What worked, what didn't at last year's NHL trade deadline
Nothing creates more buzz for hockey lovers than trade season. While most fans are looking ahead to the March 3 frenzy, we're going to reflect on the 2022 deadline and analyze which deals hold up a year later.
Avalanche grab all the missing pieces
Colorado knew it was the alpha dog in the Western Conference last season, and rather than swinging for the fences with one deadline splash, then-general manager Joe Sakic opted to reinforce the lineup in as many places as possible. The Avalanche picked up Andrew Cogliano, Artturi Lehkonen, Nico Sturm, and Josh Manson in four separate trades before the playoffs, shipping out Tyson Jost, two second-round picks, a fifth, along with prospects Justin Barron and Drew Helleson in the process. Adding those pieces to a core as stacked as Colorado's at that cost was borderline unfair.
Sturm didn't make much of an impact in Avalanche colors, but Cogliano was a key veteran presence who teammates credited with easing nerves before a triumphant Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final. Lehkonen had 14 playoff points and four game-winning goals - including clinchers in the final two series - before signing a five-year extension. Manson slotted seamlessly into the lower half of the Avs' D-corps, adding snarl and reliable minutes. He also re-signed with the defending champs.
While fans of contending teams often want management to reel in the biggest fish on the market, the Avalanche shrewdly navigating the bargain bin en route to a 16-4 run to the Cup will surely influence contending front offices going forward.
Lightning strike with depth adds
The Bolts made a pair of key trades in their quest for a three-peat, bringing in forwards Nick Paul and Brandon Hagel to supplement the big guns up front. Tampa shipped Mathieu Joseph and a fourth-round pick to Ottawa for Paul, and are looking no worse for wear a year later. Joseph's notched three goals in 34 games this season, while Paul played crucial minutes in the playoffs and stamped his importance to his new team with a pair of goals in a Game 7 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He parlayed his strong audition into a seven-year extension at a team-friendly $3.15 million per season this past summer.
The Hagel trade was much more significant, with the Lightning surrendering first-round picks in 2023 and 2024, along with Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk. Both were once promising prospects, but neither were moving the needle in Tampa's championship aspirations. Hagel, meanwhile, arrived with a $1.5-million cap hit until 2024 and has grown into a top-six fixture, ranking fourth on the club this season with 46 points.
Maple Leafs, Bruins boost defense
Toronto and Boston's main work at last year's deadline was focused on their respective blue lines, so we lumped the longtime division rivals together for this exercise. The Maple Leafs added Mark Giordano after a brief sojourn with the Seattle Kraken, while the Bruins set their sights a little higher and pried Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks.
The Leafs got Giordano (and forward Colin Blackwell) for two second-round picks and a third. The 2019 Norris Trophy winner immediately bolstered Toronto's defensive depth, and he opted to re-sign with the club for a measly $800,000 per season to make himself one of the best bargains the NHL has to offer. He's played nearly 20 minutes per contest since joining the Leafs, posting sterling underlying numbers at five-on-five and chipping in 34 points.
Lindholm cost Boston a first-round pick, two seconds, John Moore, and Urho Vaakanainen. It was a hefty price, but Lindholm solidified the Bruins' top-four and looks to have a role there for the foreseeable future after signing an eight-year, $52-million extension shortly after the trade. This season, Lindholm leads all Bruins skaters in average ice-time, and owns a career-high 0.65 points per game. Now 29, the twilight years of Lindholm's deal may age poorly, but as of right now, he's playing a major role on the best team in the league.
Copp, Vatrano lift Rangers' attack
The Rangers sought scoring depth at last year's deadline and found it in spades, as Andrew Copp and Frank Vatrano each scored a glut of key goals to help the Blueshirts reach the Eastern Conference Final. The price for Copp - a first, second, fifth, and Morgan Barron - raised eyebrows at the time, but he was a terrific addition, registering 32 points in 36 combined games between the playoffs and regular season. The Rangers also dodged a bullet by not re-signing Copp, who's only collected five goals in Detroit this season. He was a near-perfect rental.
Vatrano didn't garner as much attention as Copp but was still productive. He tallied 13 goals and 13 assists on Broadway in limited minutes, then bolted to the Anaheim Ducks in free agency. The Rangers have already dipped into the forward rental market this year, and are surely hoping Vladimir Tarasenko pays off as well as their 2022 trades did.
Panthers swing and miss
Florida was in the midst of a Presidents' Trophy-winning campaign and decided to go all-in by acquiring Claude Giroux - who handpicked the Panthers as his preferred destination - and Ben Chiarot. It cost two first-round picks, a third- and fourth-rounder, and two prospects. Their season ended in a sweep at the hands of their biggest rival, and the Cats were unable to retain either of their big deadline additions.
Giroux was an instant fit. The longtime Philadelphia Flyer had three goals and 20 helpers in 18 regular season games before being the second-most productive Panther in the playoffs with eight points. Chiarot, as many predicted at the time of the trade, didn't move the needle on Florida's back end. He's notoriously posted poor underlying numbers for his entire career, and that continued to be the case in the postseason, with the rugged blue-liner posting an ugly 37.53% goal share and an underwhelming 48.51% expected goals clip.
The Panthers weren't in the wrong for going for it during their best season in franchise history, but learned the hard way that trading for rentals is a tricky business that rarely yields desired results.
Blues pay premium for Leddy
The Blues crafted one of the most puzzling moves of the 2022 deadline, acquiring Nick Leddy from the Detroit Red Wings for Oskar Sundqvist, Jake Walman, and a second-round pick. Leddy is a quality veteran with Stanley Cup experience, but looking back a year later, it looks like St. Louis made a mistake getting rid of Walman. Here are both their impacts this season:
It's worth noting that Walman has played significantly fewer minutes this year, but he's delivering more than Leddy at both ends of the ice. He's also only 26 with a $1.05-million cap hit, whereas Leddy, soon to be 32, will earn $4 million for the next three seasons for a Blues team that is now reportedly looking to shed salary on its crowded blue line.
Walman only had 57 NHL games under his belt at the time of the trade, but he's quickly evolved into the best player in the trade.
Fleury falters in Minnesota
Minnesota made one of last year's biggest splashes when it scooped Marc-Andre Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks for a conditional second-rounder. The cost was minimal, but the three-time Stanley Cup champion didn't have the impact the Wild, and many fans, suspected.
Fleury went 9-2 in the regular season after the trade but faltered in the playoffs, posting a 3.04 goals against average and .906 save percentage in the first round before Minnesota turned to Cam Talbot in the series finale. Fleury re-upped with the Wild on a reasonable two-year, $7-million contract this past summer, but still hasn't provided the club with the answers they seek in goal. He owns a .901 clip in 34 appearances this season, his worst mark in that department since 2005-06.
Jarnkrok fizzles with Flames
The Flames made a concerted effort to add forward depth at the deadline last year, and one of their moves was adding Calle Jarnkrok from Seattle for a package of three picks. He was a cost-effective option with a decent track record of scoring goals, potting 12 with Seattle before the deal. Something never clicked for Jarnkrok in Calgary, though, as he managed a single goal under Darryl Sutter in 29 games between the regular season and playoffs. Whatever ailed Jarnkrok with the Flames dissipated once he left town, as he's put up 27 points in 49 games with the Leafs this season.
While the Jarnkrok trade was a total bust, Calgary's quest to add to its offense last year wasn't a complete failure. Brad Treliving swung a deal for Tyler Toffoli a few weeks prior, and the veteran winger's gone on to collect 71 points in 93 games with the club.
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