It will take time to determine which moves will be successful and which ones will be disappointing. Nevertheless, here’s our best guess of the deadline’s winners and losers.
Winner: Carolina Hurricanes
Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell entered deadline day looking for depth at center and his banged-up blueline corps. He addressed the first by shipping checking-line forwards Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark, along with two prospects, to the Florida Panthers for Vincent Trocheck. Waddell took care of the other by acquiring Brady Skjei from the New York Rangers and Sami Vatanen from the New Jersey Devils. Once sidelined d-men Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce return to action, the Hurricanes defense corps will be formidable.
Loser: Toronto Maple Leafs
Struggling to hang onto the final wild-card spot in the Atlantic Division, the Leafs desperately need reliable defensive help. Their only move on deadline day was bringing back depth defenseman Calle Rosen from the Colorado Avalanche. They were rumored to be shopping struggling rearguard Tyson Barrie, but couldn’t find any takers.
Winner: Edmonton Oilers
With the Oilers jostling for first place in the tightly-packed Pacific Division, GM Ken Holland turned to his former club, the Detroit Red Wings, acquiring winger Andreas Athanasiou and veteran defenseman Mike Green. He also brought in winger Tyler Ennis from the Ottawa Senators. Some observers feel the speedy Athanasiou could be a good match alongside superstar Connor McDavid.
Loser: Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres have been seeking a top-six forward throughout this season. They signaled their intent that they’re not giving up on a playoff berth by acquiring Wayne Simmonds from the Devils and Dominik Kahun from the Penguins. However, these moves aren’t expected to improve their postseason hopes. Simmonds is a well-respected, hard-working winger, but age and injuries have taken a toll on the 31-year-old’s offensive abilities.
Winner: Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford made a big move earlier this month by acquiring Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild. He continued to tinker at the trade deadline, bringing in Patrick Marleau from the San Jose Sharks and wingers Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues from the Buffalo Sabres. This could be Marleau’s last chance to win a Stanley Cup, while Sheary returns to the city where he won two Cups in 2016 and 2017.
Loser: Colorado Avalanche
With considerable salary-cap space and prospect depth, the Avs were linked to New York’s Chris Kreider, New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, and San Jose’s Joe Thornton in the rumor mill. GM Joe Sakic acquired some depth for his injury-depleted forward lines, sending a fourth-round pick in 2020 to the Ottawa Senators for Vladislav Namestnikov. It was probably wise not to overpay for big-name help, but Avs fans expecting a splash in the trade market were left disappointed.
Winner: Ottawa Senators
The rebuilding Senators shipped center Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders. The return – a conditional first-rounder in 2020, a second-rounder in 2020, and a conditional third in 2022 – gives the Sens 13 picks in this year’s draft. Nine of those selections are in the first three rounds, with three of those in the first round. The lottery-protected first-rounder becomes a first in 2021 if the Isles end up in the top three.
Loser: Florida Panthers
Earlier this month, Panthers GM Dale Tallon made no secret of his wish to shore up his defense by landing a defense partner for Aaron Ekblad. Instead, he sent Vincent Trocheck to Carolina for two checking-line forwards (Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark) and two prospects. That move is seen as a kick in the pants to his under-achieving roster, but it doesn’t bring stability to their blueline.
Winner: Vegas Golden Knights
Golden Knights management isn’t shy about making major moves near the trade deadline. Having acquired defenseman Alec Martinez days before the deadline, they brought in Robin Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks. A finalist for the 2019 Vezina Trophy, Lehner and starter Marc-Andre Fleury will be a solid tandem between the pipes.
Loser: Dallas Stars
Before the 2019 deadline, Stars GM Jim Nill acquired winger Mats Zuccarello to provide a boost to his popgun offense. The Stars still require scoring depth as they jockey this season with the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche for first overall in the Western Conference. Nill, however, couldn’t find a deal to his liking. That could hurt his club’s chances for a long playoff run.
Winner: Chris Kreider
Kreider was considered the top trade bait heading into deadline day. Reports out of New York predicted the 27-year-old winger would be moved. Instead, the Rangers re-upped him to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract extension.
Loser: Zach Parise
As the deadline approached, reports emerged claiming the Minnesota Wild was working on a deal to send winger Zach Parise to the New York Islanders. Parise even waived his no-movement clause to facilitate the move. However, the deadline passed without the rumored blockbuster taking place. Perhaps the two clubs will revisit this one in the off-season.