Part II … Looking back at the trade deadline … the (head) Shakers
The March 1st NHL trade deadline fell well short of expectations, as big names such as Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Marc-Andre Fleury and Evander Kane did not get moved and most of the deals involved players with expiring contracts.
A number of teams were able to make moves that could have positive impact on their bid for the post-season or winning the Stanley Cup, but just as many did little or nothing to improve their chances or sell rentals for any kind of return.
The NHL trade deadline (head)shakers …
Montreal Canadiens – Habs GM Marc Bergevin was busier than anyone, adding Steve Ott, Andreas Martinsen, Dwight King, Brendan Davidson and Jordie Benn, but in all those moves he did not add what the Canadiens desperately needed, which was a scoring forward.
Maybe the opportunity to get a Duchene or Kane did not present itself, or maybe Bergevin did not want to pay the price of prospect defenseman Noah Juulsen or Mikhail Sergachev to get more offense. What is for certain is nothing has changed. It will take a superlative Carey Price to get the Habs to advance in the post-season and anything short of that will result in their demise.
New York Islanders – Nothing……absolutely nothing. That is what GM Garth Snow did leading up to the deadline.
New York had the organizational components to make an impact deal with depth on defense and numerous prospects. Even if the Avalanche left them hanging on a Duchene deal, there should have been a Plan B, especially since the Isles are in the thick of the Eastern Conference wild card race.
Murray may have been expecting a higher return for his expiring contracts, but the Sabres had lost four in a row just prior to March 1 and were out of the playoff race, which means he should have been prepared to take whatever he could get.
Toronto Maple Leafs – It may be a little strange to criticize a team in contention for a playoff spot to add a veteran forward at the deadline, but Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello reiterated a number of times before the deadline that he would not make a trade that did not have a long term aspect to it.
The acquisition of Brian Boyle from Tampa gives Toronto a quality faceoff specialist/4th line center/penalty killer, but at the cost of a 2017 second round pick.
The Leafs clearly want to make the post-season to give youngsters Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander a taste of playoff competition, but if Lamoriello wanted to improve his club’s chances, he needed to upgrade their thin blueline.
Arizona Coyotes – John Chayka deserves credit for getting a bevy of draft picks for MartinHanzal, but if the rumors of him holding out for a first round pick for Radim Vrbata are true, the Coyotes GM dropped the ball.
The Shane Doan situation is also a bit questionable. Anyone who saw how distraught the veteran winger was after the Hanzal deal would logically think that he wanted out of the Coyotes sinking ship right then and there.
Michael (@MikeInBuffalo on Twitter) can also be found on HockeyBuzz.com