It’s the NHL trade deadline! Who’s loading up in the hopes of making a run at the Stanley Cup? Who’s biding their time and building for the future? We’re tracking the trades as they happen and breaking down every deal.
Follow all of the day’s deals in our 2018 NHL Trade Tracker, with THN’s resident experts Ken Campbell, Ryan Kennedy, Matt Larkin and Jared Clinton providing instant analysis on each and every move.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING acquire: Ryan McDonagh, D; J.T. Miller, LW
NEW YORK RANGERS acquire: Vladislav Namestnikov, C; Brett Howden, C: Libor Hajek, D; 2018 first-round draft pick; conditional second-round draft pick
THN analysis: In landing McDonagh, GM Steve Yzerman acquires a top-end defenseman that bolsters a blueline that already features the elite Victor Hedman and a solid supporting cast. The erstwhile former Rangers captain plays a great two-way game and still has a year left on his contract, so he’s more than a rental. J.T. Miller is the icing on the cake, as he brings a 200-foot game up front. In exchange, the Rangers get a solid top-six forward in Namestnikov and two very good prospects in Howden and Hajek. Both were at the world juniors this winter and both play all-around games – Hajek as a defenseman, Howden as a center. Add in the picks and New York got a nice haul here.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS acquire: Tomas Tatar, LW
DETROIT RED WINGS acquire: 2018 first-round draft pick; 2019 second-round draft pick; 2021 third-round draft pick
THN analysis: Whew. The Wings whiffed on dealing pending UFA Mike Green, but GM Ken Holland makes up for it with this massive haul for Tatar. Holland also retained no salary, meaning the Golden Knights will carry Tatar’s $5.3-million cap hit through the 2020-21 season. The Red Wings now have multiple picks in the first, second, third and fourth rounds of the 2018 draft, and 10 selections in total. The rebuild is on. The Golden Knights have already gotten tremendous production from their forward group this year, so Tatar feels like a luxury, but it’s clear this team knows it has an unexpected Stanley Cup window. Tatar is also versatile, good at both ends of the ice and capable of playing either wing. We also joked in the office: “If Vegas can change William Karlsson from a checker into a Rocket Richard Trophy contender, what does Tatar, an established 25-goal guy, do in Vegas’ up-tempo offense?” He’s also under team control for three more seasons after this one, meaning he fills a void if the Golden Knights don’t re-sign James Neal and/or David Perron. It cost the team a lot in terms of futures and money, but Vegas clearly believes it has to take a shot with such unexpected success.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS acquire: Patrick Maroon, LW
EDMONTON OILERS acquire: J.D. Dudek, C; third-round draft pick
THN analysis: If the Devils wanted to keep pace with the top teams in the Metropolitan, they had to add scoring depth to supplement the offense that Taylor Hall has been able to provide. That began with the addition of Michael Grabner and continued on deadline day as Maroon joins the Devils for the stretch run. In Maroon, New Jersey has brought aboard a power forward who has shown a knack for being able to play alongside top talent while still providing the physical qualities that are so often sought in the playoffs. Though he isn’t on pace to match his 27-goal, 42-point career-best output from last season, Maroon has 14 goals and 30 points in 57 games, putting him on a 20-goal, 40-point pace. He should be given every opportunity to hit those marks, too, considering he’s a lock to play in the Devils’ top-six. He could very well see time on the power play, as well. New Jersey GM Ray Shero did a good job limiting the cost of bringing Maroon in as a rental. Given some of the other prices paid on deadline day, a third-rounder and prospect J.D. Dudek, a sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft who has six goals and 17 points in 33 games at Boston College this season, seems like good value.
MONTREAL CANADIENS acquire: Mike Reilly, D
MINNESOTA WILD acquire: 2019 fifth-round draft pick
THN analysis: A standout at the University of Minnesota, Reilly was arguably the hottest college free agent in the summer of 2015 once he had decided not to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. Of course, that’s to be expected of a defenseman who was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s top player in his final college season. But after signing with the Wild, things haven’t quite worked out. Reilly has bounced between the NHL and AHL over the past three seasons, primarily skating in the minors and watching from the sidelines as a healthy scratch. He could be given a chance to reach his potential – and there is some decent offensive potential – in Montreal, however. And the Canadiens certainly didn’t have to give up much to take a shot on Reilly.
