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Winners and Losers of the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline

With 30 trades on the NHL’s deadline day alone, the league saw several big names join new clubs. Whether it was to contest for the Stanley Cup or to continue a rebuild, we saw teams fulfill their needs—and we saw teams that didn’t. Here’s a look at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline winners and losers.


WINNERS


Florida Panthers

The top team in the East continues their roster-stacking, adding some of the biggest names of the 2022 deadline. They acquired Claude Giroux, a seasoned veteran, to add to their dominant top 9. Playing exactly 1000 career games with his beloved Philadelphia Flyers, Giroux has always hovered around a point per game. He’s expected to play alongside Sascha Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe on the Panthers’ top line. With this on top of Huberdeau-Bennett-Duclair and Marchment-Lundell-Reinhart, Florida’s goal-scoring will continue to be through the roof. The Cats also added Ben Chiarot, a big shutdown defenseman from the Montreal Canadiens. His experience from the Habs’ 2021 Stanley Cup Finals run will benefit this team that has yet to make a deep run. With him, Radko Gudas, and Ryan Lomberg, the Panthers are ready to match up against anyone in the physical department. All in all, the Panthers won the big prizes this year, making them even more overpowered than they already were.



Montreal Canadiens

The departure of Ben Chiarot headlined the Canadiens' big sale. The team is now well into the rebuild process with more than half of their 2021 Stanley Cup Finals roster no longer with the team. The deadline was an opportunity to sell the Canadiens’ valuable pieces for picks, and that’s exactly what they did. The Habs traded Arturri Lehkonen, Brett Kulak, Ben Chiarot, and Tyler Toffoli all to Stanley Cup contenders for a big haul of draft picks. They sold their fourth-line winger in Lehkonen for a first-round prospect in Justin Barron and a second-round pick. Their seventh D in Kulak was traded for William Lagesson, another seventh D, a second-round pick, and a seventh-round pick. Ben Chiarot, a top 4 D, went for a first-round pick, a third-round prospect in Tyler Smilanic, and a fourth-round pick. And, Tyler Toffoli, their 4.25M free agency pickup, went for a first-round pick, a second-round prospect in Emil Heineman, a fourth-round pick, and a fifth-round pick. Overall, that’s a big gain at a low cost.



New York Rangers

There was never any doubt about the top-end talent of the Rangers; Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Adam Fox headline the superstars that lead New York’s production. And, the Rangers still had solid depth with players like Ryan Strome, Barclay Goodrow, and Filip Chytil playing in the middle 6. Nonetheless, the Rangers acquired players to fill in the small gaps in their lineup, leaving zero spots on their roster up for grabs. Andrew Copp is a two-way forward that can play any role anywhere in the lineup. In Winnipeg, he complemented Mark Scheifele on the first line or carried his own third line. Tyler Motte could be the most talented fourth-liner in the league. No one with his role has more skill, yet he is still an extremely effective grinder and penalty killer. Frank Vatrano is a similar type of player, playing as a middle 6 forward on previous teams producing offense consistently. And, Justin Braun is a solid shutdown defenseman that can serve as a great bottom 4 defenseman on a Stanley Cup team.


LOSERS


Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers have one series win in the combined 15 seasons of two of the best players in the world in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Every April upon getting eliminated, the players talk about getting better every year, management talks about their vision, and the media speculates on the changes that need to be made, yet, year after year, no major changes occur. When I look at the Oilers team going into the 2022 playoffs, I see the exact same team from 2021, 2020, and so on. It’s the same top 6 forwards that are carrying the team, trying to win by outscoring, and finding themselves wondering why they keep losing every time. The 2022 deadline was another missed opportunity for the Oilers. Whether it was acquiring an established starting goaltender or getting a game-breaking defenseman, there were too many options for the Oilers to not do anything major. With only the minor acquisitions of Derick Brassard and Brett Kulak, Edmonton goes into the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs with low expectations once again.



Seattle Kraken

Following the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, there was a question as to what the Kraken’s strategy is for their first few years in the league. And, after their first NHL Trade Deadline, that question remains. Seattle’s inaugural roster made it clear that the organization would build a roster from the draft and not aim to win right away. Their selection of low-contract, young players indicated that they were building a foundation that would take a few years. They would act as sellers and acquire picks for their valuable assets. This is what the Kraken did at the 2022 deadline, but not to the best execution. The Kraken basically traded away half their team, and in return, they didn’t get much. Marcus Johansson, Mason Appleton, Jeremy Lauzon, Mark Giordano, Colin Blackwell, and Calle Jarnkrok, all of which were roster players for the Kraken, were sent to new teams at this year’s deadline. And, the return was nothing significant. Two depth players, four 2nd-round picks, two 3rd-round picks, two 4th-round picks, a 6th-round pick, and a 7th-round pick is what these players fetched. That leaves Seattle with the young players that they drafted from their inaugural roster with just a few second and third-round picks to build a winning team. That’s not enough. Consider their first trade deadline very inefficient.



Washington Capitals

The race for the playoffs is pretty dead-set in the East. Eight teams have separated themselves from the rest of the conference, making it a competition between themselves for who gets which seeds. However, that is not the case only for the Washington Capitals. While they safely sit in a playoff spot, they are the clear 8 seed. As the second wild card in the Eastern standings, they are quite behind the other seven playoff teams. At a level below their playoff competition, you would expect that they would make some improvements at the deadline. However, their inability to create cap space to acquire big pieces left them with getting Marcus Johansson and Johan Larsson as consolation prizes. These are two players on minimum contracts who will play bottom 6 roles for the Capitals. With goaltending and depth scoring still in question, the Capitals have chosen to run with the team that has made them a clear 8 seed to go deep in the playoffs. The clock is ticking on Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Carlson, and it doesn’t seem like the Caps are doing whatever it takes after observing their behavior at the 2022 deadline. The team that has been extremely mediocre in the last few months is who will be competing for the Stanley Cup.

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