With this year’s trade deadline having just recently passed, the hockey world is moving on from the excitement of valuable assets being moved around the league, to the establishment of true playoff contenders and pretenders.
To give an idea of the potential impacts from the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline, we decided to look back on how the major deals from 2015 turned out, and the impact they had on the playoffs. Also, we will look into the impact each trade had past the 2014-15 season, whether it be cap issues, or the severity of draft picks dealt away.
The 2015 Trade Deadline was arguably much more exciting than this year’s version of the always overhyped event. In comparison, there were 24 trades on the day of the deadline, Mar. 2nd, 2015, while we only saw 19 this year. A total of 42 players were sent to new teams in 2015, while 37 were moved in 2016. Although there is not a drastic difference in the numbers, it felt like there were greater value trades last year than this, especially in the weeks leading up to the big day.
Summarizing the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline
Recapping the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, they were a total of 24 trades on Mar. 2nd, the deadline day. In the three weeks leading up to the deadline, they were an additional 21 deals. In total, there were 42 players dealt on deadline day and 25 draft picks swapped. Combined with the three weeks prior, a grand total of 87 players were sent to new homes, and 50 draft picks traded. Certainly, we witnessed a very exciting few weeks which seemed to solidify the true contenders for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In looking for the five greatest trades, those which had the largest overall impact, it was not very difficult. There were only about seven trades which involved pieces that could make a significant difference to an organization. Of those, it was rather simple to distinguish the top five, as you see below.
5) Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Braydon Coburn from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Radko Gudas, a 2015 1st round pick (Gabriel Carlsson) and a 2015 3rd round pick (Matej Tomek).
Although Tampa Bay may have overpaid for Coburn, they were in a position at the time in which they needed to make an upgrade to their blue-line in order to make a run for the Stanley Cup. Coburn fulfilled their needs, and helped the Lightning on their way to the Finals, contributing a goal and four points in 26 playoff games, while playing 16:59 a night on a second pairing. With his contract set to expire after the 2015-16 season, the Lightning signed Coburn to a three-year extension with a $3.7M AAV, which will expire at the age of 34.
The Flyers garnered a terrific hull for their nine-year defenceman, picking up an NHL d-man and two draft picks. Radko Gudas, a three-year NHL veteran, came in and began playing on a top-four role. His three-year contract expires after this season, with a current cap hit of $991K. He has averaged 19:59 a night in 2015-16, chipping in five assists.
At the draft, the Flyers traded the 1st round pick they received and their own 2nd round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the 24th overall pick, which they would use to select a possible future superstar, Travis Konecny. Konecny currently sits sixth in OHL scoring with 89 points in 54 games as a member of the Sarnia Sting.
They used the third round pick, 90th overall, to draft goaltender, Matej Tomek, out of the NAHL. With the Topeka Roadrunners, Tomek put up some stellar numbers, posting a 1.83 GAA and a .928 SV% in 33 games as a 18-year-old. He is spending 2015-16 at the University of North Dakota.
Winner: Philadelphia Flyers
Although Coburn certainly helped the Lightning in the stretch run, it wasn’t enough to capture a Stanley Cup. However, the Flyers received one of the top prospects from the 2015 NHL Draft, as well as a goaltender with a very high ceiling.
4) Florida Panthers acquire Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2015 2nd round pick (Ryan Gropp) and a 2016 3rd round pick.
This trade didn’t seem like a blockbuster at the time, but it has quickly turned out that way. The Panthers received 43-year-old, Jaromir Jagr, who had just 29 points in 57 games at the time, and was unsure whether retirement was looming. But, here we are in 2016 now, and it looks like Jagr could play another five years.
He has turned out to be a terrific addition in Florida, mentoring the many young, budding superstars, while also leading the team in goals, with 20, and points, with 45. He has been a significant part of the Panthers surge to the top of their division this season, and may have been the final piece to the puzzle in Florida’s rebuild.
As for the Devils, they decided to trade both the second and third round pick they received to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Kyle Palmieri. The 25-year-old has turned out to be a perfect fit in New Jersey, already setting career bests in goals (23) and points (40) through just 63 games of his first season.
The additional offence provided by the former first-round pick has propelled the Devils into the playoff picture, just five points out of the playoffs, as of Mar. 1, 2016. The move was made for the future, and it is certainly paying off so far, with Palmieri set to spend his prime years as a Devil.
Winner: Florida Panthers
This one definitely turned out to be close, but Jagr seems to have been exactly what the Panthers and their young stars needed to finally turn the corner. Palmieri was also an excellent result for New Jersey, and could lead their offence for many year to come.
3) Los Angeles Kings acquire Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Roland McKeown and a 2016 1st round pick.
Andrej Sekera was one of the most sought after assets at the 2015 deadline, and the Kings were forced to pay a hefty price for his rental services. He came into a top-four role, playing 19:12 a night, for just 16 games, pinching in with a goal and four points. However, the Kings would miss the playoffs, meaning they had forfeited a large part of their future for a mere 16 games from a top-four defenceman. It did not turn out as expected, and Sekera would decide to sign with the Oilers in the offseason.
The Hurricanes picked up a couple of very valuable assets as a result. Roland McKeown, the 50th overall pick from 2014, has turned into a very promising prospect. As captain of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, McKeown has improved his 200-foot game, while becoming very reliable in all situations. He has scored six goals and 39 points in 52 games this year.
