The NHL trade deadline is a funny spectacle. Talk of deadline deals really starts the moment the draft ends in June. That means we go about eight months dreaming up trade scenarios that don’t happen.
Last year’s deadline was a big disappointment in terms of drama, as the pundits at TSN and Sportsnet spent most of the day talking about why there were so few deals. That made for great TV.
One reason that the deadline flubs these days is because of the NHL’s asinine point system that “promotes parity.” Just take a look of the number of teams that fancy themselves sellers against the ones that are ready to cash in and get ready for 2018-19. Thanks, Bettman.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) February 13, 2018
Buyers: Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Vegas Golden Knights, Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings
Sellers: Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes
Purgatory: Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche
Often, the deals that elevate teams from in the mix to legitimate playoff threat are the under-the-radar moves to shore up depth. Last year, the Capitals made the biggest splash in the rental market by acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk from the Blues for a big haul. How did it work out? Well, the Caps continued their tradition of winning the Presidents’ Trophy only to get bounced by Pittsburgh in the second round.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, made some minor moves, like trading for whatever was left of Mark Streit, to provide some cover on the back end.
This year there are plenty of big names being tossed around, but everyone knows what someone like all-world defenseman Erik Karlsson could do for a team, so let’s not waste any more column inches there.
Rather, the focus of this piece will be on players who could realistically move before Monday’s deadline and what they will mean to their new teams and the betting market going forward.
Note: All stats as of Feb. 22.