Given the uncertainty of the draft, it was no surprise to see a lot of draft picks fly around in trades. A lot of contenders seemed very willing to part ways with their 2021 1st to deepen their roster. Ultimately, a lot of the grades will depend on how far each team goes in the playoffs and if they can win the cup. Giving up a first or second for a rental does nothing for you if you can’t make it out of the first and second round.
Grading Scale: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-
WSH receives : Anthony Mantha
DET receives: Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, 2021 1st, 2022 2nd
WSH – (B+) – It’s easy to see why Washington wanted to make a move for Mantha. Between Chara, Ovi, and Wilson the Capitals are already a big and physical team that’s hard to play against. Mantha adds a 6’5″ frame and he can fly. He’s also got a hell of shot and should bolster the second PP unit. This move signifies the Caps are making one last push before they start to decline. In the end, the Capitals may have overpaid for Mantha. Adding Vrana alone already made it a fairly even trade, but the draft picks really sent it over the edge.
DET – (A+) – Mantha was always on the trade block but the Wings wanted to maximize their return. They did this year. They got a bit younger with Vrana who was never able to find his potential with the Caps as he was always slid down on the depth chart. He’ll have every chance for first line and first PP minutes in Detroit. Not to mention, the Red Wings keep stockpiling high-end draft picks. If they ever could get close to a lottery win they’ll really start to take off.
FLA receives: Sam Bennett
CGY receives: Emil Heineman, 2022 2nd
FLA – (B) – Bennett adds some depth and some grit. He’s not really going to produce much offensively though. He’s likely to play a pest role, draw penalties, and be hard to play against around the net. For Bennett, he’ll have the chance to play with a some legitimate offensive players which could finally see him improve on his production. It’s not an amazing move but it’s one you make if you think you can contend.
CGY – (A-) – Bennett has wanted out of Calgary for a little while now and he’ll be a RFA after this season. That’s a lot of leverage for the team on the other side of the equation. The Flames though still managed to get a second rounder as well as a solid prospect in Heineman, a 2020 second round selection. A good haul for a guy who was destined to leave regardless.
VGK receives: Mattias Janmark
CHI receives: 2021 2nd, 2022 3rd
VGK – (B) – Vegas’s big move came during the offseason with Pietrangelo so they weren’t expected to do anything huge at the deadline. They ended up with Janmark whos having a career year. Janmark’s a piece who can slot anywhere in the lineup and adds immediate depth for the Knights bottom-six. He can skate, kill penalties, and play responsibly on both sides of the puck. It’s not a huge move but it makes Vegas even more tough to play against.
CHI – (A) – Janmark having a great year was huge for Chicago. They were never going to do anything but sell or stand pat at the deadline regardless of this year’s surprising run. And while Janmark was a great piece for Chicago, he can be replaced by Connolly, a younger prospect or new Blackhawk Adam Gaudette. Janmark isn’t a major offensive contributor so for a rebuilding Hawks, a 2nd and 3rd round pick is a pretty solid return for a rental.
BOS receives: Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar
BUF receives: 2021 2nd, Anders Bjork
BOS – (A-) – Although the blueline is the biggest problem in Boston it never hurts to add a former MVP caliber player. The Bruins could certainly use the extra offense especially at the cheap price they got him at. Hall clearly wanted to be in Boston given there were many different suitors and Hall would have had to activate his NMC to get moved. Lazar on the other hand is a depth piece who can help the Bruins play a heavier game and add something to the forecheck.
BUF – (C) – While it’s not a good look for Buffalo, it’s very possible Hall forced their hand a bit with the NMC. Regardless we kind of expected something like a 2nd round pick as Hall’s return as an NHL GM mentioned a first was likely off the table. What’s worse however, is Buffalo will still be paying half of Hall’s salary. One would think that giving a player of Hall’s caliber while also retaining some of his salary would get you a higher return. Furthermore, Anders Bjork is just a bottom-six player.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 12, 2021
TOR receives: Nick Foligno
CBJ receives: 2021 1st, 2022 4th
TOR – (B+) – It was rumored a lot of the big teams were in on Foligno, think Colorado, Vegas, etc. That speaks to what Foligno can bring to any contender. He is a phenomenal leader and team guy who can contribute and play anywhere in the lineup in all situations. He’s a great addition although it cost a lot to get him as a rental. Although its likely Toronto sees its best playoff success in years, its likely the Foligno deal was a bit of an overpayment.
