It was quantity over quality on 2015 NHL trade deadline day. There were 24 trades made with 42 players moved, along with 21 picks. That’s ahead of last year’s total, but most of the big moves were made leading up to the March 2 deadline day.
Which teams made the biggest strides to the Stanley Cup? Which teams made the smartest moves towards rebuilding? Which teams stood pat but shouldn’t have? Which teams smartly stood pat?
Here is the Puck Daddy 2015 NHL trade deadline report card. Keep in mind we factor in the days leading up to the deadline day as well.
Anaheim Ducks: A-
If Bruce Boudreau fails to get out of the second round again, it won’t be because GM Bob Murray didn’t fill his tool chest. The James Wisniewski deal brings a longer term than one might want, but it also brings a known quantity who can help the power play. Simon Despres for Ben Lovejoy? Larceny. Korbinian Holzer, when healthy, can help. And Tomas Fleischmann is a depth offensive player that Boudreau knows well. Full speed ahead. Don’t blow it, Brucey.
Arizona Coyotes: A
What a difference actual ownership makes. The Coyotes move out Keith Yandle, Zybnek Michalek and Antoine Vermette and actually retain salary in each deal to make them work with their trade partners’ caps. The haul was impressive, too: Klas Dahlbeck, Anthony Duclair, Maxim Letunov, two firsts and a second. Tanking and “resetting.” It’s the Don Maloney way.
Brett Connolly is an RFA at the end of the season, and is a far better use of two second-round picks than on an older player. There’s reason to believe he could be a top sixer, but he was a bottom-sixer who played with some edge this season for Tampa. Max Talbot is not a good player at this point in his career, although shipping out Jordan Caron for him isn’t a huge loss (and Colorado retains salary).
At the very least, Peter Chiarelli chose the right path: Attempting to pivot to younger, cheaper talent rather than overpaying for a rental. But perhaps there was some middle ground left uncovered, a move that could help now and later. Connolly doesn’t quite get there for us, which means the Bruins failed to make a move that ensures them a playoff seed.
Buffalo Sabres: A-
Dumped more bodies, collected more picks. The second-rounder for Chris Stewart is about right. And they shipped out Michal Neuvirth, who was really playing much too well for a team built to lose every game.
Calgary Flames: B+
Nice haul of picks for players that no longer fit into the plans. A second and a third for Curtis Glencross. A second for Sven Baertschi, who wanted out and who wasn’t working. A nice deadline for Brad Treliving, overshadowed by the depressing, devastating loss of Mark Giordano for the season. (The Flames kept that under wraps as long as they could to try and find help on ‘D’ to no avail.)
Nice seller’s deadline for Ron Francis. Getting a first-rounder and Roland McKeown for Andrej Sekera. Getting a third for Jiri Tlusty. Getting speedy little Jack Hillen for the U.S.S. Tim Gleason. Now, when’s the Staal trade?
Chicago Blackhawks: A-
Undaunted by Patrick Kane’s injury, Stan Bowman goes all-in for a Cup run. Antoine Vermette helps this team in several areas. Kimmo Timonen could be the steal of the deadline if he remains healthy – those old wheels had a lot of rest this season. There’s also a lot to like about Andrew Desjardins in their bottom six. The Hawks gave up plenty at the deadline, but they added plenty, too.
Two little moves – adding Freddie Hamilton and Mat Clark – and one slightly bigger one in flipping Max Talbot for Jordan Caron. They probably should have moved Danny Briere and Jan Hejda, but didn’t. But they also didn’t move Ryan O’Reilly, which is a good thing.
The Nathan Horton/David Clarkson swap was ingenious and creative, but at the end of the day it’s still a bad contract on their books -- no retention of salary from the Leafs. The Jordan Leopold trade was heartwarming, but could actually help in adding Justin Falk. A second-rounder and William Karlsson were the additions for sending James Wisniewski back to the Ducks. They were probably better off trading Cam Atkinson than re-signing him.
Dallas Stars: B
You have to like the return Jim Nill got for Erik Cole: Mattias Backman was a top 10 prospect for the Wings, Mattas Janmark has potential and a second-rounder. Would have liked to have seen Shawn Horcoff flipped for something, but it sounds like Dallas wants him around.
Erik Cole doesn’t have a goal in his last 34 playoff games, which is … wow. Not a fan of his game, but as an insurance policy at forward he’s decent, despite a hefty price from the Stars. Marek Zidlicky, on the other hand, is a puck-mover with lots of experience and a nice add for Ken Holland. But the biggest win: Staying off Phaneuf.
Edmonton Oilers: D-
As Robert Tychkowski wrote in the Edmonton Sun:
So the Oilers spend a second round draft pick on Jeff Petry in 2006, develop him for five years until he is finally good enough to be a key ingredient on their blueline, and then trade him away for a second round draft pick.
The Oilers did nothing, Craig MacTavish gave another “ALL IS WELL REMAIN CALM” press conference and Edmonton fans watch nearly every player they’ve given up on star for another team this season. Say, that Minnesota goalie’s pretty good…
Florida Panthers: B
The Cats did pretty well for themselves. Third rounder for Sean Bergenheim. Second rounder and the empty husk of Dany Heatley for Tomas Fleischmann. Giving up a second and a third for Jaromir Jagr was a bit much, but having him for the playoff push (and to rub off on the team’s younger stars) is a good thing. Deductions for not moving Tomas Kopecky and Scottie Upshall.
