If you buy at the NHL Trade Deadline, you’re probably gonna have a bad time

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 12:39 am by Evan Presement


Photo Credit: TSN

Another NHL trade deadline has come and gone. The good teams bought, the bad teams sold, and the teams in the middle, well, did a bit of both. 

Each and every year, fans and media try to decipher who won the deadline, as well as the days and weeks leading up to it. This season, the general consensus was that the Vancouver Canucks came out on top. Of course, the Canucks were sellers, something that seems to be a common theme when talking about teams who win the trade deadline. Why is that? 

Well, for one, prices in-season tend to be inflated, which lends itself well to a sellers market. Another reason is that the majority of players traded to ‘buyers’ seem to be those in the final years of their contracts, which shortens the window for evaluation. 

You rarely ever hear about a ‘buyer’ getting a great deal on a player, let alone winning deadline day. That got me thinking — are we not giving credit to the ‘buyers’ because of the amount they gave up, or because the player they acquired just never seems to work out? 

The Criteria

I’m going to go back through every trade deadline (not including this season) since the 2012/2013 lockout. I’m going to identify each trade that would be considered ‘buying’, and examine how those moves turned out. 

Those trades:

  • Must include a player on the final year of his contract (only UFAs. RFAs do not count)
  • Must have taken place, at most, a month before the deadline 
  • If it’s a draft pick for player trade, the lowest the pick can be is a 2nd rounder

I’ll mostly be taking a look at the bigger deals, although I will touch on some of the ‘shot in the dark’-type deals as well. For example, Jussi Jokinen for a conditional 7th rounder would be in this category.

Again, the point of this exercise isn’t to compare selling vs. buying – we know sellers usually come out on top. Instead, it’s to examine whether or not buying at the NHL trade deadline is worth it.

2013 NHL Trade Deadline

To Pittsburgh: Brenden Morrow conditional 3rd rounder 2013

To Dallas: Joe Morrow, 5th rounder 2013

This was an odd one from Pittsburgh’s perspective. The Pens were a team loaded with veterans, and it seemed as though this was purely a ‘leadership’ sort of move for a team primed for a playoff run. At that point in his career Brendan Morrow had slowed considerably. He did seem to find himself in Pittsburgh, though, scoring 14 points in 15 regular season games, and notching 4 points in 14 playoff games. 

At the time, Joe Morrow was a highly touted prospect. If you had asked me four years ago who won the trade, it would have been Dallas, hands down. As it would turn out, Morrow didn’t pan out and the third rounder Pittsburgh received turned out to be Jake Guentzel. 

In theory, bad trade for Pittsburgh. In reality, not so much. 

Did Morrow re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? Yes

To Pittsburgh: Douglas Murray
To San Jose: 2nd rounder 2013, conditional 2nd rounder 2014

This was another weird one for Pittsburgh. Murray was like Morrow in the sense that he’d been around, would have been considered a leader, and added a physical dimension to the team. Too bad he didn’t know how to skate. 

Murray really didn’t contribute anything to Pittsburgh, both in the regular season and playoffs. In fact, he probably hurt them more than anything in the postseason, playing 15 games and averaging over a penalty per contest.

The two picks Pittsburgh traded ended up becoming Tyler Bertuzzi and Noah Rod. Bertuzzi looks like he’ll be an NHL at some point, and Rod is producing well for a 20-year-old in Switzerland. 

Did Murray re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? No

To Pittsburgh: Jarome Iginla 
To Calgary: Kenny Agastino, Ben Hanowski, 1st rounder 2013

My god, did Calgary ever mess this one up

You’d think that trading a still-good Jarome frickin’ Iginla would net you, oh, I don’t know, something better than Kenny Agostino, Ben Hanowski, and a first rounder? 

There’s really not much more to say. Hanowski and Agostino were mid-tier prospects, and the first rounder ended up being 28th overall. Four years later, Agostino, Hanowski, and the first rounder (Morgan Klimchuk) have played a combined 26 games with the Flames. Klimchuk is actually the only one of the three still with the organization. 

Did Iginla re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? Yes

To St. Louis: Jordan Leopold
To Buffalo: 2nd rounder 2013, cond. 4th or 5th rounder 2013

This is one of those trades where it’s really tough to say who won, and it touches on an issue with re-visiting these deals a number of years later. 

At the time of the trade, the clear winner would have been Buffalo. A second and fifth rounder for a very average to below average defender was a good return. The problem, though, is that the draft picks haven’t panned out. 

