Live, quick-hit analysis of big-league trades completed Monday, Feb. 24.
Lightning acquire: Barclay Goodrow, 3rd-rounder in 2020
Sharks acquire: Anthony Greco, 1st-rounder in 2020
If this trade was made by anyone but the Lightning, it would be laughable. Goodrow and a third for a first and an AHLer? What gives? Once you peel back the layers, though, there's a method to the madness. First of all, Tampa is the NHL's best team on paper and sits second to Boston in points. The Lightning should be going for it, fully and completely. Second, Goodrow makes $925,000 this year and next. The Lightning are cap-strapped, requiring them to seek out bargain contracts. Third, the first-rounder will be in the 25-31 range - in other words, essentially a second-rounder. All of that combines to help explain this deal from Tampa GM Julien BriseBois' perspective. Mind you, it's still pretty incredible he decided to go through with it.
Without context, this is a minor-league trade. With context, it's a trade with big-league implications. The Canucks sought out Domingue because starter Jacob Markstrom is battling a knee injury, making the former Devil the temporary No. 2 behind Thatcher Demko. Although his NHL numbers aren't pretty (a .904 save percentage in 104 career games), Domingue is a decent last-ditch backup. Zane McIntyre is a career AHLer, so this swap comes off as a favor from New Jersey, unless they know something we don't about the 27-year-old goalie.
Similar to the Ducks' acquisition of Danton Heinen earlier in the day, this is a shot in the dark for the team and an opportunity for reinvention for the player. Milano, the 16th overall pick in 2014, has fantastic puck skills but never seemed to fully gain the trust of coach John Tortorella in Columbus. After 116 NHL games, he hasn't blossomed into the player he was projected to become. Will Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins help steer him in the right direction? It's worth a try. Shore, on the other hand, is more predictable: He's big, cares about his own end, and can play both center and wing. Tortorella should like him.
Golden Knights acquire: Robin Lehner
Blackhawks acquire: Malcolm Subban, Slava Demin, 2nd-rounder in 2020
There's a lot to unpack here. Lehner's been enjoying a good season, following up his 2018-19 Vezina Trophy nomination by posting save percentages of .924 (even strength) and .918 (all situations) behind a porous Chicago defense. This isn't a trade Vegas made with an eye on the backup position. The more likely scenario is Lehner splitting the rest of the regular season with incumbent starter Marc-Andre Fleury, with the hotter hand earning the top gig to start the playoffs - if the Golden Knights make the cut. The 26-year-old Subban, who was claimed off waivers by Vegas via Boston in 2017, is young enough that there might still be a redemption story in his future. The second-round pick helps offset the talent gap between the two netminders. All that being said, you'd have preferred a meatier package if you're a Blackhawks fan. Between Gustafsson and Lehner, GM Stan Bowman didn't acquire anything concrete - just two picks (no first-rounder), Subban, and defensive prospect Demin. Note: The Maple Leafs helped facilitate the Vegas-Chicago trade by taking on a portion of Lehner's salary in exchange for the Golden Knights' fifth-rounder in 2020.
Flames acquire: Erik Gustafsson
Blackhawks acquire: 3rd-rounder in 2020
After missing out on the first wave of available defensemen - Brenden Dillon, Dylan DeMelo, and Alec Martinez - Flames GM Brad Treliving welcomes aboard an offensively minded blue-liner in Gustafsson. Calgary has both Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic on injured reserve right now and simply couldn't sit on the sidelines today. Gustafsson, 27 and a pending RFA, quietly recorded 60 points last season but was clearly not part of the Blackhawks' long-term plans. Netting a third-rounder for the final couple months of his contract is an underwhelming return. Shortly after the Gustafsson trade was reported, Treliving picked up another defenseman, the Kings' Derek Forbort, in exchange for a fourth-rounder. Whereas Gustafsson could potentially make an impact night in and night out, Forbort is purely a depth add.
Hurricanes acquire: Sami Vatanen
Devils acquire: Janne Kuokkanen, Fredrik Claesson, conditional 4th-rounder in 2020
The Hurricanes' third transaction of the day is a swing for the fences right before the deadline. Vatanen, the most talented defenseman believed to be on the market, heads to Carolina at a reasonable price. Sure, he's a rental who could walk in the summer, and Kuokkanen is projected to become an everyday NHL forward, but compared to the return for, say, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, the package going to New Jersey is nothing special. Vatanen, an offense-first rearguard, will help fill some of the void created by the Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pescie injuries, once he himself returns from the sidelines. If we've learned anything on deadline day, it's this: The Hurricanes feel they can replicate last year's conference finals appearance and perhaps push themselves through to the Stanley Cup Final. Note: New Jersey is retaining 50% of Vatanen's salary.
