NHL trade deadline: Ranking the 5 biggest deals, starting with Lightning blockbuster
There is a lot to sort through after Monday's NHL trade deadline, so let's put things in order
If you missed out on following the NHL's trade deadline action, have no fear...we're here to help. Strap in as we take you through a handful of the most important deals made in the days leading up to Monday's deadline
Time to play some catch-up.
1. Tampa Bay loads up with McDonagh and Miller
The biggest deal of the day came in the final minutes of the deadline and saw the Lightning snag two big pieces from the rebuilding Rangers. It wasn't Erik Karlsson, but Tampa still got the top-four defenseman it coveted in McDonagh, plus a fine solid piece in J.T. Miller. It's clear that Tampa is going for it this year, and those two guys could certainly play key roles in helping them make a Cup run. McDonagh has a year left on his contract beyond this season, while Miller is set to become an RFA after this year.
To make the big splash, the Lightning had to give up one roster player in Namestnikov, who is somewhat comparable to Miller in age and production, and two solid (but not elite) prospects. Tampa not having to surrender Mikhail Sergachev or Brayden Point in a deal is a big win for them. The conditional second-round pick will turn into a first-rounder if Tampa wins the Cup this year or next year.
2. Penguins get Derick Brassard
If you're a good team looking to load up for a playoff run, which the back-to-back champs in Pittsburgh are, then one of the most valuable pieces you can add is a good third-line center. The Penguins got a very good 3C in Brassard, who will slot in behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the depth chart. That's a pretty terrifying 1-2-3 punch for the Pens, who have been looking to replace Nick Bonino on that third line ever since he departed for Nashville in free agency last summer.
Meanwhile, the Senators offload Brassard's deal (which runs through 2018-19) while picking up assets for their rebuild, including a promising goaltending prospect in Gustavsson. As for the Knights, they got involved in this deal solely to eat some of Brassard's contract to help get him under the cap for the Penguins. That may seem a bit strange, but Vegas wanted to keep Brassard out of the Western Conference and the Jets were reportedly hot on his tail. They essentially took 40-percent of Brassard's $5 million hit to prevent him from joining a team they might face in the playoffs.
The Bruins were aggressive and made the biggest splash of this year's deadline by going out and getting some scoring help in the veteran Nash. The 33-year-old Nash is a big, explosive offensive presence who will provide a second-line upgrade over Ryan Spooner as the Bruins look to build on their tremendous first half and make a strong playoff push. Though sometimes a bit inconsistent, Nash is a tough guy to play against and the Bruins are hoping that his size alongside David Krejci will lead to fearsome results in the postseason. A sneaky great part of this deal is Boston being able to offload Matt Beleskey's contract and free up some money for the next handful of years.
Meanwhile, the Rangers got good value for Nash, especially considering he'll likely be a rental for the Bruins. In addition to Spooner, who will be an RFA after this season, the Rangers get a first-round pick (albeit a late rounder) and 20-year-old prospect Ryan Lindgren, who projects to be a solid stay-at-home defenseman with good leadership qualities. This is a win-win deal that addresses areas of need for both teams.
4. Winnipeg gets Stastny
After losing out on a number of centers (Brassard, Tomas Plekanec and Mark Letestu) the Jets still managed to get an upgrade down the middle with the veteran Stastny. There's good reason why Stastny waived his no-trade clause to go to Winnipeg, as he likely joins a playoff team with a chance to center some dangerous weapons in Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. As an added bonus for Winnipeg, St. Louis will retain 50-percent of Stastny's remaining salary.
It's somewhat surprising that the Blues are selling while still in the playoff hunt, but they're able to get some future assets for Stastny's expiring contract rather than letting him walk for nothing. It worked out pretty well for St. Louis last year when they traded Kevin Shattenkirk at the deadline, so maybe they'll have similar luck here.
5. Evander Kane goes to San Jose
Evander Kane should be a pretty good fit in San Jose. The Sharks needed scoring help and Kane is a big, strong force with a good finishing touch in the slot. He'll likely be a rental but the acquisition of Kane, who has 20 goals and 40 points on the season, helps add firepower and spread out some depth on the Sharks' lineup.
While it's not an overwhelming package by any means (the first-round pick turns into a second-round pick if Kane doesn't re-sign in San Jose), the Sabres managed to get something for Kane, who's on the final year of his deal. They'll have to wait a bit to cash in on those draft picks, but the acquisition of O'Regan reunites him with his Boston University linemates in Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues.
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