BOSTON BRUINS acquire: Tommy Wingels, C
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS acquire: Conditional 2019 fifth-round draft pick
THN analysis: Wingels provides Boston with the type of bottom-six sparkplug forward who can chip in during a gritty playoff series. He’s unlikely to work his way above the fourth line but he can be effective in limited minutes. In 54 career playoff games, Wingels has two goals and eight points to his credit. And having already addressed the need for an additional top-six forward by acquiring Rick Nash from the New York Rangers and shoring up their depth by inking Team USA Olympic captain Brian Gionta to a one-year, pro-rated contract, Boston’s addition of Wingels simply checks another box. There’s absolutely no risk in the deal for the Bruins, either, even if it appears likely the condition will be triggered and the pick converted into a fourth-rounder.
WINNIPEG JETS acquire: Joe Morrow, D
MONTREAL CANADIENS acquire: 2018 fourth-round draft pick
THN analysis: There’s no such thing as too much depth. So, given the Jets’ blueline has had to battle injury all season – and had a scare on the morning of deadline day as Toby Enstrom was forced to leave practice after blocking a shot – Winnipeg has fortified the back end by bringing in Morrow from the Canadiens. While it’s unlikely he’ll find a regular spot in the rotation, Morrow’s presence gives the Jets a more experienced defenseman in the seventh or eighth spot on the depth chart. A first-round pick of the Dallas Stars back in 2011, Morrow has some offensive upside and scored five goals and 11 points in 38 games with Montreal this season. As with the Stastny acquisition, Winnipeg’s deep prospect pool made trading a pick easy to stomach.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS acquire: Josh Jooris, RW
CAROLINA HURRICANES acquire: Greg McKegg, C
THN analysis: The Penguins did well to solidify their top-nine with the Derick Brassard acquisition over the weekend, but if Pittsburgh had one area to address it was their depth as they enter the playoffs chasing a third consecutive Stanley Cup. Getting Jooris helps the cause, as he’s an effective and versatile bottom-of-the-lineup forward. He can play both center and wing, giving him the ability to slot into the lineup in more than one way, and he has more offensive upside than McKegg.
CALGARY FLAMES acquire: Nick Shore, C
CAROLINA HURRICANES acquire: 2019 seventh-round draft pick
THN analysis: Shore’s stay in Ottawa sure didn’t last long. Picked up by the Senators in the trade that sent Dion Phaneuf to the Los Angeles Kings, Shore skated in all of six games in Canada’s capital and registered one assist before making his way to Calgary. It was believed entering deadline day that the Flames were interested in adding some secondary scoring, particularly with Kris Versteeg still on the injured reserve with a lower-body ailment. Shore has the potential to be either a rental or a player who sticks around with the organization. He’ll enter the off-season as a restricted free agent, so Calgary can approach him and re-sign him to a deal at season’s end. Trading away a seventh-round pick make this an almost no-risk, all-reward proposition for the Flames.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS acquire: Thomas Vanek, LW
VANCOUVER CANUCKS acquire: Jussi Jokinen, LW; Tyler Motte, C
THN analysis: We know what Vanek is at this stage of his career: a hired gun destined to change addresses mid-winter. He’s been dealt at three of the past six trade deadlines, including the last two in a row. On one hand, Vanek, 34, still brings nice hands and power play acumen to the table. He was instrumental in mentoring breakout Canucks rookie Brock Boeser as his regular linemate this season, too. The knock on Vanek, of course, is that he’s not a money-game player. In 946 regular season games, he has averaged 0.37 goals and 0.78 points for his career. Across 63 playoff games: 0.31 goals and 0.54 points. The grinding, refs-let-them-play style of playoff hockey doesn’t suit his strengths, and he obviously isn’t a burner on his skates. Still, the Blue Jackets have the NHL’s 30th-ranked power play, so Vanek certainly serves a purpose. He has 14 of his 41 points with the man advantage this year. As for the Canucks, well, at least GM Jim Benning got something for his pending UFA after re-signing potential trade chip Erik Gudbranson last week. But it wasn’t a significant something. Motte, 22, was a good college player at Michigan but has never scored as a pro, not in the AHL nor the NHL. That said, he has shown a willingness to convert himself to a bottom-six contributor, flashing quite a physical style of play for a 5-foot-10, 191-pound guy. So maybe he becomes a depth option for the Canucks. As for Jokinen: he’s merely money being moved around and will be remembered as a piece of trivia from this deal, as he joins his fourth NHL team this season.
