Assessing the Notable Deals of 2018 NHL Trade Deadline Day
New York Rangers deal defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The biggest move of the trade deadline, as Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman passed on the whopping great asking price for Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson in exchange for the more affordable McDonagh. Signed through 2018-19, he should make a solid addition to the Bolts blueline for two playoff runs. Getting Miller, a versatile two-way forward who can play center or wing, was another good pick-up by Yzerman. Best of all, the Tampa Bay GM only gave up one roster player in Vladislav Namestnikov without touching prized young assets such as Brayden Point or Mikhail Sergachev The Lightning were already considered the favorite to win the Stanley Cup this season. This deal could help them clinch it.
The Rangers, meanwhile, add two promising prospects in forward Brett Howden and defenseman Libor Hajek, along with a first-rounder and a conditional second-rounder next year in this year’s draft. As per Cap Friendly, they now hold three first-round picks, two seconds and two third-rounders in this year’s draft. Not a bad base to work with for a rebuilding club. They could retain some of those picks and perhaps use the others as trade chips heading into the 2018 NHL Draft, perhaps for good young NHL talent.
Winnipeg Jets acquire center Paul Stastny from the St. Louis Blues.
The first “Wow!” moment of this year’s deadline day and a big addition for the Jets. No one saw this coming, as Stastny wasn’t mentioned in any trade chatter leading up to deadline day. Stastny (when healthy) should be a good fit as their second-line center. Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff did a fine job adding a talented veteran playmaker, improving his club’s chances for a lengthy playoff run this spring.
As for the Blues, they’ve tumbled down the standings and began deadline day sitting one point out of a wild-card berth. Without bringing in anyone to offset Stastny’s departure, this move won’t help them climb back. Yes, they get a 2018 first-round pick along with prospect winger Erik Foley, but it does nothing to overcome their current offensive woes.
Detroit Red Wings ship winger Tomas Tatar to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Definitely mixed reactions on Twitter over his move. Golden Knights fans don’t mind the addition of an established, speedy 20-goal scorer like Tatar, but they’re not happy with GM George McPhee giving up a three draft picks (a first, a second and a third) to get him. Still, he should fit well into the Jackets’ up-tempo style. He’s also signed through 2020-21 with a $5.3-million annual cap hit, suggesting perhaps he’s a potential replacement for a pending UFA such as James Neal or David Perron.
While Red Wings GM Ken Holland was unable to move pending free agent defenseman Mike Green, he got a nice return for Tatar. The Wings now have two picks in each of the first four rounds in this year’s draft. Some of those selections might get used as bargaining chips for established young players heading into the 2018 NHL Draft.
Buffalo Sabres deal left wing Evander Kane to the San Jose Sharks.
A surprising move, as Sharks GM Doug Wilson had insisted he wouldn’t move any first-round picks or prospects for a rental player. Unless Wilson intends to re-sign Kane, who’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, he’s done the opposite of what he said he wouldn’t do. The Sharks need additional scoring and Kane can provide that, though he’s lacking NHL playoff experience. Still, if he can rise to the occasion he could be at least a good short-term pickup for San Jose.
The Sabres, meanwhile, get a young forward in Daniel O’Regan, who played with Sabres forwards Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues at Boston University. They also get a first-round pick in next year’s draft (provided Kane re-signs with the Sharks; it’s a second-rounder if not) and a fourth in 2020. Hardly the big return the Sabres originally sought.
Edmonton Oilers ship left wing Patrick Maroon to the New Jersey Devils.
Leading up to the deadline there was some expectation Maroon might fetch the Oilers a second-round pick or maybe a low first rounder. Instead, they get a third-round selection and a college prospect in J.D. Dudek. Oilers fans won’t be doing handsprings over that return.
Jockeying for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, the Devils further bolstered their lineup after adding winger Michael Grabner last week. Maroon lacks Grabner’s speed but his big frame and decent scoring touch should be a welcome addition to their offense, especially on the power play.
Columbus Blue Jackets acquire winger Thomas Vanek from the Vancouver Canucks.
The much-traveled Vanek lands with yet another team at the trade deadline. The Blue Jackets are in a dogfight for a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Sitting near the bottom of the league in scoring, especially with the man advantage, they’ve brought in Vanek in hopes he’ll help them improve those numbers.
In return, the Canucks received forwards Tyler Motte and Jussi Jokinen. Motte, 22, has struggled to establish himself as an NHL player. Jokinen, meanwhile, is on his fourth team this season and coming to the end of his career. Unless Motte blossoms in Vancouver, this move won’t silence the critics of Canucks GM Jim Benning.
Chicago Blackhawks ship forward Ryan Hartman to the Nashville Predators.
A nice little move by the Predators, adding an agitating two-way, third-line winger in the 23-year-old Hartman. He can also skate at center if needed. Flirted with 20 goals last season and might reach that total down the road. He’s a good pickup for Nashville now and over the long term.
The retooling Blackhawks, meanwhile, got a first-round pick in 2018 and prospect Victor Ejdsell as part of the return. That could become a very high pick if the Preds should go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final this spring.