The NHL trade deadline may have looked to be a quiet affair well into Monday afternoon, but a flurry of impactful moves at the last minute turned the day into one that could have an impact on the Stanley Cup race.
Several teams made major moves on Monday, with some franchises seemingly going all-in on the present in exchange for giving up significant future potential in the way of prospects and draft picks.
Columbus Moves Picks to Make Stanley Cup Run
One of the biggest players during the NHL trade deadline was the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team added to virtually every area of their roster, picking up Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel from the Ottawa Senators, then picking up defenseman Adam McQuaid and goalie Keith Kinkaid in separate deals.
All in all, Columbus could end up giving as many as seven draft picks in those deals, including two first-rounders if they decide to resign Duchene. That was a surprise to many in the hockey community, who thought that the Blue Jackets might instead be sellers at the trade deadline. Instead, the club looks like it wants to try to contend now, keeping both Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky – both of whom will be free agents at the end of the season – and instead adding more talent to the roster by moving draft picks.
“We want to try to win,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told reporters. “And while draft picks are valuable, we have some time to get some back…they are valuable, but so are these players. We feel like they are worth it and we’ll worry about these draft picks later.”
The Blue Jackets currently sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 73 points, but oddsmakers have quickly adjusted to their deadline moves. William Hill has Columbus as a 22/1 pick to win the Stanley cup – not in the realm of the favored Tampa Bay Lightning (3/1), but certainly among the group of serious playoff contenders who might be able to make a deep run.
Vegas Adds Matt Stone to Bolster Offense
One of the biggest moves of the NHL trade deadline saw the Ottawa Senators move forward Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights. While Vegas is solidly in playoff position, sitting third in the Pacific Division, they don’t look like the team that took the league by storm in their inaugural season last year.
Perhaps the biggest change is that the Knights simply aren’t scoring at the rate they were last season. Stone could make a difference in that regard, as he has scored 28 goals and contributed 34 assists so far this year for the Senators – numbers that are better than anyone on Vegas.
In order to get Stone, Vegas had to give up a second-round pick in 2020 along with defensive prospect Erik Brannstrom, a price the team felt was fair for a player of Stone’s caliber.
“You don’t get players like this very often,” Vegas general manager George McPhee told NHL.com. “So we knew that he was out there, that he was going to be available, and the issue was, what’s it going to cost? And the price was right for us.”
Like Columbus, Vegas is considered a second-tier contender for the Stanley Cup this season, with William Hill giving the Knights a 20/1 shot at winning the championship this year.