While I found this comment on a Leafs’ video, I’m sure all fans can relate. The Washington Capitals already looked good and they made another smart trade at the deadline. Overall, the trade deadline was pretty quite and despite a few early heart-breaking trades, most teams seemed pretty sure of how their season was going to play out and whether or not they needed to change things up ahead of the playoffs. Most teams who aren’t in the playoff picture were quiet, choosing to save their deals for the off-season. In fact, many of the blockbuster trades that were predicted never occurred. There were only 33 players traded prior to the deadline unlike last season’s 37. Here are the few highs and lows of the 2017 trade deadline.
The veteran goaltender was expected to be moved at the deadline, especially after the Lightning failed to move him in the previous off-season. Bishop was the Lightning’s starting goaltender but after Bishop’s injury during the Bolts’ playoff run in 2015, back-up goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made a strong case for the starting job. In the 2016 off-season, the team signed Vasilevskiy to a 3-year deal and it was clear that Bishop would need to perform well or lose his job. Leading up to the deadline there was a lot of discussion about which teams would put in an offer. The Calgary Flames were supposedly in the conversation, as they were in the off-season. However, it eventually came down to the only offer on the table, the Los Angeles Kings. After a spectacular season played by the King’s backup, Peter Budaj, the Kings find themselves fighting for a wild-card with their starting goaltender, Jonathan Quick back from injury. Many thought that this would rule Los Angeles out of the Bishop hunt, as Quick is the undisputed starter. However, the Kings, faced with the possibility of Quick re-injuring himself and a long stretch of back to back games, needed a goaltender they could trust. Cue Ben Bishop heading to Hollywood to help the Kings push their way into the playoffs and then provide support for a cup run. The Lightning received Peter Budaj, Erik Cernak, a 2017 seventh-round pick and a conditional 2017 pick. The Kings also received a fifth-round pick in 2017.
The LA Kings picked up another veteran for their playoff run by acquiring Jarome Iginla from the Colorado Avalanche. Iginla is a future hall-of-famer- who has yet to win a Stanley Cup and is turning 40 in the summer- has been bouncing around teams in the last few seasons. After leaving the Calgary Flames in 2013, Iginla has been chasing the cup with Boston, Pittsburgh and Colorado. Despite not yet reaching the ultimate prize in the NHL, Iginla’s career is full of milestones including 6 all-star game appearances and two gold medals. A combination of age and changing of teams has halted Iginla’s usual point production. However, a change of pace and coaching could be the key to unlocking what is left of his goalscoring. Iginla is familiar with Darryl Sutter, the head coach of the LA Kings, and this is one of the driving factors in the trade. The Kings hope that if they make the playoffs, Iginla will be able to produce, as he currently has 68 points in 81 career playoff games. The Avalanche received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018.
After many seasons of strong regular season performances, the Washington Capitals have never won a Stanley Cup. This year, they seem almost unstoppable. The addition of a strong blueliner could cement their place in the finals. Shattenkirk, who has played for the St. Louis Blues (another cup-free city) for most of his career, will be a force on the powerplay. The Capitals already have a great powerplay, especially with Alexander Ovechkin owning his corner of the ice. However, there is a remarkable difference in goals and shots on the St. Louis powerplay with and without Shattenkirk. With Shattenkirk this season the Blues have scored 8 powerplay goals. Without him, they have scored 6. The Capitals will look to use him in the push for the Stanley Cup on the powerplay and to take some minutes off of their starting defence. The St. Louis Blues received a 2017 first round pick, 2019 conditional second round pick, Zach Stanford and Brad Malone. The Capitals also received goaltender Phoenix Copley.