Hurricanes acquire: Brady Skjei
Rangers acquire: 1st-rounder in 2020
There is a chance the Hurricanes won't make the playoffs in a crowded Eastern Conference race. Apparently, GM Don Waddell doesn't care. Regardless, he supplemented his defense corps with this deal. Skjei is a 25-year-old puck-mover who's probably best suited for a sheltered role on Carolina's third pair. He's a long-term bet as well; after this season, Skjei has four years left on a deal that pays him $5.25 million annually. This acquisition is fine, but giving up a first-rounder seems rich. Skjei couldn't be had for a second? Bravo, Rangers.
This move is a little odd from Pittsburgh's perspective since Kahun is arguably the best player of the three forwards. Perhaps GM Jim Rutherford's motivation relates to the fact it's a two-for-one deal? Given their player types, Rodrigues and former Penguin Sheary shouldn't have any problem joining Pittsburgh's forward group, which is still missing Jake Guentzel, Nick Bjugstad, and Zach Aston-Reese due to injuries. Kahun is due for a hefty raise from his entry-level contract this summer. Buffalo now has 20 games to find out what he's worth.
Oilers acquire: Tyler Ennis
Senators acquire: 5th-rounder in 2021
Dave Tippett gets another winger to plug into his lineup as Oilers GM Ken Holland completes his second savvy trade of the day. The Ennis pickup is about as low-risk as it gets. The 30-year-old pending UFA won't impact Edmonton's performance to the same degree as Athanasiou, but Ennis is a definite fit on the third or fourth line. Over in Ottawa, Pierre Dorion is in full hoarding mode. In one day, he's added five draft picks spread across the next three drafts, and all of his deals make sense for the Sens.
Connor McDavid with a linemate who can actually keep up stride for stride? Oh boy, the possibilities ... That's what this trade signifies to Oilers fans. Athanasiou is a speedster with finishing ability whom GM Ken Holland knows well from his time in Detroit. It remains to be seen whether the 25-year-old pending RFA ends up on McDavid's wing, but this acquisition makes all kinds of sense for Edmonton - this season and over the long term. The wing position is an organizational weakness and Athanasiou can hop right into the Oilers' top six. From Detroit's perspective, this deal is equally sweet. Two second-rounders is a strong return (Gagner appears to be a salary throw-in) and it's arguably the best package of the day relative to the piece being acquired. Win-win.
This has "change of scenery trade" written all over it. Ritchie and Heinen were both drafted in 2014, are both signed through next season at low cap hits, and have both settled into their careers as NHLers with low ceilings. In Ritchie, Boston gets the larger (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) and cheaper ($1.3 million less per year) forward, as well as the more undisciplined player. Ritchie has racked up 78 penalty minutes in 41 games this year despite playing only 14 minutes a night. Heinen, who can line up at center, couldn't solidify his spot within the Bruins' top-nine forward group over the years and should find more opportunity in Anaheim.
Sabres acquire: Wayne Simmonds
Devils acquire: 5th-rounder in 2021
We have a serious contender for the most perplexing trade of the day. What exactly is Buffalo accomplishing here? Acquiring 31-year-old Wayne Simmonds would be a typical deal for a contender searching for one final depth piece. The Sabres are six points out of a playoff spot. Simmonds is a good net-front guy, but he isn't capable of driving a line at this point in his career. And although a mid-round pick (the fifth turns into a fourth if Buffalo makes the playoffs) is a lottery ticket, it's still an asset. Sabres GM Jason Botterill is clearly doing whatever it takes to drum up optimism in the local market amid a long postseason drought. On the other side of the trade table is Tom Fitzgerald. As the Devils' temporary top executive, he's now flipped Simmonds, Blake Coleman, and Andy Greene for two prospects and three picks. Not too shabby for an interim GM.
