Nothing really changed for the Leafs at the trade deadline as Kyle Dubas stood still save for some minor deals. Did anything else change around them? Honestly, not really. Boston and Tampa got better and Florida doesn’t seem to be trying to make the playoffs. It looks like falling into third place in the Atlantic Division is destiny.
What they did: The Bruins’ big splash came a few days before deadline day itself. The Anaheim Ducks did them a massive favour for whatever reason, handing over the underrated and underachieving Ondrej Kase while also taking on David Backes’ albatross contract just as a kind gesture. Boston gave up a middling prospect and what’ll ultimately be a late first-round pick in the deal, which is pretty much what you’d expect the cost to be to take on Backes’ deal alone. Boston also made another smaller move with Anaheim, sending Danton Heinen out west in exchange for Nick Ritchie, giving the team a coke machine to skate around and throw hits.
Kase is injured right now, but, when he returns, he’ll fill the hole on the team’s second line alongside Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci that’s currently being occupied by Karson Kuhlman while Ritchie will slot in on the third line right where Heinen already was.
Conclusion: The Bruins got better, which might actually be a good thing for the Leafs. Nobody wants to see them in the first round and these moves will help them in their race with Tampa Bay to win the division. If they win that race, no Boston in the first round! Exciting!
Tampa Bay Lightning
What they did: A few days ago, the Lightning moved Vancouver’s first-round pick (the one they got for J.T. Miller) and prospect Nolan Foote (the Foote brother they drafted last year) to New Jersey in exchange for versatile forward Blake Coleman. At the deadline, they dealt their own first-round pick to further upgrade their middle-six, acquiring Barclay Goodrow from the Sharks.
Conclusion: It cost quite a bit, but the Lightning are better than they were last week. That said, they probably could have stopped after the Coleman addition rather than giving up a first-round pick for a guy with a career-high of eight goals, but Tampa is in win-now mode. These may not be sexy, star-studded additions, but they make an already deep team even deeper.
What they did: Just a few points out of a playoff spot and with the team they’re chasing spiralling out of control after losing to their own Zamboni driver, the Florida Panthers did what any reasonable team would do at the trade deadline: sell. Florida moved out the struggling Vincent Trochek to the Carolina Hurricanes for Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, and a couple of prospects.
Conclusion: This was certainly a surprising move from the Panthers who went all-in over the off-season as it seems to be selling low on a good player in Trochek. That said, Trochek had apparently wanted a trade out of Florida and Haula and Wallmark give the Panthers some added depth up the middle, so maybe it isn’t that terrible. I don’t know. It’s a weird one. It’s hard to call the Panthers better now than they were last week.
What they did: Montreal made a handful of minor selling moves, dealing away Ilya Kovalchuk, Marco Scandella, Nick Cousins, Matthew Peca, and Nate Thompson in exchange for second-, third-, fourth-, fifth-, and seventh-round draft picks.
Conclusion: Montreal got a decent haul for a bunch of impending free agents, but it was a bit surprising they didn’t opt to deal away one of their bigger names with another year of control. Seeing what Blake Coleman was able to net for New Jersey, you’d have expected Tomas Tatar to warrant a king’s ransom, but Montreal, oddly enough, seems to view themselves as legitimate contenders next season.
What they did: The Sabres made a couple of moves at the deadline, sending Evan Rodrigues and Conor Sheary to the Penguins for Dominik Kahun while also moving a late draft pick to New Jersey for Wayne Simmonds. It’s basically a bottom-six swap for the Sabres, as two depth guys are going out and two new depth guys are coming in.
Conclusion: The Simmonds deal is puzzling to the say the least because it indicates that Buffalo believes they have some chance of making the playoffs. That’s, uh, not really the case.
lmao Kevin Bieksa saying that the Devils should have shown Wayne Simmonds more respect by trading him to "not Buffalo"
— J (@Account4hockey) February 24, 2020
Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings
What they did: TAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK.