The NHL Trade Deadline came and went on Monday afternoon. There was action around the league, all day long. Contending teams looked to add depth to their clubs to make a long postseason run, while franchises out of the hunt began to sell off assets to recoup draft picks and prospects. With the NHL’s Central Registry Office open more than three hours past the cutoff time, 33 trades were finalized and 54 players found new homes. In the home stretch, just 20 games remain in the regular season. Here are a few major takeaways from a busy day around the league.
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Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers Went All in
Florida and Colorado were two of the busiest teams at the deadline. They both lead their respective conferences and are looking to snap long Stanley Cup droughts. Adding to their already impressive forward core, the Panthers acquired Claude Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers. In return, they sent forward Owen Tippett, a first-round pick in 2024 or 2025, and a third-round pick in 2023. The 34-year-old was second on the Flyers with 18 goals and 24 assists in 56 games this season.
Panthers’ general manager Bill Zito then made one more blockbuster trade. The longtime executive acquired Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens. This was after placing No. 1 defenseman Aaron Ekblad on LTIR with a leg injury. Paying a steep price in return, Florida sent prospect Tyler Smilanic, a 2022 fourth-round pick, and a 2023 first-round pick to Montreal.
Instead of trying to make a big splash at the deadline, the Avalanche focused on adding depth to one of the game’s best rosters. The team added four players in total, highlighted by the acquisition of defenseman Josh Manson from the Anaheim Ducks, the franchise also received Nico Sturm, Artturi Lehkonen, and Andrew Cogliano. They gave up multiple picks and prospects as the franchise looks to get over the hump in the postseason. Set up better to achieve success in the spring, Colorado changed out more than half of their current bottom-six. Jared Bednar’s group added defensively-responsible two-way forwards who can chip in on the offensive end.
Goaltending Market Proves Too Expensive for Many
Goaltending has quickly become one of the hottest commodities around the NHL this season. Multiple contenders have question marks in between the pipes. This has led clubs to explore the open market as they work to sure up their respective situations in net. There was more demand than the supply available. The marketplace proved to be too expensive for teams. Names like Semyon Varlamov, James Reimer, and Alexandar Georgiev were being floated around all day long.
However, just one trade for a netminder was completed. The Chicago Blackhawks sent reigning Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild for a conditional second-round pick. It was a steep price to pay for a 37-year-old, and many situations in the league are still up in arms as the postseason inches closer and closer.
Playoff Clubs Add Size
One of the most prominent themes on deadline day was contending clubs looking to get bigger. A constant trend every year, ice becomes harder to acquire in the playoffs, and the game becomes more demanding. Highlighted by the New York Rangers acquisition of Andrew Copp from the Winnipeg Jets, the 6’1″, 200-pound center will add much needed toughness to Gerrard Gallant’s third line. Possessing the versatility to play all three forward positions, the former fourth-round pick can also chip in offensively while remaining a solid penalty killer.
Manson will also provide grit on the back end for the Avalanche. They were looking to get tougher after being pushed around by the Vegas Golden Knights a year ago. A big physical presence on the blue line, the Hinsdale, IL native has racked up 53 penalty minutes this year while playing close to 20 minutes a night.
Eastern Conference Full of Buyers
The Eastern Conference is set up to be an exciting playoff. Every single contending team made multiple acquisitions as they look to gear up for a run to the Stanley Cup. Adding depth on their back end, the Boston Bruins acquired Hampus Lindholm from the Ducks, while the Toronto Maple Leafs got Mark Giordano from the Seattle Kraken. The Tampa Bay Lightning choose to revamp their third line by landing Brandon Hagel from the Chicago Blackhawks and Nick Paul from the Ottawa Senators.
In addition to this, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes added much-needed additional scoring punches with the acquisitions of Rickard Rakell and Max Domi. This is setting up to be one of the most exciting two months of hockey in recent memory. Both the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions are littered with talent.
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