It’s in the same boat as the Brenden Morrow trade. At the time, a great return for an aging vet who, really, shouldn’t have had much value. In reality, the prospect and pick never worked out. 

Leopold ended up re-upping with the Blues, and while he was never a difference maker for them, he provided more than what it looks like Buffalo got in return. This one has to go to St. Louis. 

Did Leopold re-sign? Yes

Good trade for buyer? Yes

To Los Angeles: Robyn Regehr

To Buffalo: 2nd rounder 2014, 2nd rounder 2015

Another aging, declining vet… Anyone else sense a pattern here? 

Regehr really didn’t add much to the Kings. He had three assists in 30 regular season and playoff games, and his underlying numbers weren’t very good either. Yes, he re-signed in Los Angeles, but he was a replacement level player at that point, and really didn’t bring any value to the team. 

The picks, meanwhile, turned in to defenders Alex Lintuniemi and Erik Cernak. Cernak is a name most are familiar with, as the Kings re-acquired his draft rights a year later, and just a few weeks ago, he was the central piece in a trade for Ben Bishop. 

Let’s not kid ourselves – Regehr was a detriment to the Kings in each and every game he played. The fact that Buffalo was able to get two second rounders for him is mind blowing. 

Did Regehr re-sign? Yes

Good trade for buyer? No

To Vancouver: Derek Roy
To Dallas: Kevin Connauton, 2nd rounder 2013

Derek Roy was an extremely useful NHL player, and was producing at a 60-point clip before he was traded. Unfortunately for the Canucks, once he was sent to Vancouver, his scoring took a hit. 

Roy posted six regular season points in 12 games, then a single assist in four playoff games as Vancouver was swept by San Jose. 

In return, Dallas received now-journeyman defender Kevin Connauton, as well as a second round pick who turned out to be goaltender Philippe Desrosiers. Desrosiers is currently playing in the ECHL, so it’s doubtful the Canucks are sour about missing out on him. Connauton, though, is a decent player. Sure, he’s bounced around, but his numbers are average and god knows the Canucks could use a defenseman or six right about now. 

While it’s actually an extremely defensible trade from Vancouver’s perspective, it’s hard to give them the edge considering their current situation and the fact that they could very well use Connauton. 

Did Roy re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? No

To Boston: Jaromir Jagr

To Dallas: Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne, cond. 1st or 2nd rounder 2013

This seems like an eternity ago, doesn’t it? 

Jaromir Jagr, freshly re-introduced to the NHL. The Boston Bruins, perennial Stanley Cup contenders. Man, does time fly! 

Honestly, though, Boston comes out looking very good on this trade. Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne may as well have not been included in the deal, as they really had no NHL future. A late first round pick for Jagr, who at that time was producing well and was a good fit in Boston’s lineup, isn’t a hefty price to pay. 

The pick Dallas received ended up becoming Jason Dickinson at 29th overall. Dickinson doesn’t look like he’ll turn in to anything special, and may not be an NHLer at all. 

Jagr, meanwhile, scored nearly a point-per-game with Boston during the regular season, and then posted ten assists in 22 playoff games, helping the B’s reach the finals. 

Did Jagr re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? Yes

To New York Rangers: Ryan Clowe

To San Jose: 2nd rounder 2013, FLA’s 3rd rounder 2013, cond. 2nd rounder 2014

Ryan Clowe, or ‘the guy the Leafs almost traded Kaberle for’ as I like to call him, used to be a hot commodity. 

Sure, he had a few good seasons, but really? A second, and third, and a fifth for a guy on the downswing with 11 assists through his team’s first 28 games? To be fair, Clowe did seem to find his scoring touch in his short stint with New York, notching eight points in 12 regular season games, before adding an assist in just two playoff contests. 

The Rangers are lucky that San Jose missed on all three of their picks. Actually, missed is too generous. More like San Jose lit all three of those picks on fire. They would later trade Florida’s third rounder (who turned out to be none other than Yan Pavel-Laplante) for Raffi Torres, a move I’ll get to later. With their two remaining picks, they selected Gabryel Boudreau and Rourke Chartier. Only one of the three is playing above the ECHL for the 2016/17 season. 

While it’s easy to look at that and say that the Rangers won the deal, I don’t think it’s so simple. Gabryel Bourdeau could have easily been Artturi Lehkonen or Tyler Bertuzzi. Had they kept Florida’s pick, Yan-Pavel Laplante was taken four spots ahead of Brett Pesce and just 18 ahead of Anthony Duclair. 

