The 2015 NHL Trade Deadline came and went, and while the majority of the big deals happened before Monday, a lot of smaller moves went down that should have some impact.
The Ducks grade out as a winner on Deadline Day as they managed to pick up a top-four defenseman in James Wisniewski while bolster their blueline depth with Korbinian Holzer and Simon Despres. They also got an offensive piece in Tomas Fleischmann, who had one of his best seasons when he played under Bruce Boudreau in Washington. In return, the Ducks didn’t give up and top prospects or first-round picks.
It will be interesting to see if the Ducks have enough on the blue line now to support their goaltenders and make a serious playoff run.
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Winner: Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens are already the best team in the East in terms of standings. They’re also an experienced team that made a run to the conference finals last season, so it’s not as if they needed an overhaul. They just needed to add some final pieces to the puzzle and they may have got it. They picked up Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry, who should fill in a top-four role. Then they added some toughness with Devante Smith-Pelly and got some penalty killing help with Brian Flynn. All of this and the Canadiens didn’t give up a top prospect or a first-round pick.
Winner: New York Rangers
The Rangers paid a steep price for defenseman Keith Yandle but you know what, this is a team that made it to the Stanley Cup finals, is on the brink of a championship and is going all-in. Rangers are a great NHL pick this season as they didn’t mess around with guys like Petry or Zbynek Michalek or Marek Zidlicky, they went out and got the best defenseman on the market. He’ll join the likes of Dan Girardi, Dan Boyle and Ryan McDonagh on what is one of the better blue lines in the NHL. Add in goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and the league’s second-best offense and the Rangers should be one of the last two teams left standing in the East along with the Montreal Canadiens.
Loser: Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins have been a middling team since starting the season with 22 wins in 32 games. Remember, they started the season as one of the Stanley Cup favorites in the East and then played so well to start the season. However, since the ink dried on the Marc-Andre Fleury contract extension, the team has been very average (14-16 in last 30 games).
Pittsburgh needed to make some kind of move to change it’s momentum but they did absolutely nothing. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are in their prime and they need more help. But it doesn’t feel like this team is going to be doing much of anything this postseason.
Loser: San Jose Sharks/Edmonton Oilers
The Sharks and Oilers are both two teams that need major overhauls but neither was able to get anything done. The Oilers weren’t able to move anyone from their roster other than Petry while the Sharks did virtually nothing either. They would have been better off shipping away assets to acquire prospects for a rebuild. Instead, they didn’t do much other than pick up Ben Smith or Karl Stollery. This is a team that’s stuck in mediocrity and needed to change the scenery but they – like the Oilers – did almost nothing of impact on deadline day.