Philadelphia GM Chuck Fletcher has been a busy man Monday, making two trades before noon. This time, he's acquired another bottom-six forward in Grant, a 31-year-old, penalty-killing winger on a league-minimum contract set to expire this summer. Like the Thompson pickup, there is little risk for the Flyers as they beef up for what they hope is a playoff run. The Ducks get an AHL forward in Criscuolo and another pick in the coming draft. Anaheim is now back to seven selections in 2020.
Chris Kreider signs 7-year, reported $45.5-million contract extension
Deadline day's biggest fish decided to stick with the Rangers after all - and the price tag is far from outrageous. The rumor before Monday was that Kreider could get extended at $7 million a season, so Rangers GM Jeff Gorton appears to have saved some cap space with the $6.5 million AAV. This signing dramatically affects the deadline landscape since virtually every contender expressed interest in acquiring Kreider, one of the fastest players in the league. Now, he's locked in at a decent rate, and for years to come, the Rangers have a high-quality winger to skate alongside their youngsters.
Penguins acquire: Patrick Marleau
Sharks acquire: 3rd-rounder in 2020
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford started the arms race among contenders by acquiring Jason Zucker in early February. While getting Marleau is considerably less impactful, it does give coach Mike Sullivan another toy. Marleau is 40 and a shell of his former self; however, in sheltered minutes on the fourth line, he could be effective down the stretch and into the playoffs. The Sharks make out quite well, too, with the third-rounder (which turns into a second-rounder if the Pens win the Stanley Cup). Marleau wasn't even signed until October and their season has gone down the tube. San Jose needs to restock its prospect pipeline ASAP, and this is a step in the right direction.
Flyers acquire: Nate Thompson
Canadiens acquire: 5th-rounder in 2021
In acquiring Thompson, the Flyers add a veteran forward who wins 55% of his faceoffs and brings an element of sandpaper to every single shift. The downside: Thompson doesn't contribute much offense and won't move the needle in a major way. The Flyers, who are currently holding down the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, probably don't make this deal if Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom are healthy. Montreal, meanwhile, fetched a fair return for a 35-year-old journeyman on an expiring contract.
This is a significant and smart move by the Hurricanes, as Trocheck is a perfect fit for GM Don Waddell's squad. Carolina has plenty of playmakers and puck retrievers up front but lacks true finishers beyond Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho. Trocheck, who scored a career-high 31 goals in 2017-18 but has run into some poor luck this season, helps address that need. He's also right-handed (Carolina has only two everyday forwards who shoot right) and can play both center and wing. The kicker: Trocheck isn't a rental. The 26-year-old is on a team-friendly deal through 2021-22, earning $4.75 million annually. The package headed to Florida, meanwhile, is mediocre - two depth pieces in Haula and Wallmark and two decent prospects in Priskie and Luostarinen. GM Dale Tallon certainly didn't hit a home run, although the Panthers were desperate for capable bodies for their third and fourth lines.
Islanders acquire: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Senators acquire: 1st-rounder in 2020 or 2021, 2nd-rounder in 2020, conditional 3rd-rounder in 2022
I love this trade for both teams. Pageau, a two-way center, signed a six-year contract with the Isles a few hours after the trade went through. He should have no problem transitioning into the Islanders' stingy system under Barry Trotz. And with only draft capital going the other way, GM Lou Lamoriello isn't subtracting anybody from his NHL roster as the team fights for a Metropolitan Division playoff spot. As for the Senators, this is a huge haul for Pageau, a pending UFA whom they were negotiating an extension with until very recently. Ottawa now potentially has three first-rounders in 2020.
Avalanche acquire: Vladislav Namestnikov
Senators acquire: 4th-rounder in 2021
Namestnikov supplements the Avalanche's top-nine forward group in a meaningful way. The 27-year-old rental recorded 13 goals in 56 games for the Senators and could immediately slide into Colorado's third-line center role. He's solid defensively, he's a threat to score on the penalty kill, and he only cost a mid-round pick. From Ottawa's perspective, the fourth is a bit underwhelming. A second- or third-rounder would have been better aligned with the market in the leadup to deadline day, so let's call this a minor whiff by the Sens.
Oilers GM Ken Holland said in the buildup to the deadline that while he probably wouldn't make a huge splash, he'd still be active, and this move aligns with that message. At 34, Green is years past his prime and a little slow. However, he's a nice depth addition to a defense corps missing Oscar Klefbom and Kris Russell. The pending UFA should find a home on the power play, too. Also of note: Detroit is retaining 50% of Green's $5.4-million salary.