Pucks in Depth: Two Teams Who Didn’t Do Well At The NHL Trade Deadline
A closer look at three teams fared poorly leading up to Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 NHL trade deadline has come and gone.

Now that the madness has concluded, it’s time to evaluate the moves made and decipher which teams did well and which didn’t.

I’ve already written about the former. Today I’m taking a closer look at two teams I thought fared poorly leading up to Monday’s 3 p.m. deadline.

Note: most prior moves have already been talked about at length so I’m going to try and focus on moves made in the ~24 hours prior to the deadline.

Florida Panthers

GM Dale Tallon only made one move involving NHL players at the deadline. It wasn’t a good one.

He traded Vincent Trocheck to the savvy Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, and a pair of AHLers (Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen).

Trocheck is only a couple of years removed from a 75 point season. While it’s probably unrealistic to expect a year like that again, he is still a very effective player. He has produced at least 53 points, or at an 82-game pace above that, in five consecutive seasons.

Trocheck also brings real value beyond the points. Over the last couple of years, the Panthers have generated more shots and chances with Trocheck on the ice than without. They’ve also allowed fewer shots and chances with Trocheck on the ice. He helps drive play and positively impacts the team at both ends of the ice.

Considering Trocheck is signed for two more seasons at $4.75 million per – a very affordable price for a top-6 center in his mid-20s – it’s hard to see trading him as a good idea; especially given the return. Simply put, a pending UFA with one 35+ point campaign to his name, a depth center, and two low-ceiling prospects is not enough for a player of Trocheck’s caliber.

On top of lessening their team in the short and long-term with the Trocheck deal, the Panthers failed to address a clear need for a top-4 defenseman to help stabilize the blueline (and give Sergei Bobrovsky some needed help).

They also held onto Mike Hoffman – in a clear seller’s market where lesser players were fetching very strong returns – despite having just a 31% chance of making the playoffs, according to Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic.

That’s a rather interesting decision to make considering the Panthers might be cutting payroll and are unlikely to pay Hoffman what he wants.

New York Islanders

Jean-Gabriel Pageau is a fine player. He’s defensively responsible and he already has 25 goals. He will definitely make the Islanders a better team. The problem isn’t that the Islanders traded for Pageau. It is *what* they traded for Pageau.

New York parted with a 1st round pick, a 2nd round pick, and a conditional 3rd round pick to land Pageau. That’s a lot to give up; especially for a bubble playoff team.

The Islanders are having a strong season, sure. They’re still only three points clear of the 9th seeded Carolina Hurricanes. There is no guarantee they make the playoffs. If they do, they’re almost certainly getting Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, or Pittsburgh in Round 1. Call me crazy, but I don’t like their chances against any of them.

You could say the Islanders made the cost worthwhile by extending Pageau. That’d probably be true if this kind of season were regular for him. But it’s not.

This is only the 2nd time Pageau has cleared 40 points, and the first time he’s netted 20 goals. He is 27 years old now – closer to exiting his prime than entering it – so I doubt that’ll become the norm.

It also took big minutes in all situations, and a ridiculous 18.2 shooting percentage, to get to those totals.

If Pageau were shooting his career average, he’d have 14 goals right now. A player with 14 goals and 30 points, and that kind of usage, probably wouldn’t cost a 1st, 2nd, and (potentially) 3rd round pick.

Again, I realize Pageau is also a responsible defensive player and a capable penalty killer. But the Islanders bought high on the trade market, and they bought high giving him a six-year, $30 million contract.

That’s a lot of money for somebody who might average ~35 points playing 3C behind Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson.

Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com and Hockey-Reference.com

Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell