Ah, the wizard was at it again. Steve Yzerman, even when backed into a corner with a struggling team, was able to find some way around one of his biggest problems at the deadline: the upcoming expansion draft. Maybe the rogue is a more fitting class for Yzerman now that he’s once again stretched his general manager muscles and evaded trouble.
But, enough of the Dungeons and Dragons references. The Lightning were clear sellers this deadline, dealing young defenseman Nikita Nesterov last month and Ben Bishop to the Kings in a stunning move. It didn’t end there, when Tampa Bay had no qualms with jettisoning veteran Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula without breaking a sweat.
Yzerman’s biggest move, however, came in the Filppula trade that brought Mark Streit briefly into the fold before he packaged him to the Penguins for a fourth round pick in 2018. Suddenly, the Lightning’s cap space has room to breathe and they’ve avoided cheap authentic jerseys
having to protect Filppula’s no move clause in the expansion draft at the behest of one of their younger, more talented forwards.
On the flip side, the Capitals landed the biggest trade deadline piece in Kevin Shattenkirk, who makes their power play somehow even more deadly. In doing so, they gave up less than some teams gave up for worse players, and basically made it clear that they believe this is their year. Now, come back down and look at this quote from Montreal’s general manager, Marc Bergevin.
“I had good reports from Kirk Muller. Grit. Sandpaper. Bergevin basically hits the old school hockey trifecta with “grit,” “sandpaper,” and everyone’s favorite word: “intangibles.”
The deadline was actually a mixed bag for the Canadiens. They flipped a younger, still developing defenseman in Greg Pateryn for Jordie Benn. They forced the Oilers’ hand and got the better of their two defensemen on the market in Brandon Davidson.
However, the Canadiens gave up a sixth round pick for Ott, who has six points on the year. They also added size in Dwight King and Andreas Martinsen, who between them have just 22 points this season. Where the Canadiens needed to add depth scoring, they only added fourth line bruisers who won’t impact their Stanley Cup chances. Quite the disappointing haul.
Our friends at Blueshirt Banter argued that it’s wise that the Rangers didn’t make a panic move for an unrestricted free agent, but it’s still quite the disappointment to come up almost empty handed when the Capitals and Penguins got marginally better.
As for the Islanders, their radio silence at the trade deadline is mystifying. They apparently had bidders for Jaroslav Halak, former starter turned AHL goaltender, but those fell through because of salary. Other than that, Garth Snow made no move to assist the Islanders, who are ONE POINT out of a Wild Card spot. New York has been playing much better after the firing of Jack Capuano, but there’s clear weaknesses on the team that could have been filled at the deadline.
Cody Franson and Dmitry Kulikov stayed put, though there were rumors the Bruins were interested in the latter but were deterred by his injury history. Their other two remaining unrestricted free agents in goaltender Anders Nilsson and forward Brian Gionta were unmoved. Even Evander Kane survived the deadline, though that might not be a bad thing in the long run.