Several teams add key pieces during trade deadline


Photo via NHL

It won’t be known until the Stanley Cup is hoisted in June who the real winner was during this year’s deadline.

Nathan Breisinger, Sports Editor

With one last chance to solidify their teams before the playoffs, some NHL executives added big-time weapons before the trade deadline at 5 p.m. Monday.

The biggest move on deadline day occured between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Ottawa Senators, who were big sellers this deadline. Vegas added top six forward Mark Stone and Tobias Lindberg for elite defensive prospect Erik Brannstrom, forward Oscar Lindberg, and a 2020 second-round pick. This move makes Vegas once again a Cup contender and the Senators on the right track for a rebuild.

Dealing Stone to Vegas wasn’t the only big move Ottawa made in the past couple days. They dealt forwards Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets in two separate deals. The Senators, though, received good returns for both players, including three forwards, a 2019 first-round pick, a conditional 2020 first-round pick, and two second-round picks. Both these deals add offensive depth to the Blue Jackets’ roster, but they failed to bolster their defense.

Other teams that fared well on deadline day included the Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, and San Jose Sharks. Each team strengthened their offensive core.

The Jets traded for forward Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers, while they gave up forward Brendan Lemieux, a first-round pick in 2019, and a conditional fourth-round pick. This move improves their center core drastically, and Patrik Laine could play alongside Hayes.

The Predators added Wayne Simmonds and Mikael Granlund. Simmonds will help a struggling power play, which is the worst in the league, while Granlund brings a speed aspect to the offense. With these moves the Predators will remain atop the Central Division.

The Sharks added Gustav Nyquist. This move improves a team that already has a chance to make a Cup run. The Sharks are going all in this year with some key pieces heading to free agency this summer.

However, the Penguins were one of the teams that attempted to strengthen their defense.

The Pens added Erik Gudbranson from the Vancouver Canucks for forward Tanner Pearson. Gudbranson is a big defensive defenseman not known for his offensive ability, but he will help tighten up the back end.

Also, they added Chris Wideman from the Florida Panthers. Wideman has had stints with Edmonton, Ottawa, and recently Florida, but has seen limited playing time in the past few years in the NHL. The addition of these defenseman will help the Pens with the recent injuries to Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin.

Some playoff contenders that did not make any major moves included the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Islanders and Lightning both lead their divisions and did not want to mess with their team chemistry. On the other hand, the Maple Leafs missed out on acquiring a top four defenseman or a backup goalie. The failure to add a key defenseman could come back to bite them down the road.

While there were many winners on the day, there were some losers. The Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars failed to add any major pieces. The Stars did add a depth player in Mats Zuccarello, but he suffered an injury in his first game with the team and is out for four weeks.

As the race to the playoffs tightens up in the NHL, several teams cashed in on key players, while other teams decided to remain with the roster they have. It won’t be known until the Stanley Cup is hoisted in June who the real winner was during this year’s deadline.