Two sentences on every NHL trade deadline deal of significance in 2022

We head back to The Boardroom with Sam Cosentino, Jason Bukala and Craig MacTavish, to discuss why the Wild and Bill Guerin hit big with the Marc-Andre Fleury acquisition, getting an ultra competitive goalie that always comes up big in the playoffs.

As has become yearly tradition, it’s time for a two-sentence take on every deadline deal made over “deadline week,” given nobody seems to wait for the actual day anymore. That’s a lot of total sentences, so let’s get right to it, starting with the Avs' big acquisition on March 14, and moving up to the deadline itself on March 21.

The Avs were at the “just a piece more to get over the hump” phase of their ascendance, and Manson perfectly fits their puzzle. The assets they spent may be valuable but when you’re the prohibitive Cup favourite (and they are, betting-wise anyway), you have to borrow from the future to go get yourself a ring now.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Fitting in a “perfect puzzle piece” sometimes starts with a single, smaller step too.

The previous two sentences above (about taking a small step towards a greater purpose) apply here too, as this was obviously related to the bigger additions the Panthers made next. But the Rangers did want to revamp the bottom of their forward group, and Vatrano possesses the very useful skill of “excels at shooting the hockey puck into the hockey net,” so he makes some sense for them (particularly given the more defensive adds they made later).

Ben Chiarot is to the Panthers what that one really nice piece of clothing that you have is to you. Sure, it was a lot more money than anyone should reasonably pay for something that isn’t a necessity, but it was exactly what you wanted and it fits perfect and you really love it and so you can justify the cost, even if you wouldn’t want to spend that much on all your stuff.

Brian Burke always reminded us on Hockey Central that “they’re only handing out one Cup this year,” to highlight how hard it is to win, and how there’s a lot of people who spend a lot on deadline day only to end up with their pockets inside-out frowning because they’ve got nothing to show for the rentals they acquired. But the Flames are among the handful of legitimate Cup hopefuls who had a need and addressed it with the exact player they wanted, so you can’t fault them for going hard at this year’s deadline.

I find it ironic that the player the Lightning would add for some serious gain over the next couple seasons at the cost of their future teams comes from Chicago, a team who’s suffering through tough seasons as a result of going all-in during their own Cup window. Hagel is a great piece and a great fit and they paid the huge price that valuable assets cost to get him.

Methinks the Wild are hoping to drag whomever has to play them in the post-season into an absolute war of a series. I’ll say the winner in this deal is still the Ducks, as I’m not sure how much Deslauriers will be able to contribute against the post-season level a team like the Avs can reach.

It’s a haul for the Ducks, there’s no doubt about that. I know Lindholm can help the Bruins this post-season, but given the strength of their division (strong!), and the term of their extension (as long as the league allows!), and I’m maybe a little less bullish on this acquisition/signing than some other perspectives I’ve come across.

I can see a world where we look back at this deal in five years and the Flyers have nothing to show for it aside from the goodwill earned by getting their long-time star to the team he wanted to be in in pursuit of a Cup with. Tippett will likely play in the league for some years, but I’m not sure the upside is there, and so this feels like it was more a quantity (“we got three things!”) deal than one that has a chance to make them meaningfully better any time soon.

On the way to winning Cup, you need depth on D. Hagg provides that.

The Leafs add a player who changes the complexion of what their healthy D-core looks like, in that they should be able to throw three pairs over the boards and not have to worry about protecting anyone. It wasn’t cheap, but they kept their first-rounder, and addressed both a pressing need (steady defending) and an area that needed some help (depth forward) in the process.

I know this one is a little weird (Ottawa is … buying?), but I like it for both sides. I understand the Sens aren’t trying to make the playoffs or something, but you need some players who can play, for crying out loud, he’s got another year on his deal, and as their team tries to turn the corner I don’t think there’s anything wrong with adding a guy who lets the young core know the team would actually prefer winning to losing.

The Kings want to see playoff games this season, and Stecher makes the depth of their roster better today than it was yesterday. Not much of a needle-mover, but it makes sense.

Like this deal a lot for the Canucks, think their fans will too. Another cheap year on the contract, and a player with tools – he can skate, he’s strong, he can move the puck – who really just needs to settle into a role and find some confidence at the NHL level.

The Lightning have won two Stanley Cups on the backs of their stars (including in net), but also saw the value of having players who can win battles with a little finish farther down the lineup. That’s Paul in a nutshell, one of the league’s best at winning pucks back, he’s big, he’s versatile, he makes the Bolts better (even though I do like Joseph a lot too).

Everybody likes depth. Wedgewood has shown he can be fine in the NHL, and so that’s all this is.

This is the epitome of “team on the playoff fringe makes a tepid deal to get one per cent better instead of going the other direction.” We saw it with LA and Stecher, Dallas and the Wedgewood deal above, Nashville wants to get into the playoffs, just not at any massive cost to their future.

