Notable NHL Trades – February 28, 2023

by | Feb 28, 2023 | News, NHL, Rumors | 31 comments

Several NHL teams decided to avoid the rush of the trade deadline on March 3 and made a series of notable moves today.

The biggest, of course, was Patrick Kane being shipped by the Chicago Blackhawks to the New York Rangers in a three-team deal involving the Arizona Coyotes. You can read my take on that deal by following this link.

Here’s my brief analysis of the other noteworthy deals that went down on Feb. 28, 2023:

Nashville Predators trade defenseman Mattias Ekholm and a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Tyson Barrie, prospect winger Reid Schaefer, a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick. The Predators are also retaining $250K of Ekholm’s $6.25 million cap hit through 2025-26.

Edmonton Oilers trade winger Jesse Puljujarvi to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Patrik Puistola.

Nashville Predators trade Mattias Ekholm to the Edmonton Oilers (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers GM Ken Holland was under pressure to make a move to shore up the left side of his blueline. Ekholm should address that need as the 32-year-old is a veteran shutdown blueliner who helped the Predators reach the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. His physical style and leadership should make him a welcome addition to the Oilers’ defense corps.

Oilers’ fans might balk at parting with a first-round pick but at least it’s not wasted on a rental player. Holland addressed his left-side blueline issue. If the move helps them at least return to the Western Conference Final it’ll be worthwhile. The future is now for the Oilers while Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are in their prime.

The Predators, meanwhile, get a skilled mobile defenseman in Barrie, who’s signed through next season at a cap hit of $4.5 million. Schaefer, 19, is a promising left winger who was ranked fourth among the Oilers’ top prospects by The Athletic. It’s a solid package that addresses their short-term needs while stocking up the prospect pipeline.

Puljujarvi, 24, was a fixture in the NHL rumor mill stretching back to last season. The fourth-overall pick in the 2016 draft never played up to expectations in Edmonton. His trade value was so low that the Hurricanes did the Oilers a favor by taking his $3 million cap hit off their hands. A restricted free agent in July, Puljujarvi could become a reclamation project for the Hurricanes.

Toronto Maple Leafs trade defenseman Rasmus Sandin to the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Erik Gustafsson and the 2023 first-round pick that the Capitals acquired from the Boston Bruins.

New York Islanders acquire forward Pierre Engvall from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2024 third-round pick.

Toronto Maple Leafs acquire defenseman Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a third-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said he would remain active leading up to the trade deadline after acquiring Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty on Monday from the Chicago Blackhawks. In response to recent moves by other Eastern Conference teams, he’s loading up with experienced blueline depth for the postseason.

Gustafsson is a playmaking defenseman while Schenn returns to the team where his long NHL career began. He’ll provide some grit along with a championship resume from his two Stanley Cup runs with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both are rental players as they’re slated to become unrestricted free agents in July.

Dubas has also regained a first-round pick in this year’s draft. However, he could use it as a trade chip to further boost his lineup before Friday’s deadline.

The Capitals were looking for a quick turnaround after acquiring that first-rounder from Boston as part of the deal that sent Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Bruins. They wasted little time using it to bring in Sandin.

The 22-year-old Sandin is a puck-moving defenseman who is in his second full NHL season. He’s shown promise this season with 20 points in 52 games. If Sandin continues his development he could turn into a reliable top-four rearguard for the Capitals.

Trading Engvall and his $2.25 million cap hit to the Islanders for a draft pick was a cost-cutting move by the Leafs. A pending UFA this summer, the 26-year-old winger became expendable following the Leafs’ acquisition of Lafferty. He will provide some much-needed checking-line depth to the injury-depleted Isles forward lines.

The Canucks were originally said to be seeking a second-round draft pick for Schenn. Given the glut of defensemen in the trade market they evidently decided to move now while they could still get something for the 33-year-old blueliner.

Minnesota Wild acquire forward Marcus Johansson from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a third-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johanson is returning to the Wild for the second time having played for them during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. A versatile if oft-injured forward, he’ll bring some experienced depth as a middle-six forward to the Wild.


  1. Puljujarvi wasn’t a fourth round pick . . . he was a fourth OVERALL pick.

    • The silly season has begun. I love Kane, but he did no favors to his old team, and slightly improves the Rangers (their weakness was not scoring). What have the Leafs done, turnover almost half their roster, does chemistry count? Not sure what Oil accomplished. I will say the eastern conference playoffs are must watch hockey, which is good (no insult to the west meant).

      • In what world is 2 NHLers and an AHLer half a roster? It’s hilarious the takes that are floating around after today.

      • “Not sure what Oil accomplished.”

        I’m pretty sure they improved their defense while getting out from under a contract they never should’ve signed, becoming a better playoff team in the process.

    • I would call the following the biggest trade of the day!

      Defenseman Tyson Barrie, prospect winger Reid Schaefer, a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick

  2. The fast and the furious GMs… there will be nothing for the pundits to discuss all day long on Friday haha

    • Also, I personally like the Oilers trade. May have given too much, but that’s how deadlines work. But they needed this big stay at home kinda D-man to maybe keep some pucks away from the net.

