What I learned from the NHL Trade Deadline

Photo credit:© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
4 months ago
The NHL trade deadline passed on Friday, and now the teams head into their final 20 games of the season with their rosters set. It was a fantastic day for some fanbases, but seeing their favourite players leave disappointed others. 
Every year, the deadline is a big tease. We expect all these huge trades with every big name in the NHL moving to a new team; however, it rarely happens.
Here are a few things I learned from the deadline season.
Don’t trade top prospects.
The lead-up to the trade deadline is mayhem. Everybody has mock trades as they dream of star players joining their hockey teams for what is hopefully a long playoff run. The team’s best prospects are always involved in those mock trades, no matter what. For Oilers fans, Xavier Bourgault, Raphael Lavoie, and Philip Broberg have been sent to every team in the league via a mock trade. I am here to tell you that top prospects rarely get traded during trade deadline season. 
At this deadline, Jake Guentzel was traded to Carolina. The best prospect the Hurricanes traded was Cruz Lucius, who was #6 on their prospect list and managed to keep their first-round pick. The Vegas Golden Knights acquired Noah Hanifin and Tomas Hertl without moving on from Brendan Brisson. 
Michael Kesselring might’ve been the best prospect traded at the last deadline when he went to Arizona from Edmonton. That deadline saw Timo Meier, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan O’Reilly get moved. Of course, Shakir Mukhamadullin was moved to San Jose in the Meier trade, but the Devils had prospect depth in that position with Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec.
It’s understandable why we all think the big-name prospects need to move; however, NHL teams value those players differently than we do. 
Value is overrated
Heading into the deadline, the value of players was through the roof. The one that stands out the most was Nic Dowd, a 4th line centre, for a first-round pick because he had an extra year left on his deal. NHL general managers also saw that value as ridiculous, as he wasn’t moved before the deadline. As the day went on, Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba essentially became cap dumps going for a 5th and 6th round, after both being top 20 players available. Calgary Flames fans were underwhelmed with the return for Hanifin acquiring a first and third pick along with Daniel Miromanov, a 26-year-old defenceman, for the number one player on Frank Seravalli’s trade targets board. The other notable moves that stumped people at the acquisition price were Anthony Mantha, Tyler Toffoli, and Vladimir Tarasenko, who were all traded for second and mid-round picks. 

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Never satisfied
The trade deadline was a rollercoaster for Oilers fans. After acquiring Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick on Wednesday, the fan base was on cloud nine with the aggression shown by Ken Holland. They followed that up by adding a depth defenseman in Troy Stetcher from Arizona and later moved Dylan Holloway to the Bakersfield Condors, which freed up more cap space. The tease from Oilers management led many to believe another big move was coming; however, that didn’t happen. You put that disappointment alongside Tomas Hertl going to the Vegas Golden Knights in the final moments, and you’ll have a pretty emotional fan base. It’s understandable, but the reaction suggestion that Holland did nothing was unfair.
Yes, he couldn’t acquire a defensive upgrade over Cody Ceci, but we know they tried to get Chris Tanev, and Calgary rejected the offer. Sean Walker wasn’t what the team needed, and it became clear that the Nashville Predators were buyers, not sellers, meaning Alexander Carrier wasn’t available. Winnipeg did acquire Colin Miller from New Jersey, but with no salary retention, the Oilers needed help to afford him. The Tyler Toffoli deal stung, but Edmonton attempted to add Jordan Eberle until he resigned from Seattle.
All in all, Holland did a good job improving the team. The Oilers aren’t perfect by any means, but news flash: Nobody in the NHL is perfect. 
The lead-up to the NHL trade deadline is a ride, and you’ve got to take what you’re given. It’s fun speculating who could go where and for what. It’s never what we expect it to be, so it’s time we lower our expectations. 


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