32 post-deadline takes: Chychrun saga the latest embarrassment for Coyotes, NHL
From the Anaheim Ducks down to the Winnipeg Jets, here's where each of the NHL's 32 teams stand after Friday's trade deadline.
Take a deep breath, everyone! The busiest NHL trade deadline in recent memory has concluded, the balance of power has firmly shifted to the Eastern Conference, and the league’s worst teams have accelerated their tanking efforts for Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson and the rest of the loaded 2023 NHL Draft Class.
We don’t want to bore you with a write-up that reads like Infinite Jest, so here’s a brief outlook on how every team’s approach to the deadline reflects their current state of affairs, both in a current and long-term sense.
Also, in case you missed it, here’s every trade that happened before the deadline.
Anaheim Ducks: Duck for cover. Sorry, but the NHL’s worst defensive team corroded even further with Dmitry Kulikov and John Klingberg (he was atrocious defensively this year, but the point remains) on the move to Pittsburgh and Minnesota, respectively. Anaheim is going to hemorrhage goals but it will all be worth it if the lottery balls fall in its favor, and they now have 12 picks spanning the first three rounds of the 2023 and 2024 drafts.
Arizona Coyotes: With over 57 percent of their contracts tied to dead cap space, this isn’t just a team tanking for Connor Bedard, it’s an outright embarrassment. People want to joke about Mullett Arena, but it’s a complete failure that the team couldn’t secure a rink with professional capacities. Compounding matters, the Coyotes received a top-five protected pick from the Senators in exchange for Jakob Chychrun — meaning the Senators will still get a super prospect if the pick falls within the top five, and the pick converts to the 2024 Draft, which is shaping up to be the weakest class in ages. Yiiiiiiikes.
Boston Bruins: Dmitry Orlov looks downright unstoppable next to Brandon Carlo, while Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway add secondary scoring and grit to the deepest forward group in the league. A team that may break the single-season points record got markedly better. God help us all.
Buffalo Sabres: A pretty neutral deadline for the NHL’s most exciting bubble team. In comes Jordan Greenway, a 6-foot-6 forward who needs to regain his scoring touch. Out goes Rasmus Asplund, who in a vacuum, is a slightly worse player than Greenway. Boring doesn’t make headlines, but the Sabres were wise to keep the status quo, as their young stars continue to develop.
Calgary Flames: The first-ever brother-for-brother deal is a cool piece of trivia, but we’re not sure how the Flames are materially better than they were a month ago. Calgary still boasts one of the best shot creation profiles in the league amid a disappointing season. Are they banking on a return to 2022 form during the final 20 games of the season?
Carolina Hurricanes: Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon promised his team would be aggressive at the deadline. It resulted in Jesse Puljujarvi and Shayne Gostisbhere, two quality players to be sure, but this wasn’t the home run swing we expected from a leading Stanley Cup contender. Dundon and his crew will have the last laugh if Jordan Staal is lifting the trophy in June.
Chicago Blackhawks: Chicago couldn’t even get a first-round pick in return for Patrick Kane, the best player in franchise history. Although Chicago had no real negotiation power, it’s somewhat unfathomable that it couldn’t improve its future prospects in any real way. It’s going to be bleak and if Chicago doesn’t win the lottery, it could be outright hopeless.
Colorado Avalanche: Can a championship hangover last until March? Colorado went about its business quietly, perhaps with a Gatorade in hand, picking up faceoff specialist Lars Eller from Washington in exchange for a 2025 second-rounder. Jack Johnson also returned, while Ryan Merkley is a low-risk, high-upside addition. Clean and efficient business, now someone please turn the lights off until the playoffs start, the Avalanche need to go back to bed.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Jonathan Quick was reportedly incensed about being moved to the Blue Jackets, so they did him a solid and moved him to the Golden Knights. This transaction was a pretty damning indictment of the Blue Jackets, who have nothing to play for but lottery odds.
Dallas Stars: Dallas could surely benefit from additional scoring and picked up Max Domi, who was leading Chicago with 18 goals and 49 points prior to the deadline. Will Domi’s defensive liabilities become a problem in the Stars’ defense-first system? A second-round pick is a relatively cheap acquisition cost but we’re curious to see if Domi is a stylistic fit.
Detroit Red Wings: Dylan Larkin signed a eight-year extension worth $69.8 million, then cried days later when Tyler Bertuzzi was dealt to the Bruins. Oskar Sundqvist, Jakub Vrana and Filip Hronek are also leaving the Motor City. It’s going to be pretty lonely for Larkin, Mo Seider, Lucas Raymond and the rest of Detroit’s core.
Edmonton Oilers: We worried the Oilers were going to sit by and do nothing, but they traded a 2023 first-round pick for Mattias Ekholm. Ekholm is a solid defender who can be used in all situations, but he’s not exactly Erik Karlsson. If Connor McDavid and company can’t get to the Cup final, general manager Ken Holland will draw criticism for not maximizing the prime of the world’s best player.
Florida Panthers: Florida did nothin' at the deadline, so here’s a fitting musical interlude from N.O.R.E.
Los Angeles Kings: We really like this deadline for the Kings. General manager Rob Blake came under fire for trading Jonathan Quick, but it’s a cold business and he got a better goaltender in Joonas Korpisalo. Vladislav Gavrikov eats minutes and improves the bottom pair, while Los Angeles didn’t give up any of its top prospects or young players, remaining flexible within two timelines.
Montreal Canadiens: Remember when Denis Gurianov went off during the 2020 playoffs? Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes apparently remembers too. It was a quiet deadline otherwise for a bad Canadiens team that remained committed to the tank without giving up good players in the process.
