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Trade Deadline Grades As I See Them

The trade deadline in any sport is a tough time for fans, but is even worse for the athlete. The deadline is the last day in which any trade requests can be placed. For some teams, the trade deadline could mean finding the “missing piece” to make a deep playoff run, and for some just trading a pending unrestricted free agent whom they may have lost for nothing at season’s end. For the teams that are uncertain of their playoff spot, it also means that they are giving players interested in coming back a chance at the coveted “Prize”. It’s a fun time for the fans, but a challenging time for players.  

Not only do some have to get used to a new team, but they have to get used to their new environment. However, they are acquired in hopes that their performance remains consistent. Since the trade deadline just 9 days ago, the teams that made some major moves have now had a chance to get to see their new acquisitions in action. Here is the major “winners” and “losers” of the deadline. 

Washington Capitals: (WINNERS) – Sitting at, or near the top of the league from Day 1, it seems that the Capitals have what it takes for a deep playoff run. With players who can score from anywhere on the ice, goalies that have shown no sign of cooling off, they were only missing one thing – A defenseman who could not only play defense, but he could score too. They got their man in Kevin Shattenkirk. Since being traded by the Blues, Shattenkirk has played five games and scored three points. Washington has just 19 goals scored by the defensemen on the team this year. Shattenkirk alone has 11 goals and 31 assists. Time will tell who the true winner of this trade is, but the Capitals seem to have made the right moves this year. Maybe they are ready for a deep playoff run.
Vancouver Canucks: (WINNERS) – During a week in which the Canucks GM got roasted for a trade where the team acquired Nikolay Goldobin in exchange for Jannnik Hansen, the team also sent Alex Burrows to Ottawa in exchange for Jonathan Dahlen. Oh, and going back to the first trade, the draft pick involved was a conditional 4th round pick in the draft. If the Sharks win the Stanley Cup, it becomes a first round pick. With those trades, the Canucks can say “goodbye” to the “glory days” of the 2010 season, and start building toward the future. 

Colorado Avalanche: (Trade Deadline Losers) – Colorado only had one big trade that was noteworthy. The Avs sent Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings for a 2018 pick. However, it could be lost if the Kings don’t make the playoffs. The Avs made a very wise decision to keep Gabriel Landeskog, and Matt Duchene, as ultimately they could help the Avalanche succeed with the right line mates in the future. In the end, they had to give up a piece of their team that could have been valuable.

Tampa Bay Lightning: (WINNERS) – Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman raised eyebrows when he traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings on February 26 for a grab bag of unspectacular players and draft picks. He got a little more love for dealing impending unrestricted free agent Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 28 in exchange for a second-round draft pick and center Byron Froese, but Yzerman was saving his best work for deadline day.

Like a magician he seemed to use sleight of hand to come out of this trade deadline losing only one draft pick. Yzerman was able to deal center Valtteri Filppula, with his $5 million cap hit and his no-movement clause to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Mark Streit. Then, Yzerman flipped Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fourth-round draft pick.

In essence, Yzerman ended up giving up a seventh-round pick to free his team of Filppula’s contract. The Lightning were facing terrible salary-cap constraints, with a number of important restricted free agents needing new contracts. Additionally, Filppula’s no-movement clause meant that he would automatically have been one of Tampa Bay’s protected forwards at the expansion draft; quite possibly at the expense of a quality younger player.
Dallas Stars: (NEUTRAL) – Dallas has had one of those seasons that made many Stars fans cringe. A lineup with a nice ratio of young player to veterans just hasn’t been able to get going. Injuries caused by the Worrld Cup of Hockey during the summer seemed to be the start of more injuries to follow. One player even had an illness that caused him to miss several games. As key players missed game after game, the guys tapped to fill in just couldn’t develop chemistry with the other players. 

The season would wear on, the Stars would show some signs of life but we’re just too inconsistent. As a result of these events, the Stars traded away prospects Brendan Ranford, and Branden Troock to the Coyotes for Justin Hache, and Justin Peters. Peters has been doing well in the AHL, as he maintains a 3.20 GAA. This could be a hint toward the future of the Dallas Stars’ goalie situation at season’s end. leading scorer – Patrick Eaves – was sent to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional second round pick not long after. The part of this trade that makes them winners, is that the second round pick becomes a first round pick if he plays in 50% of the remaining games.  

Three days after trading Eaves, Dallas traded Jordie Benn, a defenseman to Montreal in exchange for defenseman Greg Pateryn, and a 4th round pick in the draft. Dallas, however, did not lose out on this trade because Pateryn has size and physical skill that the Stars have already used to their advantage. Not long after this trade. In fact, just 24 hours after, Dallas sent defenseman Johnny Oduya back to Chicago. The end result of this trade saw Dallas get a conditional 4th round pick and Mark McNeill. McNeill has the ability to impose his will on both ends of the ice, is talented, but tends to lose focus according to HockeysFuture.com.

Columbus Blue Jackets: (WINNERS) – What we have seen from Columbus over the last few years, is a young team slowly working toward becoming one who is consistently good. Over the past few seasons, the Jackets have built a team of some of the most dangerous players to hit the ice this year. Ranking among the top teams in the East consistently this year has afforded them the opportunity to pretty much keep their lineup together. Columbus only made two moves on deadline day. Dalton Prout would be sent to New Jersey in exchange for Kyle Quincey. Acquiring Prout for Quincey allowed thee Jackets to keep their hands on a decent, yet developing defenseman. 

Chicago Blackhawks: (WINNERS) – Chicago, once again, is one of those teams that consistently hovers near the top of the standings. With players such as Kane and Toews, Darling, and the immense talent there was only two pieces to the ‘Hawks puzzle they were missing. Tomas Jurco was acquired from Detroit for a third round pick. He along with Johnny Oduya were brought in to bolster an already talented team. Minus a few prospects involved in other trades, Chicago was in a position to mostly stay quiet. 

St. Louis Blues: (Trade Deadline Losers) – After what seemed like a promising start to something big last year, the Blues, much like the Stars have been polar opposites of their former selves from last year. For the Blues, gone are the days where David Backes, (lost to free agency before season began) and Kevin Shattenkirk ruled the ice. What seemed like another decent team just re-loading up on young talent has become a team finding its identity. As the season has gone on, their lack of success has brought on the winds of change. Kevin Shattenkirk will surely be missed through the remainder of the season.