NHL Power Rankings: Grading every team's trade deadline performance
Deadline day can be crucial for teams at the top, bottom and everywhere in between
One of the beautiful things about the NHL trade deadline is its potential importance for teams up and down the standings. it doesn't matter if you're at the very top of the league, on the bubble or eating off the basement floor -- everyone can be a winner on deadline day if their front office pulls the right maneuvers.
This year's deadline came and went on Monday afternoon and, by the numbers, it was the most active deadline day in history. A total of 32 trades sets a new deadline day record (beating 31 in 2010) while the 55 players sent on the move matched the record for most ever.
Of course, not every deadline is created equal and there are always. Sometimes it's hard to identify which teams (or players) fall into which classification in the immediate aftermath but that didn't stop me from trying my best in the hours following Monday's 3 p.m. deadline.
For this week's edition of Power Rankings, we'll touch briefly on each team's moves (or lack thereof) leading up to the trade cutoff and hand out a grade for each of the 31 squads.
|1||Bruins||B. I really liked the Ondrej Kase trade. They were able to use their 1st-rounder to buy low on a really solid player while simultaneously dumping a hamstring contract. Considering Kase's injury history, they probably could have used more insurance. Not crazy about Nick Richie but it was essentially a low-risk style swap.||1||44-14-12|
|2||Lightning||B-. They paid a premium for Blake Coleman but it was worth it for them to grab a really good player on a great contract with control. They get better now while also helping out their cap structure moving forward. Barclay Goodrow is a good depth add (on another good contract) who can be a menace defensively but surrendering a 1st-round pick for him is hard to swallow, even when there's a 3rd-rounder coming back.||1||43-21-6|
|3||Avalanche||C+. The Avs were quieter than most expected considering some of the speculation leading up to the draft, but that may not be such a bad thing considering the seller's market. They didn't get Kreider or goaltending help but they did make a decent depth value add by picking up Vladislav Namestnikov for a 4th-rounder.||3||42-20-8|
|4||Stars||C. The thought of Joe Thornton linking up with Joe Pavelski in Dallas was fun for a minute, but it would have been pretty strange to see Jumbo sharing a sweater with Corey Perry, no? In any case, the Stars stood pat so hopefully they'll be able to find more offense from within.||--||37-24-8|
|5||Penguins||A-. I love the Jason Zucker deal made ahead of the deadline and we're already seeing how well Zucker can fit in with that team. Adding Patrick Marleau, Conor Sheay and Evan Rodrigues gives them some insurance up front, which can't be understated considering how cursed this team seems to be with injuries this year.||2||40-23-6|
|6||Golden Knights||A-. Another busy deadline for Vegas and another successful one. Alec Martinez is already looking like a nice add to their back end, though the price of two 2nd-rounders was pretty substantial. The Robin Lehner addition came as a bit of an initial surprise but Vegas adding an insurance policy behind an overworked 35-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury makes sense.||5||39-24-8|
|7||Capitals||B+. They needed to solidify their defense and they did so by picking up Brenden Dillon at a reasonable price. I sorta love the Ilya Kovalchuk play, especially considering the low cost. Kovy is still somewhat of a wild card but Washington is a great fit and he can be a big piece for them down the stretch if it all works out. It's worth the shot.||2||41-20-8|
|8||Flyers||B-. Derek Grant and Nate Thompson won't blow your socks off but they're decent pickups, especially when they come at low cost.||1||41-21-7|
|9||Hurricanes||A. I think they slightly overpaid for Brady Skjei but they needed the defensive help after losing Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce, and top-four defensemen aren't easy to come by. The fact that were able to land both Skjei and Sami Vatanen address a big area of need for Carolina, and I think Vincent Trocheck has a real opportunity to thrive with the Canes after falling out of favor in Florida. The goaltending is still a concern and I do wonder if they would have sprung for Lehner had they not needed to add two defensemen.||1||38-25-5|
|10||Blues||B+. Marco Scandella could be a really vital piece for their blue line down the stretch. They didn't add scoring but you do have to remember that they should be getting their best scoring forward back from injury at some point soon. I can't really blame them for not wanting to pay the price to make a big splash.||6||42-19-10|
|11||Oilers||A-. They finally got Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl a little more help on the wing and the thought of Andreas Athanasiou playing alongside McDavid really gets the blood pumping.||2||37-25-9|
|12||Canucks||C. The Tyler Toffoli add was nice, sure, but I don't know how much that does for them if they have issues in their own end. Jacob Markstrom has been bailing them out a lot recently and he's got a knee injury that's concerning enough for them to trade for Louis Domingue at the deadline. Domingue shouldn't exactly calm those nerves.||4||36-27-6|
|13||Predators||C-. I don't mind that they didn't do anything of real significance because I still like their chances of making a playoff push but I wouldn't be willing to bet on it. Just let it ride without hurting your chances. However, not sure I get giving up a player and a pick for...Korbinian Holzer? That guy cleared waivers earlier this year.||1||35-26-8|
|14||Islanders||C+. They improved up front with the addition of JG Pageau but it took a lot to land him, both in terms of the trade and the extension. Pageau is a nice two-way player and I appreciate the aggressiveness from NYI but I think they bought high on a guy who's shooting 18-percent and hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career. Didn't love the price for Andy Greene, either. But hey, at least they didn't take on that Zach Parise contract.||--||35-23-10|
