2019 NHL Trade Deadline: Most Improved Teams

Today was NHL Trade Deadline Day and now each team’s roster is more or less finalized until March call-ups.  Since the Jake Muzzin trade, 47 trades have materialized in the NHL prior to the Trade Deadline. Here’s what happened over the last month, according to Capfriendly.com:

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets trade Alex Broadhurst to the Winnipeg Jets for future considerations.
  2. Florida Panthers trade Chris Wideman to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Jean-Sebastian Dea.
  3. Buffalo Sabres trade Nathan Beaulieu to the Winnipeg Jets for a 6th round pick.
  4. Florida Panthers trade Boris Kiselevich to the Winnipeg Jets for a 7th round pick.
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs trade Par Lindholm to the Winnipeg Jets for Nicolas Petan.
  6. Vancouver Canucks trade Jonathan Dahlen to the San Jose Sharks for Linus Karlsson.
  7. Vancouver Canucks trade Erik Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Tanner Pearson.
  8. Minnesota Wild trade Matt Hendricks to the Winnipeg Jets for a 7th round pick.
  9. New Jersey Devils trade Marcus Johansson (40% retained) to the Boston Bruins for a 2019 2nd round pick and a 2020 4th round pick.
  10. Anaheim Ducks trade Michael Del Zotto to the St. Louis Blues for a 6th round pick.
  11. Philadelphia Flyers trade Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators for Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 4th round pick (becomes a 3rd round pick if the Predators win a round in the playoffs).
  12. Ottawa Senators trade Mark Stone and Tobias Lindberg to the Vegas Golden Knights for Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg, and a 2nd round pick.
  13. Minnesota Wild trade Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators for Kevin Fiala
  14. Los Angeles Kings trade Oscar Fantenberg to the Calgary Flames for a conditional 2020 4th round pick (becomes a 3rd rounder if the Flames make it to the Western Conference Finals and Fantenberg plays in 50% of games).
  15. New York Rangers trade Adam McQuaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Julius Bergman, a 2019 4th round pick, and a 2019 7th round pick.
  16. Colorado Avalanche trade a 2020 3rd round pick to the Florida Panthers for Derick Brassard and a conditional 6th round pick (pick transfers if Brassard does not sign an extension).
  17. Florida Panthers trade future considerations to the Carolina Hurricanes for Cliff Pu.
  18. Arizona Coyotes trade Jordan Weal to the Montreal Canadiens for Michael Chaput.
  19. New York Rangers trade Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets for Brendan Lemieux, a conditional 4th round pick (if the Jets win the 19 Stanley Cup), and a conditional 1st round pick (top 3 protected).
  20. New Jersey Devils trade Keith Kinkaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 2022 5th round pick.
  21. Anaheim Ducks trade Brian Gibbons to the Ottawa Senators for Patrick Sieloff.
  22. Detroit Red Wings trade Gustav Nyquist (30% retained) to the San Jose Sharks for a 2019 2nd round pick and a conditional 3rd round pick (becomes 2nd round pick if the Sharks re-sign Nyquist or the Sharks advance to the Stanley Cup Finals).
  23. Nashville Predators trade Nicholas Baptiste to the Toronto Maple Leafs for future considerations.
  24. Los Angeles Kings trade Spencer Watson to the Chicago Blackhawks for Matheson Iacopelli.
  25. Anaheim Ducks trade Brandon Montour to the Buffalo Sabres for Brendan Guhle and a 1st round pick.
  26. New York Rangers trade Mats Zuccarello (30% retained) to the Dallas Stars for a conditional 2nd round pick (becomes a first round pick if they reach the Western Conference Finals and Zuccarello plays in 50% of the games) and a conditional 3rd round pick (becomes a 1st rounder if the Stars re-sign Zuccarello).
  27. Columbus Blue Jackets trade Anthony Duclair, a 2020 2nd round pick, and a 2021 2nd round pick to the Ottawa Senators for Ryan Dzingel and a 2019 7th round pick.
  28. Dallas Stars trade Connor Carrick and a 2019 3rd round pick to the New Jersey Devils for Ben Lovejoy
  29. Washington Capitals trade Madison Bowey and a 2020 2nd round pick to the Detroit Red Wings for Nick Jensen and a 5th round pick.
  30. San Jose Sharks trade Vicent Praplan to the Florida Panthers for future considerations.
  31. Ottawa Senators trade Matt Duchene and Julius Bergman to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, a conditional 2019 1st round pick (which is top 3 protected), and a conditional 2020 1st round pick (based on whether Duchene re-signs).
  32. Los Angeles Kings trade Carl Hagelin to the Washington Capitals for a 2019 3rd round pick and a conditional 2020 6th round pick (based upon if the Capitals get to the Eastern Conference Finals or further and Hagelin plays in at least 50% of the games).
  33. Minnesota Wild trade Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins for Ryan Donato and a conditional 5th round pick (which becomes a 4th round pick if the Bruins advance to the second round of the playoffs in 2019).
  34. New York Rangers trade Peter Holland to the Chicago Blackhawks for Darren Raddysh.
  35. Edmonton Oilers trade Ryan Spooner to the Vancouver Canucks for Sam Gagner.
  36. Edmonton Oilers trade Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers for Anthony Stolarz.
  37. Vancouver Canucks trade a 7th round pick in 2020 to the New York Rangers for Marek Mazanec.
  38. Pittsburgh Penguins trade a conditional 7th round pick (based on if Siebenaler plays in 10 NHL games) to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Blake Siebenaler.
  39. Los Angeles Kings trade Nate Thompson and a 2019 5th round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for a 2019 4th round pick.
  40. Montreal Canadiens trade Byron Froese and David Schlemko to the Philadelphia Flyers for Dale Weise and Christian Folin ($150,000) retained
  41. Arizona Coyotes trade Laurent Dauphin and Adam Helewka to the Nashville Predators for Emil Pettersson.
  42. Nashville Predators trade a 2020 7th round pick to the New York Rangers for Cody McLeod.
  43. Nashville Predators trade a 2019 2nd round pick to the New Jersey Devils for Brian Boyle.
  44. Colorado Avalanche trade J.C. Beaudin to the Ottawa Senators for Max McCormick.
  45. Florida Panthers trade Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, a 2nd round draft pick, and two 4th round picks.
  46. Minnesota Wild trades Michael Kapla to the New Jersey Devils for Ryan Murphy.
  47. Toronto Maple Leafs trade their 2019 1st round pick, the draft rights to Sean Durzi, and Carl Grundstrom to the Los Angeles Kings for Jake Muzzin.

