• Andrew McGuinness

Breaking Down the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline

The 2019 trade deadline has come and gone. This year in particular saw a lot of teams make their moves in the weeks leading up to deadline day, there was still a fair amount of action on Monday leading up to the 3 P.M. deadline. With the deadline in the rearview mirror, let's take a look back at all the major trades of the last 4 weeks and see who made out as winners and losers.

BOTN Trade Deadline Evaluator

Bold - This team won the trade by a landslide

Italics - This team won the trade, but it wasn't a blowout

Nothing - This was an even trade

LA Acquires

LW Carl Grundström

D Sean Durzi

2019 TOR 1st

TOR Acquires

D Jake Muzzin

Our first trade to break down takes us back in time 25 days, close enough to the deadline for me to analyze. While most young teams look towards the future to become true contenders, for the Maple Leafs, it makes sense to go all in. Mitch Marner, Andreas Johnsson, and Connor Brown are all pending RFAs, while Jake Gardiner is a pending UFA. The Leafs are already tight against the cap, so getting all those guys under contract is going to be a dozy (Gardiner will almost certainly go).

So, recognizing their unique window, the Leafs went out and improved their biggest need - right defense. Granted, Muzzin is a left-handed shot. But he's also a fantastic defenseman on a steal of a contract at $4 million through next season. The term is the key here. In return, LA gets two decent prospects - Grundström has the higher floor, while Durzi has the better ceiling. The 1st is nice as well. Muzzin was the only notable defenseman moved this deadline, so it makes sense LA was able to get a nice haul, although Toronto kept their two top defense prospects Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren.

FLA Acquires

C Derick Brassard

C Riley Sheahan

2019 PIT 2nd

2019 PIT 4th

2019 MIN 4th

PIT Acquires

C Nick Bjugstad

LW Jared McCann

When Jim Rutherford acquired Brassard the deadline last year for a 1st, solid goalie prospect Filip Gustavsson, and a decent defenseman in Ian Cole, I don't think he had this future in mind. After a decent end to the 2017-18, Brassard was only ok in the playoffs. But this season, he really struggled to fit in with the Pens. So Pittsburgh cuts their loses and gets a couple decent top-9 forwards in Bjugstad and McCann.

On the other hand, Florida comes out pretty nice in this deal. I'm not particularly high on McCann's ceiling, or Bjugstad's potential to be a bonafide top-6 forward. So the fact the Panthers get arguably the best player in the deal (Brassard) and a bevy of draft picks, including a 2nd, makes this a solid move for them.

NSH Acquires

C Brian Boyle

NJ Acquires

2019 NSH 2nd

Brian Boyle is certainly not a bad player. He's a solid bottom-6 option with grit and loads of playoff experience, and he can score a little bit too. The problem is David Poile gave up too much to get him. As we'll see later on, knowing when to make a trade is often key in dictating the value a team gives up. Had Smashville waited to the deadline, they probably scoop him up for a 3rd, maybe less.

BOS Acquires

C Charlie Coyle

MIN Acquires

C Ryan Donato

2019 BOS Conditional 5th

Over the years, the Bruins have had a history of giving up on young players too early, only to watch them become stars elsewhere (Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton, just to name a few). They're hopeful Ryan Donato isn't the next name on that list. His hot start in Minnesota (4 points in 3 games after 9 in 34 with Boston) has done little to quell those concerns.

On the bright side, the Bruins can at least know they're getting better in the here and now. Coyle never became the player he was hyped to be, but he's still a productive middle-6 forward who can help the Bruins forward depth, almost certainly the weakest place on their roster.

CBJ Acquires

C Matt Duchene

D Julius Bergman

OTT Acquires

LW Vitaly Abramov

RW Jonathan Davidsson

2019 CBJ Conditional 1st

2020 CBJ Conditional 1st

It's now or never, Columbus. The NHL's least successful franchise set down their foot all in one move. They took Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky off the table by pushing all of their chips to the middle of the table and getting the best center on the block. Duchene escapes the hell hole of Ottawa and gets the chance to be the number 1 center on Columbus, forming a formidable 1-2 punch with Pierre Luc-Dubois. How good this trade really is will be decided in the coming months.