|15||Rangers||A-. I'm sure some of the offers for Kreider were tempting and the Rangers probably didn't want to go seven years on his extension (the last few years of that deal might look tough) but they kept a really good player around for a rebuild that is already ahead of schedule, and I think he'll continue to be a key pillar in that organization moving forward. On top of that, they still managed to land a 1st-round pick for a somewhat expendable asset in Skjei. A good day for the present and the future.||3||37-28-5|
|16||Coyotes||B+. Obviously their main addition was Taylor Hall well in advance of the deadline but that deal seems like a big-time score relative to the prices that were paid over the past week, even if Hall hasn't put them over the top.||1||33-29-8|
|17||Maple Leafs||C. Despite their weekend embarrassment putting some pressure on the team to shake things up, the Leafs were quiet and that might be for the best. This team is a completely unpredictable wild card this season, so it might be best to just let it play out. The additions of Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford were solid, though.||2||36-25-9|
|18||Flames||C+. They didn't add any help up front which might be disappointing considering they were linked to some big names like Kreider and Kyle Palmieri, but Erik Gustafsson might provide an offensive boost on the blue line -- though he's a major defensive liability. Meh on Derek Forbort.||1||36-27-7|
|19||Jets||B-. The Dylan DeMelo deal brings some value for a defense that really needs help and it didn't cost them much. Not sure what Cody Eakin really does for them.||2||37-28-6|
|20||Blue Jackets||C. They reportedly almost landed Andreas Athanasiou and it would have been very interesting to see how John Tortorella handled the winger's defensive deficiencies. But they ultimately had a quiet day and made a minor style swap with Sonny Milano for Devin Shore, and that's a deal that Torts probably likes.||7||33-22-15|
|21||Panthers||D. The Vincent Trocheck deal kind of baffled me, to be honest. I know he's been frustrating and has fallen out of favor in Florida but it's a weird move considering their current situation in the standings (just two points back of a playoff spot). Maybe they don't lose a ton with Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark coming back, but Trocheck has the highest ceiling and this package doesn't seem like much of a win for Florida in the short- or long-term. The deal does give them a bit more financial flexibility and I figured they might take advantage of that by adding much-needed defensive help, but they did nothing else of significance. Just a weird approach.||1||35-26-8|
|22||Sabres||C+. An interesting takeaway from deadline day is that the Sabres still consider themselves in the hunt. They elected not to sell and chose to instead make a two-for-one swap to land Dominik Kahun, plus make a low-cost buy on Wayne Simmonds. It's quite ambitious to consider themselves a playoff contender but they didn't give up anything consequential while trying to take advantage of a weak division this year. Shoot your shot, I guess.||1||30-31-8|
|23||Wild||C+. The Zach Parise speculation was a huge tease but if they somehow managed to get out from under that contract it would have been a major coup. Unfortunately, not much else of significance other than the Zucker trade ahead of the deadline.||1||35-27-7|
|24||Canadiens||C. They did well to flip Ilya Kovalchuk and parlay his signing into a 3rd-round pick while still staying in his good graces as they hope to re-sign him this summer. Other than that, it was pretty uneventful day for the Habs, who were looked at as possible big sellers. But Montreal continues to stockpile draft picks and now has 14 selections in this summer's draft, including six in the first three rounds. They're poised to make a big splash at some point soon...it just wasn't in the cards on Monday.||1||31-31-9|
|25||Devils||B+. Loved them getting a 1st-round pick plus a premier prospect in Nolan Foote in exchange for Blake Coleman, and Andy Greene fetching a 2nd-rounder was a win. They did what they could with Sami Vatanen. That being said, I keep going back to what Taylor Hall might have fetched yesterday had the Devils held onto him a little longer. The package probably would have been massive. They also elected not to trade Kyle Palmieri, which seems like a missed opportunity considering the market, but maybe they didn't like anything that came their way.||2||28-29-12|
|26||Blackhawks||D+. The Blackhawks got an underwhelming return for Robin Lehner in addition to a mediocre return for Erik Gustafsson. Not a single 1st-round pick to be found. They didn't commit to selling and retooling as hard as they probably should have and Stan Bowman's seat might be pretty hot at the moment.||2||32-30-8|
|27||Ducks||B+. Ondrej Kase got them a 1st-round pick and that's something they'll probably take considering Kase's injury history, but it doesn't seem as impressive with David Backes' contract attached to the deal -- even if that contract doesn't really hurt them as they rebuild. Just seemed like they might have been able to get more out of Boston, but I do like them turning Nick RItchie into Danton Heinen as well as Devin Shore into Sonny Milano.||1||29-33-9|
|28||Sharks||A. The returns for Patrick Marleau and Brenden Dillon were solid, but the real win was Doug Wilson getting a 1st-round pick in a deal centering around Barclay Goodrow. I mean, that's a MASSIVE get for the Sharks even if it's a high-1st, especially considering San Jose was without a 1st thanks to the Erik Karlsson deal.||--||29-36-5|
|29||Kings||B+. They did pretty well on the returns for Tyler Toffoli, Alec Martinez, and the Jack Campbell deal to Toronto. It's a step in the right direction but there was probably hope that they could have moved more pieces considering they basically need a full strip-down.||--||29-35-6|
|30||Senators||A-. They got decent returns on DeMelo and Namestnikov but the real win was the return for Pageau. Because they got to sell high for a player on a career year in a weak market, Pageau landed them nearly as much as Mark Stone fetched last year. That's pretty insane.||--||25-34-12|
|31||Red Wings||C+. They probably wanted to get more for Andreas Anthanasiou, especially in a weak scorer's market, but they didn't have a ton of leverage there. I do wonder what Columbus offered. Other than that, getting something for Mike Green is nice and Dmytro Timashov could be a decent pickup.||--||17-49-5|
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