On Thursday, we went through the Western Conference and graded each team on the trades they made in 2016. Today, it’s the Eastern Conference’s turn.
Once again, we’ll use the database at nhltradetracker.com, and we’ll be focused on trades that involved at least one actual player. Each team gets a grade based on their trading only—if the GM did other things right, that’s fine, but it doesn’t show up here.
And yes, technically, a team could render all of this moot by pulling off a monster blockbuster when the holiday trade freeze is lifted a few days before New Year’s Eve. Let’s just say I’m guessing that won’t happen. Prove me wrong, NHL GMs!
Best deal: Anthony Camara and two picks to Carolina for Jean-Michael Liles. Liles is still on the team, so this one wins by default.
Worst deal: A second and fourth to New Jersey for Lee Stempniak. Normally when you make a deadline rental deal, you'd like to at least make the playoffs.
To be determined: What Don Sweeney has been doing since the trade deadline.
Total trades: Two
Overall grade: D+. Despite being linked in several high-profile rumors, deadline day was it for Boston. They've been better than expected this year, so we can't dump on them too much. Still, teams that have missed the playoffs two straight years don't typically take the conservative approach.
Best deal: A fourth to St. Louis for Anders Nilsson. It flew under the radar at the time, but Nilsson's been very good so far this year.
Worst deal: A third rounder to Nashville for Jimmy Vesey. You can see what Tim Murray was doing here, and it was a gamble worth making. But in hindsight, the Sabres gave up a decent pick for nothing at all.
To be determined: Jason Akeson, Philip Varone and Jerome Gauthier-Leduc to Ottawa for Michael Sdao, Alexander Guptill, Cole Schneider and Eric O`Dell. I have no recollection of this seven-player deal happening, none of the players are young enough to be prospects, and only Schneider is in the NHL. When you get together with your uncle, you swap funny stories. When Tim Murray does it, he swaps seven career minor-leaguers.
Total trades: Six
Overall grade: C+. After a busy last few years, Murray eased off in 2016. That's understandable, but he may need to get busy again in 2017.
Best deal: A second and a third to Chicago for Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen. The Hurricanes found a big market team straining against the cap and took advantage.
Worst deal: Eric Staal to the Rangers for two seconds and Aleksi Saarela. Not a bad deal, and almost certainly the best they could reasonably do. But when you trade The Franchise, you'd like to think you're going to get a major haul in return. They didn't quite.
To be determined: Future considerations to Vancouver for Dane Fox. Fox is minor league depth, so there's not much to see here. I just wanted to point out that this happened in March, making it one of those rare "after the trade deadline" moves.
Total trades: Seven
Overall grade: A-. The Teravainen move was a steal, and even the Staal deal was decent.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Best deal: Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones, if only for the sheer "holy cow" moment when it was announced. Midseason blockbusters are so rare these days, it was fun to see one actually pulled off.
Worst deal: Kerby Rychel to the Leafs for Scott Harrington and a conditional pick. Rychel is still a quasi-prospect, although he hasn't done anything in Toronto yet. Look, it's slim pickings in Columbus.
To be determined: I guess it's that Ryan Stanton/Cody Goloubef deal, since it's the only other one they made.
Total trades: Three
Overall grade: B. The Blue Jackets only made three deals all year? What do they think they are, Cup contenders? [Double-checks.] Oh. OK then, carry on I guess.