Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The 2019 NHL Trade deadline was quiet for the most part, but there were a few notable names that got dealt. I look into a few winners and losers at this year's trade deadline.
Columbus Blue Jackets
This is one of the easiest teams to be put in the winner's category. Columbus made a splash to get Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel from Ottawa last week. Duchene has had 58 points in 50 games with Ottawa this season and has gotten his bounce back, he's on pace to score the most points since the 2013-14 season when he notched 70 points with Colorado. Duchene had a good start to his Jackets career, scoring in his first game. Dzingel has scored 22 goals this season and will be a nice addition to the Jackets.
Since Columbus made deals days before the deadline it seemed like they were done making more deals but that wasn't the case. They bolstered their d-line acquiring Adam Mcquaid from the Rangers. Mcquaid isn't a flashy defenceman but can help Columbus with his grit and toughness. Mcquaid blocks shots and can log important ice time averaging close to eighteen minutes a game. He has experience in the playoffs with 68 appearances and helps Boston win the cup in 2011. He's physical and can help play that veteran role in Columbus. Adding Keith Kinkaid gets the Blue Jackets insurance in net. Kinkaid hasn't had a good 2018-19 season but has shown he can be a serviceable goalie. Last year he helped the Devils get into the playoffs and had career numbers in wins while taking the number one starting job from Corey Schneider. Like most of the players on the Devils who have struggled this season, Kinkaid might have needed a change of scenery plus a better defensive group he'll play in front of. If Sergei Bobrovsky does not re-sign then they can sign Kinkaid if they want for cheaper. Columbus is going all in this season to make a run for the Stanley Cup.
Nashville went to the Stanley Cup finals two seasons ago and lost last year in the second round. They are an elite team but they were lacking another scoring winger. The Preds don't have many natural wingers on their team and to combat that they added Wayne Simmonds from the Philadelphia Flyers. Simmonds brings size and has a knack for scoring “garbage goals”. He causes headaches for opposing goalies screening them and being a problem when he's on the powerplay. He's had 5 seasons of double-digit goals on the pp. Trading for Simmonds upgrades their powerplay tremendously. His stats are down this season but going to Nashville could light a spark for the 30th-year-old.
Nashville also added Mikael Granlund from Minnesota. Just like Simmonds, Granlund will help improve their dreadful powerplay. Granlund has 16 assists on the powerplay this season and 18 points total on special teams. Granlund has back to back 20 goals seasons and is close to making it three straight seasons at 15 goals. While the Wild have been a team that doesn't score a lot of goals, Granlund was one of their best offensive players. The Predators might be the favourite coming out of the West after this year's trade deadline.
The Jets biggest weakness this season was at Centre. Other than Mark Scheifele, the Jets don't have much talent amongst their centremen. Mathieu Perreault is the next high scoring Centre with 21 points, he sits 11th on the team in scoring. Winnipeg needed someone with more offense at Centre with playmaking ability. Kevin Hayes is having a career year in New York. Hayes can score and maybe be paired with Laine who has struggled for most of the season can bring the third year Finnish player back to his goal-scoring ways. The 26-year-old can hit and doesn't mind getting dirty in the corners fighting for the puck. Sure he's not Paul Stastny, but he has improved as a player. He's a good special teams player who can kill penalties and can score shorthanded goals. Having a good penalty killer will be crucial come playoff time. The Jets pk should be better with the addition of Hayes, which is ranked only 20th in the league.
The Habs standing pat at the trade deadline was the best decision GM Marc Bergevin could have made. Montreal has exceeded expectations this season yet staying the course as a team rebuilding. Not trading future assets just for a rental was an easy but smart decision. Even if some Hab fans wanted the team to go after Matt Duchene, Montreal might have to give up a lot and if Duchene doesn't resign that's a big blow for the team. Montreal has some good young talent. With Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher, and rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Montreal has established its main core. With highly touted prospects like Nick Suzuki, whom they acquired from the Max Pacioretty trade in the offseason, centremen Ryan Poehling and defenceman Josh Brook, Montreal has a deep farm system. Bergevin not being aggressive at the trade deadline has shown the patience of a GM that wants build a championship team in the coming years not just a single playoff run.