Since the Roberto Luongo trade in 2014, many of the other Canucks who were part of the 2011 cup run have left Vancouver. Besides the Sedin Twins, Alex Burrows was one of the only main contributors left (the Canucks traded Kesler and Bieksa to the Ducks). There have been rumours all year that Burrows would be traded and Jim Benning did not hesitate to move the winger before the deadline. Burrows was dealt to Ottawa in exchange for Jonathan Dahlen, a young swede that the Senators drafted 42nd overall. Although Dahlen has yet to play an NHL game, analysts are saying that the Canucks actually came out on top with this trade, as Dahlen has been putting up lots of points in Sweden. Burrows has already contributed to the Senators, scoring both goals in the Senators win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Senators will look to Burrows for his playoff experience and offensive capabilities.
The Dallas Stars:
Jim Nill was evidently ready for the trade deadline and made it pretty clear what Dallas was planning on doing for the rest of the season. While he didn’t fix the main problem of goaltending, Nill dealt some veterans and got some draft picks, making it pretty clear the Stars were going into a rebuilding phase. This phase could be simply an off-season but it could also be a few years. It will depend on what Nill is able to get in the off-season. Nill made the first trade of the week, sending Patrick Eaves to Anaheim in exchange for a conditional 2017 second round pick. This comes as somewhat of a surprise as Eaves is producing quite well this year. Nill also split up the Benn brothers, sending Jordie Benn to Montreal (this one is heartbreaking). From a points perspective, Benn isn’t exactly a Norris trophy candidate. However, the Stars received a lesser defensemen in Greg Pateryn (as well as a fourth-round pick in 2017) who is likely to head straight to the Texas Stars. Nill did manage to trade away one of the Stars’ top defensmen, Johnny Oduya. He sent Oduya back to the Blackhawks in exchange for Mark McNeill and a 2018 conditional fourth-round pick. Oduya originally left the Blackhawks in free-agency and went to the Dallas Stars. The Hawks will get him for quite cheap, which will open up their back-end. This trade leaves Dallas with a very young back-end and shaky goaltending. Provided that the Stars pick up some stronger talent in the off-season, these trades shouldn’t hurt them. Sitting 13 points out of a Central Division playoff spot, the Stars have nothing but time to rebuild. The Stars also traded Lauri Korpikoski to Columbus for Dillon Heaterhington.
The Montreal Canadiens:
The Canadiens were busy around the deadline, participating in 5 of the 17 trades that occurred. The first was the aforementioned Jordie Benn trade. Marc Bergevin followed this up with the acquisition of Brandon Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for David Desharnais. Desharnais has been on the Canadiens for a while now but hasn’t had much ice since the coaching change, so this is a good trade for Montreal. Davidson isn’t the most experienced defensemen but he has been producing in Edmonton. The Canadiens then added enforcer Steve Ott, who doesn’t seem to fit the Canadiens’ style of hockey, but was a cheap way to add some toughness up the middle (the Canadiens only lost a 2018 sixth-round pick). They also added Dwight King in exchange for another draft pick and acquired Andreas Martinsen from the Avalanche for Sven Andrighetto. These aren’t big acquisitions, as the Canadiens already look ready for the playoffs but they add just a little bit of grit that playoff hockey needs.
Marc-Andre Fleury: The Penguins held onto their veteran goalie for the playoffs but will likely move him in the off-season.
Any veteran on the Colorado Avalanche: The Avs have nothing left to do this season so they didn’t feel the need to rush any trades for their star players. These will likely occur in the off-season.
The Stars goaltenders: Both Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen haven’t been performing well this year and the Stars are in dire need to replace them. Nill was active but didn’t fix this problem. This is possibly due to the Vegas draft coming up.
The Flames goaltenders: The Flames must feel that their current goaltending tandem is the one to roll with going into the playoffs. The Flames are currently in the first wild-card spot in the West and while Elliott and Johnson have been playing well, neither are well versed in winning in the post-season. By not picking up one of the veteran goaltenders that were looking for new teams before the deadline, Treliving has placed his full confidence in his current backend duo.
All teams are now headed to the playoffs or the off-season stuck with their current rosters. The next major event will be the NHL expansion draft which will take place in June.