Just because San Jose missed on their picks doesn’t mean New York won the trade. It’s irresponsible to be throwing around draft choices like that, and had the Rangers kept those picks, they could have turned them in to valuable pieces for the franchise. 

Did he re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? No 

What did the Stanley Cup Champs do? 

Chicago made one NHL roster trade over the deadline, sending a San Jose’s 2013 4th rounder back to the Sharks for Michal Handzus. This is one of those bargain bin deals where Chicago really has nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

Before being traded to Chicago, Handzus had two points in 28 games for San Jose. After being traded, though, he seemed to find his game. He sored six points over Chicago’s last 11 regular season games, before notching 11 playoff points en-route to helping the Blackhawks win the cup.  

In conclusion… 

High-priced buyers actually did fairly well in 2012/13, but it’s not just the big-time trades that paid off – many of the smaller ones did as well. 

San Jose sent Nashville a sixth rounder in 2013 for Scott Hannan, who was actually a nice piece for them in the playoffs. He scored four points over 11 games, and no one can tell me that the gap between Hannan and Regehr was so large that the difference in price paid was warranted. Pittsburgh picked up Jussi Jokinen from Florida for future considerations, a deal that I’d say worked out well for the Pens. 

Columbus snagged Blake Comeau from Calgary for a fifth rounder, and Wade redden was traded to St. Louis for a measly seventh. The deals are always there, teams just have to look hard enough. 

Buyers’ record: 4-4

2014 NHL Trade Deadline

To St. Louis: Ryan Miller, Steve Ott
To Buffalo: Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, 1st rounder 2015

This was a weird one. 

Buffalo obviously wanted something in return for Miller, who was a pending UFA. The Blues, for some reason, decided that Miller would step right in and give them better goaltending than the .922 SV% being provided to them by Brian Elliott. That didn’t exactly work out. 

After being traded to St. Louis, Miller posted a .903 SV% over 19 games. Still, the Blues thought, he deserves some playoff action! So they gave Miller all six first round playoff games against Chicago. How’d he do? Well, he went 2-4 with an .897 SV%, so not very well. 

Meanwhile, Buffalo probably didn’t get the return they had initially hoped for, but they did benefit from the trade. 

Jaroslav Halak was subsequently flipped to the Caps for Michael Neuvirth and Rostislav Klesla, and the first round pick (Jack Roslovic) was traded to Winnipeg in a package for Evander Kane. William Carrier has played 35 games with the Sabres this season, and he’s a young, controllable asset.

Did Miller re-sign? No 

Good trade for buyer? No

To Philadelphia: Andrew MacDonald
To New York Islanders: Matt Mangene, 3rd rounder 2014, 2nd rounder 2015

Good ol’ Andrew MacDonald.

This trade is extremely simple to break down. Andrew MacDonald is one of the worst regular d-men in the NHL, and has been for some time now. Of course, the NHL values blocked shots more than actual, meaningful stats. 

Because of this, New York was able to get a second, third, and a prospect for a guy who is currently just above replacement level in nearly every defensive category. 

For some reason, the Flyers decided to award MacDonald’s ineptness with a six year (!!!) $30-million (!!!) contract. It’s as if the initial loss of the trade wasn’t enough.

Did MacDonald re-sign?  Yes

Good trade for buyer? No

To Los Angeles: Marian Gaborik
To Columbus: Matt Frattin, 2nd rounder, 2014 LAK’s) or 2015 (TOR’s), conditional 3rd rounder 2014 (EDM’s) or 2015 (LAK’s)

Buying low is always a smart strategy, and that’s exactly what Dean Lombardi and co. did when they acquired Marian Gaborik from the Blue Jackets. 

Gaborik has always had injury issues, but before the trade, he had only played 22 games with Columbus. Still, he produced well with the Jackets, scoring 14 points that season. The Kings saw an opportunity to acquire a player with pedigree for cheap, and decided to pounce. 

Matt Frattin has long been an overrated prospect, and Columbus found that out first hand. The two draft picks were traded away by the Blue Jackets in separate deals, so they really ended up with nothing directly from this deal. Such a shame, considering they gave up Derick Brassard for Gaborik a season earlier.  

The Kings’ decision paid off, though, as Gaborik scored 22 points in 26 playoff games, helping the Kings win their second cup since 2012. 