While there have been a lot of significant changes over the last few days, I don’t like to do a winners and losers list debating the winner of each trade. The truth is that the best team on paper can falter in the playoffs, while supposedly subtle tweaks can make all the difference come playoff time.

For example, I’ve heavily watched the Capitals for years and I was disappointed in their deadline moves last season. Look how that turned out! Kempny was the missing piece.

That being said, this was a very impressive Trade Deadline Day that was much more entertaining than the annual hockey holiday has been over the last few years. Although there were a lot of trade fireworks, these are the teams that improved the most on paper (either this season or in the future). The criterion for this list is the difference between where each team started before the Deadline and what they acquired to help them after the Deadline.


The Best On Paper Improvements:

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets

Opening this list is the most obvious choice, the Columbus Blue Jackets. This was an organization that was at a crossroads. With franchise winger Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky being pending unrestricted free agents, the Jackets could have moved both of them at the deadline and tried to build their team’s talent back to their current point in a couple years. Instead, GM Jarmo Kekalainen swung for the fences acquiring center Matt Duchene, winger Ryan Dzingel, goalie Keith Kinkaid, and defenseman Adam McQuaid.

The Jackets have depleted their future picks, but have made created arguably the second best team in the league—after the Tampa Bay Lightning. Here’s how they stack up:






Werenski Jones

Nutivaara Savard

Harrington McQuaid




When you look at that lineup, you notice a fanatically balanced and talented forward crop unlike most teams in the league. They are young, fast, and physical at forward, while Zach Werenski and Seth Jones are anchoring their blueline. That is a tough team to beat.

If the Jackets can re-sign even two of their UFA’s, they will be fine in the future despite their depleted picks over the next few years. Don’t forget that their top 2018 picks, Liam Foudy, Kirill Marchenko, and Marcus Karlberg, are still with the team. Additionally, their 2017 picks, Alexandre Texier and Daniil Tarasov, are also still with the team. With lots of young, good blueliners and Pierre-Luc Dubois developing towards becoming a franchise center, the future is still bright, even if things do not come together this post-season. At any rate, this is going to be a fun team to watch for the rest of the year. Don’t sleep on these guys.

  1. Ottawa Senators

Ottawa needed this win for its rebuild. After trading almost their entire 2017 Eastern Conference Finals core, the Sens have a nice future to build around.

While they moved their own first round pick this year, there isn’t anything they can do about it now. There are no rewinds in this league and the Sens have to build around what they have and try to make the best out of their situation. That is exactly what they did over the last few days.

In 2019, Ottawa likely has one draft pick (Columbus) in the first round, two second round picks, and a third round pick. After trade conditions in 2020, the Sens probably have two first round picks and three second round picks (and more if Duchene re-signs with Columbus). That amount of stockpiled picks is huge for a rebuilding team.

Add those future selections into a young core of Brady Tkachuk, Rudolfs Balcers, Thomas Chabot, Erik Brannstrom, Filip Gustavsson, and Alex Formenton, and the future looks much better. Brannstrom is bona fide stud who wowed me at the World Junior Championship for Sweden. As a smaller, mobile defenseman, he should transition just fine in the speedy Eastern Conference. He and Chabot will make an undeniably great 1-2 at defense.

All things considered, Ottawa just went from a team without direction to a team with a pretty bright future. This will be a team that is fun to watch over the next three seasons.

