NHL Trade Deadline Analysis

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Trades and trade rumors were exciting in the final hours and minutes before the NHL trade deadline came and went. Once the clock hit 12 a.m. on March 2, 2017, team rosters were frozen – no more moves could be made. Some franchises were able to upgrade, while others … not so much.

Is your team fielding a better lineup now than they did in December or January? How were these trades graded, and did your team’s general manager come out looking like the star pupil or class clown? We took a look at some of the biggest trades that occurred right up until the NHL trade deadline window closed to see which teams came out looking the best.

Power Plays

Here are the biggest deals, broken down by days, that occurred before the NHL trade deadline expired.

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Sunday, February 26

The Los Angeles Kings trade G Peter Budaj, D Erik Cernak, a seventh-round pick, and a conditional pick in the 2017 Draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning for G Ben Bishop and fifth-round pick in the 2017 Draft.

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Ben Bishop may not have been a Lighting player at the end of the season, so the team’s general manager Steve Yzerman found a way to get some value for the established goalkeeper. However, the quality of this trade depends on how the conditional pick pans out, as it may be tied to how deep into the playoffs the Kings go. The Kings gave up a lot for Bishop, especially since one of their goalies, Jonathan Quick, returned from injury in fine form. It’s an expensive insurance policy.

The Arizona Coyotes trade F Martin Hanzal, F Ryan White, and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 Draft to the Minnesota Wild for F Grayson Downing, a first-round pick in the 2017 Draft, a second-round pick in 2018, and a conditional pick in 2019.

Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher wants to win the Western Conference, and this move brings his organization closer to doing that. While he had to use draft picks as collateral, he also helped the Wild keep prospects such as Kirill Kaprizov, Jordan Greenway, and Joel Eriksson Ek. The Coyotes and general manager John Chayka, however, managed to get a high return for a player who could be on a different team next season. Both the Coyotes and Wild earned high marks for their trade deadline execution, each received an A- from SBNation.

Monday, February 27

The St. Louis Blues trade D Kevin Shattenkirk and G Pheonix Copley to the Washington Capitals for F Brad Malone, F Zach Sanford, a 2017 Draft first-round pick, and conditional draft picks.

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How do you set up your team as Stanley Cup favorites? If you’re Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan, you go out and upgrade in an area where you’re already dominant. Adding Shattenkirk to his team’s defense, even if it is just until the end of the season, helps to strengthen their power plays. On the other side of the puck, the Blues were in a no-win scenario. Last year, they let David Backes and Troy Brouwer leave as free agents without capitalizing. The Blues didn’t make the same mistake this time, but they’ll need the Capitals to advance deep into the playoffs for those conditional picks to come good.

The Tampa Bay Lightning trade F Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs for F Byron Froese and a conditional second-round pick in the 2017 Draft.

Did the Toronto Maple Leafs want an extended trial of Brian Boyle before he hits free agency at the end of the season? Perhaps! Their cupboard was stocked with second-round picks, so they didn’t give up too much to see if Boyle fits in well with the Leafs. Meanwhile, the Lighting may end up with 10 picks in the 2017 NHL Draft, giving them extended flexibility as they look to negotiate trades or acquire new talent after the season ends.

Tuesday, February 28

The Detroit Red Wings trade D Brendan Smith to the New York Rangers for a 2017 Draft third-round pick and a 2018 Draft second-round pick.

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Most analysts were not a fan of the Rangers’ decision to sell off tomorrow for Brendan Smith, who is a strong defender but not on the level of a player like Shattenkirk, who went to the Washington Capitals. The New York Rangers earned C+ grades from CBS Sports and SBNation for this trade, both being very critical of how much they gave away to acquire the “more-than-viable fill-in” Smith. Meanwhile, Detroit earned A grades for a team that typically is buying, not selling, before the deadline.

Wednesday, March 1

The Tampa Bay Lightning trade F Valtteri Filppula, a fourth-round pick, and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2017 Draft to the Philadelphia Flyers for D Mark Streit; the Tampa Bay Lightning trade D Mark Streit to Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2018 Draft fourth-round pick.

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This three-team trade may end up getting counted as a win for each of the three teams involved, even if the Tampa Bay Lightning just worked their magic as a middleman. While the Lightning did manage to add to their draft pick total and free up some cap space, the other two teams found ways to add players in positions of need. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking for Streit to provide quality help on defense while the Flyers, in Filppula, get a playmaking center who still has a year remaining on his existing contract. If he doesn’t pan out, the Flyers would be able to ship him off next season without too much lost.

The Detroit Red Wings trade F Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for D Dylan McIlrath and a conditional third-round pick in the 2017 Draft.

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As a team looking to push for a wild-card spot, the Florida Panthers needed to do something. What they did was add Thomas Vanek to their side, in the hopes he can add the same attacking threat he provided the Detroit Red Wings. Vanek has scored 15 goals for Detroit this season, which is more impressive when you consider he missed nearly a month of games due to injury. The Red Wings continue to stockpile assets they can either use in the draft or include in trades after the end of the current season.

Face Off

Your team may have been one of the many teams wheeling and dealing before the close of the NHL trade deadline. Did they give up more than you thought they should? Do you believe they did enough to make a legitimate push into the Stanley Cup Finals this year? Or are they already scheming for what happens at the end of the season? No matter how your team ended up, make sure you sport their colors at the game or out-and-about by getting the best officially licensed NHL team merchandise and apparel at Fanatics.com.

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