NHL Trade Deadline Predictions Revisited: Shameful Showing, Again

Another year older, but apparently none the wiser — at least not when it comes to predicting the NHL trade deadline.

Sadly, I’m not getting any better at reading the minds of the league’s 31 general managers. Or any better at playing armchair GM, for that matter.

Fun as it is to dream up those predictions — and bravely push the publish button — the results speak for themselves and this year proved wildly unsuccessful yet again.

I was close to getting the number of trades correct, predicting 40 — starting with the Dion Phaneuf deal on Feb. 13. That total ended up being 37, including 18 on deadline day.

Sticking with what I got right — bear with me, it’s a short list — I had defence prospect Ryan Lindgren and Boston’s 2018 first-round pick going to the Rangers, albeit as part of a package for Ryan McDonagh rather than Rick Nash.

I had Derick Brassard to Winnipeg, which was apparently in the works until Vegas worked its magic to keep Brassard in the Eastern Conference by facilitating a move between Ottawa and Pittsburgh.

Obviously that doesn’t count and Brassard belongs on my long list of wrong predictions.

Granted, I was in the ballpark on a few of the returns — in terms of value and the type of assets involved — but, admittedly, I was way off on several others.

By my count, 111 total assets changed hands over the last two weeks, including 46 roster players, 28 prospects or minor-leaguers, and 37 draft picks.

My predictions had 216 assets moving amongst 40 trades — almost twice as many, which indicates my deals were too big in general. That included 75 roster players, 54 prospects or minor-leaguers, and 87 draft picks.

Of the 74 combined players, prospects and minor-leaguers that were actually traded, 17 of them — or 23 per cent of them — appeared in my predictions.

That included the aforementioned Brassard, Nash, McDonagh and Lindgren, plus Evander Kane, Michael Grabner, Thomas Vanek, Patrick Maroon, Mark Letestu, Tobias Rieder, Tomas Plekanec, Jason Chimera, Frank Vatrano, Josh Jooris, Kerby Rychel, Nick Holden and Libor Hájek.

Three more players from my predictions changed teams by way of waiver claims in Chris Stewart, Johnny Oduya and Taylor Chorney.

So, if we’re being generous, you could say 20 of my 129 combined players, prospects and minor-leaguers were moved. That rounds up to 16 per cent.

Enough with the glass half-full stuff, I still went 0-for-40 on my predictions this year — bringing my grand total to 3-for-160 over the past five years. That’s a two per cent success rate — or technically 1.875.

Shameful, I know.

Stick to my day job, I know.

Meanwhile, I fared better with my big “On The Block” lists of players potentially available. I had published a list of 210 names on Feb. 12, then updated it to 265 names on Feb. 24, ranking them from 10 to 1 based on the likelihood that they would be traded — 10 translating to 100 per cent and 1 to 10 per cent.

Of the 46 roster players that were traded, 33 of them appeared on my lists — good for 72 per cent. Yes, that’s pretty good.

Here are those names, with their ranking in parenthesis: Rick Nash (10), Evander Kane (10), Michael Grabner (10), Tomas Plekanec (10), Mark Letestu (10), Thomas Vanek (9), Patrick Maroon (9), Tobias Rieder (9), Frank Vatrano (9), Derick Brassard (8), Jason Chimera (8), Nikita Soshnikov (8), Tomas Tatar (7), Ryan Hartman (7), Nate Thompson (7), Tommy Wingels (7), Kerby Rychel (7), Ryan Spooner (6), Chris DiDomenico (6), Nick Shore (5), Josh Jooris (5), Marian Gaborik (4), J.T. Miller (4), Vladislav Namestnikov (3), Nick Holden (10), Ian Cole twice (8, 10), Ryan McDonagh (8), Dion Phaneuf (7), Joe Morrow (6), Ville Pokka (6), Brandon Davidson (5) and Petr Mrazek (6).

As for the 13 names missing from my big list, they were: Paul Stastny, Jussi Jokinen, Chris Wagner, Brendan Leipsic, Pontus Aberg, Ryan Reaves, Eric Fehr, Matt Beleskey, Mike Reilly, Michal Kempny, Jakub Jerabek, Darcy Kuemper and Scott Wedgewood.

At the time of compiling my big lists, I was under the belief that the Blues would be buyers, not sellers, so that’s why Stastny was left off. The rest were simply overlooked, regrettably so in some cases — such as Leipsic, Aberg, Fehr, Beleskey and Kempny, who all should have been deemed available in hindsight.

Here’s hoping for better luck next year, on all fronts!