  1. Vegas Golden Knights

Despite my previous tweet, there is something to be said for the team that actually lands the big fish. Enter Mark Stone, who is one of the most complete top line wingers you can ask for. Scoring has been a problem for the Knights who are currently 15th in the league in goals for. After their outstanding inaugural season featuring career highs in scoring for pretty much their entire roster, Vegas only boasts one 20 goal scorer as of writing this—Jon Marchessault.

Stone should go a long way towards helping Vegas in that department, as he currently has 62 points (including 28 goals) this season and outstanding possession numbers, despite playing an Ottawa team that has compiled a 22-35-5 record.

While Vegas gave up Brannstrom to make this deal, the fact that they are signing Stone to an 8-year extension makes this move the best acquisition of the day. Vegas just went from stuck in the third spot of the Pacific Division to a dangerous post-season team. Imagine playing a seven-game series as a team that has to walk into the house of horrors that is T-Mobile Arena against Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Nate Schmidt, Reilly Smith, Jon Marchessault, Shea Theodore, and Marc-Andre Fleury. Unreal. Even if Vegas doesn’t have a deep playoff run, this is a trade that will be remembered over the next few years.

  1. Nashville Predators

The Predators swung two major deals today. Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds are going to be huge upgrades going forward.

These two pick ups allow for so much flexibility and add some more grit and goal scoring to a fierce Predators team. Nashville is always a tough team to beat and the franchise has further cemented that status through these acquisitions.

On top of that, the Preds have already acquired Boyle who brings leadership and steady bottom 6 production to the franchise. You could do much worse than a lineup that looks like this:

Granlund Johansen Forsberg

Arvidsson Turris Jarnkrok

Smith Bonino Simmonds

Gaudreau Boyle Sissons

That is a lineup that is ready for the playoffs. It’s balanced, heavy, and athletic, and Nashville looks legit for making it.

  1. San Jose Sharks

The Sharks are a dynamic offensive team that is ranked 2nd in goals for and has 8 players (including two defensemen) who have scored 40 points or more. So naturally, San Jose added another 40-point guy in Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist is 5 points off from his career high in points and it would take some kind of curse to prevent him from that achievement as he plays for the high scoring Sharks. I really like this addition for San Jose and it only ranks this low since the Sharks were such a good team without Nyquist that it almost seems like overkill adding him. Nevertheless, you never know who may go cold in the playoffs, so having too many 40-point guys can’t be a bad thing. Bonus points to the Sharks for Calgary not making any acquisitions. I foresee another division championship in the future.

  1. Winnipeg Jets

I liked everything the Jets did today. While they didn’t do anything particularly flashy, Kevin Hayes should be a nice acquisition. Winnipeg has definitely needed another 2c and Hayes fits that bill as he is a continuous 40-point scorer who is decent in the faceoff circle. While he isn’t Paul Stastny, this will be a huge acquisition that will help balance out their lines.

Winnipeg also adds Matt Hendricks and Par Lindholm for forward depth, and Nathan Beaulieu and Bogdan Kiselevich to help balance out their left side defense. Again, all good moves. But all of these depth moves felt like they should be in addition to something bigger. That left side has been a problem for years and it has never really been addressed. This felt like a good opportunity to go get that missing piece, even if this was a particularly RHD market—Montour, Ceci, Hamilton, Green. I’ve been a huge Kiselevich fan since his days in Russia, even my About page for this site reflects that, but I don’t see him as the top left d-man that the Jets have been lacking. Time will tell if the Jets made the right move standing pat on a major defensive acquisition.

  1. Washington Capitals

The Capitals did a lot right before the Trade Deadline. Weaknesses on the penalty kill and in faceoffs have been hurting them all year. Right now, they are 24th in goals against, have the worst faceoff percentage in the league, and rank 23rd in penalty killing. By acquiring defensive minded speedsters in Hagelin and Jensen, the Caps should drastically improve their pk and goals against. While they are clearly winners, they have yet to replace the invaluable contributions from Jay Beagle in the faceoff circle. Neither Boyd, Dowd, nor Stephenson have come close to being top faceoff men and Washington will enter the postseason with that being their Achilles’ Heel. It’s a huge step forward, as the new fourth line of Hagelin-Dowd-Boyd looks great, but they chose not to address their literal worst statistic.

  1. Colorado Avalanche

Colorado’s big three of Landeskog, MacKinnon, and Rantanen have been fantastic, but the rest of the team has left a lot to be desired for long stretches of the season. Despite their streaky tendencies, the Av’s are still in the playoff hunt and decided to buy at the Deadline. They made a low risk move sending a third-round pick to the Panthers for Derick Brassard. Brassard has openly admitted he did not feel comfortable in Pittsburgh and his numbers really show it. In New York and Ottawa, Brassard was a great 2c so this is more of a redemption project. If Brassard can find his groove with the Av’s, this could be the steal of the Deadline. If not, at least it didn’t cost Colorado much to try. This trade has a higher ceiling than floor.

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