NHL trade deadline 2022: Winners and losers from Monday’s flurry of moves

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and there were a number of impactful moves. Now, it’s time to sort through all the deals and figure out which teams came out ahead and which ones were on the losing end.

Stanley Cup contenders like the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers decided to put all their chips on the table ahead of this trade deadline, and it worked out for both of them. On the other side of the counter, there was a pair of sellers that made out like bandits and really boosted their respective rebuilds.

Not all teams can be big winners on trade deadline day, though. A few Stanley Cup hopefuls were not able to keep pace with the likes of the Avalanche and the Panthers, and they missed out on a chance to improve with a handful of weeks to go before the playoffs. Other teams got some of what they wanted but glaring needs remain.

After a relatively busy 2022 NHL trade deadline, let’s dive into the biggest winners and losers.

Winner: Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche are very much in contender mode, and they were not afraid to spend at the trade deadline. The Avs may have missed out on the Claude Giroux sweepstakes, but they didn’t panic. Instead, Colorado went out and added Artturi Lehkonen for a second-round pick and a prospect, and that was an impressive move.

With the Montreal Canadiens, Lehkonen drove play on a bad team. With Lehkonen on the ice at five-on-five this season, Montreal controlled 55.39% of the expected goals. That was by far the best of any regular player on the team. Lehkonen should be a perfect fit in the middle six of the Avs’ forward group. Add in the additions of Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano, and Colorado has depth to go along with its elite talent.

Loser: Nashville Predators

Nashville failed to sign Filip Forsberg to an extension prior to the trade deadline and chose to keep him for the rest of the season. Now the Predators risk losing their franchise leader in goals scored for nothing in free agency. Once the season ends and lucrative offers on the open market get closer, it’s hard to believe that Forsberg’s price will come down after a career year.

Beyond the Forsberg situation, the Predators made adding depth to their blue line a priority and they traded a second-round pick for Seattle Kraken defenseman Jeremy Lauzon. Based on what Lauzon has shown to this point in his NHL career, it seems like Nashville overpaid at that price tag. Other solid options, such as Justin Braun and Troy Stecher, got dealt for less than what the Preds paid for Lauzon.

Winner: Anaheim Ducks

While some teams operated in denial that they needed to be a seller at the deadline, the Ducks leaned into that role and are better for it. In the week leading up to the trade deadline, Anaheim was able to add seven draft picks. Six of those were either first- or second-round selections. Additionally, the Ducks got a handful of prospects to add to their already strong farm system.

Anaheim capped off its successful trade deadline effort by capitalizing on the Golden Knights’ precarious salary cap situation. The Ducks might’ve even gotten Evgenii Dadonov, a strong playmaking winger, and a second-round pick for essentially nothing. That just depends on how the NHL and NHLPA work out Dadonov’s bizarre no-trade clause situation. New general manager Pat Verbeek did very well for himself in his first trade deadline on the job, and the team is set up for success moving forward.

Loser: Carolina Hurricanes

A number of contenders in the Eastern Conference made notable moves to bolster their lineups for a playoff run. The Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins all got better with just six weeks until the start of the postseason. The Hurricanes weren’t able to counter those moves with a big acquisition of their own.

Carolina managed to trade for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi, but that is not something that will move the needle in its favor against the conference’s best. Domi will be a nice bottom-six forward for the Canes, but other teams made bigger splashes. Then again, Carolina was already a great team before the trade deadline, so perhaps not trying to do too much will work out this spring.

Winner: Florida Panthers

The Panthers got their man. Claude Giroux was the most coveted player at this year’s trade deadline, and Florida managed to get him at a relatively low cost. According to multiple reports, Giroux’s preference was to be traded to the Panthers, so that gave them the upper hand in negotiations. Florida took advantage of that leverage and managed to get a legitimate game-changer in its quest for a Stanley Cup.

It is easy to quibble with the price the Panthers paid to get Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot, but given the position they’re in now, overpaying at the trade deadline is easy to forgive. Florida is a top-three team in the league, and its championship window is wide open right now. You have to tip your cap to the Panthers for recognizing that and being aggressive this year.

Loser: Vegas Golden Knights

Several teams around the Golden Knights in the Western Conference improved in one way or another. However, Vegas’ salary cap situation probably made it difficult for the team to make any significant upgrades. For a team that has battled injuries all season and is fighting for a playoff spot, that is less than ideal.

It’s not just that Vegas failed to get better, like some of the conference’s best teams, but it also had to trade away a valuable player because of its tight salary cap situation. The Golden Knights sent Evgenii Dadonov and a second-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks, assuming his paperwork didn’t get screwed. Vegas still has the makings of a great team, but it needs to put it all together in time for the playoffs.

Winner: Montreal Canadiens

The Canadians were a big seller ahead of the deadline, and they did pretty well for themselves in that regard. Over the last week, Montreal has been able to stockpile future assets by moving out four different players: defensemen Ben Chiarot and Brett Kulak, forward Artturi Lehkonen and goaltender Andrew Hammond. After being hired midway through the season, Kent Hughes became a big winner of this deadline.

Following a Stanley Cup Final appearance last season, the Canadiens got off to a disastrous start in 2021-22 and it quickly became clear that the franchise had a long and painful rebuild ahead of it. Hughes put himself in position to really jumpstart that rebuild this summer by acquiring a first-round pick, two second-round picks and a first-round pick to go along with a couple of decent prospects.

Loser: Edmonton Oilers

To their credit, the Oilers did manage to address a need at the trade deadline. Their blue line is a little thin and they traded for Brett Kulak of the Montreal Canadiens, who will be a stabilizing presence on defense. In that respect, Edmonton did get better for the race to the playoffs and beyond.

That said, there is one glaring need that did not get corrected.

There have been multiple stretches this season in which the Oilers’ goaltending situation has tanked them, and the team didn’t manage to improve before the deadline. Now, Edmonton will roll the dice with Mike Smith, Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner as its options between the pipes. Based on what we’ve seen so far this season, that could be the Oilers’ downfall this spring.

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