  3. On a side note. Miller of Rangers spitting on Doughty of the Kings was worth more discipline than a three game suspension. I don’t ever remember seeing that. The fact that these games are televised and footage is now memorialized, the league should send a clear message on behaviour such as this.

    • I remember there was a precedence for this and the prior deal was a 3 game suspension. I am not a Ranger fan, but Miller did look contrite, so OK

      • “Looked contrite” after “accidentally” spitting into another player’s mug like he was a diver trying to keep his mask from fogging up? Puh-lease…And Marchand “accidentally” licked a few guys, right?

    • 3 games for first timer is fine.
      people get fines for crosschecks the face and zero for slew footing while tearing a guys ACL

  4. @ the Saint

    The oilers definitely did not give enough for Ekholm

    They unloaded Tyson Barrie !!!

    A first to be expected , perhaps 2 firsts

    Ekholm will help this team upon belief

    Now a goalie , any plans there ??

    • I think they add an experienced RD for depth Ken. Schenn would have been perfect but gone now.
      Broberg is good at flipping sides but a rookie.
      Nick Jenson’s name is being bandied about, but word is WASH is trying to re-sign him, plus multiple tams will have interest if they eat some of his $2.5M cap hit.

    • I would have liked Bourgault to be added instead of Schaefer, but my prediction was almost spot on from earlier this morning for what it would take to get Ekholm.
      I haven’t been this happy about an Oilers trade since K Lowe acquired Pronger.

      • ▶️Re; the Oilers Big trade…

        Great we got Mattias Ekholm ………..
        -for d/man Tyson Barrie,
        – A 2023 first-round pick
        -A 2024 fourth-round pick.


        What i did not like was adding in local boy Reid Schaefer,😞
        He was so pumped to be a Oiler and So were the Fans to get a Great young prospect like him.

        He bacame a big hit in Edmonton last summer👌

        The Preds not retaining enough money @ $250K of Ekholm’s $6.25 million cap hit through 2025-26. it should have been at least $2.M a year
        ken holland need to brush up on his trading

        He should have put in a 2nd pick extra…⁉️

  5. Called Schenn to Leaf’s yesterday … I’m getting good at this …. Bruins need to bring Lucic back home

  6. All year long I have been hearing about Reid Schaffer, now, all of a sudden he is expendable?

    The Oilers paid too much! Barrie for Ekholm would have been enough. Perhaps even Barrie with 1- 2nd rounder could have done it. The Oilers are gonna look back on this in 3 year with tears in their beers
    looking at Schaffer.

    • Is that your real name…?

    • I would have preferred the Oilers send Bourgault instead of Schaefer. But the Oilers are better today and next season with Ekholm than they would be without him and with Schaefer.

    • “The Oilers paid too much! Barrie for Ekholm would have been enough.”

      There is no GM who would give up Eklholm for Barrie straight up. That’s ludicrous.

      Ekholm is a HUGE upgrade over Barrie.

  7. In what world is 2 NHLers and an AHLer half a roster? It’s hilarious the takes that are floating around after today.

  8. Finally! Finally! Finally! Kyle Dubas has come to his senses. What I have been preaching for the past 5 seasons is finally coming true. We are getting taller, heavier, and nastier at the blueline. No more softies like Dermott, Sandin, and god knows whomever we had in the past. We desperately needed some OAK trees at the blueline, no more Dandelions. Only if Dubas saw this 5 years ago, we may already had a parade down yonge st. I hope Dubas isn’t done trading..Hopefully he can bring in Radko Gudas and Ben Chiarot to replace Morgan Reilly and TJ Brodie…Now that will make the Bruins tremble when they approach the blueline. $12.5 mill out…7.25 mill ….5.25 mill to upgrade for a winger….maybe JT Miller:

    JT Miller/Kerfoot/Jarnkrok


    Samsonov/Murray (Korpisalo)

  9. Last piece please:

    Jarnkrok , Holl and 1st rounder to Nashville for Ryan McDonough 50% retained for rest of his contract.

    • “Jarnkrok , Holl and 1st rounder to Nashville for Ryan McDonough 50% retained for rest of his contract.”

      What reality do you live in where that’s anywhere close to getting a deal like that done???

      • I’m not sure what side you are on Garth,
        McDonough has had a wretched season, I think this is a slight overpay for him.

  10. everyone says Ekholm solves the Oilers left defense needs, but with Barrie gone, doesn’t Ekholm play RD, probably on a monster top pairing with Nurse?

    who now runs the Oilers top PP from the point? probably Nurse over Bouchard?

    • McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nuge run the Oilers power play. Bouchard will probably replace Barrie on the blue line.

  11. ▶️Oilers Next Trade………..

    Nurse for Jakob Chycrun Right up❓

    AZ get There Captain & leader for 8 years to help the rebuild

    Oilers Get there 2nd pairing d/man that can Run the PP and Fill Barries spot, and
    AZ through in C Nick Bjugstad

    could this happen….❓

    The other move is a bottom 6 BIG tough Physical Forward ?


    The Caps RW Tom Wilson….❓💥💥💥
    on 97 wing= 💯 GOAL’S for 1st round pick & Yamo

    Ekholm is a HUGE upgrade over Barrie 100%👌