Several NHL teams were busy before the trade deadline. Some are more notable than others.
If you recall, last season's big trade was Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers. The Panthers lost in round two, Giroux left, and the Panthers won't make the playoffs this season. The Panthers still lost their first and third-round pick, though. The most significant trade was Nick Paul going to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a fourth-round selection and a player.
I criticized the New Jersey Devils for picking up Timo Meier. I'll do it again for the New York Rangers for picking up Patrick Kane right after acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko. I also said they wouldn't be able to afford him last week. But someone helped, and we'll get into that later. The Rangers are where they are because they drafted well. But It's hard to do so when you have no picks. They lost four picks for those two. Two snipers seem like overkill, and they can't retain both. But the Rangers have a goalie and more playoff experience, so it's more logical. Kane also makes sense because he has chemistry with Artemi Panarin and might resign because he wants to be there.
The Vegas Golden Knights acquired Jonathan Quick, who I think wants to be there because he definitely didn't want to be in Columbus, where the Kings originally traded him, and he never went. Although Quick will be fourth on the depth chart, it's a smart move because the Golden Knights are on their third-string goalie due to injuries. And if they lost Adin Hill before Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit return, it'll be nice to have someone who won Stanley Cups. I correctly predicted Robin Lehner would never be their starter long term, and I doubt he'll even be on the team next season.
The Bruins picked up some players to help them in their Stanley Cup run but gave up two first-round picks. I'm not sure you need more players if you have the best team in the NHL by a mile, but you will need those picks. They gave up a first-rounder for Rick Nash a few years ago. How'd that work out? It's odd that the Detroit Red Wings didn't want Tyler Bertuzzi, and it's doubtful the Bruins can keep him.
The most eye-popping trade was the Lightning acquiring Tanner Jeannot from the Nashville Predators for a player and five picks. One pick in each of the first five rounds. For Tanner Jeannot? NHL teams treat picks like they're worthless.
I've always believed these deadline deals are dumb because there's not enough time to acclimate. This week Chris Chelios said he hated being traded at the deadline and was in shock for fifteen games. It wasn't until the playoffs that he felt comfortable and played normally. He can see it in Kane's eyes that he's not there yet.
Things I like
- Connor McDavid keeps setting records because he can. This week he joined five other NHL players with five straight multi-goal games. He joined Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri as the only Oilers to score 50 goals in 61 games or fewer and three others to do it all-time He's on his way to passing Gretzky's Oilers' record of most powerplay points in a season. McDavid is on pace for the most points in a season since Mario Lemieux in 1992–93. He currently has 122. He's closing in on third all-time for points per game average. McDavid has a ten-game active point streak, and Leon Draisaitl has twelve.
Things I don't
There's nothing wrong with rebuilding. If done correctly, you can contend for a decade before doing it again. But rebuilds don't normally take a decade. The Arizona Coyotes don't seem to have a plan and are only good at acquiring contracts of players who will never play for them. This season they have 30k worth of contracts of players who have never played for the organization and never will. Their latest is retaining 2.5k of Kane's salary so he could go to the Rangers. Teams don't normally have 30k of extra cap space unless they have no good players. Clayton Keller deserves better.
The last few weeks have been brutal for the Lightning. They've lost five in a row by a combined score of 27 to 11. They played badly against the Penguins (more below), their star players were benched in the third period against the Sabres, and they managed only four shots in the first period and none in the second against the Hurricanes, who demolished them 6-0. It's virtually impossible to have no shots in a period. Granted, Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov had in-game injuries, but this isn't how you want to play down the stretch. I'd be licking my chops if I were a Toronto Maple Leafs' fan. That's a match-up you must win. Their reward would be the Bruins in an instant classic.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Jarred Tinordi vs Jack McBain
A decent back-and-forth where they connect at the end.
Tom Wilson vs Nathan Beaulieu
A nice long fight.
Ross Johnston vs Ryan Reaves
I really wanted Johnston to slam Reeves down because it looked like he tried.
Goats of the Week
Tampa Bay Lightning
Jeff Petry scores back-to-back goals in 25 seconds to help the Penguins to an overtime win over the Lightning. On the first goal, the Lightning turn it over, passing from their own zone. On the second, Andrei Vasilevskiy does not properly hug the post and gives up a bad goal. He wasn't sharp in this game and has been fairly average lately.
Nathan MacKinnon - Colorado Avalanche
MacKinnon tries to pass the puck through Jaden Schwartz but to no avail. Schwartz picks it off and dishes it to Brandon Tanev for the game-tying goal. The Seattle Kraken won in overtime. That's Kraken hockey, baby.
Stat Line of the Week
2/28/23 Los Angeles 6 vs. Winnipeg 5
Anze Kopitar is still getting it done in his seventeenth season. He notched his sixth career hat trick to help the Kings beat the Jets in the shootout. Kopitar has 25 goals in the season, a mark he hasn't hit in five seasons. He's ten goals away from 400.
Honorable mention to Vladimir Tarasenko, who had two assists and the overtime winner against the Philadelphia Flyers.
1011 – Games played for Jamie Benn, but the Stars only honored him with a silver stick this week for passing 1000
37 – Shot advantage for the Calgary Flames over the Bruins, but they still lost in overtime
2 – Empty net goals for the Bruins, who also scored a short-handed and even-strength goal after the Sabres put their goalie back in
10 – Straight wins for the Bruins
1225 – Points for Patrick Kane, the second most points scored in Chicago Blackhawks history
8 – Straight games with at least one goal for Dawson Mercer, tying the New Jersey Devils franchise record
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
- San Jose