ken Holland.

Florida Panthers – Loser (4th in Atlantic)

Notable Acquisitions – Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark

Hey, when you’re knee-deep in the playoff hunt and looking for help on the defense to get in the playoffs now, trade a regressing forward for young prospects, right?

I like Erik Haula. I like Lucas Wallmark. Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen (who has way too many vowels in his name) have some genuine NHL potential down the road. But in what world does Vinne Trocheck go for a rental and long-term prospects before Mike Hoffman? Dale Tallon has done nothing this year but mystify me with his trades, and I gotta think the Hurricanes are going to love Trocheck in the future. If Florida wants to end this 3-year rebuild now, this isn’t the right direction. Be better, Bob. Rant over.

Los Angeles Kings – Business as Usual (8th in Pacific)

Notable Acquisitions – Picks

Draft Picks! Get your draft picks here!

I label the Kings BAU because they shipped off their assets well before the deadline. While they’ve been one of the most embarrassing teams after winning two Stanley Cups in three years, Rob Blake still did a pretty damn good job getting some respectable return for Tyler Toffoli, Alec Martinez, and Kyle Clifford. They’re the only team that has all 21 of their draft picks for the next 3 years, not to mention 11 draft picks in this year’s draft alone. Those Kobe Bryant warmup jerseys are beyond incredible.

Minnesota Wild – Business as WAIT WHAT (6th in Central)

Notable Acquisitions – Alex Galchenyuk (back on Feb. 10)

I about started hyperventilating when Michael Russo and Frank Serevelli began opening the book on what was almost the craziest trade of this deadline. Reports came in that Zach Parise and Andrew Ladd both waived their No-Trade Clauses, leaving Lou Lamoriello and Bill Guerin to sort out the money situation.

Given the circumstances surrounding Parise’s contract, as well as him celebrating his 1000th NHL game in Minnesota two weeks ago, this truly was setting up to be the blockbuster deal. However, Guerin and Lamoriello could not reach an agreement before the 3pm deadline, and Parise and Ladd will finish the season with their respective franchises. After that? Who knows??

Montreal Canadiens – Winners (5th in Atlantic)

Notable Acquisitions – Picks

I call them winners because they’re doing what Buffalo should have done – accept their inferiority. Most of the deals they made were pretty fair, save for the low return for Ilya Kovalchuk to the Capitals. Most of their core didn’t bow out either, so it’s up to scouting and management to use their 14 draft picks for this year’s draft wisely and get Carey Price back into the playoffs. It still angers me that their best return came from the Scandella trade. At least we didn’t get swept 0-4 by Detroit.

Nashville Predators – Business as Usual (5th in Central)

Notable Acquisitions – Ben Harpur

I’m a little surprised I’m asking this, but what is Nashville doing? They have an underperforming roster with a shell of Rinne’s former self. I was truly amazed that we didn’t hear David Poile pull out his wild card even once for this deadline, as we’ve seen him do every year. What’s worse is most of their trades were 1-for-1 depth moves; they have just one extra pick for this year’s draft. Nashville is exactly where you don’t want to be as an NHL franchise – meddling right in the middle with no real direction towards improvement for playoffs. But hey, Pekka Rinne scored a goal, so there’s that.

New Jersey Devils – Loser (8th in Metropolitan)

Notable Acquisitions – Zane McIntyre, Nolan Foote, Picks

And just when everyone thought New Jersey was finally turning the corner. When your head coach and general manager get fired in one year after you were hyped to be the turnaround team of the season, maybe it’s for the better to stay quiet or ask for big returns on assets. I thought the returns for Taylor Hall, Andy Greene and Blake Coleman were great. Then you take a 5th for Wayne Simmonds and a 4th and some no-namers for Sami Vatanen? Starting to wonder if firing Ray Shero before the deadline was the smartest decision.

New York Islanders – Loser (4th in Metropolitan)

Notable Acquisitions – Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Andy Greene

This may be a hot take (or my lack of knowledge of Metro teams), but the JGP trade is an astronomical overpay. I mean, what on earth are these conditions for the picks going to Ottawa?? “If NYI wins the draft lottery and selects top 3, the 2020 first round pick becomes a 2021 first”. “The 2022 third is transferred if the Islanders win the Stanley Cup”. Really? While I think JGP is a decent add to a decent roster, I can’t see NYI winning this deadline by any means. I can’t believe I’m siding with Pierre Dorion on this one.

New York Rangers – Winner (7th in Metropolitan)

Notable Acquisitions – Pick

I would call business as usual for the Rangers until they landed the first-round pick for Brady Skjei. Absolute steal in my opinion, hands down. Its unfortunate that the King will either never see the Stanley Cup, or see it in a different uniform, but I think the Rangers are trending back in the right direction depending on how this next draft goes. Chris Kreider also remains the most traded player to not actually be traded, so maybe the rebuild is(n’t) over!

Ottawa Senators – Winner (7th in Atlantic)

Notable Acquisitions – Picks, picks, picks

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but to all the New Jersey’s, New York’s, Chicago’s; take note: this is how you do a rebuild right. After Ottawa was the laughingstock of the league last year, Pierre Dorion pulled off some absolute wizardry today, potentially landing as many as (give me a moment), twenty-two draft picks in the next two years and three first-round picks this year.

New York’s first-round pick is the only one that’s conditional, and it’s a longshot for it to get bumped to a 2021 pick. The cherry on top is San Jose’s no good this year – meaning that the odds of landing Alexis Lafreniere and then some is brilliantly in their favor. Bravo, Pierre.

Philadelphia Flyers – Business as Usual (3rd in Metropolitan)

Notable Acquisitions – Derek Grant, Nate Thompson

While I’m not subscribed to the Flyers as a playoff contender yet, I have to give credit to their scouting – they draft pretty damn good. Go to their Hockey Reference page; you can count on one hand the number of players on the roster that aren’t Philly draft picks, from Couturier all the way to Andy Andreoff. Now on paper, they’re not Stanley Cup caliber, but I am not at all surprised they remained quiet at the deadline. Great pickup of Derek Grant, Anaheim’s gonna be kicking themselves for that, I can feel it.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Loser…? (2nd in Metropolitan)

Notable Acquisitions – Patrick Marleau, Conor Sheary

Just when you think Pittsburgh is done and gone… JR made some, “interesting”, moves today. I think Dominik Kahun’s growth in the NHL will come back to haunt them, but it goes without saying their big addition was Jason Zucker, despite a rich return to the Wild. I almost feel bad for Patrick Marleau, can you imagine your franchise team not wanting you twice? Then going to the team that beat you in the final three years ago? At least he’s got a chance to actually win the thing now.

San Jose Sharks – Winner (6th in Pacific)

Notable Acquisitions – Picks

The contrast between the last 5 years for the Sharks and this year is drastic. The goaltending is abysmal, the team is only getting older, and they fired a great coach only to see him go to their playoff rival. However, they managed to salvage this trainwreck at the veeery end of the deadline. The Dillon trade – okay. The Marleau trade – pretty fair. Brandon Davidson – Calgary practically gave him away. Then you finally manage to silence all the Ottawa fans by fleecing Tampa Bay, getting their first-round pick for Barclay Goodrow. Looks like Doug Wilson negotiated a silver lining after all.

St. Louis Blues – Business as Usual (1st in Central)

Notable Acquisitions – Marco Scandella

I’ve already broke this down on Blues Rants, but Armstrong bit a little too hard for Marco Scandella. It was an overpay to Montreal, but he’s been a fantastic addition for St. louis in a small sample size. He’ll fit right in alongside Colton Parayko for Jay Bouwmeester, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him again for the next few seasons. Armstrong’s got a lot of faith in this roster, and it paid off last year. Let’s see if they make it work again.

Tampa Bay Lightning – Loser (2nd in Atlantic)

Notable Acquisitions – Barclay Goodrow

Well, it took Tampa almost half a season to remember that they’re Tampa, but here we are. Julien Brisebois is pretty notorious for overpaying for one high-commodity player, but this trade deadline was a new level of bad. Now, Blake Coleman’s return was pretty high, but a first-round pick for Barclay Goodrow? That one defenseman that scored that series-winning goal that one time? San Jose should be on their knees kissing their feet for that gift. Let’s just hope that the slip-ups between last year and now are finally over.

Oh, and NHL – STOP HELPING TAMPA.

Toronto Maple Leafs – Loser (3rd in Atlantic)

Notable Acquisitions – Calle Rosen

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the marvelous tale of David Ayres. Well, “marvelous” if you’re not a Toronto fan. Now I get it – Kyle Dubas’ inaction at the deadline was a way of sending a message to his players, who are still underperforming despite getting every possible assist handed to them. However, with Reilly’s return pending, and with Jake Muzzin getting a good extension, how much faith do you have in guys like Holl and Sandin? Why go back to Calle Rosen? But hey – they’re still in a playoff spot, at least.

Vancouver Canucks – Business as Usual (3rd in Pacific)

Notable Acquisitions – Louis Domingue

I feel bad for Vancouver, genuinely. If they fleece Chicago and manage to get Robin Lehner before Vegas did, then Jim Benning would jump from the chopping block to the Jack Adams award. They did make a pretty solid deal for Tyler Toffoli, and should the health of Jakub Markstrom, Brock Boeser and Josh Leivo return to normal sooner rather than later, Vancouver could still have a shot at a great postseason return run. If not, they’re still pretty well set for the next few seasons. How about that J.T. Miller, eh?

Vegas Golden Knights – Winner (1st in Pacific)

Notable Acquisitions – Robin Lehner, Nick Cousins

Wow. Just when we thought all was said and done, Vegas probably pulled off the best single trade of the deadline. I was ready to write them off as BAU with the Nick Cousins trade, but then they managed to shop Malcom Subban, land Robin Lehner, and make Toronto pay for some of it just for kicks. While the firing of Gerard Gallant confused and infuriated me, I’ll give Kelly McCrimmon props for getting back underneath the cap and landing what is surely Marc-Andre Fleury’s replacement (their #1 priority) for the foreseeable future. Only Vegas, baby.

Washington Capitals – Winner (1st in Metropolitan)

Notable Acquisitions – Brenden Dillon, Ilya Kovalchuk

The Caps are a winner, but just barely. Dillon was a nice pickup, Kovalchuk should be a fun bottom 6forward that could go straight back to Montreal after the playoffs, and Daniel Sprong doesn’t really move the needle. Although, I suppose you don’t need to move the needle, when you’re first in the division, you have a 700-goal scorer and the franchise-leading point-getter for defensemen on the same team. And I didn’t even mention T.J., Backstrom, Kuznetzov or Holtby.

Winnipeg Jets – Business as Usual (4th in Central)

Notable Acquisitions – Cody Eakin

I’m not sure how much of the inactivity had to do with Dustin Byfuglien. He definitely derailed their defensive situation, and the losses of Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers completely evaporated their right side. The Dylan DeMelo and Cody Eakin pickups before the deadline were nice, but Connor Hellebuyck’s Vezina-level first half of the season is slowly fading. I can’t understand why Winnipeg fans hate Paul Maurice’s extension, but I feel bad for the Jets, especially with their injuries.

And that’s everything! Am I close on these judgments? Did I miss anything? Let me know by leaving a comment, and thanks for reading.

For more local NHL stories, recaps, insights and more, visit bluesrants.com!

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