Did Gaborik re-sign? Yes

Good trade for buyer? Yes

To Minnesota: Matt Moulson, Cody McCormick 
To Buffalo: Torrey Mitchell, WPG’s 2nd rounder 2014, 2nd rounder 2016 

It’s funny to think of Minnesota of a team in need of scoring, but that’s exactly what they were looking for when they traded for Matt Moulson. This was actually Moulson’s second trade of the season, as the Islanders dealt the former 30-goal scorer to the Sabres earlier that year. 

The Wild must have been happy with Moulson’s production, as he scored a respectable 13 points in 20 regular season games, before adding three playoff points. 

Meanwhile, Torrey Mitchell didn’t last long in Buffalo, as he was flipped to Montreal the following season. Both of the second round picks Buffalo received in the deal were traded away, as well. 

Buffalo won this trade. Two-second rounders for an O.K player on the last year of his deal is always a great return. Fault the Sabres all you want for not getting much out of the picks, but they had the right idea. 

Did Moulson re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? No 

To Montreal: Thomas Vanek, cond. 5th rounder 2014
To New York Islanders: Sebastian Collberg, cond. 2nd rounder 2014

John Tavares. Thomas Vanek. The most dynamic duo in the NHL, we said. 

Well, we weren’t exactly wrong. Vanek produced at a very high rate in his brief stint with the Isles, scoring 44 points in 47 games. Yes, he was an absolute anchor defensively (as he always has been), but most are able to turn a blind eye with that sort of production. 

Unfortunately, the Isles’ vision of an offensive juggernaut wouldn’t come to fruition. They were going to miss the playoffs, and knew they had to sell off one of their most valuable assets. 

Enter the Montreal Canadiens. 

Somehow, Garth Snow though that Montreal’s offer of Sebastian Collberg and a conditional second rounder was enough to pry Vanek away. Sorry, but how does Matt Moulson fetch you two second round picks, but Thomas Vanek gets you a B-level prospect and MAYBE a (conditional) second. The NHL, man. 

Anyways, Vanek was great in Montreal, as he scored all throughout the regular season and playoffs. Collberg, meanwhile, is enjoying playing hockey in Sweden. New York probably wishes they could do this one again. 

Did Vanek re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? Yes 

What did the champs do? 

Outside of acquiring Gaborik, the Kings made a few moves that season. 

First, they started off by dealing a conditional sixth for Daniel Carcillo, who they’d trade to the Rangers just a few months later. They then flipped Ben Scrivens to Edmonton for a third rounder, which the Kings later used in a package for Marian Gaborik. 

Then, on the trade deadline, the Kings somehow got the Sabres to send them Brayden McNabb, Jonathan Parker, as well as their own second rounders from 2014 and 2015 for Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers. Yeah, I don’t know either. 

In conclusion… 

Here’s where you start to see the buyers fumble a little bit. However, as we start to get in to the smaller deals, you’ll see a number of recognizable names that were had for cheap. 

To make room for Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren, Toronto traded Joe Colborne to Calgary for a fourth round pick. Colborne was productive for a period of time before falling off of a cliff this season. 

Next, Washington sent Mathieu Perrault to Anaheim for John Mitchell and a fourth. Today, Perrault is one of the most efficient defenders in the league. Then, Devan Dubnyk was traded from Edmonton to Nashville, then from Nashville for Montreal. The combined return? Matt Hendricks and future considerations. Man.

Montreal also picked up Mike Weaver for a fifth round pick, and Pittsburgh traded a third rounder to  Calgary to secure Lee Stempniak. Again, we see that a number of the smaller deals have high potential. 

Buyers’ record: 6-7

2015 NHL Trade Deadline

To Nashville: Cody Franson, Mike Santorelli
To Toronto: Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic, 1st rounder 2015

This is a significant trade from Toronto’s perspective, as trading Franson was one of the first of many dominoes to fall in a now seemingly completed rebuild. 

Franson was (and still is) a very solid player. He never really got the respect he deserved around the NHL, which is why it’s somewhat shocking that Nashville was willing to give up this big of a package. 

It would be unfair not to mention Mike Santorelli in this trade as well. He was having a nice season with Toronto, notching his second-highest scoring season in just 57 games. However, Franson was the main piece, and Nashville may now be regretting the deal. 

