Ranking the moves of playoff contenders at the NHL trade deadline

Which contenders got stronger at the deadline?

Activity at trade deadline isn’t necessarily a good thing for NHL teams.

While trade acquisitions might make for good fodder among media and fans, there’s the cost to consider — be it in draft picks, prospects or roster players — the actual value of the upgrade and the ripple effect he might have on a club’s lineup and style of play. 

As Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving put it: “I think you’ve got to be careful at that particular time. In a lot of ways you are who you are.”

Here’s a ranking of how the contenders did ahead of the March 1 deadline.

Eastern Conference

1. Washington Capitals

Addition(s): Kevin Shattenkirk, Tom Gilbert

Report: Washington was already loaded when they added the biggest fish at the deadline. Shattenkirk further cements a top-notch defence core and offers the Capitals a powerful weapon next to Alex Ovechkin on the power play. The club paid modest price: a first round pick in 2017, conditional second, modest prospect and depth forward.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins

Addition(s): Ron Hainsey, Mark Streit, Frank Corrado

Report: The defending champs are really banged up at the moment, especially on defence. Hainsey and Streit help stem the gaps in the short-term while offering insurance into the post-season. The Penguins also got the Leafs to take on Eric Fehr’s contract — which has one more year at US$2 million — for the minimal price of a fourth round pick.

3. Florida Panthers

Addition(s): Thomas Vanek

Report: Whether he plays on the second or third line, the 33-year-old Vanek offers Florida another threat to score beyond the vaunted top unit of Jaromir Jagr, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. The cost was just a third round pick in June and depth defenceman Dylan McIlrath. 

4. New York Rangers

Addition(s): Brendan Smith

Report: The Rangers penalty kill was leaking in February and the club took a costly step to address it. Smith is an effective penalty killer and added presence of reliability on an unspectacular defence. The price was high — a third in 2017 and second in 2018 — but with an aging roster the time is now for New York. 

5. Toronto Maple Leafs

Addition(s): Brian Boyle, Eric Fehr

Report: The Leafs addressed a real need with Boyle. He solves their fourth line centre dilemma right away as a veteran who can kill penalties, win draws, sprinkle some offence and plant his six-foot-six frame in front of the net on the power play. Fehr’s value is less obvious. He’s 31, declining, less useful than the young players he could replace and has one more year left on his contract ($2 million cap hit).

6. Tampa Bay Lightning

Addition(s): Draft picks and cap space.

Report: Ahead of a big summer — with numerous players needing new contracts — Tampa shed roster players for future assets at the deadline. The club might be able to have it both ways, surging of late and still with plenty of talent, and the possible return of injured star Steven Stamkos, to challenge for a playoff spot.

7. Ottawa Senators

Addition(s): Alex Burrows, Tommy Wingels, Viktor Stalberg, Jyrki Jokipakka

Report: It didn’t cost much for the Sens to add Wingels or Stalberg and the club also salvaged a second rounder and Jokipakka for Lazar. Burrows was a different story. He cost the club intriguing prospect Jonathan Dahlen and was then re-signed for two more years at a cost ($2.5 million) that doesn’t equate to his declining value.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets

Addition(s): Kyle Quincey, Lauri Korpikoski

Report: Quincey offers veteran stability on the back-end, which the Jackets lacked. Korpikoski isn’t flashy, but he can kill penalties and move up and down the lineup where necessary for head coach John Tortorella. The cost was a decent prospect (Dillon Heatherington) and one extra year of 26-year-old defenceman Dalton Prout. 

9. Boston Bruins

Addition(s): Drew Stafford

10. Montreal Canadiens

Addition(s): Jordie Benn, Dwight King, Nikita Nesterov, Steve Ott, Brandon Davidson, Andreas Martinsen

Report: The Habs did help their defence with Benn and Nesterov, but the rest of their moves puzzled. Instead of adding firepower to a squad that’s struggled to score, Montreal sought size and more pugnacity up front with Ott, King and Martinsen. That trio has combined for 14 goals this season heading into play on Thursday.

11. New York Islanders

Addition(s): None

Western Conference

 1. Anaheim Ducks

Addition(s): Patrick Eaves

Report: The Ducks have been struggling to score and Eaves helps that. The Calgary native is enjoying a career year at age 32 with 21 goals in 59 games. The cost was a conditional second in June.

2. Nashville Predators

Addition(s): P.A. Parenteau 

Report: Parenteau isn’t a huge boost, but he can still score and help a power play and cost the Preds almost nothing (sixth round pick).

3. Minnesota Wild

Addition(s): Martin Hanzal, Ryan White 

Report: Alongside Mikko Koivu and Eric Staal, Hanzal gives the Wild a solid 1-2-3 punch down the middle. He’s huge at six foot six, can kill penalties, occupy net-front on the power play and chip in a little offence. He didn’t come cheap though, the deal, which also saw Ryan White come to Minnesota, cost a first in 2017, a second in 2018, a conditional fourth in 2019.

4. San Jose Sharks

Addition(s): Jannik Hansen 

Report: Hansen gives the Sharks another boost of veteran ability, a swift skater on the wing who can move up and down the lineup. He didn’t come cheap though; former first round pick and Russian scoring threat Nikolay Goldobin headed back to Vancouver alongside a conditional fourth rounder.

5. Chicago Blackhawks

Addition(s): Johnny Oduya, Tomas Jurco 

Report: Oduya is on the decline at age 35, but he’s a known commodity to the Blackhawks as a member of their last two Stanley Cups. Jurco is another reclamation project for the Hawks — perhaps similar to Richard Panik, who’s charting for 20 goals after a trade from Toronto last season.

6. Calgary Flames

Addition(s): Michael Stone, Matt Bartkowski, Curtis Lazar

Report: Lazar is the real gamble here, a former first round pick who had only one assist in 33 games for Ottawa. The cost wasn’t nothing — a second rounder in June and depth defender Jyrki Jokipakka. Stone and Bartkowski are mild upgrades on the back-end, the former finding a nice early fit with T.J. Brodie.

7. Los Angeles Kings

Addition(s): Jarome Iginla, Ben Bishop

Report: Bishop didn’t cost much and he’s a quality option beside Jonathan Quick, but the Kings ultimately didn’t address their biggest need: scoring. An earlier version of Iginla would have helped, but he’s 39 now and headed for his lowest goal total in almost 20 years.

8. Edmonton Oilers

Addition(s): David Desharnais, Justin Fontaine 

Report: Desharnais allows the Oilers to keep Leon Draisaitl beside Connor McDavid, but he’s not much of a boost. The 30-year-old is in decline, lacks size or much speed and is weak in the faceoff circle (47.8 per cent), an area of need for Edmonton. Desharnais, notably, was hardly playing a Montreal team that’s short on quality centres.

9. St. Louis Blues

Addition(s): None

Report: The Blues hurt their playoff hopes in dealing Shattenkirk for a fairly modest return, the biggest prize being the Capitals’ top pick which will surely fall near the bottom of the first round in June.

Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press

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