Each season, the trade deadline presents post-season hopefuls with their last opportunity to improve their club before the Stanley Cup tournament begins. But not all deals are built the same.
In some instances, those last-ditch efforts by roster architects to push their team over the line pay massive dividends, with the acquired talents coming through early in the playoffs, for the entire duration of the post-season or producing some magic at just the right time. In other cases, however, trade deadline deals fall absolutely flat, sometimes to such an extent that there’s nothing left to do but scratch your head and wonder what went wrong. And this trade deadline was no different.
Here are three deadline deals that were disappointing and three that have or continue to work out for the acquiring club:
Wayne Simmonds, Nashville Predators
The Predators landed Simmonds at a cut rate, in large part because his offensive performance leading into the deadline wasn’t anywhere near as good as it’s been in recent years. Unfortunately, Nashville – who sent Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers to land Simmonds – got results befitting such a payment. In 17 regular season games, Simmonds managed a mere goal and three points and was saddled with fourth-line minutes. In the post-season, he only managed to get into two games and didn’t contribute a point in either outing. Disappointing stuff.
Ryan Dzingel, Columbus Blue Jackets
Dzingel was a bright spot among the dark clouds that hung over Ottawa’s campaign, and the Senators were thus able to land a pair of second-round picks and young journeyman Anthony Duclair. That’s not an insignificant trade package for Dzingel. However, the payment didn’t match the production the Blue Jackets received in return. He chipped in four goals and 12 points in 21 regular season games, but he disappeared when the games mattered most, playing mostly fourth-line minutes in Columbus’ sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning and registering his only playoff point in Game 5 against the Boston Bruins. That came a few outings after Dzingel was made a healthy scratch, however.
Derick Brassard, Colorado Avalanche
There was a time, not long ago, that Brassard was considered a difference-making deadline acquisition. And while those days are gone, the hope among the Avalanche brass was that Brassard could rediscover his offensive touch in time for a post-season run in Colorado. He did score four goals in 20 games to close out the campaign, too, but the post-season was unproductive for Brassard. He managed only one point in the nine games in which he played – he missed three due to illness – and in the second round series against the San Jose Sharks, Brassard skated less than 10 minutes in four of seven games and more than a dozen just once.
Gustav Nyquist, San Jose Sharks
The ‘Goose’ has been loose. Arriving in San Jose from the Detroit Red Wings ahead of the deadline in exchange for a second-round pick and a conditional third-round selection, Nyquist has been the perfect middle-six contributor for the Sharks. He chipped in six goals and 11 points in 19 games during the regular season, but he’s really turned it on in the playoffs. Largely playing the role of setup man, nine of Nyquist’s 10 points are assists and he and linemates Logan Couture and Timo Meier combined for four goals and eight points in a Game 1 victory over the St. Louis Blues to kick off the Western Conference final.
Charlie Coyle, Boston Bruins
The early returns on this one were ugly. Brought in for secondary scoring, Coyle managed a mere two goals and six points in 21 games to close the regular season, particularly disappointing totals given Ryan Donato, who was sent to the Minnesota Wild in the deal, had four goals and 16 points in 22 games to end the campaign. Coyle has turned it on when it matters, though. In 15 games, Coyle has six goals and 12 points, including a crucial overtime winner in the second-round series against the Blue Jackets. His performance has helped take some of the offensive onus off of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
Mark Stone, Vegas Golden Knights
There are a few players who could land here. Mats Zuccarello chipped in 11 points in 13 games for a Stars team that made it to the second round. Marcus Johansson has seven points for the conference finalist Bruins. Matt Duchene scored five goals and 10 points in 10 games for the Blue Jackets. Despite the Golden Knights’ post-season run ending in an infamous – or famous, depending on one’s rooting interests – Game 7, though, Mark Stone has to get the nod here. In seven games, Stone scored six goals and 12 points and still remains a top-10 post-season scorer even though he hasn’t suited up since April 23. That’s not to mention that Stone played nearly 60 minutes in the final two games of that series. He was excellent for Vegas, and if that was a sign of things to come, the next eight years are going to be great ones for the Golden Knights winger.
Want more in-depth features, analysis and an All-Access pass to the latest content? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.