As for Ottawa, they get a pretty nice haul back. Abramov is a solid prospect with a good shot and hockey IQ, but needs to improve his skating. Davidsson, a former 6th round pick, has top-9 upside. As for the two firsts, the 2019 1st is top 3 protected (must have been super awkward for Pierre Dorion to learn you could do that), and the 2020 1st is dependent on Duchene resigning with the Blue Jackets. Both teams give a lot to get a lot, and for now, things look pretty even.

DET Acquires

D Madison Bowey

2020 WSH 2nd

WSH Acquires

D Nick Jensen

2019 BUF 5th

Not many players have had their stock shoot up as much this year as Jensen. The 28-year old right-handed defenseman became a borderline top-4 caliber player in Detroit, and will occupy that role in Washington. Last year, the Capitals played calm during the deadline, 1 year removed from the unsuccessful Kevin Shattenkirk deal, and struck gold by acquiring Michal Kempny for a 3rd. They hope Jensen is this year's version of that, and doubled up on their value by signing him to a reasonable 4-year extension with a $2.5 million AAV.

Detroit does alright for themselves here, too. Getting a 2nd for Jensen is what'd you call maximizing your return, and Bowey is a nice bonus. He's struggled in limited NHL action thus far, but given a change of scenery in Detroit, there's a decent chance he could develop.

CBJ Acquires

C Ryan Dzingel

2019 CGY 7th

OTT Acquires

RW Anthony Duclair

2020 CBJ 2nd

2021 CBJ 2nd

Just in case you weren't sure, Columbus is going all in. In their second big trade with the Sens, Columbus picks up one of the best contracts in the league. At $1.8 million, Dzingel emerged last years as a top-6 forward, but has become more than that in a breakout year. Given some more help, he should flourish in Columbus, who now boasts an elite top-9 forward core.

Give credit to Pierre Dorion for getting a solid return on Dzingel, though. Duclair is only 23 and is on pace for the second best season of his career and still has some potential. Combined with two second round picks that could easily become a first at the draft if Ottawa wants them too, all in all, the Sens make out alright here.

DAL Acquires

RW Mats Zuccarello

NYR Acquires

2019 DAL Conditional 2nd

2020 DAL Conditional 3rd

At first glance, this looked like a pretty good deal for Dallas. Over the last few years, the Stars biggest issue (behind goaltending until they got Ben Bishop) has been scoring depth. They’ve got an incredible first line in Benn-Seguin-Radulov, but not much behind them. Enter Zuccarello, who has hit the 50 point mark in 4 of the last 5 years. Unfortunately, the hockey gods deemed they needed to suffer, and Zuccarello made it two periods as a Star before breaking his arm, sidelining him for 4 weeks.

As for the picks - the 2nd becomes a first if Dallas makes it to the Western Conference Final, which isn’t very likely. The 3rd is what will make or break this trade for New York, as it would upgrade to a 1st if Zuccarello resigns, which certainly isn’t our of the realm of possibility.

ANA Acquires

D Brendan Guhle

2019 STL/SJ 1st

BUF Acquires

D Brandon Montour

This was one of the more surprising trades of the deadline. There’s no doubt that Anaheim needs to make changes, if not a full-scale rebuild at least a retool. But aren’t smooth-skating, puck-moving right handed defenseman like Montour the kind of player you should build around? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid haul for the Ducks - they’ll get a late first (either from St. Louis or San Jose) and a prospect in Guhle, who seems to have a wide range of potential. I’m just not sure what caused Anaheim to move on from one of their precious young defenseman.

DET Acquires

2019 SJS 2nd

2020 SJS Conditional 3rd

SJS Acquires

RW Gustav Nyquist

While Ken Holland did alright on the Jensen deal, Detroit probably should’ve gotten more for Nyquist. Granted, Nyquist’s no-trade clause may have affected the Wings’ return. Still, he's a young enough winger with the ability to put the puck in the back of the net, and easily makes the Sharks already strong top-9 one of the best in the NHL. The Sharks give up a very reasonable price for a good player in Nyquist, but as always, San Jose is more focused on what's to come in the spring.

