You can’t get something for nothing in the NHL, so for teams that believed they could make a run at the Stanley Cup this season, sacrifices had to be made. Overwhelmingly, that came in the form of draft picks during this year’s trade deadline blitz, but there were some actual prospects moved as well.
While we didn’t get any blockbuster moves – no Joe Nieuwendyk for a teenaged Jarome Iginla, for example – there were some intriguing prospects dealt before the deadline. Most of these players are still at least a season away from making their NHL debuts and some will need several more years of seasoning before they get their shot, but they were all acquired for a reason: potential.
Here are the top 10 prospects traded before the 2020 NHL deadline.
1. Calen Addison, D (PIT to MIN): Acquired by the Wild in the Jason Zucker trade, Addison as tallied more than a point-per-game from the blueline this season with a very good Lethbridge Hurricanes squad in the WHL. An offensive defenseman with a great battle level in his own zone, Addison doesn’t have a ton of size, but will be an effective NHLer once he gets stronger. He had a great world juniors for gold-medal Canada, too.
2. Nolan Foote, LW (TB to NJ): Dealt to the Devils in the Blake Coleman swap, Foote won gold with Canada at the world juniors but has barely played since then due to a lower-body injury. He was putting up more than a point-per-game before that and the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets could really use him back in their lineup soon, as the Memorial Cup hosts are struggling. Foote’s ticket to the NHL will be his devastating shot and while there are other parts of his game that need rounding out, he has already made improvements since he was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2019.
3. Tyler Madden, C (VAN to LA): The key player for the Kings in the Tyler Toffoli deal, Madden is currently a sophomore at Northeastern University, where he leads the Huskies in scoring with 37 points in 27 games. That also puts him top-10 in the conference. The son of former NHLer John Madden, Tyler is an offensively-gifted player with a great competitive streak who just needs to work on his game away from the puck a bit more. I believe he will turn pro after this campaign.
4. Joey Keane, D, (NYR to CAR): Traded straight-up for Julien Gauthier (more on him later), Keane is an athletic puck-moving defenseman who came onto the scene a bit later but has really developed nicely. He was one of AHL Hartford’s top scorers before the trade and has two points in his first two games with AHL Charlotte.
5. Axel Andersson, D (BOS to ANA): A two-way defenseman who skates well, Andersson was part of the Ondrej Kase deal. Andersson played some NHL exhibition games with the Bruins this autumn and hung around AHL Providence before heading to Moncton in the QMJHL. On a high-end Wildcats squad, Andersson has put up 22 points through 41 games – not bad for his first real action in North America.
6. Janne Kuokkanen, LW (CAR to NJ): The top scorer on the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers before he was sent to the Devils in the Sami Vatanen trade, Kuokkanen projects as a scoring-line winger who can do a bit of everything, but isn’t elite in any particular category. He’ll be more effective as his defensive play evolves.
7. Chase Priskie, D (CAR to FLA): A dynamic offensive defenseman who signed with Carolina as an NCAA free agent out of Quinnipiac, Priskie put up 31 points in 52 games with AHL Charlotte before he was dealt to the Panthers in the Vince Trocheck swap. The 23-year-old Priskie will now ply his trade with AHL Springfield, where the Thunderbirds could use his offensive touch.
8. Eetu Luostarinen, C (CAR to FLA): A big, rangy center playing in his first North American season, Luostarinen was another asset acquired by Florida in the Trocheck trade. The Finnish pivot saw eight games of action with the Hurricanes, registering one point in the process. Otherwise, he put up decent numbers with AHL Charlotte. Now he’ll move over to Springfield.
9. Slava Demin, D (VGK to CHI): Moved in the Robin Lehner deal, Demin is currently a sophomore at the University of Denver, where he plays on the same Pios squad as Chicago prospect Ian Mitchell. Though he doesn’t have much offense to his game, Demin does bring size and physicality to the table. At least one more year of college would serve him well, if not two.
10. Julien Gauthier (CAR to NYR): A first-round draft pick back in 2016, Gauthier has always had NHL size, strength and scoring ability, but was never able to find enough consistency elsewhere in his game to justify an NHL call-up before this season. He played five games for the Canes before the trade for Keane and now Gauthier is up with the Rangers, where he has played three games without registering a point. He had one assist with Carolina.
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