HotTake Tuesday: Grading The Trade Deadline


It wasn’t one of the crazier NHL Trade Deadlines, but it’s come and gone nonetheless, and we’re gonna break it down team-by-team. Ryan Wilson from joins Nick and James to dish out grades and give their thoughts for the deadlines winners and losers. We all put in more work doing this than Bryan Murray did yesterday.

Biggest Winners

Richter: This is going to sound crazy, because they did nothing to better their team in the here and now, but Arizona did an amazing job at potentially turning around a franchise with their moves at the deadline. They also by essentially ensured a lock on one of the bottom two teams in the league and gave themselves a decent shot at Connor McDavid… I love the addition of prospects Maxim Letunov and Anthony Duclair. Add 2013 first round draft pick Max Domi into the mix, along with McDavid or Jack Eichel and you’ve got an exciting young core. The only thing that could stop them now is Mark Arcobello, if he keeps scoring at this ridiculous pace.

Conley: Chicago added some real key pieces in Timonen and Vermette, all of which prompted by the Kane injury. The Hawks don’t usually load up at the deadline. Their biggest add in either Cup year since 2010 has been Michal Handzus. Chicago’s got more picks and prospects than any team that competes like they do should, so the deals won’t break them long-term. Like L.A. landing Sekera, too.

Wilson: Anaheim Ducks

Biggest Losers

Richter: Boston. No clue what they’re trying to do. Paving the road for Florida to sneak into the playoffs isn’t a good game plan for them.

Conley: Where is San Jose right now? If they’re gonna sell, sell. No clue.

Wilson: Columbus Blue Jackets

Grades and quick thoughts 

Anaheim Ducks 

Richter: (A) Anaheim did a solid job. Definitely got better at the deadline. Simon Despres should do well there, but I think their biggest pickup was Tomas Fleischmann. I was pretty jealous they got him so cheap. He would’ve looked good in Pittsburgh. 

Conley: (A) Three solid additions, more active than Los Angeles and apparently the Sharks aren’t the competition they used to be. Anaheim should be in a good spot. 

Wilson: (A)  They bring in useful players like James Wisniewski, Simon Despres, and Tomas Fleischmann while ridding themselves of players like Rene Bourque, Dany Heatley, and Eric Brewer.  Good team got better.


Arizona Coyotes

Richter: (A+) Love what the Yotes did. I covered most of this earlier, but they all but ensured a game-changing, franchise player at the draft and collected a nice crop of prospects. It’s going to be weird seeing them play in front of 8,000 fans wearing shorts and flip flops though.

Conley: (A+) These kids are going to look great in whatever phosphorescent blue-ish jersey colors the Seattle franchise takes on.

Wilson: (A) This is a team that is in a full out knife fight with Buffalo for the 30th overall position.  They got rid of everything that wasn’t bolted down and could possibly be the favorite for 30th.

Boston Bruins

Richter: (C-) They sure didn’t look like a team fighting for a playoff spot. Definitely don’t think they did enough.

Conley: (C) Their year to go for it was last season. Still paying down that year now. Not much they could do.

Wilson: (C+)  I like the deal for Brett Connolly.  Spending assets on him is a lot better than spending them on Chris Stewart.  Max Talbot is way past his prime though.

Buffalo Sabres

Richter: (A-) Getting Evander Kane was big in the grand scheme of things. They’ll likely win the McDavid sweepstakes and they have an unreal number of draft picks in the next two-three years. Getting a second-round pick for Chris Stewart is kind of unbelievable.

Conley: (B+) Currently exploring CBA loopholes that will allow them to Harrison Bergeron whatever remains of the roster until 30th is secure.

Wilson: (A) Much like Arizona they did what they had to do to give themselves the best shot at 30th.  Michael Neuvirth was playing out of his mind so they shipped him off.

Calgary Flames

Richter: (C+) They did the right thing at the deadline. With Mark Giordano out for the season, they knew better than to risk the future to make a run this season. They have six picks in the first three rounds of this years particularly deep draft and will get Giordano back for the start of next season

Conley: (A) Didn’t lose sight of the rebuild.

Wilson: (C)  Trading Sven Baertschi for a 2017 second round pick seems rushed and unnecessary However, they did receive good value by getting a 2nd and a 3rd for Curtis Glencross

Carolina Hurricanes

Richter: (C+) I loved the return for Andrej Sekera. They’ll finish in the bottom 5 in the NHL and didn’t have to sacrifice a Staal brother, Ward, Semin or Skinner to get extra draft picks.

Conley: (B+) Looks good now, will look really good if they can manage to flip Semin to some team chasing the cap floor this summer.