Minnesota Wild: B+
The Jordan Leopold thing goes beyond heartwarming tale – it gives them a much-needed veteran hand on that blueline. Sean Bergenheim needed a change in scenery and the Wild are a good landing spot. Chris Stewart gives that lineup some much needed size and snarl in the West. (The fact that Chuck Fletcher waited it out and only gave up a second-rounder is solid.) The Wild had needs, filled them, and are better now than they were last week.
The Petry trade is a steal, even if he doesn’t re-sign. Just a smart move for a possession-driving defensively responsible blueliner. Devante Smith-Pelley for Jiri Sekac could be boom or bust. But adding Torrey Mitchell and Bryan Flynn for peanuts gives them some added depth up front.
We can’t in good faith include the Cody Franson deal as a “deadline deal,” but knowing that they already made their big move means this deadline was a wash. It would have been nice to see them add a piece in the middle, but the market for centers – especially UFA centers – was atrocious.
The Devils pulled “conditional draft picks” from the Red Wings for Zidlicky and got a second ad a conditional third for Jagr. That’s good. That they were unable to unload anything else from this overage, overpaid and underwhelming roster? That’s bad. But someone was under the de-LOU-sion they were contenders, so the sell-off started late.
The Islanders added Dustin Jeffrey for Cory Conacher, who has officially reached journeyman status. They added Tyler Kennedy, a nice veteran for the bottom six. And they upgraded their backup goalie slot with Neuvirth. Smart, little moves from GM Garth Snow, who has made all the right ones this season.
Screw the future and reach for the Cup. The Keith Yandle trade might be known as the Anthony Duclair trade in five years, but you have to give to get and the Rangers now have the deepest defense in the NHL. James Sheppard in and Lee Stempniak out were good little moves too. This team has a window to win for the next 2-3 years. You can’t kill them for trying to jump through it.
The Senators are living in that no man’s land of contention and looking at next year. But they ended the deadline with a logjam on defense and with the contracts of David Legwand, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening still on the books.
It may not top the idiocy of the Thrashers sending Braydon Coburn for Alexei Zhitnik, but the Flyers pulling a first, a third and Radko Gudas for Coburn was a coup, even if Coburn plays well for the Lightning. The Flyers also snagged a second rounder for the waning days of Kimmo Timonen. The first time in a long time one feels the Flyers have a steady hand, and a plan, in the GM’s office.
Giving up on Simon Despres was more indicative of the organization’s depth on the blue line than his development … which is why one hoped they’d had flipped him for help up front. But they love them some Ben Lovejoy, who really found his game playing for Bruce Boudreau. Then they add another defenseman in Ian Cole, who could never find a steady gig with the Blues. This felt like a deadline where the Penguins had something major in the works that just never materialized.
San Jose Sharks: C-
A few bodies dumped, Ben Smith acquired for Desjardins … a tough deadline for the Sharks being in contention, which meant they might have hung onto some players (Niemi) that might have otherwise been traded. But they needed a kick in the pants and Doug Wilson couldn't deliver one.
St. Louis Blues: B+
Zybnek Michalek was a smart move by Doug Armstrong, provided he’s healthy. He and Robert Bortuzzo bolster an already stout defense. The Olli Jokinen deal … who knows how much he can actually give you. But it’s another veteran who can score goals, and goals have been the Blues’ undoing in the postseason in our opinion.
Steve Yzerman preaches about not overpaying at the deadline and conserving first-round picks … and then overpays at the deadline and trades a first-round pick. This isn’t to say Coburn won’t work out in Tampa, because he’s a good fit for what they do. This is just to say that a first-rounder and a third-rounder AND Radko Gudas is the best argument we’ve seen for not making trades at 2 a.m. But getting two seconds for spare part Brett Connolly was nice.
Toronto Maple Leafs: A
The Leafs’ selloff saw them turn Daniel Winnik into Zach Sill, a second and a fourth; Korbinian Holzer into Eric Brewer’s expiring contract; Olli Jokinen into anything; and David Clarkson into cap space. A nice first whack of the wrecking ball before the big names (Phaneuf, Lupul, Bozak) are shown the door.
They didn’t move Zack Kassian, which was commendable. They took a chance on Sven Baertschi, who wanted out of Calgary, costing them a second rounder. Cory Conacher get another tour stop. They’re a playoff team, which meant nothing dramatic with their higher-priced players.
A few years removed from Filip Forsberg-for-Martin Erat, it’s good to see sanity reign at the deadline. Renting Curtis Glencross for a second and a third is great; there was plenty of interest in him and the Caps won the derby. The addition of Tim Gleason to that blue line ... it’s an expiring contract on their last pairing that gives them more size and experience.
Kevin Cheveldayoff made his first player-for-player deal this season and now he can’t stop! Lee Stempniak adds a little offense in exchange for Carl Klingberg. Jiri Tlusty, acquired with draft picks, might have been a product of playing with Eric Staal but brings some goal scoring to the lineup. We’re just excited to see this team adding at the deadline … although subtracting Frolik would have been fine, too.
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