Which teams hold the most draft picks after the NHL trade deadline?

Colby Armstrong, Ryan Whitney, Doug MacLean and Ilya Bryzgalov talk about their past experiences during the NHL trade deadline.

Not such a frenzy of a day anymore, the biggest names rumoured to move by the NHL trade deadline had either gone before March 1, or didn’t move at all. Kevin Shattenkirk (Washington) and Ben Bishop (Los Angeles) were the two biggest names to move, but they had gone in the days prior. Jarome Iginla was probably the biggest name to be traded on March 1, but he’s a shadow of his former self now, someone more suited for the third or fourth lines, but still with value on the power play.

With so many teams still in the playoff hunt there weren’t many true sellers. And the teams that were selling didn’t have any huge impact players available.

The trade deadline has really become about acquiring specialized players for “contenders” (see Thomas Vanek with the Florida Panthers) and draft picks for those taking a more long-term view.

And it’s those picks that hold real value at the deadline these days.

No first-round picks were traded on March 1, although two were swapped during this trade season — one to Arizona in the Martin Hanzal deal, and another to St. Louis in the Shattenkirk deal. According to Sportsnet Stats, this marked the second year in a row where no first-round picks moved at the deadline, the first time that’s happened in back-to-back years since the late-1990s.

But there were many mid- and late-round picks that did move as teams looked to add “lottery tickets” with the hopes that at least one of these long shots hits and pays off in the long run. So who has the most draft picks post-deadline?

Here’s a look at how many picks each teams holds as of now, with the caveat that with so many conditions on so many picks that were swapped, this list could change between now and the June 23-24 NHL Draft.

(Data from CapFriendly.com)

TEAM # of Draft Picks
Philadelphia 12
Carolina 11
Detroit 11
New Jersey 10
Chicago 9
Dallas 9
Buffalo 8
Edmonton 8
Winnipeg 8
Arizona 7
Colorado 7
Columbus 7
Los Angeles 7
San Jose 7
St. Louis 7
Tampa Bay 7
Toronto 7
Vegas 7
Boston 6
Minnesota 6
Nashville 6
Pittsburgh 6
Vancouver 6
Anaheim 5
Calgary 5
Florida 5
Montreal 5
NY Islanders 5
NY Rangers 5
Ottawa 4
Washington 4

Only two teams, the Coyotes and Blues, hold two first-round picks, while the Wild and Capitals don’t hold any picks through the first two rounds (and in the case of the Capitals, the first three rounds).

Of note is that while the Flyers hold the most picks overall, the bulk of those come in the fourth round or later. The Carolina Hurricanes, though, hold seven of the first 93 picks, with three second- and third-rounders in their hand. With a deep collection of great young talent on the blue line already and picks holding so much value, could they be a player for someone like, say, Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog in the summer?

Among Canadian teams, only Winnipeg and Edmonton have more than the seven picks each team starts off with, while Ottawa comes in tied with Washington for the fewest picks held overall at four.

A wild card here could be the Vegas Golden Knights, who officially became the NHL’s 31st team mid-afternoon on March 1, when the final expansion payment was made and all papers signed off on. They were too late to pull off any last-minute deals, but they could be players on the trade market in the early summer. Since they could, potentially, trade the promise to not select a player at the expansion draft in exchange for an entry draft pick, you could expect their total of seven to rise.


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