The National Hockey League trade deadline is always a stressful time. The anxiety starts in the week leading up to the day where fans (and players) are on high alert to who from their team is on the move. This year’s trade deadline was made even more exciting because of the tight race to the playoffs in the West where the wildcard pairings seem to change after every game.
The surprises started with the Minnesota Wild trading forward Charlie Coyle for Boston Bruins Ryan Donato and a 2019 conditional fifth-round pick. Carl Hagelin found his way back into the Metro division when the Los Angeles Kings traded him to the Washington Capitals for a 2019 third-round pick and 2020 conditional sixth-round pick.
Senators were up next trading center Matt Duchene and defenseman Julius Bergman to the Blue Jackets for forwards Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson and a 2019 or 2020 first-round pick on Friday. The following day the Senators yet again engaged with the Blue Jackets trading forward Ryan Dzingel for Jackets forward Anthony Duclair, a 2020 second-round pick, and 2021 second-round pick. The Senators would end the day by sending Matt Stone (the sought after guy of the 2019 deadline) to the Vegas Golden Knights (thus crowning the Knights the 2019 trade deadline winners). The moves also signaled to fans that the rebuild is official and that they need to have patience.
The New York Rangers shocked fans when they dealt Mats Zuccarello to the Dallas Stars and Zuc suffered a broken arm on Sunday in his first game in the Stars sweater and will be out for a few weeks. So while the move was exciting in the beginning, now it’s bittersweet because of the broken arm and subsequent recovery time. (I should also mention that Jamie Benn also left the game with an upper-body injury which makes it even worse).
Just when Philadelphia Flyers fans thought they were going to get through the trade deadline without losing any of their players, the Flyers pulled off a last second trade sending Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 fourth-round pick.
Prior to the Stadium Series, the Penguins were probably set with their previous roster moves. But then under the lights at Lincoln Financial the Pens lost their top defensive pairing, Brian Dumolin to a concussion (following a highly questionable hit from Simmonds) and Kris Letang suffered an upper body injury mere seconds later taking him out of the game. So losing Dumoulin and Letang coupled with already not having Olli Matta, the Pens were on the hunt for defensive guys. Now if you listen to hockey people on Twitter the two guys the Penguins traded for, Erik Gudbranson of the Vancouver Canucks and Chris Wideman of the Florida Panthers, were highly suspect moves and left them shaking their heads at why the Pens would go after these two. But the Pens are desperate to regain their playoff spot and while their down their top d-men they need to ensure that they have some sort of chance at a playoff run.
So there you have a highlight at the bigger moves of the day, I’d love to hear what grade you would give these teams on their trade moves and if as a fan you’re more confident about your team’s chances of making deep playoff runs with their newest acquisitions.