With the NHL season down to the stretch run, teams looked to bolster their rosters with moves before the April 12 trade deadline. While some teams stumbled, there were several winners. Let’s take a look at some of the top deals.
By and large the top winners according to NHL odds were the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings. For general managers Brian MacLellan and Steve Yzerman, they pulled off a blockbuster trade just when it appeared that no trades of significance would occur. After all, most of the top deals were done weeks before and many of the moves on April 12 were minor.
But then the blockbuster deal that sent Anthony Mantha to the Capitals for Jakub Vrana went down. The deal was fantastic in the sense that both squads got what they wanted and it came completely out of nowhere. In Mantha, the Capitals got what they needed to best improve their team. The 26-year-old had 11 goals and 10 assists in 42 games with the Red Wings this season and had two goals and an assist in two games with Washington early on. The Red Wings are very pleased with Vrana, who had 25 points with
the Capitals this season and a goal in his first game with the Red Wings. He has blended in nicely with plenty of speed and quick release. In addition to Vrana, Detroit improved their team with additional draft picks.
Also coming out on top were the Tampa Bay Lightning and general manager Julien BriseBois. The defending champions were able to improve an already strong defense by trading for David Savard. The 10-year veteran played his entire career with the Blue Jackets prior to being dealt. Tampa Bay will also get a boost back on offense with the return of 2018-2019 league-leading scorer Nikita Kutcherov for the postseason.
The trade for Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac was a big win for the New York Islanders for a couple reasons. First, it was a lost cost move and it dumped 50 percent of the remaining salary owed to them on the New Jersey Devils. With Anders Lee out for the season and the team just two points out of first
in the Eastern Division, the trade boosts the roster and their depth for the upcoming playoffs.
Clearly the 2020-2021 season has been a struggle for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are next to last in the Central Division. However, they were able to line up some first-round picks in their trades of Nick Foligno and Savard. With four first round picks this year, Columbus has several options, build through the draft or through trading some of the picks.