The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline saw a number of clubs address their immediate roster needs. However, several teams failed to bring in some much-needed help.
Some sellers, such as the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks, weren’t able to find decent returns for the assets they dealt away. Teams on the playoff bubble, such as the St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders, didn’t find any solutions for their current roster issues.
Those clubs will have to look to the offseason to improve their lineups. Here’s a look at the options for this year’s notable trade-deadline losers.
This wasn’t an auspicious trade-deadline debut for Sabres rookie general manager Jason Botterill. He got a middling return for left wing Evander Kane and couldn’t find any takers for Benoit Pouliot, Josh Gorges or Robin Lehner.
The Sabres are a mess and need help throughout their lineup. Free-agent options could include Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, Washington Capitals blueliner John Carlson and Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk. Arizona winger Max Domi and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Tyson Barrie could become trade targets.
With his low-scoring club struggling to reach an Eastern Conference wild-card berth, Hurricanes GM Ron Francis opted not to boost the offense. That decision could prove fatal to his team’s postseason hopes.
If the Hurricanes fail to make the cut this season, it’ll mark nine years since their last playoff appearance. Now under new ownership, Francis could face pressure to add a scorer, preferably a center. Given the Hurricanes blue-line depth, he could peddle a top-four defenseman, such as Justin Faulk or Noah Hanifin, for a good, young scoring forward.
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli didn’t get much back for left wing Patrick Maroon at the trade deadline, netting just a 2019 third-round pick and a college prospect from the New Jersey Devils. Chiarelli had little choice, as the Devils were the only club to make a bid for Maroon.
Chiarelli will seek a quick turnaround from this season’s disappointing performance. Finding a top-four defenseman is an ongoing concern, but the most pressing need is for speed on the wings. Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman could be a trade option.
Bergevin entertained offers for winger Max Pacioretty and could listen again this summer if he can get a good young center as part of the return. Cap Friendly indicates the Habs also have over $62 million invested in 21 players. That gives Bergevin room to pursue a big-ticket free agent such as the New York Islanders John Tavares.
New York Islanders
The Islanders are struggling to remain in contention for a wild-card berth, but GM Garth Snow failed to make a significant move to help their cause. With the league’s worst goals-against and shots-against per game, the Isles face a difficult challenge reaching the playoffs.
Re-signing captain John Tavares will be Snow’s biggest off-season challenge. Even if Tavares re-signs, the Isles GM must improve his goaltending and defense. If Capitals blueliner John Carlson hits the open market, Snow could be among the suitors.
Senators GM Pierre Dorion claims he wants to re-sign Karlsson, who’s a free agent next year. Don’t be surprised, however, if he entertains more offers for the superstar blueliner. He could also listen to proposals for Hoffman and Smith.
St. Louis Blues
With his club tumbling out of a playoff spot, Blues GM Doug Armstrong surprised the hockey world by shipping playmaking center Paul Stastny to Winnipeg. That move was perceived as Armstrong waiving the white flag on the season.
If the Blues fail to secure a postseason spot, Armstrong could shake things up this summer. Lack of secondary scoring has plagued them this season. Trade rumors linked the Blues were linked to Montreal’s Max Pacioretty and Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman. Perhaps Armstrong will revisit those possibilities.
Canucks GM Jim Benning did little to silence his critics at the trade deadline. Getting back a struggling young forward in Tyler Motte and fading winger Jussi Jokinen from Columbus was considered a poor return for winger Thomas Vanek.
The Canucks must restock with young talent. If they don’t re-sign the aging Sedin twins, they could have sufficient room to add via trades or free agency. San Jose Sharks winger (and Vancouver native) Evander Kane could be available via free agency, though his off-ice baggage makes him a risky pursuit.