The biggest loser on NHL Trade Deadline Day was, of course, the NHL. It was an exercise in tedium, a boring slog that produced nothing of significant impact. It was a day when the biggest names didn’t move, but many small ones did. It was … rough.
That said, some teams did quite well and some teams did not. Here is Puck Daddy’s 2016 NHL Trade Deadline Report Card. Please keep in mind the grades are based on expectations, possibilities and what other teams did. The “deadline” stretches out about a week before Feb. 29. If a team did nothing, that’ll usually be a ‘B’ grade, unless there are specific circumstances to consider.
And here … we … go.
Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks snagged Jamie McGinn from the Buffalo Sabres, which is a smart little move, considering his familiarity with the West. Then they did something even smarter: Trading the guy he ostensibly replaces, Patrick Maroon, to the Edmonton Oilers for prospect Martin Gernat and a fourth-round pick in 2016. McGinn comes off the books this summer; Maroon makes $2 million against the cap through 2018.
Brandon Pirri for a sixth-rounder is a steal, even if he’s injured and a pending RFA. One of the more puzzling returns of the day. They also picked up Corey Tropp from the Blackhawks for Tim Jackman and a seventh-rounder. Solid deadline for the Ducks, even if some of the bigger fish were never on the hook. GRADE: A-minus
Arizona Coyotes: Mikkel Boedker wanted a contract that GM Don Maloney didn’t want to give him, but Maloney wanted a price for Boedker on the trade market that he wasn’t going to budge on. He got it from the Colorado Avalanche: a roster player (Alex Tanguay, with an expiring contract), a prospect (defenseman Kyle Wood) and in Conner Bleackley, an unsigned first-rounder that could be converted into a supplemental second-round pick. Very nice haul.
Maloney also made two trades with the Penguins: a minor league deal whose principles including Dustin Jeffrey going back to the Pens and Matia Marcantuoni going to Arizona, and the acquisition of Sergei Plotnikov for Matthias Plachta and a conditional seventh. If Plotnikov doesn’t flee from Russia and can find his game, it’s a nice gamble. GRADE: B-plus
Boston Bruins: The Bruins held the line on dealing Loui Eriksson, keeping the price high (a first-rounder for sure, and a roster player) and deciding to hold onto him, contract status be damned.
The moves they did make were solid. John-Michael Liles has 15 points in 64 games, and is a perfectly fine puck-moving depth defenseman for Anthony Camara, a third and a fifth. A second-rounder and a fourth-rounder for Lee Stempniak is a bit of overpayment, but he’s having a career year. It just sucks when you have to deal two picks for a guy you had on a PTO. GRADE: B-plus
Buffalo Sabres: Tim Murray traded Mike Weber to the Capitals and Jamie McGinn to the Ducks. In the latter deal, if Anaheim wins two rounds and he plays half the games, McGinn’s conditional pick becomes a 2nd in 2017 instead of 3rd in 2016. Which would be a steal. GRADE: B-plus
Calgary Flames: Can someone please check on Brad Treliving to make sure he hasn’t broken a rib from laughing so hard?
The Flames GM began the deadline by flipping Markus Granlund for Hunter Shinkaruk. He snagged a second-round pick in 2016 and a fourth in 2018 from the Florida Panthers for center Jiri Hudler. Then came the home-run: defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward Brett Pollock and a conditional second-round pick that becomes a first if the Dallas Stars make the conference final, for Kris Russell.
Do the Flames have incriminating photos of Jim Nill or something?
They capped the day by getting a sixth-rounder and Niklas Backstrom’s contract for David Jones. GRADE: A
Carolina Hurricanes: The Eric Staal deal yielded a high-end prospect in Aleksi Saarela and two second-round picks, for a player that was only going to waive his no-move for one team, the New York Rangers. Then they turned Kris Versteeg into a fifth-rounder and forward Valentin Zykov, who has a ton of upside. Very strong deadline for GM Ron Francis, made stronger if Staal boomerangs back to the Hurricanes in the offseason. GRADE: A
Chicago Blackhawks: No rest for the champs. They aggressively reacquired Andrew Ladd in a package that saw Marko Dano, a first-round pick in 2016 and a conditional third in 2018 go to the Winnipeg Jets. They swapped Rob Scuderi for Christian Ehrhoff. They sent a second-round pick on 2018 and Phillip Danault to the Montreal Canadiens for Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise, as well as defenseman Tim Jackman from the Ducks. They mortgaged a bit of the future, but we all know the time is now for the Blackhawks. GRADE: A-minus
Colorado Avalanche: How you feel about the Avs’ deadline probably comes down to how you feel about Mikkel Boedker. He’s an asset on the power play and is going to be slotted on a line with MacKinnon and Landeskog, but his production wasn’t all that better than that of Alex Tanguay. Eric Gelinas arrives from New Jersey as a project defenseman with a booming shot and a propensity for ending up in the doghouse. Extend this to the Shawn Matthias deal on Feb. 21, and it’s a GRADE: B-minus for the Avalanche.