Wilson: (B+)   Did what they had to do.  They got a really nice return on Andrej Sekera and an average one for Jiri Tlsuty.  Tim Gleason and Jack Hillen are a wash but Carolina got the extra 4th rounder

Chicago Blackhawks

Richter: (B) They gave up a lot of assets to put bandaids on a wound. Timonen is a good pick up if he can get healthy. Vermette will be good on the second line, but all in all they might’ve given up too much in the end.

Conley: (A+) They’ve had 54 draft picks in the last six drafts and only one fewer than the standard 14 coming up the next two years, even after the deals for Desjardins, Timonen and Vermette were completed. Those moves won’t kill them. Given cap realities, can probably flip those guys’ rights ahead of free agency and get some picks back, too. They’re stoked.

Wilson: (B)  I think acquiring Kimmo Timonen was a sneaky good addition but at the same time I think Antoine Vermette was one of the more overrated trade pieces of the deadline.  Perhaps they would have gone after the more cost effective  Mike Santorelli if the Kane injury had occurred sooner

Colorado Avalanche

Richter: (D) They picked up Jordan Caron from Boston for Max Talbot and Paul Carey but it’s not likely to amount to anything. They’re still on the outside looking in. I thought they could’ve done more to make a run, but I guess they figured they’ll make a run next season.

Conley: (C) Meh.

Wilson: (Incomplete)  They did nothing of significance

Columbus Blue Jackets

Richter: (F) Give us your tired, your weary, your old, your terrible contracts. What in the world was Jarmo Kekäläinen smoking?

Conley: (C-) Youngest team in the NHL gets younger. I understand the Clarkson deal. This isn’t a team that can eat a $20-plus million LTIR contract, put one or two more over top of it and come out the other side anything like a profitable enterprise. They had to spend the money anyway, might as well maybe get lucky and get something for it. Wisniewski deal could have been better. Signing Atkinson was a life-saver. Leopold deal was expected.

Wilson: (D)  No idea why they felt the need to trade away James Wisniewski but they did and the return (Rene Bourque, William Karlsson, 2015 2nd-round pick) was incredibly underwhelming.  They also traded FOR David Clarkson.  This grade is saved from an F because of the Cam Atkinson extension.

Dallas Stars

Richter: (B) Really nice return for Jim Rutherford’s old college drinking buddy Erik Cole. Jim Nill knows the prospects they got in return for Cole pretty well.

Conley: (C) Dallas made trades?

Wilson: (B)  Got nice value for Erik Cole (Mattias Backman, Mattias Janmark, and 2nd round pick) After Tyler Seguin went down with injury their playoff hopes were glum.  It was good of them to get value on a pending UFA.

Detroit Red Wings

Richter: (B) I like that the Wings were aggressive but not stupid enough to pay a sky high cost for Dion Phaneuf. Picking up Marek Zidlicky instead is a nice get at a much better price. They did overpay slightly for Cole, but not to the point where it really hurts them.

Conley: (A+) Anyone who can convince Lou Lamiorello to part with an overpaid, underachieving and ancient player in a sunk year must be a superhero.

Wilson: (B+) I have been saying for a few weeks this team needed another defenseman with some puck skills.  They accomplished that by acquiring Marek Zidlicky.  Erik Cole seems like an unneeded add but this team was good already.

Edmonton Oilers

Richter: (D) The “D” stands for “Disappointing.” They were far too quiet for a team on the rebuild.

Conley: (C-) Do they even have any veterans left to move? Petry return was mild.

Wilson: (D)  They only had one job and that was to trade Jeff Petry in a seller’s market.  They only got a 2nd and 5th round pick for him.

Florida Panthers

Richter: (B+) Love, love, love the Jagr trade. There’s something to be said for bringing in a respected veteran to help mold a young team. Remember Billy Guerin and Gary Roberts for Pittsburgh? This trade helped to provide a mental boost to the locker room also. There’s a buzz in South Florida. They could’ve got more for Bergenheim in what was a sellers market, but it’s not the end of the world.

Conley: (B) No truth to the rumors Florida is giving Jagr a tweed sport jacket with elbow patches sewn on instead of a jersey. Bummer.

Wilson: (B)  It is a mixed bag for me here. On one hand I love the Jagr move but on the other hand getting rid of Sean Bergenheim for only a 3rd round pick leave a lot to be desired. Ultimately Florida balanced the Jagr trade with a willingness to play youth and I understand what they were going for.

Los Angeles Kings

Richter: (B) They got the defenseman they needed in Sekera and didn’t have to give up Justin Williams to do so. They’ll also add Mike Richards back into the lineup when the Playoffs start because Sutter trusts him.

Conley: (A) Sekera could be the guy. No reason to think they won’t make noise again.

Wilson: (A)  They paid a premium for Andrej Sekera but so what.  They are the defending Stanley Cup Champions with a legit roster to do it again.  They don’t need futures, they need pieces to win in the now.  They had a void on defense and filled it with one of the top defense rental players.

