The NHL has always given us trades that we can remember for years down the road. Already in this season, we saw a massive trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets trading Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft in exchange for the Winnipeg Jets’ Patrick Laine and Jack Roslovic. This trade is already perceived as a win-win since both teams were able to trade away players that expressed frustration with their teams and wanted to be traded, but we will only truly know who won years into the future. However, there have been trades in recent years where both teams appeared to win the deal. While it rarely happens, it is interesting to look at how it helped all the teams involved.
Max Pacioretty for Nick Suzuki and Tomas Tatar
The Canadiens sent shockwaves when they traded one of their star scorers prior to the 2018-19 NHL season, sending Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights for Nick Suzuki and Tomas Tatar. However, the trade allowed the Canadiens to land two starting skaters to not only refuel the roster but turn the team into one of the best in the NHL this season. Tatar has helped give the lineup a veteran scorer in the later lines while the 21-year-old Suzuki is progressing into one of the better young skaters and scorers on the team.
Many people will look back at this deal and think that the Golden Knights lost the trade as they gave up two good scorers in exchange for an older Max Pacioretty who might not have many prime years left in him at 32 years old. However, considering how the Golden Knights have been aggressively acquiring star players, including Mark Stone and Alex Pietrangelo, the team is clearly trying to win now. With Pacioretty in the lineup, the offense is built to potentially win the Stanley Cup.
Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen
Columbus has a history of being aggressive or bold when it comes to trades. Whether it’s going after star players like Artemi Panarin in blockbuster deals, acquiring Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel for a Stanley Cup push, or trading Dubois for Laine in a risky swap of star scorers, Columbus has no problem pulling the trigger and making big trades. This move sent one of their top scorers at the time in Ryan Johansen for a young defenseman that had to prove his mark in Seth Jones. Looking back, this trade paid off tenfold for the Blue Jackets as they landed a top defenseman in Jones who is part of a promising core for the team.
Many will say that the Nashville Predators lost this deal and understandably so considering they traded what is one of the best defensemen these days. However, we have to keep in mind that the Predators already had more than enough defensemen with Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, and Shea Weber (who also was traded soon after Jones for P.K. Subban) all already logging up the majority of the defensive minutes and there was little room for the young defenseman. Jones was promising but the team was looking to take advantage of the championship window.
The Predators needed to add scoring depth at the time and Johansen did just that. With the addition of Johansen, the team was able to reach a Stanley Cup Final and finish the following season with the best record in the NHL as they possessed a lineup that already had a deep defensive unit but now scoring throughout the lineup.
Jacob Trouba for Neal Pionk
This trade was one of the rare occasions where two teams were able to swap players at the same position only to see both players excel in their new environments. Jacob Trouba was coming off a career year in Winnipeg and has become one of the top defensemen with the New York Rangers since joining. Meanwhile, Neal Pionk never seemed to hit his stride in New York but is now one of the Jets’ top defenseman and arguably one of their best two-way players on the team. In addition to acquiring Pionk, the Jets also landed the 20th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, which was used to select Ville Heinola, who is one of the best young defensive prospects in the NHL. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the 19-year-old Finnish defenseman makes an impact this season.
Can We Expect More Win-Win Trades in the Near Future?
It’s rare to see two teams ultimately benefitting from a deal in the NHL. While trades are commonplace in the game, very rarely do the trades allow both teams to benefit at the end of the day. That being said, we should see a lot of movement this season and plenty of blockbuster deals that might help fuel a Stanley Cup run hit the reset button on a team or anything in between.
Mike Fink joined The Hockey Writers in November 2020 and covers the New York Islanders. In addition to covering the Islanders, Fink writes about the NHL at large and contributes as a weekly guest to The Hockey Writers Podcast. Follow Mike on Twitter @Finks_thoughts for more Islanders and general hockey insights.