New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton stood behind the podium last week and offered an inconvertible truth.
The cost of adding an impactful player at the since-passed NHL Trade Deadline was exceptionally high.
“If you want a player in this type of market, generally you’re going to overpay. That’s just the way it is, if you look at all these trades,” the general manager of the New York Rangers told reporters, according to the New York Post.
As such, the cost for acquiring the premier player in the trade market—Kevin Shattenkirk—was so steep that the defenseman was on the Garden ice for that night’s match. As a member of the Washington Capitals.
Washington GM Brian MacLellan parted with prospect Zach Sanford, a first round pick in June’s draft and a conditional second round draft pick to land the UFA to-be.
“It was important to acquire another defenseman to strengthen and add depth to our blue line,” MacLellan said in a statement released to ESPN.com and other media outlets. “Kevin is a skilled, puck moving defenseman who we think will help our team at even strength and on the power play.”
By trading for Shattenkirk, MacLellan and the Capitals are trying to win the Cup this spring. And with reason. Washington has the most wins (43), most points (93), has scored the third-most goals (208), allowed the fewest goals (134), has the best goal differential in the league (+74), second best home record (26-5-1) and sixth best road record (17-8-6).
The Capitals should be trying to win the Cup. They are, without question, amongst the elite in the National Hockey League.
But they’re not alone.
The reigning, defending, undisputed Stanley Cup Champion Penguins, after acquiring Ron Hainsey from Carolina on Feb. 23, added to their blue line depth by trading a fourth round pick in next year’s draft to Tampa Bay for Mark Streit, and brought in Frankie Corrado from Toronto for Eric Fehr, Steve Oleksy and a fourth round pick in this June’s draft.
Second-in-the-West Chicago brought back defenseman Johnny Oduya from Dallas for Mark McNeill and and conditional fourth round pick in the 2018 draft. Dallas also retained half of Oduya’s salary. West-leading Minnesota parted with a first round pick in June, a second round pick next year, a conditional pick in 2019 and Grayson Downing to bring in Martin Hanzal, Ryan White and a 2017 fourth-round pick.
So, yeah, it was a seller’s market.
Metro has studied the trade deadline moves and will offer five winners and five losers.
WASHINGTON: You add the best available player without subtracting from your NHL roster. You cannot do better than that.
PITTSBURGH: By bringing in Hainsey and Streit, the Penguins added to their back end depth. Coaches, executives and players will tell you that you cannot have enough defensemen in the playoffs. Well, once Kris Letang returns from an upper-body injury Mike Sullivan told reporters Saturday wasn’t “day-to-day at this point but we’re hopeful that it’s nothing long term,” the Penguins will have nine defensemen.
MINNESOTA: Yes, the Wild paid a steep price to add depth down the middle. But those moves were in made with potential playoff series against Chicago and San Jose in mind.
TAMPA BAY: Essentially, GM Steve Yzerman punted on this season by trading Ben Bishop to Los Angeles and Brian Boyle to Toronto. In doing so, he added currency in the form of draft picks and salary cap space. Having flexibility is always a positive.
CHICAGO: Oduya adds depth to the defense corps, while right winger Tomas Jurco is another body upfront. The Blackhawks will go as far as their stars will take them. Still adding supporting players to a star-laden cast could allow for another long run.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Having 20-minute a night defenseman Travis Hamonic return from injury is a positive. But how does a playoff team not add anyone at the deadline? Especially one whose playoff position isn’t guaranteed.
COLORADO AVALANCHE: GM Joe Sakic told the Denver Post he “didn’t like what he was looking at,” in response to a question regarding if the executive was close to trading either Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog, both of whom had their name in a rumor trade mill for months. As of this writing, the Avalanche are the league’s worst time by a significant margin.
OTTAWA SENATORS: Following Alex Burrows’ two-goal performance in the Senators 2-1 win over Colorado Thursday night, Senators coach Guy Boucher said “I wonder what people think of the trade now.” Ottawa dealt prospect Jonathan Dahlen for the 35-year old, who is a UFA this summer. Second in the Atlantic, can Ottawa go deep in the East? Unlikely
SHANE DOAN: It grows increasingly likely the 40-year old Doan will end his career without ever having the opportunity to win a Cup. And the frustration is beginning to show publicly. During a between periods interview with Fox Sports Arizona during the Coyotes’ 3-2 win over the Sabres on Feb. 26, Doan said the trade of Hanzal was “hard to understand. … You just don’t get it.” For the record, the Coyotes are 13th in the 14-team Western Conference with a 23-34-7 mark and 53 points.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS: The third-worst team in the East only subtracted P.A. Parenteau and Kyle Quincey from the roster.