With the Kings missing the playoffs in 2014-15, the first-round pick became a 2016 pick. With the Kings currently leading their division, the pick is likely to be 20-25th overall, meaning the Hurricanes will have a prime opportunity to pick up yet another A prospect to go with their current rebuild.
Winner: Carolina Hurricanes
The Kings plan failed miserably, missing the playoffs and only getting 16 games from Sekera. The ‘Canes got a future top-four defenceman, as well as mid-late first-round pick in the upcoming 2016 NHL Draft. Carolina pulled off a steal here.
2) New York Rangers acquire Keith Yandle, Chris Summers, and a 2016 4th round pick from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Anthony Duclair, John Moore, a 2015 2nd round pick (Oliver Kylington), and a conditional 2016 1st round pick.
This massive deal was pulled off one day before the deadline, with arguably the best trade chip, Keith Yandle, going to the Rangers. They got just what they were expecting from Yandle, big minutes and great offensive instincts. While the Rangers were outside in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, they are primed for another long run in 2016. Yandle has averaged 19:46 a night, while adding four goals and 35 points, the third most on the team. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, 2016.
The Coyotes raked in a ton of excellent pieces, including one of the best rookies in 2015-16, Anthony Duclair, who has 16 goals and 33 points this year. He is slated to be one of the Coyotes significant parts for their rebuild, developing great chemistry with fellow rookie, Max Domi.
The Coyotes traded the 2015 second-round pick to the Flames in exchange for the 76th and 83rd overall picks in 2015. They selected goaltender, Adin Hill, from the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks at 76th. Hill has posted a .934, .921, and .918 SV% in his three WHL seasons, and should make the jump to the AHL in 2017-18. At 83rd overall, the ‘Yotes picked Jens Looke from Sweden. Looke is playing in the SHL this year, and has impressed at the World Juniors over the past two years, as well.
Lastly, Arizona holds a conditional first-round pick in either 2016 or 2017. It has been reported that the Rangers will likely give up this year’s pick, given their position in the standings. That pick will likely end up being about 25th overall, rewarding the Coyotes with yet another top prospect for their exciting future.
Winner: Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes picked up three or four key pieces to their ongoing rebuild in this deal, while giving up a piece that didn’t seem to fit in their future plans. Although it has worked out well for the Rangers as well, they could lose Yandle for nothing this offseason.
1) Buffalo Sabres acquire Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Jason Kasdorf from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux, and a 2015 1st round pick (Jack Roslovic).
A few weeks before the deadline, on Feb. 11th, the Sabres and Jets made a blockbuster trade to rid themselves of a few troubling players. The Sabres received Evander Kane, who had many on and off ice problems with the Jets, despite his great potential. The former fourth overall pick needed a change of scenery, and the Sabres felt that at 23 years of age, he could be a significant part of their future. However, the problems have leaked over to Buffalo, with Kane being the focus of a couple off ice issues this year. He has scored 17 goals and 26 points in 52 games, not nearly the production that was once expected of him.
The next piece was Zach Bogosian, a top-four defenceman and former third overall pick. The 25-year-old is signed through the 2019-20 season, and has become a top-pairing defenceman for the Sabres. Playing 22:07 per game, Bogosian has chipped in four goals an 14 points as well. The Sabres hope that he will continue to be a reliable defender for them as they hopefully return to glory in the coming years.
For the Jets, they received two valuable roster players, as well as three top-notch prospects. The biggest name was that of Tyler Myers. The former Calder Trophy winner, as rookie of the year, had seemed to have lost his way in the Sabres organization after having such great expectations placed upon him. However, he has been great since going the Jets, averaging 22:35 a night as a top-paring defenceman. He has added six goals and 22 points this season, while sporting a 52 CF%. The 26-year-old should be a large part of the future in Winnipeg.
Drew Stafford also decided to re-sign with the Jets as a pending UFA, signing a two-year contract. The 30-year-old has had a strong 2015-16 season, scoring 16 goals and 29 points in 57 games.
Among the three prospects was Brendan Lemieux, son of former NHL great, Claude Lemieux. The former 31st overall pick was traded to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires this year, and has scored 31 goals and 58 points in 40 games, while becoming a more well-rounded prospect. He is a natural goal-scorer who should make the jump to the AHL next year.
Next was Joel Armia, the Sabres 16th overall pick in 2011. The 22-year-old has split this season between the AHL and NHL, but is currently playing with the Jets. In 30 NHL games this year, Armia has scored four goals and eight points, while adjusting to the style of the league and solidifying his spot on the roster.
Lastly, the Jets selected Jack Roslovic with their first-round pick.The 19-year-old in spending the year at Miami University (Ohio), where he has found great success as a freshman. In 32 games, he has tallied 10 goals and 24 points, leading his team in goals and points. He will likely spend one more season in the NCAA before turning pro and joining the Manitoba Moose in the AHL.
Winner: Winnipeg Jets
The Sabres definitely got two talented players, but perhaps not a great role model for the young stars in Evander Kane. The Jets, however, received two key roster players, as well as three high-end prospects to add to their stocked cupboards. As a result, Winnipeg boasts one of the best prospect systems in the league.
* Featured image provided by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers
Contributor for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Prospects. Scout with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. For questions, concerns, or comments, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @SlawsonTHW.