Brendan Leipsic has cemented himself among the top ranks of Toronto’s already-stacked farm system. He is currently well over a point-per-game in the AHL, and played well during his brief time with the Leafs last season. 

It gets even worse for Preds fans, as the first round pick ended up becoming Travis Konecny. Remember, Toronto ended up trading down in the 2015 draft, and turned Konecny in to Jeremy Bracco, Martins Dzierkals, and Travis Dermott. Not bad.  

Did Franson re-sign? No 

Good trade for buyer? No

To Pittsburgh: Daniel Winnik
To Toronto: Zach Sill, 2nd rounder 2016, 4th rounder 2015

Another one of Toronto’s valuable, expiring contracts during the 2015 season was Daniel Winnik.

Winnik was on pace for a career year with the Leafs, as his 25 points in 58 games, combined with his great defensive play earned him a solid reputation around the league. 

Pittsburgh came calling, and traded a second, fourth, and Zach Sill for his services. On the surface, that seems like a fair return. Zach Sill was a throw-in, and a second and fourth round pick isn’t necessarily an overpayment. 

Winnik performed well in his decreased role in Pittsburgh, scoring nine points in 21 during the regular season, before going scoreless in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Leafs flipped Pittsburgh’s fourth rounder for Martin Marincin, and then sent the second rounder back to Pittsburgh in the Phil Kessel trade. 

It’s not necessarily fair to judge a trade based off of what comes after it’s completed. No one has a time machine. No one knows who’s going to be available – both by trade and in the draft – with what pick. The moral of the story, again, is that draft picks are important. 

Did Winnik re-sign? No 

Good trade for buyer? No

To Los Angeles: Andrej Sekera
To Carolina: Roland McKeown, conditional 1st rounder 2016

What a dud of a deal for the Kings. 

In a move to help them on their push to the playoffs, Los Angeles sent highly-touted prospect Roland McKeown, as well as a first rounder to Carolina for Andrej Sekera. 

The problem is, Los Angeles didn’t end up making the playoffs, Sekera wasn’t re-signed, and both McKeown and the first round pick (Julien Gauthier) have the chance to be good NHL players. 

Sekera had just come off a career year in which he scored 44 points, something that Los Angeles was clearly looking for. The Kings have had trouble scoring for a while now, and really, Sekera did seem like a nice fit on their back-end. 

Had the Kings kept Sekera, we might look at this trade a little differently. He’s currently a very valuable piece for the Oilers, and one would think he’d still be a great fit on the Kings. 

However, Los Angeles got next to nothing out of this deal, and lost some nice pieces in the process.

Did Sekera re-sign? No 

Good trade for buyer? No 

To Florida: Jaromir Jagr
To New Jersey: 2nd rounder 2015, cond. 3rd rounder 2016

It’s kind of weird to think of Jagr playing for anyone but Florida, isn’t it? 

After proving he could still contribute in the NHL, the Panthers paid a very fair price to acquire the Hall of Famer from the Devils two seasons ago. 

At the age of 42, Jagr scored 67 points with New Jersey. The next season, he was on pace for over 40 points, which is why Florida decided to swoop in. 

It was a smart move for the Panthers on a number of levels. Young players like Barkov, Huberdeau, Ekblad, and Trochek could only benefit from this once in a career opportunity. Also, it really did look like Jagr wasn’t going to slow down. 

Once Jagr arrived in Florida, he scored nearly a point-per-game over the team’s remaining 20 regular season contests. Then, after re-signing with the Cats, Jagr posted 66 points in 79 games… AS A 44-YEAR-OLD! 

Florida is a team on the rise, and a large chunk of that is due to the influence Jagr’s had on the team as a whole. All in all, a great move for Florida. 

Did jagr re-sign? Yes 

Good trade for buyer? Yes 

To Chicago: Kimmo Timonen
To Philadelphia: 2nd rounder 2015, cond. 4th rounder 2016

This was a risky deal for Chicago. Timonen hadn’t played a single game during the 2014-15 season due to blood clots, but was nearing a comeback. 

Chicago decided he’d be a nice fit for a playoff run, and sent the Flyers a 2015 second rounder, as well as a 2016 conditional fourth, which became a second rounder as well. 

Timonen, meanwhile, was awful in his tenure with the Blackhawks. He didn’t score a single point in 34 regular season and playoff games, and his underlying numbers were horrendous. 

