At this rate, there won’t be any trades left for deadline day.
The Winnipeg Jets announced Wednesday afternoon they have acquired Jiri Tlusty from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a third-round pick 2016 in and a conditional fifth-round selection – which could become a sixth-round pick – in 2015.
Minutes before the Jets announced their acquisition of Tlusty, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Daniel Winnik from the Toronto Maple Leafs. For Winnik, the Maple Leafs received a second-round selection in 2016, fourth-round pick in 2015 and winger Zach Sill.
When comparing the two deals, it’s remarkable that Carolina received only a third- and conditional fifth-round pick in exchange for a 26-year-old forward with 13 goals and 23 points in 52 games. It’s even less of a return when you consider the Maple Leafs landed a marginal NHL player in Sill and two certain picks, both of which are higher than the Tlusty deal yielded for Carolina.
Winnipeg’s need for Tlusty was arguably greater than Pittsburgh’s need for Winnik, too. The Jets announced today that Blake Wheeler has been placed on the injured reserve and Tlusty will help fill the hole left by the Jets winger.
Tlusty is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. His acquisition leaves the Jets with roughly $6.6 million in cap space heading into deadline day.
While Carolina may have been able to land more for Tlusty, what may have helped the Maple Leafs in securing such a return for Winnik was their salary retention. It was reported by ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun that Toronto retained half of the unrestricted free agent-to-be’s salary, saving the Penguins somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000 going forward.
Landing Winnik at a cut rate still leaves the Penguins with less than $800,000 in cap space.
An advanced stat darling for the Maple Leafs, Winnik will slot in to the Penguins third- or fourth-line. By putting him deeper in the lineup, Pittsburgh will improve their depth, which has long been thought of as their weak spot. It was reported that GM Jim Rutherford wanted to address the team’s depth and picking up Winnik certainly does that.
Tlusty and Winnik were two players who were certain to move at the deadline and, by being dealt days before the deadline hits, it could help teams like Calgary, who is dangling Curtis Glencross, and Arizona, who has Antoine Vermette on the market, land even bigger returns for their rental players.