With the 2017 trade deadline in the rearview mirror, teams can now focus on the stretch run and preparing for the Stanley Cup playoffs. There’s been a little shuffling in the middle of the pack among those teams fighting for a postseason berth, while the top dogs solidified their positions with key acquisitions.
The Capitals showed they are all-in when they acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 27. His presence should be the final piece Washington needs for a deep Stanley Cup playoff run.
The Blackhawks are playing fantastic hockey, and newly reacquired defenseman Johnny Oduya — who won two Stanley Cups with them — will once again be a perfect fit in Chicago. You can never count against general manager Stan Bowman improving his team at the deadline.
I hear St. Paul is beautiful in the spring. GM Chuck Fletcher acquiring Martin Hanzal from the Arizona Coyotes could prove crucial if the Wild make a deep run in the playoffs. Minnesota’s been one of the most consistent teams all season and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky posted his second consecutive shutout and 34th win of the season last week — a franchise record. His consistency has become a dangerous weapon for the Blue Jackets, and Bobrovsky should become even more valuable in the playoffs.
GM Jim Rutherford made one of the smartest moves at the deadline by not dealing veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. For the Penguins to repeat as Cup champions, they will need both Fleury and Matt Murray. Even though Murray is coach Mike Sullivan’s guy, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Fleury once again becomes the go-to at some point.
After the Rangers were eliminated from the Shattenkirk sweepstakes, GM Jeff Gorton acquired defenseman Brendan Smith from the Red Wings. Smith was in and out of the lineup in Detroit, and maybe a change of scenery will help both him and New York down the stretch.
GM Doug Wilson added depth before the deadline, acquiring Jannik Hansen from the Vancouver Canucks. As they were last season, the Sharks are built for a playoff run. But are they deep enough to reach the finals again?
GM Peter Chiarelli added forwards David Desharnais and Justin Fontaine from the Montreal Canadiens and Rangers, respectively, before the deadline. They bring depth to a young and potent roster. The Oilers could have an interesting playoff run if their goaltending stands up.
The Flames have gone 8-1-1 over their past 10 games, and the addition of defenseman Michael Stone at the deadline — along with the solid play of goaltender Brian Elliott, who has six consecutive wins — should give Calgary added energy for the stretch run. The Flames considered adding a goalie at the deadline, but Elliott went 10-1-1 record in his past 12 games.
GM Pierre Dorion wanted to add forward help for the final push and he got Viktor Stalberg from the Carolina Hurricanes before the deadline. The Senators are trying to keep pace with the Canadiens for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. It didn’t take long for Stalberg to have an impact.
You have to give GM Don Sweeney credit for standing pat at the deadline and not dealing away assets just for the sake of making a transaction. He did add forward depth in the form of veteran forward Drew Stafford at the 11th hour. Meanwhile, the Bruins have gone 8-2-0 in their past 10 games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy.
The Canadiens have won five in a row and are 6-4-0 in their past 10 games after struggling for the most part in January and February. GM Marc Bergevin added grit with the acquisition of Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings and defenseman Jordie Benn from the Dallas Stars before the deadline.
The acquisition of veteran forward Patrick Eaves was a strong move. He has two goals in three games since arriving in Anaheim — which is exactly the offensive spark the Ducks need for a playoff push.
Adding forward P.A. Parenteau — a two-time 20-goal scorer — will help Nashville keep pace in the Central Division playoff race.
15. (14) St. Louis Blues, 32-27-5
Until Sunday night, the Blues hadn’t won a game since they traded Shattenkirk away to Washington. St. Louis took advantage of the lowly Avalanche and emerged with a 3-0 victory, but it has to be a frustrating time for Blues fans.
After adding goalie Ben Bishop to share the duties down the stretch with Jonathan Quick, GM Dean Lombardi acquired veteran forward and future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla from the Avalanche. Iginla will add another strong voice in the dressing room and will play with Anze Kopitar.
Smart move by GM Lou Lamoriello to add veteran forward Brian Boyle to the mix for the stretch run. Boyle’s presence in the room, on the fourth line and power play will pay dividends for a young and inexperienced roster.
GM Garth Snow was in the market for the Avalanche’s Matt Duchene but wouldn’t part with the necessary pieces to acquire the highly skilled forward. Instead, Snow remained quiet at the deadline and even held on to goalie Jaroslav Halak, who remains in the AHL.
Don’t count the Lightning out just yet. With Bishop gone, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is motivated to prove why he’s a true No. 1. If he gets hot, watch Tampa climb in the standings.
In an attempt to spark a late run, the Panthers acquired veteran forward Thomas Vanek from the Red Wings. Did it work? It’s too soon to tell, but Florida is 0-1-1 since the deadline.
The Sabres were quiet at the deadline, as GM Tim Murray focuses on the future and on building on what is already a promising, young team. Forward Jack Eichel — who’s on a career-best, 10-game point streak — is quietly putting together an impressive second season. Overall, he has 42 points in 45 games in 2106-17, which is another indication of why the future is bright for this organization.
Sending Stafford to Boston in exchange for a 2018 conditional sixth-round pick was all GM Kevin Cheveldayoff did at the deadline. The Jets are a good team with a roster built to win consistently in the future, and rookie Patrik Laine is a strong contender to win the Calder Trophy.
These are tough times for the Flyers. GM Ron Hextall did make one solid move, acquiring veteran forward Valtteri Filppula, along with a 2017 fourth-round pick and a 2017 conditional seventh-round pick, in exchange for defenseman Mark Streit, who was then flipped to Pittsburgh for a fourth-round pick in 2018.
24. (25) Vancouver Canucks, 28-30-7
Other than sending forward Jannik Hansen to the Sharks in exchange for prospect forward Nikolay Goldobin and a 2017 conditional fourth-round pick, GM Jim Benning stood pat and kept his assets. The Canucks have a lot of work ahead, and Benning should consider a complete rebuild during the offseason — even if that includes moving Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin.
As expected, GM Ray Shero moved pending unrestricted free-agent defenseman Kyle Quincey, dealing him to the Blue Jackets in exchange for blueliner Dalton Prout. The Devils also traded Parenteau to the Predators for a 2017 sixth-round pick. These moves will open the door for prospects to step into key roles next season.
Amid a disappointing season, GM Jim Nill became a seller at the deadline, moving Oduya to Chicago and Jordie Benn to Montreal, along with forwards Lauri Korpikoski (to the Blue Jackets) and Patrick Eaves (to Anaheim). Goaltending now needs to be the priority for the Stars during the offseason.
The Red Wings will likely miss the playoffs for the first time in 25 seasons. GM Ken Holland became a seller at the deadline and dealt Ott to Montreal, Smith to the Rangers, Vanek to the Panthers and Tomas Jurco to the Blackhawks.
GM Ron Francis also sold off a few pieces at the deadline, including Stalberg and veteran blueliner Ron Hainsey. The Hurricanes still have a solid roster and it won’t be long before they are a consistent playoff contender.
GM John Chayka did well at the deadline, even though his decision to trade Hanzal was not a popular in his team’s locker room. Chayka stockpiled draft picks in the Hanzal-to-Minnesota deal. Arizona also acquired forward Teemu Pulkkinen from the Wild for future considerations.
GM Joe Sakic decided to stand pat and keep Duchene and fellow forward Gabriel Landeskog. Sakic didn’t feel like he was getting enough in return, so he will wait until the offseason and will likely make a deal for one or both of them before the draft.
31. (N/A) Vegas Golden Knights
We can now add the Golden Knights to the list after they became an official NHL franchise last Wednesday. And George McPhee can now begin to operate like a normal GM.