Minnesota Wild: It’s not altogether a bad deadline for the Wild, only that John Klingberg, who has been one of the NHL’s worst defensive defenseman this season, is now joining a team that plays a defense-first system. Klingberg isn’t nearly the same offensive threat that he used to be and the Wild are likely betting that the Ducks were merely a toxic environment. Oskar Sundqvist and Gustav Nyquist at minimal cost to improve the team’s offense — now, that’s some clever work from general manager Bill Guerin.
Nashville Predators: Nashville traded Mattias Ekholm and Mikael Granlund, and Tanner Jeannot for a boatload of picks. It may have been two years too late, but the Predators have realized the dream is over.
New Jersey Devils: The most fun team in the NHL went after the best trade target available, and now Timo Meier joins a fast and explosive forwards corps in New Jersey. More impressive, the Devils didn’t have to trade any of their top prospects — including Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec — or any of their younger roster players like Dawson Mercer, who is on a scoring binge. Massive win, but not to be outdone by their rival across the Hudson.
New York Rangers: Big names, bright lights, welcome to New Yoooooooork. Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko are both part of the revamped Rangers, but are they somewhat redundant? Both players are past their prime, and both are highly gifted offensive talents that are completely negligent defensively. However, both players have won Stanley Cups — three in Kane’s case. Will their playoff pedigree and scoring output outweigh their clear defensive flaws?
New York Islanders: If you recall, the Islanders started the frenzy by trading for Bo Horvat on Jan. 30. Horvat’s scoring pace has tailed off a bit since joining the Isles and it remains a questionable move especially if the Sabres, with four games in hand, leapfrog the Islanders for a wild-card spot. We’re all for the aggressiveness, but attaching a 2023 conditional first-round pick for Horvat seems to be a shaky decision.
Ottawa Senators: By acquiring Jakob Chychrun, while adding top-five protections to the 2023 first-round pick sent to the Coyotes, the Senators acquired another stellar player who fits into their timeline. The Atlantic powers won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, but Ottawa may have the best under-26 core in the NHL and could still bottom out for Bedard. They’re one of the major winners of the deadline.
Philadelphia Flyers: In the most confusing development of deadline day, the Flyers didn’t end up sending James van Riemsdyk to the Red Wings after all. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said they didn’t receive a firm offer for the veteran forward. At least they went out and got penalty merchant Brendan Lemieux? Not a great month for a team that is tanking, no matter what their embattled head coach may say.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. Jeff Petry, Dmitry Kulikov and Nick Bonino — who won back-to-back cups with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017 — are heading back to Pittsburgh, in the hopes that the team can catch fire from a wild-card spot and knock off either Boston or Carolina in the opening round. Mikael Granlund’s blazing speed is an asset too, and this team is notably better than it was two weeks ago, but Ron Hextall has destroyed the team’s salary cap. The future doesn’t matter when your team is full of guys that can vividly remember the 1990s.
San Jose Sharks: Sharks general manager Mike Grier botched it during his first trade deadline. Timo Meier was the best player widely available, and while Fabian Zetterlund was playing well for New Jersey, it was a ridiculously underwhelming return for a 26-year-old star in his prime. Erik Karlsson doesn’t seem thrilled about playing on a hopeless San Jose squad. It’s a steep learning curve.
Seattle Kraken: Seattle is quietly confident and made two solid depth moves without subtracting from its roster, adding third-pair defender Jayson Megna from San Jose and forward Oliver Bjorkstrand from Columbus — who has hit the 20-goal mark three times in his career. Solid, analytically-driven moves from a team that leads the NHL in 5-on-5 goals.
St. Louis Blues: One step forward, two steps back. They’re arguably the most confusing team to figure out. St. Louis let Ivan Barbashev for an underwhelming prospect in Zach Dean, they received a first-round pick in exchange for captain Ryan O’Reilly and fourth-line dynamo Noel Acciari, Vladimir Tarasenko went to New York for a package centering a conditional 2023 first-round pick and Sammy Blais. St. Louis also went and acquired Jakub Vrana, who can score in bunches when healthy. They have three first-rounders in this year’s draft but aren’t bad enough to tank. I guess they get points for remaining flexible and 2019 was a long time ago.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Tanner Jeannot’s scoring has fallen off a cliff, but the Lightning have been historically correct about all their deadline acquisitions under Julien BriseBois’s watch, so they get a conditional pass based on their impeccable resume.
Toronto Maple Leafs: If the Maple Leafs fail to get past the opening round, you can’t fault Kyle Dubas for a lack of effort. Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari provide much needed flexibility and defensive awareness, Sam Lafferty is a speed demon, while Jake McCabe, Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn provide the team with a ton of depth on the blue line. Dubas approached the deadline like his future was depending on it, and hell, maybe it is.
Vancouver Canucks: We’ll let Tame Impala handle this one.
Vegas Golden Knights: Ivan Barbashev and Teddy Blueger add to the Golden Knights’ scoring depth, while a briefly irate Jonathan Quick joins his previous rival, with all three players joining the team at minimal cost. Vegas didn’t swing for the fences — if they fail to make a deep playoff run, we can question Kelly McCrimmon’s relatively conservative outlook.
Washington Capitals: It appears the Capitals are trying to become younger, while avoiding tanking. Rasmus Sandin should blossom in the nation’s capital — he was playing some excellent hockey before suffering an injury in December. Lars Eller and Marcus Johansson are on their way out. Will the Capitals accelerate a rebuild with Alexander Ovechkin’s consent this summer?
Winnipeg Jets: Nino Niederreiter and Vladimir Namestnikov for second and fourth-round picks, respectively? Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff made his team marginally better for relatively light acquisition costs, and though we’ve ripped into the Western Conference powers for not taking major swings, the Jets are indeed better than they were two weeks ago. Will it be enough for a deep playoff run, though?