CBJ – (A+) – They aren’t going to make playoffs and Jarmo Kekalainen knows it. They are also a team that sold their soul in 2019 to make a deep playoff run and therefore have one of the more uninspiring prospect pools in the NHL. But now they’ve added some star talent in Laine and some high-end draft picks to build a young team. With Foligno in his final contract year, the return for him deserved an A+. After all, what Foligno has done for the organization of Columbus, who says he doesn’t sign back with them in the offseason?
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 12, 2021
TBL receives: David Savard
CBJ receives: 2021 1st, 2022 3rd
TBL – (A) – I really like this move for Tampa because it’s such a Stanley Cup contender move. Savard is so solid defensively. He just eats pucks and racks up minutes in crucial defensive situations. He’s the perfect kind of defensive defenseman you like to have for a deep playoff run. Imagine having to see Hedman, McDonagh, Sergachev, and Savard on a repetitive basis. The first round pick means absolutely nothing for Tampa. A first rounder was a lot for Barclay Goodrow … until it wasn’t and the Bolts won the cup. The value of the first round pick has decreased this year and it’s not like its going to be a top-15 pick either. Not to mention, the best acquisition has yet to be made for Tampa. Nikita Kucherov, remember him? He’ll be back for Playoffs.
CBJ – (A+) – Another soon to be UFA for a Blue Jackets team that is nowhere near playoffs. Savard isn’t the type of defenseman to fetch such a big return but when you get a team as willing and hungry to add depth as Tampa you can certainly argue for it. The Blue Jackets now have three first round picks this year. Their undesirable prospect pool should get a massive boost by the end of June.
David Savard: “I’m really excited to be joining a team that’s been so good for a number of years.”
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 10, 2021
SJ receives: Greg Pateryn, 2021 5th
COL receives: Devan Dubnyk
SJ – (B) – San Jose was involved in a lot of deals, mostly as a broker. They essentially took on salaries for draft picks. Dubnyk was probably never a long-term piece anyway and the Sharks were never realistically a playoff team. Just another draft pick for the Sharks.
COL – (B) – Dubnyk is not as good as he once was but he’ll provide some decent insurance in net for the Avs. It’s a low risk kind of deal and definitely not one that gets you out of your seat. I’m still not sold on the Avs goaltending tandem and feel like they could have done more at the deadline.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 10, 2021
CHI receives: Brett Connolly, Riley Stillman, Henrik Borgstrom, 2021 7th
FLA receives: Lucas Carlsson, Lucas Wallmark
CHI – (A) – There really was no room in the system for Carlsson with the abundance of D prospects. Same applies for Wallmark whose been bouncing around teams. Its a low risk high reward trade. A common theme for the Blackhawks with these revitalization prospects. Borgstrom is clearly the centerpiece in this deal. He was breathe taking prospect at Denver but never found his game in the pros. The drive is questionable but the skill is not. It was worth the flier and makes sense for a team that continues to get younger. If the Hawks can unlock Borgstrom’s potential it’s a steal.
FLA – (B-) – A depth and cap clearing move. Connolly gone gets some money off the books while Carlsson and Wallmark add depth for a playoff run. Borgstrom’s time in Florida was likely done anyway considering he’s over in Finland now. It makes sense from a contenders prospective but the Borgstrom loss could end up hurting them.
PIT receives: Jeff Carter
LAK receives: 2022 3rd, 2023 4th
PIT – (B) – I would think Pittsburgh liked what they had for the most part because they really didn’t make any moves aside from this one that said “we’re going for it”. It makes sense though as Hextall probably didn’t want to move on from the already dim prospect pool Pittsburgh had. The former Flyer can add some depth scoring so he’s not a bad acquisition.
LA – (A-) – The Kings are rebuilding clearly; and holding onto a thirty-six year-old at the deadline doesn’t make much sense. Considering his age and impact the return for Carter was pretty impressive for the Kings. Like the Red Wings and Blue Jackets, they’re just another team stockpiling picks. A third rounder is nothing to blink at while the fourth just adds another pick to play with. More importantly for the Kings was Alex Iafallo signing a four-year deal.