With NHL Trade Deadline in the rearview mirror, some clubs were able to address their needs by giving up draft picks and prospects to upgrade their rosters, fill holes caused by injuries or clear cap space to make other deals.
Here is a look at the deals made on Deadline Day and how the two sides made out:
Chicago Blackhawks acquire forward Adam Gaudette from the Vancouver Canucks for forward Matthew Highmore
Hawks Grade – B+
Canucks Grade – C
Gaudette has only seven points this season after scoring 33 in 59 games in 2020. Highmore thus far has been a depth forward at best and the only possible excuse for this deal is the Canucks possibly not being able to protect Gaudette in the expansion draft.
Edmonton Oilers acquire defenseman Dmitry Kulikov from the New Jersey Devils for a 2022 conditional 4th round pick
Oilers Grade – B
Devils Grade – B
Edmonton adds a veteran depth defenseman making just over $1 million, while New Jersey continues to accumulate picks.
Tampa Bay Lightning acquire defenseman Fredrik Claesson from the San Jose Sharks for goalie Magnus Chrona
Lightning Grade – B
Sharks Grade – A-
Tampa Bay preparing for a long playoff run by adding a blueliner with over 150 games of NHL experience, while the Sharks add a 20-year-old goaltending prospect with the University of Denver.
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Chicago Blackhawks acquire Josh Dickinson and Ryder Rolston from the Colorado Avalanche for forward Carl Söderberg
Hawks Grade – B
Avs Grade – A-
Avs GM Joe Sakic pays a reasonable price for forward depth, bringing back the veteran center who scored 23 goals with Colorado in 2019. Rolston is the son of former NHLer Brian and is a sophomore at Notre Dame.
Florida Panthers acquire forward Sam Bennett and a 2022 6th round pick from the Calgary Flames for prospect Emil Heineman and 2022 2nd round pick
Panthers Grade – A-
Flames Grade – B+
Bennett has been disappointing over six seasons with Calgary after being selected fourth overall in 2014, but showed up in the playoffs the last two years and gets a fresh start with Florida. The Flames get a second-round pick and the 19-year-old Heineman (a 2020 second-round pick), who is playing with Leksands in the SHL.
Vegas Golden Knights acquire forward Mattias Janmark and minor leaguer Nick DeSimone through the San Jose Sharks (who get a 2022 fifth-round pick to retain salary) from the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2021 second-round pick and 2022 third-round pick.
Golden Knights Grade – A-
Sharks Grade – A
Hawks Grade – A+
Chicago gets a great return for a one-year investment on the 28-year-old former Dallas Stars forward, getting two high picks. Janmark is versatile and has 10 goals this season, which will help the Golden Knights in their playoff pursuits.
Winnipeg Jets acquire defenseman Jordie Benn from the Vancouver Canucks for a 2021 6th round pick
Jets Grade – C
Canucks Grade – B
Winnipeg needed to add a top-four defenseman to keep pace with Toronto and Montreal in the North Division and brought in Benn, who is at best a bottom pairing blueliner.
Chicago Blackhawks acquire a 2021 4th round pick from the Vancouver Canucks for defenseman Madison Bowey and a 2021 5th round pick
Hawks Grade – B
Canucks Grade – B
Bowey is 25, played only two games in Chicago, and is now on his fourth NHL club. He is simply a body to replace Benn.
Detroit Red Wings acquire forwards Richard Pánik, Jakub Vrána, a 2021 1st round pick and 2022 2nd round pick from the Washington Capitals for forward Anthony Mantha
Wings Grade – A
Caps Grade – B+
The biggest trade of Deadline Day and the most surprising since it was the only “hockey deal”. Both Mantha and Vrana have been in the doghouse for their respective clubs and may benefit from a change of scenery. The big motivation for the Caps was cost certainty, with Mantha locked up for three more years at $5.7 million AAV.
Vrana is a restricted free agent and will be looking for a pay bump this summer, which can easily be obliged by the rebuilding Wings. Detroit GM Steve Yzerman exacted a heavy price for taking on Panik’s two remaining years at $2.75 million, getting a first and second-round pick for the trouble.
Toronto Maple Leafs acquire defenseman Ben Hutton from the Anaheim Ducks for a 2022 5th round pick
Leafs Grade – A-
Ducks Grade – B+
Toronto needed dependable depth on defense for a long playoff run and Hutton is insurance from having to put inexperienced rookie Rasmus Sandin or the totally lacking Martin Marincin into a postseason game.
San Jose Sharks acquire forward Alexander Barabanov from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Antti Suomela
Leafs Grade – B-
Sharks Grade – B+
Toronto had to clear salary to add Hutton and shipped Barabanov to the Sharks for the minor leaguer Suomela. The KHL import only played 13 games and limited minutes for the Leafs and will get more of an opportunity in San Jose.
Montreal Canadiens acquire defenseman Erik Gustafsson from the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2022 7th round pick
Habs Grade – B
Flyers Grade – D
Philadelphia signed Gustafsson to a one-year, $3 million deal to take the spot of the retired Matt Niskanen and got only one goal from the offensive specialist. The Flyers had to eat half of his salary to get a seventh-round pick.
Anaheim Ducks acquire defenseman Haydn Fleury from the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Jani Hakanpää and a 2022 6th round pick
Ducks Grade – A-
Canes Grade – C+
Fleury (a top 10 pick of former Canes GM Ron Francis) was likely going to be lost in the Seattle expansion draft, prompting Carolina to move him to Anaheim for the big Finn Hakanpaa.
Nashville Predators acquire defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Brandon Fortunato and a 2023 7th round pick
Predators Grade – B+
Senators Grade – C
Ottawa pretty much gave away Gudbranson because they did not retain any of his $4 million salary in the deal. Nashville adds a physical blueliner with plenty of experience for a playoff run.
Washington Capitals acquire forward Michael Raffl from the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2021 5th round pick
Capitals Grade – B+
Flyers Grade – B-
The former 20-goal scorer scored four goals in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Flyers and is a good depth addition for the Caps. Philadelphia had to retain 25% of Raffl’s $1.6 million contract to move the pending unrestricted free agent.