Minnesota Wild

Richter: (A+) The early trade for Devan Dubnyk saved their entire season. Bergenheim is a solid addition as well.

Conley: (A+) Don’t think one player has ever saved so many seasons and so many jobs as Dubnyk is in the process of doing right now. Single-most impactful trade of the year.

Wilson:  (A)  To get Devan Dubnyk and Sean Bergenheim on the cheap was excellent.  I felt tempted to lower the grade because of the Chris Stewart addition but with what Dubnyk has done so far it couldn’t bring myself to it.

Montreal Canadiens

Richter: (C+) I expected a little more but they also didn’t do anything irrational. Are they a better team after the deadline? Yeah. Petry is a nice acquisition that should make Price’s job a little easier.

Conley: (B) Petry should be a good add. Is immediately as tall as the rest of the roster standing on one another’s shoulders.

Wilson: (B+) On a team that needs better puck possession they acquired one of the better rental defenseman in Jeff Petry.  They didn’t break the bank to do so either only costing a 2nd and conditional 5th round pick.  They also acquired Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn.

Nashville Predators

Richter: (B) They did all their Christmas shopping early and that was to their advantage. I like the early trade for Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli.

Conley: (B) Their entire season has been found money. Added to it without killing themselves long-term. Nothing not to like.

Wilson: (B)  They didn’t do anything but they are already the best team in the NHL.  They did their heavy liftin early when they went out and got Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli

New Jersey Devils

Richter: (C) Another underwhelming team at the deadline. They got younger though, but I expected more movement for a team that’s this bad.

Conley: (F-) The fact that the Devils could move only two contracts off that roster and still fancy themselves in the playoff hunt is hi-larious. Four playoff misses in five years once this one goes official and the best they could do was to move two whole players who add up to one good 80 year old. Should have yard saled that entire team.

Wilson: (C+)  They did well on the Jagr deal to get a 2nd and a 3rd round pick.  They also received some conditional picks for Zidlicky but they should have been in more of a selling mood.

New York Islanders

Richter: (B) Tyler Kennedy? Dustin Jeffrey? Did they ask Carolina for Jordan Staal? Minnesota for Matt Cooke? Where was Ray Shero? I kid, I kid. All in all, they did a decent job. They’re better in net with Michael Neuvirth as backup and didn’t need to do a lot to improve the team. Just some minor depth trades that’ll make them a better playoff team.

Conley: (A) Needed a backup, got a good one. Not sure how you add to the blue line group in a way that address their problems with goal prevention and penalty killing. Seems more like a structural thing than a personnel thing. Got what they needed, though.

Wilson: (B) Nothing major but they certainly improved their backup goaltending position.  Michael Neuvirth is way better than Chad Johnson and the Islanders were able to take advantage of Buffalo’s desperation to be terrible.  Tyler Kennedy is also a solid under the radar depth player

New York Rangers

Richter: (B) The Rangers sure did make a splash going after Keith Yandle, but they gave up a ton to get him and I’m not really sure he makes them leaps and bounds better, but it does make them better nonetheless. They already have a great defense. The move strikes me as a little unnecessary.

Conley: (A) Yandle on that team is scary. Scary scary scary. McDonagh was the only real good puck mover they had on the back end (Dan Boyle’s ghost doesn’t count). Getting Tanner Glass out of the top twelve would have made this an A+.

Wilson: (B) This grade is a balance between what they gained in the short term vs what they gave up in the future.  Keith Yandle came at a premium but the Rangers decided they are going all in.  Anthony Duclair is a promising forward prospect and the 1st and 2nd round picks are nice assets for Arizona as well.

Ottawa Senators

Richter: (Z) Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……

Conley: (A+) Kidding, I dunno. Who cares.

Wilson:  (Incomplete) They did nothing of significance

Philadelphia Flyers

Richter: (A) What Ron Hextall did to Steve Yzerman should land him in jail for theft. I hate to say it, but Philly did a great job.

Conley: (A) Great stuff. Still a lot of dead weight to get rid of, but if you’re going to move your better players, might as well do it for a great return. Looks like they did.

Wilson: (A) They did a great job of getting value for their defensemen they decided to move on from.  Kimmo Timonen gets to play for a contender and Brayden Coburn nets the team a 1st and a 3rd.  Job well done in Philly.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Richter: (B) Adding Daniel Winnik helped to provide much needed depth on the bottom six, but David Perron is the best move the Pens made all season. Rutherford should have a statue made just for getting rid of Zach Sill and pushing Craig Adams to the press box in one move. I like the Ian Cole/Robert Bortuzzo trade. Cole has some nice upside. He’s quick at getting the puck up to the forwards – something Bortuzzo wasn’t really that great at doing. I’m in a “wait and see” mode with Ben Lovejoy. He *should* be a more consistent presence on the blueline for the Pens. The fact that two different managements gave up on Despres, should tell us all something. I guess if a name change doesn’t make your game immeasurably better, nothing will.