And this deal is relevant to the above paragraph as well. The Jets have a shot to get into playoffs, and they basically had to move Andrew Copp, so they hope to at least tread water and not take the wind out of the dressing room’s sails.

Love this for Arizona, knowing almost nothing about McBain. They’ve got a billion picks, if they like a player, might as well spend an asset to see if they can’t buy themselves a bonafide NHL contributor.

I think an under-the-radar good pick up for Pittsburgh here. Beaulieu is a scrappy guy with some skill, and should be good depth D for the Penguins as they load up for yet another kick at can with Crosby, Malkin and Letang.

The Caps get someone they’re familiar with, but seems to me this is a clear win for the Kraken. I’m not sold Johansson is much of a contributor at this point, Sprong is fine and seems to have a bit of upside still, so this feels more like two lottery tickets to Seattle for a wash on the ice.

It sounds like Fleury had a bunch of things he didn’t want to happen, rather than the opposite. He didn’t want to go to Canada (maybe Toronto or Edmonton), he didn’t want to play the Penguins in Round 1 (maybe Washington), and so with that in mind, it seemed all but whittled down to the best nearby US team who needed goaltending and had an actual shot.

Love this for the Wild, who clearly chose an identity (size) at the deadline adding Nic Deslauriers and Jacob Middleton. The latter here can really play though, and Kahkonen doesn’t seem to be much above replacement level as an NHL goalie, so with Fleury in the building it’s clear the Wild are better today than on the weekend.

This strikes me as a free third-round pick for Philly, as I just don’t think the Rangers can get through the absolute gauntlet that awaits in the East. But if they end up playing their way through the Metro (and not getting wild carded into the Atlantic) they’ll have a chance, and Braun can help on the third pair.

Just the type of guy I think the Oilers needed. If you place value on getting through just a round or two – which the Oilers surely do – he pushes them a bit closer to having a chance at that.

I imagine the call went something like “Hey Kyle, it’s David Poile, we want to shore up our D-depth and still like Biega, who you clearly have no intent on using, can we have him?” To which Dubas said “Yes,” and they agreed to vaguely remember this happened the next time they do a deal, and nobody thought about it again for the rest of the day.

The Bruins clearly wanted to get more physical on the back-end, and while they did, I’m not sure Brown is good enough to see meaningful minutes in a series against FLA/TB/TOR. Senyshyn was (famously) a first-round pick from the year the Bruins had three straight firsts in a loaded draft, never quite panned out, and could use the fresh start.

The Wings get a little forward depth in Sunqvist and a good pick, while the Blues get a guy who’s been a pretty good player in the league, hoping to find it for one more post-season push. Blues have sneaky playoff upset potential if their goalies get hot.

When your team scores and scores and scores, adding a forward who can mute your opponent’s offence has immense value. Smart move for the Habs of course, but this might be the Avs version of the (over-discussed?) Coleman and Goodrow deals.

I appreciate the Jets not wanting to just bail on their season for both their fans and their veteran players. It might not be the smartest thing in the big picture, but what’s a fifth-round pick anyway, might as well add a guy you know can help for a push today.

Quality player to have at the bottom of your lineup. At least you know he’ll make good decisions and work like hell.

I was maybe a little dismissive of the Rangers up above, who made some great deadline acquisitions. I like Copp, to play farther down a forward group that hasn’t been all that great, aside from their elite ability to finish the chances they do create.

Related! I’m a big Motte fan, and think a fourth for him is a steal, so good on the Rangers for markedly improving their bottom nine forwards with guys like Copp and Motte who can move up and down within that group with ease.

When you have elite top-end talent, I like the idea of adding solid and reliable depth veterans. Brassard makes the Oilers a little better provided he’s not asked to do too much.

The Ducks got a couple decent players back and a good lottery ticket here, but there’s no doubt the Penguins added a guy who can make a difference for them. Rakell can finish, and given the amount of talent in the East, you love adding a guy who you aren’t relying on to score, but can surprise you with one here and there in the post-season.

I’m not going to pretend to know about Aidan Hreschuk, but I do know that Domi is exactly the type of guy who can give you some real juice when he’s motivated. And out of Columbus and on a legit Cup contender, you gotta believe you’ll get the best version of him, which as we know is pretty darn good.

The Flames clearly have a type, and a plan, in trying to win the 2022 Stanley Cup. They aren’t looking for anyone on their roster to surprise them, they’re just looking for them to be the steady reliable pros they’ve all been for the bulk of their NHL careers.

A defence-only forward who’s not super-effective at this stage of his career, but as bottom-of-the-roster depth goes, you could do worse. In a limited role it’s not impossible to see Tampa getting some use out of Nash.

Namestnikov had no value for the Red Wings, and the Stars are trying to climb into the playoffs. File this under “fringe team with no intent to win the Cup tries to get one per cent better into the playoffs and be a little better when they get there.”

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