An historically busy NHL trade deadline saw the rich get richer in the Eastern Conference as Stanley Cup contenders loaded up for the playoffs, while the future of some losing franchises looks increasingly bleak, especially considering only one of them can draft generational talent Connor Bedard in the summer.
- This has been the busiest trade deadline in recent memory. Half the league is either tying to go all-in for a Stanley Cup or they're already trying to tank for Connor Bedard. So let's break down the winners and losers.
Don't you hate it when the rich get even richer? That's exactly what's happened for the Boston Bruins. Dmitri Orlov looks like a superstar alongside Brandon Carlo. They got Tyler Bertuzzi to add a little more depth to an already loaded group. The Bruins are on pace to break the all-time points record. And they look even stronger than they did two weeks ago. For that reason, they are the major winners of this year's trade deadline.
Kyle Dubas's back was against the wall. And boy, did he deliver. Toronto now has six new roster players, including Ryan O'Reilly and Noel Acciari. O'Reilly gives the Leafs some much-needed lineup flexibility. Acciari has reinvigorated the fourth line, while Jake McCabe, Eric Gustafson, and Luke Schenn add to a new-look Maple Leafs defense.
Say what you will about the Maple Leafs. If they don't get out of the first round, you can't blame Dubas for trying.
The NHL's most fun team got a lot more fun by landing the biggest fish at this year's trade deadline. Yes, the New Jersey Devils add Timo Meier, who fits their timeline perfectly with Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier in the prime of their careers. They get the best power forward in the league, arguably.
The Devils and the Rangers are going to play a first round series for the ages. And now New Jersey is loaded up for a Stanley Cup run that few would have predicted at the start of the year.
At long last, our national nightmare is over. Jakob Chycrun is off the Ottawa Senators, joining a loaded under 26 group that will eventually challenge for the Atlantic Division once Boston, Toronto, and Tampa Bay are done having their fun with the rest of the league.
And if you're worried about the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, have no fear. The first round pick that Ottawa sent back to Arizona is top five protected, meaning if Ottawa bottoms out in these final 20 games, they'll still have a chance at the generational talent.
This one is pretty simple. If you can't even get a first round pick in return for the best player in franchise history in Patrick Kane, you've failed miserably. Chicago essentially got a sandwich from the bear in return for Kane. And if you were a fan of the team that was looking forward to a new generation of prospects, picks, and a chance at Connor Bedard, you must be wondering about the direction of the franchise.
Mike Greer's first deadline as general manager went terribly. San Jose had the best asset at the entire deadline in Timo Meier. And they received an underwhelming return from New Jersey Devils in exchange for the power forward. Sure, [INAUDIBLE] is a nice player. But the package of picks and prospects was completely underwhelming relative to his value.
On top of that, they found a way to alienate Norris Trophy candidate Erik Karlsson by not moving the 32-year-old defenseman in the prime of his career. This can't go down as anything but an unmitigated disaster for the Sharks.
We'll look silly if the Hurricanes end up winning the Stanley Cup. But this has been a pretty underwhelming deadline for the Metropolitan leader. Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon promised that the team would be pretty aggressive at the deadline. But Shayne Gostisbehere beer and Jesse Pulujarvi doesn't really represent the all-in move we expected from a team that should be pushing their chips all-in in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
Look, the Arizona Coyotes have been an embarrassment all season. And they further their embarrassment at the deadline. By taking on close to 58% of dead cap space, they're showing they're a pretty unserious franchise. They don't really have an arena. And they got a pretty underwhelming return for Jakob Chycrun.
Yes, Ottawa sent them a first round pick, but it's top five projected. So if the Coyotes aren't going to have a chance at getting Connor Bedard, [INAUDIBLE] their own pick. If they don't get Connor Bedard with their own selection, they have no direction. They have no arena. And really, they have no future.