Leading up to the trade deadline rumors were swirling. This held particularly true amongst the teams favored to win the Stanley Cup.
According to sportsbooks and online casinos that cover the sports markets, the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning top the list as favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Accordingly, they were expected to be active at the deadline.
All five teams made some moves, but what’s just as interesting is what didn’t happen.
Toronto Maple Leafs
With goaltender Freddie Anderson struggling the Toronto media has been clamoring for changes in the defensive end. A premier defender was likely out of the picture given the Leafs cap situation, but Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, a pending free-agent seemed like a perfect depth option. His current salary manageable enough this season, without the entanglements that are sure to come next season as the tea, looks to fill out its roster.
The in-game analysis made sense too. A left-handed shot, Oleksiak would have likely slid in as a 5-6 defender in the third pairing and would have likely leapfrogged both Travis Dermott and Martin Marincin on the depth charts. Toronto certainly had the pieces in terms of prospects and draft choices to make the trade happen, but the Dallas Stars who made the cup finals, still fancy themselves as contenders and decided to keep young defenseman.
One of two teams cruising in the Pacific Division, the Colorado Avalanche were not expected to add anything major at the deadline. Depth scoring seemed to be on their radar, and the Chicago Blackhawks Mattias Janmark seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
Janmark was on a one-year deal with the Blackhawks and will be a free agent at the end of this season. The fifth-year pivot has a cap hit of $2.23-million, scored 10 goals and posted 9 assists in 41 games for Chicago, and would have added some scoring punch to Colorado’s bottom six. likely playing alongside Valeri Nichushkin or Joonas Donskoi.
However, it never came to be. Colorado’s primary adversary in the division beat them to the punch. Las Vegas acquired forward Janmark from Chicago for a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and a third-rounder in 2022. Chicago will send a fifth-round pick in 2022 to Vegas to round out the deal. Additionally, Chicago is retaining 50-percent of Janmark’s deal.
And this is where it gets interesting (and a bit complicated).
Janmark was then immediately traded to the San Jose Sharks, who along with Janmark received the Golden Knights fifth-round pick in 2022 in exchange for taking 25 percent of the already retained salary. Then the Sharks sent Janmark back to Vegas who will carry the remaining 25 percent of his salary (pro-rated $562,500) along with defenseman Nick DeSimone.
Whether this was a move by the Golden Knights to prevent the Avalanche from improving or not, it certainly was one of the more complicated trades at the deadline.