The Flyers must have been pleased with the return, as they used their 2015 second rounder (Jeremy Bracco) to acquire the pick used to select Travis Konecny. In 2016, Philly selected Wade Allison 52nd overall to complete the trade. 

Given the chance, Chicago would have probably never made this deal. 

Did Timonen  re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? No

To Chicago: Antoine Vermette
To Arizona: Klas Dahlbeck. 1st rounder 2015 

If you weren’t already aware, many among NHL circles have a faceoff fetish, which is what keeps players like Antoine Vermette employed. 

At even strength, there were few NHLers worse both defensively and offensively than Vermette. That didn’t stop Chicago from sending a first rounder, as well as d-man Klas Dahlbeck to the ‘Yotes for a few extra faceoff wins. 

As expected, Vermette didn’t really produce with the ‘Hawks. Relative to his team, Vermette got buried in nearly every offensive and defensive category. His saving grace was the he scored seven points in 20 playoff games, which isn’t half bad. 

“But the ‘Hawks won the cup!” Yes, I know, but that doesn’t mean the team didn’t make a bad move or two along the way. Does anyone really think Antoine Vermette was the difference maker? 

Arizona was more than likely thrilled with how this trade turned out, too. The first round pick turned in to Nick Merkley, and they ended up re-signing Vermette that summer. 

Stop over-valuing faceoffs!

Did Vermette re-sign? No 

Good trade for buyer? No 

To Washington: Curtis Glencross
To Calgary: 2nd rounder 2015, 3rd rounder 2015

When you have the chance to overpay for a below average veteran player who’s having trouble scoring, you have to pull the trigger. 

That’s exactly what Washington did, sending a second and third rounder to Calgary for Glencross. To be fair to the Caps, this was before Kuznetsov was a 60+ point producer and before T.J Oshie was in the mix. Still,ton was a team that could score, and one wonders what role, other than ‘veteran leadership’, Glencross would have served. 

Once arriving in Washington, Glencross scored seven points in 18 games, all while posting abysmal possession numbers. He also appeared in 10 of the Caps’ 14 playoff games, registering a single goal. 

On Calgary’s side, they used Washington’s second rounder (Jeremy Lauzon) in a trade package for Dougie Hamilton, which I’d say is working out quite well for the Flames.

This is the type of deal that gets made every single deadline, but has a very low rate of success for the buyer.

Did Glencross re-sign? No 

Good trade for buyer? No 

To Montreal: Jeff Petry
To Edmonton: 2nd rounder 2015, cond. COL’s 5th rounder 2015

I don’t know about you guys, but I find it funny how much Edmonton hates good defensemen. 

Jeff Petry is really good, and he has always been really good. Why Edmonton decided to practically give him away is beyond me. Edmonton did get a small win in this trade, as the conditional fifth was bumped up to a fourth. Other than that, there’s really nothing positive to say from the Oilers’ perspective. 

The market for d-men has been crazy over the past few seasons. Add in the fact that Petry is a right-shot defenseman, and you begin to wonder how a second and fourth was the best Edmonton could do?  

Maybe Petry made it clear he wouldn’t re-sign with the Oilers, and they made the best of a bad situation. Regardless of whether or not Petry would have stayed, though, Montreal fleeced the Oilers on this one. 

Did Petry re-sign? Yes 

Good trade for buyer? Yes 

To Minnesota: Chris Stewart
To Buffalo: 2nd rounder 2017

You know those players who everyone tells you are good, but in reality they are un-good? That used to be Chris Stewart. 

Outside of two good NHL seasons in 2009 and 2012, Stewart has been, well, bad. That didn’t stop Buffalo from insisting he be included in a trade package for Ryan Miller, nor did it stop Minnesota from forking over a second round pick for his services. 

Like many of the players on this list, though, he seemed to find an offensive spark with his new team. He scored 11 regular season points in 20 games, and added two points over eight playoff games. 

Was he a complete disaster in Minnesota? No, he wasn’t. Are second round picks equal in value to a player like Chris Stewart? No, they’re certainly not – they’re much more valuable.

Did Stewart re-sign? No  

Good trade for buyer? No 

What did the champs do? 

Outside of the Timonen and Vermette deals, the Blackhawks made one more semi-important deal, trading Ben Smith and a conditional 7th in 2017 to the Sharks for Andrew Desjardins. 

Desjardins became a fan favourite in the Windy City the following season, playing in 77 games, notching 13 points.  It wouldn’t last, though, as he’s been a regular healthy scratch this season, as he’s only played in 37 games. 