Conley: (B+) Heavy lifting was done with the Perron deal. I like Winnik, but a contract extension would make the deal look a lot more palatable. We’re a Craig Adams short of having gotten rid of every player who drew ire this season (let’s not count Scuderi, he’s playing pretty well). If Despres finally clicks in Anaheim, file this one under dunce move. Otherwise, the depth is there in all facets now.

Wilson: (C+)  Daniel Winnik was a solid addition but came at a cost.  Doing your analytical homework can help you sign a player like that in July as opposed to giving up assets in February.  Ian Cole is an upgrade over Bortuzzo.  Losing Simon Despres for a bottom pairing defenseman isn’t what I would call ideal value.

San Jose Sharks

Richter: (C) They didn’t do enough to jump anybody out west. Two games against Vancouver could send them reeling.

Conley: (C) Inactive, but does it matter? Team could easily finish 10th in the West or run to the Conference Finals. Impossible to read.

Wilson:  (C)  They shipped off James Sheppard and Tyler Kennedy in what has been a lost season for the Sharks.

St. Louis Blues

Richter: (C) Zbynek Michalek will be a nice addition. We remember him not so fondly, but he should thrive under Ken Hitchcock. They made a few depth moves but nothing of major importance. Their defense is stacked.

Conley: (C) Jokinen? C’mon.

Wilson: (C)  Getting Marcel Goc from Pittsburgh for Max Lapierre has made their 4th line better.  Robert Bortuzzo is a downgrade from Ian Cole. Olli Jokinen gives them a little more depth.  No impact moves here but they are already one of the best in the West.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Richter: (C) Yzerman must’ve been hanging out with Jarmo Kekäläinen. Holy overpayment for Braydon Coburn.

Conley: (B) They weren’t drafting high this season. If Coburn helps get that group past Detroit or Montreal, why not make the move.

Wilson: (B+)  A lot of people will say that they paid a premium for Braydon Coburn and that would be true but what does Tampa Bay need futures for?  They already have a ton of young ELC players that are contributing to the active roster.  Tampa had a need and they filled it.  They also recovered some of those assets by receiving two 2nd round picks in the Brett Connolly deal.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Richter: (A-) Getting rid of that David Clarkson contract earns them an “A.” They got a decent return for Winnik. Even Zach Sill can’t ruin this grade.

Conley: (A) Pretty by the book performance. The Horton trade is still staggering. How many teams have the cash to throw away like that? Honestly? Do you have any idea what I could do with $25 million that no one else wanted?

Wilson: (A)  Nice job to get the assets they did for players that were UFA’s.  Franson, Santorelli, and Winnik were all going to hit the market and the Leafs decided to get a return on those players.  Even better was them flexing their financial muscles in taking on the Nathan Horton contract to free themselves from free agent blunder David Clarkson

Vancouver Canucks

Richter: (C) Adding Cory Conacher and Sven Baertschi is a subtle improvement. Nothing ground breaking.

Conley: (C) Vanilla team, vanilla deadline Not sure they were actually going to keep up with the Ducks and Kings no matter what they did.

Wilson: (C+)  They didn’t do much in the now but they did acquire Sven Baertschi for a 2nd round pick which seems like a good risk.

Washington Capitals

Richter: (C) They got a few vet players to help in the playoffs, Glencross doesn’t really add anything they didn’t already have.

Conley: (D) They are on pace to see the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs. Getting intentionally older and slower at the expense of draft picks and prospects seems like a good recipe. A good recipe for dumb idiots. Sheesh.

Wilson: (C)  I’m not enamored with Curtis Glencross.  I think he is a very average bottom six player whose best years are behind him.  Tim Gleason has similar underlying numbers to Brooks Orpik which isn’t good.  I thought the Capitals missed the boat in getting Jagr, he would have been perfect for them. 

Winnipeg Jets

Richter: (B+) They did well for a bubble team… Jiri Tlusty and Lee Stempniak were added for peanuts and they got rid of a “locker room cancer.”

Conley: (B) Impressed to see Chevy active in any meaningful way here. If the Stempniak and Tlusty deals give them the forward depth to keep Byfuglien on defense that’s your biggest win right there.

Wilson: (B) They did well to improve their forward depth.  They went out and got Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty and neither came at a high cost.


Thanks for reading HotTake Tuesday! Special thanks goes out to Ryan  for jumping on with us today… Give him a follow on the twitter machine. You can also follow James and Nick on twitter as well. Feel free to email, use the hashtag #HotTakeTuesday on twitter, tweet us directly, or facebook us any questions or topics you might have. We look forward to providing you with flaming hot takes every Tuesday. 

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