The best and worst anticipated returns from the NHL Trade Deadline
It’s impossible to know who the real winners and losers are from the trade deadline until the Stanley Cup is lifted and the draft picks begin to roll out, but the immediate impact of the acquisitions becomes clear. Looking at individual players, here’s a more or less even look at the early returns and impact that key players at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline are having.
Marc Andre Fleury, G (Minnesota)
The Minnesota Wild got the goalie they were looking for and a better goaltender than they envisioned. Fleury was able to improve on his already impressive stats from a losing Chicago team to improve both his GAA and save percentage with Minnesota.
Rickard Rakell, F (Pittsburgh)
So far, Rakell has been a resounding success in Pittsburgh scoring 10 points in 12 games. He looks set to score 20 goals for the first time since 2017-18 when he netted over 30 consecutive seasons. Even a moderate playoff production to bolster the Penguins’ standouts would make him a valuable hire.
Brett Kulak, D (Edmonton)
Kulak has yet to play 20 minutes in a game for Edmonton, but he has provided decent midgame consistency for the Oilers. More importantly, Kulak was a positive player on +/- and even contributed a handful of points. He probably wasn’t the impact defenseman Edmonton needs, but he was reliable, and that’s good enough for a team that already has plenty of high-risk players.
Andrew Copp, A (New York Rangers)
Nobody expected Copp, known for his two-way play, to come in and score more than a point per game for the New York Rangers, but that’s what has happened so far. The real mark of this trade will come in the post-season. Copp has yet to deliver the playoffs in his career with the Winnipeg Jets, but it’s hard to imagine his game deteriorating when he’s up.
Nick Leddy, D (St. Louis)
In Detroit this season, Leddy was horrible. Again, the Wings had to rely on the offensive-minded defenseman to play defense against the top lines. In St. Louis, he racked up points with 7 in 12 games and went from the league’s worst +/- player to just a plus.
Jake Walman, D (Detroit)
Leddy’s return was also a victory for Detroit. With the Red Wings, Walman saw his TOI jump about 7 minutes per game. Right now, he’s playing for a contract extension with the Red Wings, and as a short-term fix, who could work his way into a regular bottom-six role, or as a trade chip at the deadline. next year, Walman exceeds expectations.
Mark Giordano, D (Toronto)
When you see what other teams have paid for rentals, Giordano looks like an absolute steal. Playing consistent minutes, picking up points and, more importantly, leading Timothy Liljegren and others on the Maple Leafs as the veteran pro that he is. Giordano’s rental value has already been paid, and whether Toronto hoists a cup or not, this trade was worth its value.
Nick Paul, F (Tampa Bay)
A beloved Ottawa veteran, Paul quickly endeared himself to Tampa Bay Lightning fans by immediately contributing on offense with 7 points in his first 12 games. He’s a character player, and while some have questioned the cost to Tampa, early feedback seems favorable, and Paul could become a key part of a hat-trick.
Claude Giroux, F (Florida)
It’s been a while since Claude Giroux scored at a point-per-game pace, but maybe it’s been that long since his team believed he was a point-per-game player. He has that in Florida and makes the Panthers even more lethal from the start. The price Florida paid for Owen Tippett and a first-round pick will only be assessed in the coming seasons when those prospects show their worth and Florida’s playoff success is known.
Ben Chiarot, D (Florida)
Producing at a slightly higher rate than he was in Montreal, which is to be expected given Florida’s offense, Chiarot has fitted in nicely. Questions were raised when part of his returning Ty Smilianic entered the NCAA transfer portal, but the real trump card acquired in Chiarot’s return was the first-round pick acquired by the Canadiens. If Florida wins the Cup, no one will ever question the future they sacrificed for Giroux and Chiarot.
Frank Vatrano, F (New York Rangers)
With the players acquired by Florida, Vatrano had to leave. The New York Rangers, his new team, could face Florida in the playoffs and Vatrano has looked good. He has 6 goals and 10 points in 15 games after scoring just 19 points in 49 with Florida.
