Monday, February 26, 2018

Trade deadline winners and losers

Well that was fun.

After a busy deadline day that saw 16 deals involving 31 players, it’s going to take some time to sort it all out. [Takes a few minutes to sort it all out.] Yep, that’ll do it, let’s get to the winners and losers.

Winner: Deadline day anticipation

For years, we watched as NHL GMs got their dealing done early, finalizing their biggest moves in the days and even weeks leading up to deadline day. And whenever it happened, we’d all shake our heads and mumble about saving some of the action for the big day.

This year, that’s what the GMs did. Apart from Derick Brassard and Rick Nash, all of the biggest names were still available heading into this morning. Heck, they were all still available with an hour to go. If you wanted to see the drama go down to the wire like it did in the old days, today was your day.

Loser: Deadline day reality

No Erik Karlsson trade. No Max Pacioretty. No Mike Green. No Jack Johnson. No big-name surprises, unless you count Paul Stastny. It wasn’t a bad deadline day, but given how it was shaping up by mid-afternoon, it was starting to feel like a letdown. Luckily, two teams stepped up to save the day…

Winners: The Lightning and Rangers

They kept us waiting, not just until the deadline but well past it as we waited for the details of their blockbuster to leak out. But the wait was worth it.

Steve Yzerman went out and got his big-time defenseman, but it turned out not be Karlsson after all. Instead, he lands McDonagh and J.T. Miller for Vladislav Namestnikov, picks and prospects. That potentially reunites McDonagh with Dan Girardi, gives the Lightning one of the best 1-2 blue line punches in the league, and cements their status as the clear-cut Stanley Cup favourite. And he did it without giving up a key young piece like Mikhail Sergachev or Brayden Point. Yzerman is not playing around.

As for the Rangers, they told us what they were going to do and then they did it. Jeff Gorton got a nice haul for Nash, and he loads up on futures in this deal. Did he get enough for McDonagh, who still has a year left on a very team-friendly deal? It’s a decent return, but not an eye-popping one. But sometimes when you decide to rebuild, you have to be willing to make a clean break, if only to avoid that mushy middle so many teams are stuck in.

This deal, along with the Nash trade, certainly does that.

These are two teams headed purposefully and aggressively in opposite directions. There were no half-measures here. And their late-day bomb seemed to suck some of the air out of the rest of deadline day, leaving a few teams largely on the sidelines. Such as…

Loser: Ottawa

Just Ottawa. Not the front office. Not the team. Not the city. The whole thing. All of it.

>> Read the full post at Sportsnet

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