In conclusion… 

It just keeps getting worse for the buyers, huh? 

Again, we already know it’s tough to win a trade as a buyer during trading season, but it’s starting to look like it’s just not worth it. On the other side of things, as usual, there was garbage to be had for the garbage pickers. 

Lee Stempniak was on the move again, being sent from the Rangers to Winnipeg for Carl Klingberg. Next, Brian Flynn was traded from Buffalo to Montreal for a fifth rounder. Flynn has had two somewhat productive (by his standards) seasons with the Habs since the deal. 

Montreal wasn’t done there, trading Jack Nevins and a seventh for Torrey Mitchell, a player who has become a somewhat-reliable defensive presence. Ian Cole was traded to Pittsburgh for Robert Bortuzzo and a seventh, then Ben Lovejoy was sent to the Pens, with Anaheim taking Simon Despres in return.

Buyers’ record: 8-14

2016 NHL Trade Deadline

To Chicago: Andrew Ladd, Jay Harrison, Matt Fraser
To Winnipeg: Marko Dano, 1st rounder 2016

With the sun starting to set on the Blackhawks’ empire, they decided to go back to a happier time, and traded for Andrew Ladd. 

Ladd, of course, was a member of Chicago’s 2009-10 cup winning team. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Ladd wasn’t the same player he was six years prior, as his play had deteriorated significantly. 

Still, that didn’t stop them from forking over Marko Dano, a highly touted prospect, as well as a first round pick (German Rubtsov). 

While Ladd’s underlying numbers were less than impressive in his second stint in Chicago, he produced well. His 12 points in 19 regular season games was a welcomed addition to the lineup, however he was fairly invisible during the playoffs. 

Meanwhile, Dano’s reputation as a top prospect has somewhat lessened, although he is still a very nice, young, controllable piece. Also, Winnipeg traded up in last year’s draft, and used the first round pick given to them by Chicago to do so. They ended up with Logan Stanley (haha). 

Chicago’s best days are behind them, and they have no business trading away young players and picks, especially with their current cap situation. This was a big misstep for the Blackhawks. 

Did Ladd re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? No 

To Chicago: Tomas Fleischmann, Dale Weise
To Montreal: Phillip Danault, 2nd rounder 2018

Chicago wasn’t done with the Ladd deal, as they added Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise from Montreal. 

After one of the more memorable collapses in franchise history, the Habs were sellers at the deadline. Weise was in the midst of his best offensive season of his career, and Fleischmann was more of a throw-in than anything. 

Neither produced at all once arriving in Chicago, although they did provide solid defense. Weise and Fleischmann combined to score seven points in 42 regular season and playoff games combined, which was probably less than what Chicago was anticipating. 

Danault was long-rumored to be a player Montreal GM Marc Bergevin had been interested in, so it would make sense that he be included in the deal. Chicago probably regrets trading him now, as he’s producing points as well as providing solid defense. Again, like the Ladd deal, they traded away a young, cheap, controllable player for scraps. 

We’ll have to wait until the 2018 draft to see what other piece Montreal gets out of this deal. It’s a win for them either way. 

Did either re-sign? No 

Good trade for buyer? No 

To Florida: Jiri Hudler
To Calgary: 2nd rounder 2016, 4th rounder 2018 

After back-to-back very productive seasons, Jiri Hudler became a hot commodity. The playoff-bound Panthers needed some reinforcements, and Hudler was their guy. 

Honestly, this is as fair as it’s going to get, especially for a player coming off of back-to-back 50+ point seasons. Unfortunately, Hudler didn’t really work out in Florida, as he only contributed a single playoff point as the Cats were bounced in the first round. 

Did Hudler re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? Fair trade

To New York Rangers: Eric Staal
To Carolina: Aleski Saarela, 2nd rounder 2016. 2nd rounder 2017

Can you imagine the return Carolina would have gotten had they not waited until the last minute to trade their franchise cornerstone?

Listen, two seconds and a prospect like Saarela for an aging asset like Staal, in a vacuum, is a nice deal. It’s the fact that the ‘Canes waited until they couldn’t wait anymore to make the deal. 

Regardless, Carolina made out decently well, given the circumstances. 

Saarela is a prospect that many speak highly of, although his numbers have somewhat plateaud compared to last season. The second round pick from 2016 was used by Carolina in a package for Teuvo Teravainen. The Hurricanes still hold New York’s 2017 second rounder. 