Dallas Stars: Sigh. Defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward Brett Pollock and a conditional second-round pick that becomes a first if the Stars make the conference final is overpayment for Kris Russell. He’ll help on the blueline, but not exactly a game-changer. And a potential first-rounder for him is a rare misstep from GM Jim Nill. GRADE: C
Edmonton Oilers: The chatter that Nail Yakupov might move turned out to just be more smoke. Pulling third-rounders for Teddy Purcell and Justin Schultz, picking up some salary on the latter, was shrewd. Patrick Maroon was a nice depth move, as he’s locked into a $2 million AAV deal for two more seasons. Now we just wait for the big dominoes to start falling. GRADE: B
Florida Panthers: Teddy Purcell (for a third) and Jiri Hudler (for a second and fourth) are really smart moves – veteran players who do things around the net that the Panthers lineup doesn’t always do. Jakub Kindl cost nothing and is fine for depth. Extra credit for laying off the ridiculous asking price from the Jets for Andrew Ladd – you’ll thank them when Lawson Crouse makes the show. GRADE: A
Los Angeles Kings: The Kings pick up a contract year in picking up Rob Scuderi for Christian Ehrhoff, but they also like and know Scuderi. Versteeg is a solid veteran asset for a boom-or-bust prospect in Valentin Zykov. With Marian Gaborik out, he’s a good add at a decent price, even if they really wanted Teddy Purcell. GRADE: B-minus
Minnesota Wild: Fare thee well, Niklas Backstrom’s contact. Greetings, versatile hard-working winger David Jones, who goes UFA this summer. Fine for what it was, but the Wild are still left without an impact trade this year. GRADE: B-minus
Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens pull a second-rounder in 2018 and Phillip Danault for Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise, and then flip Devante Smith-Pelly for Stefan Matteau in a trade of unfulfilled potentials. They also claimed Mike Brown off waivers, which has to piss John Scott right off as he wallows in St. John’s. Also, Marc Bergevin has apparently been locked in a cell for the last two months, based on his facial hair. GRADE: C-plus
Nashville Predators: A minor league deal for Corey Potter, and that was that. Rumors of a pending trade for Scott Hartnell were unfounded. Apparently the “trade” David Poile wants to make is getting Jimmy Vesey in the lineup ASAP. GRADE: B.
New Jersey Devils: The Devils turn Lee Stempniak into a second-rounder in 2017 and a fourth in 2016, flip Stefan Matteau – a huge mistake from the Lamoriello years – into Devante Smith-Pelly and deal Eric Gelinas from the doghouse for a 2017 third-round pick. All in all, a productive day for a team that’s still sorta kinda in the playoff hunt. GRADE: B-plus
New York Islanders: The Islanders didn’t trade Kyle Okposo, nor did they want to part with their first-round pick for a rental. They could have had P-A Parenteau for a second-rounder in 2017, but passed in favor of snagging 23-year-old restricted free agent forward Shane Prince for a third-rounder from the Ottawa Senators.Sometimes it’s the trades you don’t make. GRADE: B
New York Rangers: Eric Staal is a massive swing for the fences for the Rangers, a talent upgrade that cost them a top prospect and two second-rounders. They can’t be faulted for the win-now mindset, but this could end up looking ugly if Staal is an unsuccessful rental. GRADE: B
Ottawa Senators: Minor league deals here and there and a nice third-rounder from the Islanders for Shane Prince. The biggest news of the day was shutting down Kyle Turris for the season. GRADE: B-minus
Philadelphia Flyers: There was a sense that the Flyers might be more aggressive now that they’re back in the playoff hunt, but in the words of GM Ron Hextall, “You owe your players, the organization, the fans a certain amount. If something made sense long-term, we would have done it.” But nothing did. GRADE: B
Pittsburgh Penguins: Justin Schultz has a long way to go in building up his confidence and filling out his game, but GM Jim Rutherford liked the potential enough to give up a third-rounder for him. They also got a warm body back (Matthias Plachta) for Sergei Plotnikov, who was threatening a return to Russia because the Penguins had buried him on the depth chart. GRADE: B-plus
San Jose Sharks: The James Reimer deal is a really good one in the short term, providing coach Pete DeBoer with a goalie he won’t be afraid to play. If you include the two-seconds and Raffi Torres’s contract for Roman Polak and Nick Spaling, it’s overall a GRADE: B. Still too much for those Leafs castoffs.
St. Louis Blues: Added Anders Nilsson as goaltending insurance, but did nothing to bolster their offense. GM Doug Armstrong claims that Alex Steen Joni Lehtera and Steve Ott will give them the boost they need when they return from injury, and perhaps the Blues’ cap hindered their trade ability. But the bottom line is that this lineup needed goals added at the deadline, and the Blues didn’t. GRADE: D-plus
Tampa Bay Lightning: Steve Yzerman didn’t blink, kept Jonathan Drouin and will see how this whole thing plays out in the summer. That said, he also didn’t do anything to improve his team before the playoffs. GRADE: B
Toronto Maple Leafs: The war chest grows. The Leafs secured three second-round picks in trades involving Roman Polak, Nick Spaling and Daniel Winnik. They acquired Brooks Laich and Connor Carrick from the Capitals. They keep making smart little decisions. It’s really starting to scare us. GRADE: A-minus
Vancouver Canucks: Well, that happened. The Canucks deny that there was a deal in place to trade Dan Hamhuis to the Dallas Stars before Vancouver reneged, but that’s out there. Radim Vrbata is still in Vancouver. So is Hamhuis. So is Jannik Hansen. Hunter Shinkaruk isn’t, which might end up being a mistake. Just a brutal deadline for a rudderless team. GRADE: D-minus
Washington Capitals: The Capitals found a taker for Brooks Laich’s contract, and ended up with a nice depth forward in Daniel Winnik. Defenseman Mike Weber’s a nice add, too, for a 2017 third-rounder. GRADE: B-plus
Winnipeg Jets: Quite a nice haul for Andrew Ladd – Marko Dano, a first-rounder in 2016 and a conditional third-rounder in 2018 if the Hawks win the Cup. GRADE: B-plus