Lots of Deals But No Blockbusters at NHL Trade Deadline
The NHL trade deadline came and went Monday with a couple of medium to big deals, but no real blockbusters. The Senators decided not to trade Erik Karlsson despite last-minute efforts by Vegas to acquire him. The Coyotes didn’t move Oliver Ekman-Larsson they and pretty much kept their last place roster intact. Mike Green is still playing for the Red Wings, and the Islanders may have made the riskiest move of all by deciding they didn’t have to trade John Tavares.
Tavares will be a free agent on July 1, and with the Islanders’ playoff hopes dwindling each day, the smart move would’ve been to get as much as they could for Tavares at the deadline and then try and re-sign him after the season. Now, the Isles risk missing the playoffs and losing the services of one of the best players in the NHL for nothing in return.
Trades Made and Their Repercussions
Derick Brassard to Pittsburgh: We all knew the Penguins were going to make a move by the deadline. The only real question was going to be whether it would be on offense or defense. Most would’ve preferred the Pens add a defender; preferably a Top 4 defenseman but those prices were high, so they went the next best route and added Brassard. This gives the Pens incredible strength down the middle with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Brassard. While that’s great for NHL purposes, Fantasy owners will be disappointed because Brassard will see very little power play time, especially on the first unit. Center is deep overall in Fantasy; he’s not a player should be looking to pick up.
Tomas Plekanac to Toronto: Even in his prime, Plekanac was never more than a second-line player but that is asking quite a lot from him at this point in his career. He will give the Maple Leafs depth at center, especially with Auston Matthews likely out until mid-March due to a shoulder injury. Plekanac is not Fantasy-worthy.
The Bruins Get Their Top 6 Forward
Rick Nash to Boston: The Bruins have been playing like the best team in the NHL over the past couple of months, but they are pretty much a one-line team. David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron form one of the best lines in the game. This can work during the season but in the playoffs, it makes Boston very easy to defend and that line will see nothing but the opposing team’s top defensive pair. This is why it was so important for the Bruins to acquire a Top 6 forward. Nash gives them a legitimate second line forward who has been through playoff battles in the past. He becomes even more important now since Bergeron is not expected back until late March due to a fractured foot.
— NHL (@NHL) March 1, 2018
Patrick Maroon to New Jersey: After back to back productive seasons for the Oilers, the team decided to maximize his value and trade him since they won’t make the playoffs this season. Maroon has stated that he wants to return to Edmonton as a free agent, so this is a pure rental move for the Devils but one that could come back to bite them. The Devils must be concerned about whether they are truly getting a solid secondary goal-scorer or someone who benefitted from playing on a line with Connor McDavid. The Devils needed scoring from someone other than Taylor Hall, so good for them for going for it. However, Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect the kind production Maroon put up with Edmonton.
Thomas Vanek to Columbus: Vanek was signed so late in the offseason that everyone knows he was signed just to be traded. Vancouver was never expected to be a playoff team. Vanek was having a better than expected season playing on a line with the Sedin twins, and the Blue Jackets will hope that continues as they have had problems scoring all season. Fantasy owners may want to take a wait and see approach, as Vanek is slotted to play on the team’s third line with Brandon Dubinsky and Matt Calvert for now.
Tomas Tatar to Vegas: As mentioned above, the Golden Knights were deep in conversation with the Senators to acquire Erik Karlsson and when that didn’t work out, they turned their sights on Tatar. Yes, giving up picks in each of the first three rounds might seem like overpaying. Especially for a player who has never scored 30-plus goals in a season and only reached the 50-point mark once in his career. However, it’s another signal to both the locker room and the team’s fans that the Knights are going for it in their expansion season. They have draft picks to burn after picking up an abundance of them leading up to and during the expansion draft. The Golden Knights are a legitimate team. One can argue that they really don’t have a top line player. While that may be true, they do have a deep roster and Tatar adds to that depth. He is slotted to start on the third-line, but this could be a fluid situation, as coach Gerard Gallant will need to see where Tatar fits in best.
Evander Kane to San Jose: The Sharks needed the offensive help, especially after they lost Joe Thornton to a knee injury. Kane got off to a hot start this season before tailing off over the past two months. He knew he was going to be dealt and just needed a change of scenery. He’s a pickup if he’s on your waiver wire. The only real question now is whether he’ll play on a line with Joe Pavelski or Logan Couture. Right now, it seems to be Pavelski, but either way, he will see plenty of ice time and be on the first power play unit.
Jets Add More Firepower With Stastny
Paul Stastny to Winnipeg: The Jets may have lost out on Brassard because Vegas got involved and was willing to take a cap hit to keep him out of Winnipeg. However, they ended up possibly doing better, getting Stastny from St. Louis. I’m not sure we will ever know the exact reason why the Blues traded him and didn’t get an NHL-ready player in return. Maybe something was going on behind the scenes, or maybe it’s just because the Blues are a sinking ship and a trade had to be made. I’m not sure there is another team that can match the explosive firepower that Winnipeg possesses. Stastny is slotted to play on a line with Patrick Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. Even if you’re strong at center, you should be thinking about claiming Stastny to keep him away from your competition.
Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller to Tampa Bay: I saved the biggest trade of the day for last. We all knew that McDonagh was on the trading block. What we didn’t know was that Miller would go along with him. Sure, Tampa had to send Vladimir Namestnikov back, along with several top draft picks. The Lightning are trying to win now; they will worry about next year, next year. McDonagh is expected to return from a broken hand next week but Miller is ready to play now. McDonagh will likely play with Victor Hedman, although that is not written in stone. He is a D3 in Fantasy. Miller could play on any line and it may come down to which line he has the best chemistry with. He could also be a claim in Fantasy, at least for depth purposes.
Derick Brassard Photo Credit:AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar