Winners and Losers After the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline

The trade frenzy has concluded and with it, there were many winners and losers. The label of winners or losers are identified by the quality of trades completed. The amount of deals made at this year’s trade deadline is significantly more abundant than the previous year. This list narrowed down to the most successful buyer and seller, with the least successful of each following. Lets see which GMs will be praised, and which GMs may have sealed their fate and will soon be brought to the executioner’s block.

Grab What You Can

The Edmonton Oilers were the most successful team when it came to receiving the highest quality players without sacrificing too much. The biggest addition was forward Andreas Athanasiou, while the Oilers also added veteran forward Tyler Ennis, veteran defenseman Mike Green, and prospect forward Ryan Kuffner. In receiving these players, they gave up a second round pick in 2020, as well as another second round pick and conditional fifth round pick in 2021, while also shipping out veteran forward Kyle Brodziak. I am very impressed that they did not give up their first round pick in 2020. Even though this draft pick will likely be a mid-late first round selection, it will be highly valuable for the franchise, as the 2020 NHL Draft class is incredibly deep, allowing them the possibility of landing a star. Furthermore, adding a potential star in Athanasiou, while maintaining their first round pick, shows that GM Ken Holland is willing to make deals to improve the franchise short-term, while not sacrificing their longevity of success by trading first round picks. My runner-up for the most successful buyer at the deadline was the Washington Capitals. The Stanley Cup contenders really improved their roster depth by adding defenseman Brendan Dillon from San José, young forward Dillon Sprong from Anaheim, and veteran forward Ilya Kovalchuk – one of the more surprising deals made at the deadline. Sprong provides an elite young talent for the future; Kovalchuk provides scoring depth and veteran leadership, but will likely play among the bottom six in the lineup; Brendan Dillon provides the Caps with depth on defense, along with being a useful left-handed and gritty defenseman – a lacking role on the roster. In exchange for these three players, they only lost a second and third round pick in 2020, a conditional third round pick in 2021, and defensemen Christian Djoos. For the amount they received, the amount that the Capitals gave up appears as a steal for one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

Is This [A Winning Roster]?

The window for the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup has been open for more than five years, and they have only made it to the finals once – in 2015 where they lost in Game 6 to Chicago. In a push to get over the hump, the Bolts tried to make several deals at the deadline by bringing in forward Blake Coleman from New Jersey and forward Barclay Goodrow from San José. Neither forwards are valued more than a third round pick, however, Tampa gave up a first round pick to the Sharks, a conditional first round pick and forward prospect Nolan Foote to the Devils, forward Danick Martel to Florida for Anthony Greco, and then used him as a piece in the Sharks trade. Tampa jumped the gun on an unnecessary deal with New Jersey where, while they gained a talented forward for depth scoring, they lost two first round picks in the process. 

Fire Sale! Everything Must Go!

This is by far the hardest decision I’ve had to made; the most successful seller at the deadline in my book is the Ottawa Senators. No team is more committed to a full rebuild than the Sens, as they traded a plethora of players including Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Tyler Ennis, Vladislav Namestnikov, Aaron Luchuk, Max Veronneau, and Dylan DeMelo. In return, they received an abundance of draft picks, including picks in the first, second, and third rounds of the 2020 draft, and picks in the fourth, two in the fifth, and sixth rounds of the 2021 draft, as well as forward Matthew Pecca in exchange for a 2020 seventh round pick. The Senators have made it obvious that they are invested on the future and will trade away anyone with value if it means it will translate to prosperity in the long run. A full rebuild is a long and tortuous process for the fans. Every year the fans look themselves in the mirror and say “this year is not our year” and proceed to watch the team get slapped by a contender 7-2 all year. There is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel however, as good drafting and smart contracts will translate to a contender for the Stanley Cup. There is another fish in this pond as well, and that’s the New Jersey Devils. The devs have been, for lack of better words, brutal in their past few seasons. No matter. The fans should be very hopeful for the future. The Devs made sure to acquire as many picks as they could to begin their preparation for the future.  Doing so, they traded veterans Andy Greene, Wayne Simmonds, Blake Coleman, Sami Vatanen, and Louis Domingue. Looking back into December, trading star forward Taylor Hall showed the Devils’ willingness to tank for future results. In return, the Devils have since acquired two first round draft picks, a third, fourth, fifth, and seventh round pick, as well as players Janne Kuokkanen, Fredrik Claesson, David Quenneville, Nolan Foote, Nick Merkley, and Zane McIntyre. The Devils now have four projected picks in the first round of 2020 alone, giving them a golden opportunity to set their franchise on the right course and give them the path to the promise land.

“I Lose!” ~ Patrick Star

The NHL’s Biggest Loser Award from the trade deadline has been awarded to… The Chicago Blackhawks! Their dynasty has been over for five years now, and their Where are they now? segment is an absolute circus. GM Stan Bowman is in Banana-lands as he traded star goaltender Robin Lehner for a below average backup in Malcom Subban, a second rounder in 2020, and defenseman Slava Demin from the Golden Knights, and a third rounder in 2020 from Calgary in exchange for defenseman Erik Gustafsson. The expectation for the Hawks was to acquire another draft pick in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft in the event they were to trade away Lehner. Gustafsson would have been worth at least a second round pick were he traded in the 2018-2019 season; a year he registered 17 goals and 43 assists in 79 NHL games – all career highs. His value dropped significantly as he had tallied 6 goals and 20 assists in 59 games in the 2019-20 season with Chicago. Not only will the Hawks miss the playoffs, but they will have a projected mid-first round selection in 2020 and nothing else to show for it. Bowman has proven year-in and year-out, he’s not suited to be a general manager in the NHL. The 2020 trade deadline is just one of the many examples of his failures to the city and his contract needs to be terminated by the start of the 2020-21 season.