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Five Notable NHLers that Didn't Move at Trade Deadline

Numerous players changed teams on Monday as the NHL's trade deadline came and went. These five didn't despite rumors linking them to trades leading up to the deadline.
Phil Kessel

Numerous players changed teams on Monday as the NHL's trade deadline came and went. 

Many players, however, did not.

Let's take a look at the five most intriguing names that didn't find new homes after a busy day of wheeling and dealing, and see whether or not keeping them in the fold was a good idea or a bad one. 

5. Jake DeBrusk
Age: 25
Contract: Two years, $4 million AAV

Jake DeBrusk asked the Boston Bruins for a trade in November. The Bruins responded by signing him to a contract extension in March. 

That is objectively very funny. 

Sure, the two-year, $8 million deal DeBrusk signed on deadline day was done primarily to cancel out his high qualifying offer for next year and make him easier to move, but it's still interesting to see a guy who has spent the better part of the past six months attempting to leave Boston, only to wind up signing on to stay for another two years on the day everyone gets traded. 

The Bruins will almost certainly deal a now cost-controlled DeBrusk at the draft in June when his potential suitors have more financial flexibility. But DeBrusk's diminishing performance over the past three seasons, and his pricey new contract, might dissuade teams from ponying up. 

For him to stay put when all is said and done is somewhat surprising. 

4. Phil Kessel 
Age: 34
Contract: Pending UFA, $6.8 million

Would it have been nice to see Phil Kessel get another shot at a Stanley Cup as he approaches the downswing of his career? Of course. 

Kessel is the People's Champion. Everyone seems to root for the guy now that he's no longer stuck in the biggest hockey market on the planet, and those back-to-back Cups he helped Pittsburgh capture back in 2015 and 2016 was perhaps the most unifying moment in the history of hockey fandom. 

At the same time, I can see why the Coyotes opted not to move him. 

For one, Kessel and his wife just welcomed their first-born child, and uprooting Kessel's life immediately after that would have been a strssful situation for the family to endure. 

Not to mention, Kessel is beloved within the Coyotes organization. Head coach Andre Tourigny told reporters as much during a recent road trip to Toronto, calling Kessel "the most popular guy in the room" and spinning yarns about how the two talk more than anyone else on the team. 

With the Coyotes as a whole in a state of turbulence, it's nice to have a ray of sunshine like Kessel stick around to see out the season. 

And he might even re-sign in the summer, too. 

3. Anton Forsberg
Age: 29 
Contract: Two years, $2.75 million

Instead of taking advantage of a goalie-needy team like the Vegas Golden Knights or the Toronto Maple Leafs to get a sweet little package, the Ottawa Senators decided to double-down on their investment and sign Anton Forsberg to a two-year extension. 

Considering that they got the netminder on waivers last season after he was essentially shunned by three different teams, that's some tidy business. 

Forsberg is having a phenomenal year behind a putrid Senators defense that will only get worse with Travis Hamonic entering the fold. GM Pierre Dorion likely could've coerced a rival executive into surrendering a second-round pick or more for Forsberg's services. 

But the Senators have a difficult enough job convincing people to play for their team. And with Forsberg on the upswing and seemingly happy in the Nation's Capital, keeping him in the fold makes sense. 

2. J.T. Miller 
Age: 29
Contract: One more year, $5.25 million

With the Ben Chiarots of the world being sold off for packages invoving first-round picks and prospects, I shudder to think of the absurd haul the Canucks could've received for J.T. Miller on Monday. 

Miller is having a phenomenal year. The 29-year-old has somehow navigated the chaos of the Jim Benning era early this season to rack up 25 goals and 75 points in 62 games thus far, logging nearly 21 minutes per night and blossoming as a legitimate top-line center. 

If they wanted to, the Canucks could have bled contenders dry in exchange for their star forward. 

Alas, it seems the team will wait to either extend or trade Miller at the draft in June, with more teams capable of spending more for players in the summer rather than mid-season.

Still, if the Canucks don't think they can win in the immediate future, selling Miller off at the peak of his value -- AKA right now -- could shape the future of the franchise in the years to come. 

1. Tomas Hertl
Age: 28
Contract: Eight more years, $8 million AAV 

Okay, I know Tomas Hertl was extended a roughly a week before the trade deadline, so the fact that he didn't get moved on Monday isn't much of a surprise. But I still can't wrap my head around why the Sharks did this. 

Yes, Hertl is a good player. Great, even. Everyone knows that, including 31 other teams who would've paid through the nose to acquire him and therefore gifted the Sharks with future assets to help them rebuild their fledgling roster. 

San Jose is not going to contend for a Cup any time soon. Their lineup is old and overpaid, with Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic's deals weighing on their cap like anchors for years to come. 

Keeping Hertl is great in a vacuum, effectively demonstrating the Sharks' ability to develop their own players and lock them in under contract at market rates. But Hertl won't be enough to pull this team out of mediocrity. And when basement dwellers like the Coyotes and Kraken are raking in the draft picks by selling off their good but aging stars, the Sharks' decision to trudge ahead rather than re-set may come back to bite them. 


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