Sorting out the biggest deals in the NHL
Monday marked the NHL’s annual trade deadline. While most picks involve minor players and late draft picks, there were a few that involved key first line pieces and intriguing prospects. These were the biggest deals finalized before the deadline expired.
‘Wayne Train’ departs for Nashville
The Philadelphia Flyers sent right wing Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators in exchange for right wing Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick. Simmonds has been playing in Philadelphia for the past eight seasons. Because the Flyers are firmly out of the playoff picture, they dealt him to Nashville for Ryan Hartman, who is in his fifth season, and a draft pick.
The Predators picked up Simmonds hoping to help their playoff run. Nashville currently leads the Central Division with 79 points. Simmonds is expected to join the second line, with Viktor Arvidsson maintaining his first line role at right wing.
Stone gets knighted
The Ottawa Senators traded away right wing Mark Stone and right wing Tobias Lindberg to the Vegas Golden Knights for center Oscar Lindberg, defender Erik Brannstrom and Dallas’ 2020 second-round pick.
The Senators currently have the worst record in the NHL, while Vegas is trying to return to the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row. Stone has 62 points in 59 games this season and has played in Ottawa for each of his seven NHL seasons. His contract was set to expire after this season, but upon arriving in Vegas he signed an 8-year contract with an average annual salary of $9.5 million.
He is expected to enter the second line in Vegas, but I expect him to eventually take the first line spot from Reilly Smith. Ottawa is clearly looking to build for the future. Over the past week, they’ve traded for a few prospects and five future draft picks. Erik Brannstrom is among the best of the prospects they received. He was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft and is just 19 years old.
Granlund era ends
The Wild traded away right wing Mikael Granlund to the Predators in exchange for left wing Kevin Fiala. Granlund has been a big part of Minnesota’s organization, especially in the past two seasons in which he scored a combined 136 points.
Nashville will use him to strengthen their second line. Fiala, 22, has shown promise but has also been inconsistent. Wild general manager Paul Fenton played a role in drafting Fiala when he worked for the Predators. Minnesota fans can only hope that Fenton knows what he’s talking about, considering the price paid for an unproven player.
Sharks don’t sleep on Nyquist
Detroit Red Wings right wing Gustav Nyquist was traded to the San Jose Sharks for two future draft picks. The Sharks are currently second in the Pacific Division, but they have the third best record in the NHL with 82 points.
They’re hoping Nyquist, who has 49 points over 62 games this season, can provide the extra punch to propel them over the Calgary Flames and other potential competitors in the playoffs. He will likely play in the third line, but could play in the second.
The Red Wings, like many North Dakota drivers this past Sunday, can’t seem to gain any traction. They have the third worst (or 29th best) record in the league. Because Nyquist’s contract expires this summer, the Red Wings had nothing to gain by keeping him.
Columbus adds Duchene
Ottawa dumped another expiring contract in center Matt Duchene before the deadline. Along with Duchene, the Senators sent defender Julius Bergman to the Columbus Blue Jackets and in return received right wing Vitaly Abramov, right wing Jonathan Davidsson and two potential future draft picks.
Similar to the case with Stone, Ottawa exchanged an established player to a probable playoff team in return for prospects and draft picks. Columbus currently sits uncomfortably in third place in the Metropolitan Division, leading the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins by only one point. Columbus is expecting Duchene to help solidify their spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He has recorded 28 goals and 32 assists over 52 games this season.