Reviewing The Notable Deals of the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline
The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline is now history. Here’s my take on some of today’s noteworthy deals
Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights – Vegas GM George McPhee failed to land pry Erik Karlsson away from the Ottawa Senators at last year’s deadline but had better luck with another Sens star. Stone, 26, is among the league’s best two-way forwards and should be a fine addition to the Golden Knights lineup. He’s no rental player, as he’s reportedly signing an eight-year contract extension worth $9.5-million annually.
Minnesota Wild trade Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators for Kevin Fiala. Player-for-player swaps tend to be rare on deadline day but this one between the Wild and Predators ranked among this year’s notable moves. The Preds get themselves a skilled playmaking winger in the 26-year-old Granlund, who’s on pace to reach 60 points for the third straight year and is signed through 2019-20 with a $5.75-million annual salary-cap hit. He’ll be an upgrade over the 22-year-old Fiala, who has plenty of offensive ability but has struggled to reach his full potential.
Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators. Simmonds, 30, hasn’t been the same since undergoing offseason pelvic surgery, but he remains a well-respected physical two-way winger. Unlike Granlund, he’s likely a rental player as he’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Despite the decline in his production this season, he should give the Predators some much-needed skill and grit on the right side. By acquiring Simmonds and Granlund, Predators GM David Poile is indicating he’s all-in for another Stanley Cup Final run. As for the Philadelphia Flyers, Simmonds’ former team, they get a young checking-line forward in Ryan Hartman along with a draft pick. In time, perhaps Hartman can blossom into a reliable two-way winger
Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets – For the second straight year, the Jets bring in a center. Hayes isn’t as skilled as Paul Stastny (last season’s addition) but he’s got good size (6’5″, 217 pounds), solid offensive abilities and can play all three forward positions. That gives the Jets some flexibility should they need to shift second- or third-line players around. The Rangers, in addition to getting two draft picks for Hayes, also received Brendan Lemieux, who should develop into a steady third-line forward.
Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks – The Sharks’ powerful offense just got more bite with Nyquist. He’s on pace for a career-best 60-point season. Given his ability to play center or wing, he can slot in on the Sharks’ second or third line. A solid rental addition who could bolster the Sharks’ Cup hopes.
Marcus Johansson to the Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney was said to be kicking tires on Mark Stone and Wayne Simmonds but found the asking prices too steep. Johansson, acquired at the cost of a 2019 second-rounder and a fourth in 2020, was more palatable. His recent concussion history makes him a bit of a gamble but when he’s healthy he’s a crafty offensive forward who can play center or on the wing. Johansson should provide a boost to the Bruins’ secondary scoring over the remainder of the season.
Vancouver Canucks trade Erik Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Tanner Pearson. Desperate times call for desperate measures, or at least, that’s how this move by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford seems to be. With blueline stalwarts Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin sidelined by injuries, Rutherford needed some experienced depth and toughness to counter anyone attempting to take liberties with his best players. Gudbranson will bring the grit but he’s had trouble adjusting to the increasingly faster pace of the NHL game. Still, he should bring more to the Penguins than Pearson, an early-season addition who quickly flamed out. Maybe he’ll have better luck with the rebuilding Canucks.