Winners, losers of the 2015 NHL trade deadline
Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin talks to the media at the Bell Centre on November 11, 2014. (BEN PELOSSE/LE JOURNAL DE MONTRÉAL/QMI AGENCY)
In trying to break down who the winners and losers of Trade Deadline 2015 are, the true champions won’t be determined until after the whistle has tooted on the final game of the 2015 NHL regular season.
Because by the that time, we’ll know who finished at the bottom of the NHL standings -- and, in the process, solidified their spot at landing either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.
Whichever team does finish 30th, of course, is guaranteed a shot at either of those highly regarded prospects. Even if the last place team doesn’t win the draft lottery, it will select second, Eichel’s likely spot.
To that end, the Coyotes and Sabres deserve the biggest thumbs up for their work in the past few days. From the shores of Lake Erie to the Valley of the Sun, Tank Nations in Arizona and Buffalo are gleefully celebrating the diluted rosters of their respective teams.
Here’s a rundown:
GM Don Maloney’s outstanding return for D Keith Yandle, F Antoine Vermette and concussed D Zbynek Michalek: two first-round picks, a second-round pick, a conditional third-round pick, forward Maxim Letunov, defenceman John Moore, Team Canada world junior star Anthony Duclair and blueline prospect Klas Dahlbeck. The result: an outstanding foundation for the future, not to mention he got rid of three of his top players. In the battle to finish last, that helps. The 28th place Coyotes are just one point ahead of 29th place Edmonton and four up on bottom feeders Buffalo.
It’s like the Sabres were saying: “Hey Arizona, we can play that game too.” Michal Neuvirth was making too many saves and winning too many games, so off to Long Island he goes. Tanks for the memories, Michal, but this is about doing what must be done to stay in the basement.
Tyler Myers, Lee Stempniak, Drew Stafford and Jiri Tlusty all are significant adds for a franchise vying for its first playoff appearance since NHL hockey returned to Winnipeg.
With the Kings coughing up a first-round pick and a prospect for Andrej Sekera, how did GM Marc Bergevin get away with not giving up a first-rounder for Jeff Petry? Nice job.
Rebuilt their blueline by adding James Wisniewski and Simon Despres while bringing in Tomas Fleischmann up front. They’re all-in.
Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli make an already good team better.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky bring veteran leadership to a young team. Zidlicky is also the right-handed shot coach Mike Babcock covets on the blueline.
Got Tampa to overpay for Braydon Coburn, netting defenceman Radko Gudas as well as a first-round and a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
Through no fault of their own, the Flames playoff hopes suffered a huge blow when GM Brad Treliving announced captain Mark Giordano would need surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon and is out five months.
With David Krejci out and the team on the cusp of missing the playoffs, Brett Connolly and Max Talbot just can’t pick up the offensive slack.
Given the market value, should have received a better return for Petry.
Where was the star power, guys? Trade deadline day, after all, has become an unofficial national holiday in Canada. Feed the beast.
THE JURY’S OUT:
Antoine Vermette is a nice pickup, but did they overpay for Kimmo Timonen? This is a 39-year-old defenceman who has not played all season due to blood clots. Only time will tell. He was scheduled to make his debut last night.
NEW YORK RANGERS
The addition of D Keith Yandle makes them short-term winners -- if they win the Cup. If they don’t, the fact that they’ll go four consecutive seasons (2013-2016) without a first-round pick should be a concern.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Got a nice return for Mike Santorelli and Daniel Winnik, plus deserve huge kudos for moving that David Clarkson contract. But the real litmus test lies in if the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Tyler Bozak and/or Joffrey Lupul can be moved during the summer -- and what the return will be.