Vegas Golden Knights
Ok so getting Mark Stone was great no question about it. Stone has become one of the best players for Ottawa in the last few seasons. He's had five straight seasons with at least 20 goals and will be hitting the 30 goal mark for the first time in his career this year. He's averaging over a point a game. He's already number one on the Knights with goals and points this season. He can score powerplay goals. So why are the Knights on the loser list? The contract the Knights are offering to Stone after they just acquired him. The term is too much money. Stone is good but he's not a franchise player. A Crosby, McDavid, Ovechkin deserves a deal like that because they are guys you can build a team around. Stone isn't one of those cornerstone type players. Giving Stone that contract could prove costly for the Knights. A five-year contract could have been the perfect deal, but 8 years just seems too long for a guy that hasn't won anything in his career.
The Buffalo Sabres sit six points back for the last wildcard spot in the East. Buffalo hasn't made the playoffs since 2011, and even though they are playing better than expected this season they should have done something to slip into the playoffs. Last offseason they traded for Jeff Skinner. Why not pull another big trade? Skinner will be a UFA at the end of this season and if Buffalo made a significant trade it could help them re-sign Skinner in the offseason. The Sabres needed a big deal to help them push for a playoff spot. They needed more forwards and a player to help with their powerplay. The Sabres lack depth on their wing and their goaltending has been suspect at times this season. Buffalo might have to wait another year or two to play spring hockey.
The Sens didn't get much in the Duchene and Stone trades. While hockey experts say Erik Brannstrom is a good prospect and has had a good campaign in the AHL this season, the other piece was Oscar Lindberg. The Swedish defenceman isn't anything special and is an averaged man at best. Couldn't Ottawa muster more from the Golden Knights? Now Vegas doesn't have much in terms of prospects and Brannstrom seemed to be their best one but c'mon that's all Ottawa got for trading a player that can put points on the board for his team? The Sens should have gotten more in the Mark Stone trade. They basically ripped themselves off with their stupidity.
The Matt Duchene trade Ottawa didn't get much in return either. They do have two first round picks, but Columbus not making the playoffs and the pick being a top 3 protected pick does put a sting to this deal. So if Columbus doesn't finish in the top 3 Ottawa will get the Jackets first round pick this year. If Columbus wins the lottery then Ottawa will get Columbus 2020 first round pick. If Duchene re-signs then that pick will be a 2021 first round pick but if Columbus didn't win the lottery and Duchene still signs than Ottawa will get the Jackets 2020 first round. The two prospects aren't anything special, though Vitaly Abramov does have potential to be a top 6 forward he hasn't flourish in the AHL this season only getting just 22 points in 52 games with the Cleveland Monsters. Jonathan Davidsson was a 6th round pick in 2017 by Columbus. He's in Sweden playing in the elite league for Djurgårdens IF. He's got 21 points in 36 games. Ottawa failed to get more out of those two deals. The return was less than that what they traded.
The Hurricanes did create a lot of buzz not so long ago when it came to taking offers for their players. For years the Canes have been sellers at the trade deadline but this season the team has found themselves in a battle for the two wildcard spots. So why didn't they make a move? Carolina just looked past the deadline and now are in this weird spot where they didn't improve the team for this season or for the future.
Canes GM Don Waddell said he believes in this team and is confident with his decision not to make a move. The Nino Niederreiter deal last month has proved dividends for Carolina. He's scored 9 goals in 15 games with the Hurricanes after only netting the 9 goals in 46 games while in Minnesota. A good move, but shouldn't Waddell at least pick up more? They lack a true centremen and a faceoff specialist, they also lack in size, but they also have assets to make a deal whether for now or for the future. The Hurricanes made a lot of noise leading up to the deadline yet the team went silent on deadline day.