Brandon Hagel, F (Tampa Bay)
When it costs a team two first-round picks and a talented rookie (Taylor Raddysh) to acquire a player, in this case Hagel, you want results. Three goals in 13 games is not a sparkling quick comeback, especially coupled with the lack of assists and the fact that he regularly plays around 13 minutes a night. Hagel provides cost security, but early returns are concerning.
Max Domi, F (Carolina)
No one is questioning Max Domi’s skills, but the enigmatic striker can’t quite find his footing, and it doesn’t look like Carolina is that answer. He had 4 assists in 11 games for the Hurricanes, staying on pace for his lowest offensive output in a full season.
Derick Brassard, F (Edmonton)
Some will certainly wonder if Brassard was the best Ken Holland could do to bolster his forward depth. If nothing else, he offers significant playoff experience and a veteran presence in Edmonton. This trade will not win fans for Holland. He has 2 goals in 10 games and no assists.
Tyler Motte, A (New York Rangers)
After not scoring any points in 9 games with New York, Motte’s season seems to be over following a serious injury. In the world of commerce, it was a failure for New York, but at least it came at a low cost. Still, getting 9 scoreless games from a pending unrestricted free agent and losing it for nothing is disappointing.
Andrew Hammond, G (New Jersey)
Everyone loves Andrew Hammond except for New Jersey Devils fans who have cringed in his two appearances this season so far. Called up to provide goaltending depth, he couldn’t have started better with a 7.57 goals-against average and .783 save percentage in a game and a half. Again, he has already surprised people.
Oskar Sundqvist, F (Detroit)
The Red Wings have praised Sundqvist’s early play, but in truth, he’s not producing at a rate exceeding his time in St. Louis. Could he earn an opportunity to stay in Detroit’s last six on a short-term deal? Perhaps. Is it worth re-signing it by burning a spot that could be used for a prospect, probably not.
Josh Brown, D (Boston)
Great stable depth. That’s all. It’s a typical playoff addition for a contending team, and Boston has lost little in return.
Owen Tippett, F (Philadelphia)
Adding a struggling prospect to a struggling team can sometimes work, but so far Tippett hasn’t seen a substantial change in his production. As a centerpiece, with a first-round pick in exchange for Claude Giroux, expectations will be high for Tippett. Starting next season as the centerpiece of a rebuild, Tippett will have to produce. Philadelphia could get rich with the first one added, and getting building blocks for Giroux who was expected to walk as UFA is great, but for now this one remains a status quo trade for the Flyers until that the assets pay dividends in the future.
Josh Manson, D (Colorado)
He’s what Colorado wanted. A veteran physical presence. One concern is that he’s been on the ice for more goals against than he should be given the heat of the Avalanche right now. A risk worth taking for the Avalanche who, after having exchanged so many prospects and choices, are in win-now mode.
Kaapo Kahkonen, G (San Jose)
Many feared this trade would haunt the Minnesota Wild in the long run. Early in San Jose, Kähkönen struggled. This profession will only be truly judged next season and beyond.
Vlad Namestnikov, F (Dallas)
Adding Vlad was a low risk, low reward situation for Dallas. He scores from deep and could move up his roster if needed. Luckily for the Stars, that wasn’t necessary. With just 3 points in 11 games, it’s hard to call Namestnikov an impact acquisition.
Jarnkrok Street, F (Calgary)
Although he was acquired for his versatility, 2 assists in 8 games probably isn’t enough for the Flames who gave up a second and third round pick for hire. However, if he effectively kills penalties and plays a bodychecking game throughout the playoffs helping Calgary advance deep or exit the Western Conference, the trade is a win for Calgary and Seattle. Kraken. For now, this trade remains level. Calgary doesn’t need Jarnkrok to score, but it wouldn’t hurt.