Well, that was a straight up snoozefest up until around 2:00 pm eastern time. I was handling the behind the scenes duties for TSN 1260 and I spent most of my day just staring blankly at my main Tweetdeck column. There weren’t even any exciting rumours to keep track of either. It was just a slow day.
Then the NHL hit us hard and quick with a wave of moves. Plenty of teams got active, some surprisingly stayed quiet, and at the end of the day, this was actually a pretty good deadline day. Here are some of my thoughts:
- This was 100% a buyers market. No doubt about it. Erik Brannstrom is a future top pairing defenseman, I’m very confident in that, but considering Mark Stone immediately agreed to an extension with the Golden Knights, Pierre Dorion needed to pry loose a first round pick. That just shows how slow the market was.
- I’m not a big Wayne Simmonds fan, but the fact he only brought back a young middle-six forward (Ryan Hartman) and a 3rd round pick is stunning. I thought he would get a second and a better young player. Again, it shows that the market wasn’t strong.
- David Poille is no doubt the winner. Over the past few weeks, he added size with Brian Boyle and Wayne Simmonds, which was a need for this Nashville team. Both of those guys will help on the powerplay as well. He also brought in Mikael Granlund who I personally love. He can skate, he’s proven he can score goals, and he’s under contract for next season. He will give them an elite second line. I’m baffled that Minnesota did that deal.
- I also think David Poile got a little nervous seeing the Jets & Sharks grab big pieces as well. I think the Nyquist and Hayes pickups are very nice for both San Jose and Winnipeg respectively. The Western Conference playoffs are going to feature some incredible matchups.
- Those four teams I just mentioned are very serious about going on deep runs. Can we say the same about the Calgary Flames? I was hoping they would make a move for a goalie and also dangle one of their young defensemen in a deal for a forward. You can never have too much scoring come playoff time and I thought Brad Treliving would recognize that. When they get bounced in the first round, I bet you they’ll be kicking themselves for not getting a deal done for Jimmy Howard or Jason Zucker.
- It’s an absolute mess in the Western Conference wild-card race and the only teams that improved are the Stars and Avalanche.
- The Stars will be without Zuccarello, but he should be back come playoff time. No need to rush out and go get another forward.
- I like the Brassard move from the Avs. Low cost and they bring in a very experienced player. He’s having a bad year and is now on his third team, but they’ve been very top heavy all season and any added depth should be viewed as a plus. Add on the fact that the Wild have gotten worse in my opinion, and I think we might see the Avs end up in the postseason.
- The Oilers, Hawks, Ducks, Canucks, and Coyotes didn’t do anything. None of that shocks me. The Oilers have an interim GM who doesn’t really have the authority to make major splashes. The Hawks are convinced they’re still in the race but don’t really have the assets to go out and make a big addition. The ‘Yotes and Canucks are just in weird spots. I don’t think they’re good enough to mortgage the future to try squeak into the eighth spot but I think it was smart for them to hold onto the few quality players they have.
- With that being said, the fact Vancouver got out of the Erik Gudbranson contract should be viewed as a major win.
- Out East, I thought the Bruins did a good job jumping in on a weak market and getting Marcus Johansson. He didn’t cost a lot and he can provide them with some depth scoring. The additions of both Johansson and Coyle give their middle six a massive boost.
- I’m surprised we didn’t see one more move from the Leafs. I thought they would recognize that their window is wide open and with some cap trouble looming, I thought they would try to secure one more piece on the blueline. That didn’t happen. I do see the other side of the coin though. With cap trouble looming, it’s even more important to keep young, inexpensive pieces. So the fact Kyle Dubas stayed quiet isn’t the worst thing in the world.
- I have no problem with the Lightning standing pat either. You have the best team in the NHL and I don’t see a need to mess with it. Send a message to the players in the room that you believe they are good enough to deliver the organization a Stanley Cup. I can get behind that.
- Marc Bergevin did nothing and I think Habs fans should be okay with that. If they do make the playoffs, it will likely be on the back of Carey Price and their current group of forwards. They aren’t at the point where adding one top-six forward won’t make them a contender. If they do go on a run, I believe it will be because Price plays out of this world and they win a lot of 2-1 & 3-2 games.
- Given the prices that were paid today, a little part of me feels like Jarmo Kekalainen jumped the gun on his two big moves. Tough to tell and I still give him credit for going and getting them done. If he would have tried to wait out the market, he may have been left empty-handed.
- I really like that CBJ team on paper. An incredibly deep forward group, a blueline with plenty of strong puck movers, and a potentially elite powerplay. If Bobrovsky can figure his stuff out before the playoffs, they could go on a deep run. I don’t think they’re getting enough respect.