NYR Acquires

LW Brendan Lemieux

2019 WPG Conditional 1st

2022 Conditional 4th

WPG Acquires

C Kevin Hayes

With a lot of the second-tier forwards on the market going for less in years past, give credit to the Rangers for maximizing the return on Hayes, one of the better power forwards in the NHL. At 42 points in 51 games, Hayes is prepared to smash his previous career high (49 in 76 games back in 2016-17), and provides a stabilizing presence to sure up the Jets already sound top-6.

COL Acquires

C Derick Brassard

2020 FLA Conditional 6th

FLA Acquires

2020 COL 3rd

How the once mighty have fallen. As previously mentioned, Brassard was sent to the Pens last year for a 1st plus. This year, he goes for less than a 3rd. But that's why this trade could be a home run. Much like Dallas, the Avalanche lack depth behind their vaunted top line of Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen. If Brassard can return to his New York or Ottawa form, then this trade looks really good for Colorado.

This also finishes up Florida's deadline, which had a lot of flare to it before eventually fizzling out. Any chance they had of getting Panarin or Bobrovsky were shut down when Columbus acquired Duchene, but that can wait until free agency. Their final haul for Bjugstad and McCann adds up to a 2nd, 3rd, 2 4ths, and Riley Sheahan, which doesn't make it as much of a win for Florida as one might have originally thought.

MIN Acquires

LW Kevin Fiala

NSH Acquires

C Mikael Granlund

Let's get this out of the way - Kevin Fiala is a good player. The former first round pick broke out last year with a 22 goal season. However, he failed to take the next step forward, and while Nashville was looking to improve their forward core, not subtract, Fiala was still the subject of a few rumors.

But for Mikael Granlund? Now that came out of nowhere. And while it came at the cost of Fiala, swapping him for Granlund is a major win for Nashville. Granlund is a first-line caliber player, and a center at that, whereas Fiala is more of a low-end second liner who is better fit for a complementary scoring role. Add in the fact that he's signed through next year at a solid $5.75 million cap hit, and that makes it that much better for Smashville. This is Paul Fenton's second questionable 1-for-1 in the last 2 months (traded Nino Niederreiter for Victor Rask), but his Wild are still in the hunt.

OTT Acquires

C Oscar Lindberg

D Erik Bränström

2020 VGK 2nd

VGK Acquires

RW Mark Stone

You were so close to not blowing this, Dorion. The Senators got good value for Duchene and Dzingel, so things seemed like they were going well. And then this. While the Senators do get the smooth skating Brännström (good thing Ottawa doesn't have a history wasting an elite Swedish defenseman's career), you'd think they could get more for Stone, one of the best two-way forwards in the league. Lindberg is an ok fourth-liner, but nothing more, and (likely) a late 2nd round pick doesn't move the needle all too much.

With that underwhelming package in mind, Vegas it the clear winner here. It looks that much more lopsided considering that Stone has reportedly signed an extension (can't be made official until March 1) for 8 years at $9.5 million per. It's still crazy to believe that less than 2 years into their existence, the Golden Knights have already become one of the biggest buyers in the NHL.

BOS Acquires

LW Marcus Johansson

NJ Acquires

2019 BOS 2nd

2020 BOS 4th

This is the prototypical deadline deal. A solid winger like Johansson (27 points in 48 games) goes to a contender in Boston for a couple of picks. MoJo was unable to build off a career-high 58 point 2016-17 season with Washington in his time in New Jersey, in large part due to injury. He'll add to a Bruins forward core, like Dallas and Colorado, needing scoring beyond their first line. Johansson should be able to provide that for them.

Rapid Fire: After acquiring Adam McQuaid from the Rangers for a 4th and a 7th, the Blue Jackets are down to their own 3rd and Calgary's 7th in this year's draft. Tanner Pearson never fit with the Penguins, but trading him to Vancouver for overpaid pylon Erik Gudbransson is another bad move by Jim Rutherford. Cliff Pu, a major part of the Hurricanes haul for Jeff Skiner, going to Florida for future considerations is a major disappointment. Former Flyer Jordan Weal goes from Arizona to Montreal for Michael Chaput, giving him a chance to be in the playoffs. New Jersey turning a 6th defenseman in Ben Lovejoy into a 3rd and a project but young Connor Carrick could be a major steal. And if you're looking for thoughts on the Wayne Simmonds trade, check out our article from yesterday.