Meanwhile, Staal floundered in New York, scoring six points over 20 regular season games, before going scoreless over five playoff games. This was part of the reason the Wild were able to get him on such a cheap deal this past summer. 

Carolina won this trade, but they won small compared to what they could (and should) have gotten years ago. 

Did Staal re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? No

To Dallas: Kris Russell
To Calgary: Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock, conditional 2nd rounder 2016

Anyone who gives up assets for Kris Russell automatically takes the ‘L’. 

Russell is, and was, terrible. He’s an absolute anchor both offensively and defensively. It blows my mind that a team primed for a playoff run would think that Russell is the missing piece. 

It doesn’t get much more simple than that. Calgary purged a player who was hurting them night after night, and Dallas gave them assets for doing so. Russell was awful in Dallas, as expected. That’s about all there is to this deal. 

Did Russell re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? No

To Boston: Lee Stempniak
To New Jersey: 4th rounder 2016, 2nd rounder 2017

This was the third straight time Stempniak had been traded at the deadline. It’s nice to be wanted, I guess. 

Boston had the right idea here. Stempniak is a useful, versatile player who is constantly undervalued. A second and a fourth may be a slight overpayment, but for a team on the playoff bubble, it’s a fair price to pay. 

Stempniak did his job once arriving in Boston, scoring 10 points in 19 games, along with solid defensive play. Unfortunately for the B’s, they missed the playoffs, so this acquisition, in the long run, was all for nought. 

Either way, Stempniak did exactly what he was brought in to do, and for a reasonable price. 

Did Stempniak re-sign? No

Good trade for buyer? Fair trade 

What did the champs do? 

Pittsburgh did the bulk of their heavy lifting in the offseason, acquiring playoff hero and Stanley Cup champion Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kessel went on to play a pivotal role in the Pens winning the Cup, leading the team in postseason scoring with 22 points. 

They also made another deal that summer, sending Brandon Sutter and picks to Vancouver for Nick Bonino, Adam Clendening, and a pick. Bonino has become an important piece in Pittsburgh, and was also a crucial factor in their Cup win. 

Then, just before the new year, the Pens sent the corpse of Rob Scuderi to Chicago for Trevor Daley. A few weeks later, David Perron and Adam Clendening were off to Anaheim, with Carl Hagelin coming the other way. Then just over a month later, the Pens stole Justin Schultz from the Oilers in return for a third round pick. 

Not bad, hey? 

In conclusion… 

Just another dreadful deadline performance for the buyers. It’s a shame, too, because it seems as though, maybe more so than other years, there was lots of talent available for cheap. 

The Canucks were able to get Philip Larsen from Edmonton for just a conditional fifth rounder. Larsen looks like he may have a decent NHL future, and for the price of a fifth rounder, that’s all that can be asked for. 

Florida bulked up for their playoff run by sending Edmonton a third for Teddy Purcell, the a sixth to Detroit for Jakub Kindl. Brandon Pirri was sent to Anaheim, with just a sixth rounder going back to Florida. Underrated defenseman John-Michael Liles was acquired by Boston for Anthony Camara and a third round pick. 

Then, in arguably the most lopsided deal of the day, Edmonton sent Martin Gernat and a fourth rounder to the Ducks for Patrick Maroon. 

Buyers’ record: 8-18-2

In conclusion… 

If it wasn’t obvious before, it should be now: unless a team has identified a player that’s undervalued, paying a premium price near or at the deadline isn’t the best of ideas. Sure, sometimes a team will get lucky, but for the most part, you’re not getting what you paid for. 

Of course, for some teams, it doesn’t really matter. I mean, if you have a closing window, like, say, the Washington Capitals do this year, going for it and adding despite the price is a necessary evil. But more often than not, you aren’t going to have a good time buying at the trade deadline. And in a salary cap world where drafting, developing, and keeping your own homegrown talent is so critical, you can see why general managers are becoming much more shrewd with their desire to spend draft pick and prospect capital for a few weeks of play from a rental. 

More often than not, as you can see with each of the four deadlines I analyzed, teams that added players who were more part of a long-term plan had better luck with their additions. Same goes for teams buying a player on the cheap who had fallen out of favour on their old team. It wasn’t very common that a low-risk buying team regretted the deal, which certainly can’t be said for those teams who went all in on the rental. 

Sellers, keep on selling. Buyers, maybe give it a second thought.