There were a lot of moving pieces ahead of, and up until the trade deadline today, and sometimes it is not easy to sort out what was important and what doesn’t really matter with so many moves in such a short time.
This is a list of the five biggest trades that took place on the trading deadline.
Number Five: Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets
For the Jets, this trade means that they are going all in.
The Jets gave up two picks and a player just to have Stastny on their team for the next month and a half (plus however far the Jets go in the playoffs), so it is clear that Winnipeg thinks they can win the cup.
That is not to say this move is a mistake, Winnipeg is only three points behind Vegas for the top spot in the West, and is tied with Toronto for the fourth most points in the league.
This move makes the Jets a legitimate threat to reach, and maybe even win the cup, especially if Stastny is sniping like this.
For Saint Louis this moves seems to have a couple of layers. At first glace this is a move of a team who is about to tear it all down. Trading away a good player as his deal is set to expire to acquire some future picks is an earmark of teams getting ready to tank.
Yet maybe that is not what the Blues are thinking. When trading Stastny they received a first round pick in 2018, a fourth round pick in 2020 and Erik Foley who could be a key piece in the future of the Blues.
The Blues might have just wanted to reload quickly for the near future and moving Stastny (a player who might have just left after this year anyway) was a great way to do it.
Number Four: Erik Karlsson to No one
One of the biggest non moves this trade deadline day was that Karlsson stayed put on a Senators team which is the second worst in the Eastern Conference and the third worst in the NHL.
While the Senators still have another year to deal Karlsson, the fact that no team was able to put together an offer that impressed the Senators says a lot about the price on the defender.
Karlsson could have done a lot for a team in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race but his modified no trade clause might have been a roadblock in the Senators ability to make a deal.
Unless there is a drastic turnaround for Ottawa, Karlsson will be on the trading block again next year and will probably be moved at it is the last year of his contract.
Number Three: Tomas Tatar to Vegas Golden Knights
Tatar has been a productive forward for the Red Wings over his seven years with the Red Wings, averaging 32 points per year. He also has not dipped below 40 points since 2013-14, his first season of extended playing time for the Wings.
Tatar is also a GM’s dream as he is only 27 years old and is under team control until 2021 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
This all added up to a blockbuster deal where Tatar was dealt to the Golden Knights as the NHL’s newest franchise looked to improve their squad before heading into a cup run as well as one up the Jets in their move for Stastny.
Tatar makes the Knights even better and puts them in the conversation for Cup favorite heading into the playoffs, however it cost them a lot down the road.
More the Knights had to give up a first (2018), second (2019) and third (2021) round pick to land the forward and make the deal worthwhile for the Red Wings.
While it is never a good idea to give up young controllable talent like Tatar, it made sense for the Red Wings who will be hitting the height of their rebuild, right when Tatar hits the peak of his career.
These picks will allow the Red Wings to add some great talent into their rebuild and help launch the team’s next dynasty.
Number Two: Evander Kane to San Jose Sharks
With Kane in the final year of his contract, and the Sabers nowhere near a playoff spot, Buffalo knew that they had to get rid of Kane now or be forced to watch him walk in free agency.
The Sharks, knew this was Buffalo’s situation and used it as leverage to land Kane for what might wind up being a bargain.
As far as picks are concerned, the Sharks only had to give up a conditional first (2019) round pick and a conditional fourth (2019) round pick.
The Sabers will get the Shark’s 2019 first round pick if Kane resigns with the Sharks, which according to Sportsnet’s On Point podcast, he has not discussed doing.
For the fourth round pick, the Sharks have an option to push it back one year (to the 2020 draft) but if San Jose elects to do that it will become a third round pick.
The Sharks will also give up 24 year old forward Daniel O’Regan, who was name the AHL rookie of the year in the 2016-17 season.
This trade gives the Sharks a boost in their hunt for a playoff spot in the West as they currently sit in fifth place, 11 points back of the Golden Knights.
For the Sabers, it allows to club who last qualified for the playoffs during the 2010-2011 season to continue their rebuilding process.
Number One: Ryan McDonagh to the Tampa Bay Lightning
The Rangers appear to be in full rebuild mode as they continue to dismantle their team (other than Henrik Lundqvist) and acquire young players and draft picks.
The Rangers gave up McDonagh, and 24 year old center J.T. Miller.
Tampa Bay gave up a 2018 first round pick, a conditional 2019 second round pick (it becomes a first round pick if Tampa wins the Cup in 2018 or 2019), center Vladislav Namestnikov, and two prospects. Defenseman Libor Hajek and center Brett Howden.
This is perhaps one of the boldest trades made today as the Lightning gave up a lot for a chance to win now.
If the Lightning are unable to bring home a Stanley Cup over the next three or four years it will be clear that the Rangers won this deal based on the sheer amount of prospects, players and picks they gained from this transaction.
However just one Cup for the Florida based franchise would be enough to validate the loss of picks and prospects given up.
For the Rangers they have flung themselves into a full rebuild, with four first round picks in 2018 New York is primed for a few bad seasons, followed by another run of playoff appearances.