Oilersnation Roundtable: Trade deadline reaction and the Oilers biggest threats

Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
4 months ago
Every year, leading up to the NHL’s trade deadline, we get a good idea of how teams feel about their position. Some will be buyers—the club hoping a move can help push them over the top—and others will be sellers—the team who know they have lots of work to do.
Then, there’s the murky middle. Teams like the LA Kings or Toronto Maple Leafs made moves that range from nothing to inconsequential ones, like picking up depth defencemen.
And now, as the stretch run to the playoffs nears, we’ll find out who the contenders are and who the pretenders are. Today, we’ll dive into some thoughts about who made themselves better and who could be the biggest threats this season.

Mar 9, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Noah Hanifin (15) is named Third Star of the Game after the Golden Knights defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 at T-Mobile Arena.

Who do you think was the winner of the trade deadline?

Baggedmilk: How can it not be the Vegas Golden Knights? For the second year in a row, they pulled off some cap shenanigans with Mark Stone and Alec Martinez moving to the LTIR, which allowed them to go out and trade for THREE impact players with that free space.
Cam Lewis: The Vegas Golden Knights are the obvious answer because they again came out of the blue and made multiple big additions when it wasn’t expected that they would do so. The Colorado Avalanche, Winnipeg Jets, and Dallas Stars all improved as well, but they’re also all in the same division, so it’s difficult to say any of them are really winners when getting through the Central got harder.
Liam Horrobin: It’s pretty clear that the Vegas Golden Knights came out as the winners; however, I’ll go with the Colorado Avalanche to be different. To get out from Ryan Johansen’s deal and replace him with Casey Mittelstadt is a great piece of business. The additions of Yakov Trenin and Brandon Duhaime are nice depth adds too.
Zach Laing: The Colorado Avalanche made four moves to upgrade roster spots, acquiring Sean Walker, Casey Mittelstadt, Brandon Duhaime, and Yakov Trenin. You could consider swapping Byram for Walker a bit of a wash, but I think the Mittelstadt trade is a highly underrated one, as he’s miles better than Ryan Johansen right now. He’s been a 50+ point guy for the Sabres, and has the chance to improve that significantly on a much better team.

And who do you think was the biggest loser?

Baggedmilk: It has to be the Los Angeles Kings. Their goaltending duo stinks, and not sorting that problem out is probably going to bite them in the ass. I hate to say that because I love Cam Talbot, but I don’t think he’s going to be the answer for them between the pipes. Same goes with Big Save Dave.
Cam Lewis: There are a handful of teams who had puzzling trade deadlines. At the top of that list for me is the San Jose Sharks, who traded away Tomas Hertl for an underwhelming return and now have no more salary retention slots available for future trades. The Blue Jackets pretty much standing pat was strange given their situation. The Pittsburgh Penguins not being able to find themselves a first-round pick was a flop as well.
Liam Horrobin: The Pittsburgh Penguins and it’s not very close. There’s a difference between doing nothing and trading a player for nothing and the Penguins got little value for Jake Guenztel. Along with that, not moving Reilly Smith was a miss too.
Zach Laing: The LA Kings. There was reportedly a deal for them to pick up Linus Ullmark from the Boston Bruins that got nixed by the netminder, and LA made no other moves. That might be indicative of how they feel about their team this year.

Mar 9, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Bowen Byram (4) carries the puck up ice during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at KeyBank Center.

Was there one trade that caught you by surprise?

Baggedmilk: To be different, I couldn’t believe how cheap the Winnipeg Jets got Tyler Toffoli for from New Jersey. They got him for a pair of picks at 50% retained, and that one was surprising for me.
Cam Lewis: The Tomas Hertl deal really came out of the blue for the reasons I mentioned above. It’s shocking that San Jose now can’t retain the salary of another player this off-season and at the next trade deadline. It shouldn’t really be a surprise at this point when Vegas pulls stuff like this off but it’s head-scratching the position San Jose put themselves in here.
Liam Horrobin: Patrick Maroon going to the Boston Bruins. After everything that happened between Maroon and Jack Edwards, the Bruins would’ve been the last team I expected to pick up The Big Rig. He’ll add some depth and experience to the Bruins’ bottom six so I like the deal.
Zach Laing: The Hertl trade is the easy one, but the Byram-Mittelstadt trade really caught me off guard.

Who do you think is the biggest threat to the Oilers in the Western Conference?

Baggedmilk: Has to be the Vegas Golden Knights. They’re the defending champs, and to be the best you have to beat the best.
Cam Lewis: Definitely Vegas. They were the team to beat coming into the season and they’re better now than they were in October, and they’ll be even better come playoff time as well.
Liam Horrobin: The Western Conference is nuts this year so pretty much everyone. I’ll take the Vegas Golden Knights are still number one though because it’s likely they face off at some point.
Zach Laing: Colorado is the obvious one, but I’m going to say the Dallas Stars. This is a deep, deep team that is rolling three lines with ease, and a defensive core packed with talent. Oh yeah, and they have one of the best goalies in the world in Jake Oettinger. Gulp.

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