NHL Trade Deadline Passes With Flurry of Deals
The 2015 NHL trade deadline passed today at 3 pm EST. Today was the last day for NHL teams to make trades, which means one last opportunity for playoff contenders to grab players for their Stanley Cup runs. It was a busy day for those contenders, with many players swapping over to those currently in a playoff spot. It was also a busy day for teams at the bottom of the standings, as they look to unload contracts or accumulate draft picks to help build for future success.
Here’s a look at some of the moves that jumped out at us in the past 24 hours:
- The New York Rangers were busy in the days leading up to the deadline, including a deal last night with the Winnipeg Jets to send over Lee Stempniak for Carl Klingberg as well as acquiring Keith Yandle from the Arizona Coyotes. The two trade partners look like they’re heading in different directions. Winnipeg’s going in a bold new direction by going after warm bodies for the first time in their franchise history rather than stockpiling draft picks. The move for Stempniak is another sign that they believe they can make the playoffs this year. On the other hand, Arizona looks to be in full rebuilding mode, trading off multiple players at the deadline to gain draft picks.
- To the surprise of no one, the Buffalo Sabres were heavy sellers on deadline day in their quest to tank for a top 2 draft pick and potentially the ability to draft phenom Connor McDavid. By trading off some NHL players with teams like Montreal, Minnesota, and the New York Islanders, the Sabres were able to add on to their deep draft coffers, which could mean they could be heavy dealers this June come draft day.
- The Detroit Red Wings added some new faces the past few days, trading for Erik Cole from the Dallas Stars last night and Marek Zidlicky from the New Jersey Devils today.
- After an adorable letter from his daughter to try and convince the Minnesota Wild to trade for him, Jordan Leopold will be returning to Minnesota after a trade for Justin Falk to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Leopold, a Minnesota native, won the Hobey Baker Award for the nation’s top college hockey player while at the University of Minnesota.
- Expected to be quiet on deadline day, the New York Islanders did some wheeling and dealing in the final hours. They traded for San Jose’s Tyler Kennedy and Buffalo’s Michal Neuvirth while exchanging Chad Johnson to Buffalo and Cory Conacher to Vancouver.
- Olli Jokinen’s days in Toronto lasted only a month, as he was traded away from the Maple Leafs to a contender in the St. Louis Blues. Given the turmoil in Toronto, it was a bit surprising to see the Maple Leafs not trade away any other of their big names in an effort to land some prospects and draft picks.
- The Boston Bruins, who are in the midst of a wild card race they didn’t expect to be in at the start of the season (instead, they were expected to gun for the #1 spot in the East), made a move to get Maxim Talbot from the Colorado Avalanche.
- The biggest trade of the day may have come at the end, as Columbus sent James Wisniewski to the Anaheim Ducks for Rene Bourque, William Karlsson, and a draft pick. Fitting in with the theme of the day, Anaheim, one of the top contenders for the Stanley Cup, plugged in a need at defense while Columbus, in a very disappointing season, gave up one of their stars to try and build something better next season.
- In the end, one team that didn’t make any trades was hit with some bad news right after the deadline had passed. The Calgary Flames will now be without captain Mark Giordano for the rest of the season with a torn tendon. With the Flames in the midst of a heated playoff battle, they could be in some real danger of missing out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs without their star defenseman. Although Calgary tried to find a defenseman right at the deadline, they were unsuccessful.
With all the trades done, it’s now up to the teams to look from within to piece together the rest of the season– whether that means gunning for the Stanley Cup or preparing for next year.
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