SAN JOSE SHARKS acquire: Evander Kane, LW
BUFFALO SABRES acquire: Danny O’Regan, C; conditional 2019 first-round pick; conditional 2020 fourth-round pick
THN analysis: It took quite a while, but the San Jose Sharks finally replaced the offense they lost on the left side when they allowed Patrick Marleau to walk in free agency last summer. They get it in Kane, who automatically becomes by far their highest-scoring and most explosive left winger for the playoff run. There’s little doubt the Sharks will be getting a motivated player in Kane, who has his first chance to play in the post-season after going more than 500 NHL games without experiencing any meaningful spring hockey. Kane is a versatile player with speed, a guy who can score and play physically and grind, the kinds of attributes that will serve him and the Sharks well through the playoffs. The Sabres, meanwhile, watched as Kane’s stock dipped significantly as the trade deadline approached. The fact they couldn’t get a guaranteed first-rounder for him speaks to how other players had emerged. But if Kane does not re-sign in San Jose, a second- and fourth-rounder and a middling prospect doesn’t sound like a whole lot.
ANAHEIM DUCKS acquire: Jason Chimera, LW
NEW YORK ISLANDERS acquire: Chris Wagner, C
THN analysis: In a move that saves the Islanders a bit of money and cap space, New York gets Wagner in exchange for Chimera. Anaheim gets size and speed in the veteran Chimera, who can also kill penalties but doesn’t provide much offense. Wagner can contribute bottom-six minutes and is a decent shorthanded threat. Both players are pending unrestricted free agents.
WINNIPEG JETS acquire: Paul Stastny, C
ST. LOUIS BLUES acquire: Erik Foley, LW; 2018 first-round draft pick; conditional 2020 fourth-round draft pick
THN analysis: Winnipeg was blocked in its attempted acquisitions of Derick Brassard and Mark Letestu, but Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff wouldn’t be denied as he sought another center to beef up his lineup, making a splash – the first big one of deadline day – by landing Stastny from Central Division rival St. Louis. Stastny, who waived his no-trade clause to join the Jets, hasn’t had his best offensive campaign to this point. However, his playmaking ability could make him dynamite option to play between Nik Ehlers and Patrik Laine. Stocked with prospect depth, the Jets could afford to give up futures to make the deal.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS acquire: Ryan Hartman, LW; 2018 fifth-round draft pick
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS acquire: Victor Ejdsell, C; 2018 first-round pick; 2018 fourth-round pick
THN analysis: This is a deal between two division rivals who are going in radically different directions. The Predators are all-in and with Ryan Hartman, they’re getting a young guy with grit and an ability to create offense, a solid third-line player who could end up being a difference-maker in a long playoff run. And at the age of 23, Hartman is a player whose rights can be controlled by the team for a number of years. It’s clear that Nashville GM David Poile is going for it again after getting to the Stanley Cup final last season, but this is a deal that gives them a quality NHL player for the future as well. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, are looking to the future and are hoping to get a top prospect with that pick, one that will be the 31st overall if the Predators go on to win the Cup. The problem for the Blackhawks is that they have so many veteran players tied into no-move clauses that if they wanted to make a trade, they had to sacrifice one of their younger players. The Blackhawks are hoping Swedish winger Victor Ejdsell, who was the Preds’ 10th-best prospect, can perhaps step in and replace Hartman at some point.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS acquire: Brendan Leipsic, LW
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS acquire: Philip Holm, D
THN analysis: The Canucks and Golden Knights each trade from areas of surplus here in terms of their depth options. Holm, a two-way blueliner, is 26 and thus approaching now-or-never status, and he wasn’t likely to pass anyone on the Canucks’ current depth chart at the NHL level. He likely has a better chance at making an impact down the road with the Golden Knights. Meanwhile, the Knights have hit on so many of their NHL forward expansion picks – and drafted such intriguing high-end forwards – that Leipsic, 23, didn’t figure to have a long-term shot at major ice time. He’s an agitator in the Brendan Gallagher mold who has consistently lit up the AHL but hasn’t brought his offense to the NHL so far. He has just two goals in 44 NHL games this year, albeit while paying less than 12 minutes per night. Theoretically, he should get a chance for a bigger role with the Canucks.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS acquire: Ian Cole, D
OTTAWA SENATORS acquire: Nick Moutrey, C; 2020 third-round draft pick
THN analysis: Cole is being reunited with the man who helped draft him into the NHL, GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Cole, who has two Stanley Cup rings from his days in Pittsburgh, is basically a depth defenseman for the Blue Jackets whose ice time may depend on whether or not Jack Johnson stays. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. In return, Ottawa gets a third-round pick in 2020 and Nick Moutrey, a big-bodied prospect who will likely be an AHLer for the foreseeable future. Given that the Sens only acquired Cole from Pittsburgh to make the Derick Brassard trade work, this was an easy move for GM Pierre Dorion.