NHL trade deadline: Winners, losers

Zachary Brandwein, Staff Reporter

Hailie Goldthorpe

On March 3 at 3 p.m. EST, the 2023 NHL trade deadline passed. Many of the top available players were moved; the Eastern Conference has become a bloodbath, and the tank for No. 1 prospect Connor Bedard is in full swing. The tank is proven by looking at the number of trades before the deadline day itself. From Feb. 16 to March 2, there were 43 trades, which alone is higher than the usual trade deadline. 

The day looked exciting with 19 total trades, but most of them were minor, with the second round pick as the highest pick moved. Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko and Timo Meier were among many superstar players moved in the two weeks prior to this year’s deadline. Here are my biggest winners and losers from the NHL trade deadline. 


New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators  

All of these teams made good additions at reasonable costs. The Rangers were able to exit the trade deadline with Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko and only gave up two first round picks — one of them conditional. They added depth in players like Tyler Motte and Niko Mikkola. Although the Rangers came out with two great players, both of them are older and will probably sign somewhere else in the summer. 

The Devils added Timo Meier, a 26-year-old forward who is having a career year, without giving up any of their top prospects. Not only did they add Meier, but the Devils also look to keep him there long term. General manager Tom Fitzgerald should already be in extension talks with Meier’s camp, and trading for him would allow an eight year extension instead of seven years. 

Similar to the Devils, the Senators traded for a young player, Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun is only 24, signed at a cheap deal for the next two years and fits well alongside their young core. 

Although these moves are large in quality, some general managers were more active in quantity, like Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas. Dubas made six trades, including trading for Stanley Cup champion, Frank J. Selke trophy winner and Conn Smythe winner Ryan O’Reilly. Dubas also made some more significant additions in Noel Acciari, Luke Schenn, Sam Lafferty and Jake McCabe. Dubas’s tenure may rely on making strategic moves like these. The Leafs have yet to make it out of the first round since 2004, and continuing that streak would only make his seat even hotter. 

One of the main reasons Toronto has continued to lose in the first round is because of the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are the league’s hottest team and have set a new NHL record for quickest team to 100 points in the standings, taking 61 games to do so. Although the Bruins did not secure the biggest players available, they got the players that fit their system. Dimitry Orlov has been on a heater, with 9 points in his first five games as a Bruin. Tyler Bertuzzi has always been solid and will help contribute. He will hopefully rebound to last year’s form, where he posted a career-high 61 points. The Bruins also acquired Garnett Hathaway, who is an effective defensive forward

Lastly, the only selling team to make my winning list is the Predators. They were able to add the second-most picks in the month prior to the deadline. They got great value for their assets, including five picks for Tanner Jeannot, a first and more for Mattias Ekholm and a second, plus a lot of cap space, for Mikael Granlund

Losers – Inactivity:

Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers

These teams made a combined five trades starting from two weeks prior to the deadline. For the Flames, I can somewhat understand not making any major changes just yet, as their roster went through an overhaul last offseason. They lost Johnny Gaudreau to free agency and Matthew Tkachuk did not want to sign long term in Calgary, Canada. However, as of today, they still sit four points out of a wild card spot

The Panthers are in a similar situation. They have not made a trade since December, and for a team on the cusp of a wild card berth, they could use some more skill in their lineup. What’s worse is that the Panthers gave up their first round pick last year, so another team will benefit from their failure. 

The Flyers made three trades, all of which had little significance. This Flyers team has no direction. Many of their trade pieces, like James Van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes were not moved which did not increase their odds for the first overall pick. The Flyers did not make any big acquisitions either and are seemingly okay with being mediocre. 

Losers – Fleeced:

San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks

All three of these teams are in the same category because they were able to sell off assets, but many believe that they could have gotten more value. The return for Timo Meier was not too bad, acquiring two first round picks, one of which is conditional, former 20th overall pick Shakir Mukhamadullin, Fabian Zetterlund — arguably the most valuable piece in the trade — and a few other prospects and players. Many thought the Sharks would be able to come away with one of the Devils’ top prospects, but it seems that Sharks GM Mike Grier could not strike a deal for one of them. 

The Coyotes encountered a similar situation with Chychrun. They were able to acquire the most picks — nine — but only traded Chychrun for a first and two seconds, which is far from their original asking price of two firsts and a prospect. 

Lastly, the Anaheim Ducks enter a sticky situation with 30-year-old defenseman John Klingberg. Klingberg was in a weird situation, as he only signed for one year in Anaheim, California and was hoping to get flipped to a contender. The problem is, the Ducks have the worst defensive team this season and therefore were unable to maximize the return for Klingberg. Further, the Ducks were only able to add three draft picks, the highest of them being a third rounder and it was not in the Klingberg deal

After the trade deadline, the Bruins remain the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. The hockey world will have to wait and see how these trade deadline moves look down the home stretch of the regular season. 

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