Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
With a wild 2023 NHL Trade Deadline now in the rearview mirror, a lot of teams improved their outlook for either the present or future while others did not help themselves. NoVa Caps grades each Metropolitan Division team’s trade deadline and a few other major deals across the league.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Current standing: 20-35-6, last in NHL
- traded G Jonathan Quick from Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for G Michael Hutchinson, seventh-round pick in 2025 NHL Draft
- traded RW Jakub Voracek, sixth-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft to Arizona Coyotes in exchange for G Jon Gillies
- traded D Vladislav Gavrikov, G Joonas Korpisalo to Los Angeles Kings for Quick, conditional first-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft, third-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft
- traded RW Gustav Nyquist to Minnesota Wild in exchange for fifth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft
Commentary: Columbus cleared salary at the trade deadline by trading Quick and sold off some pending unrestricted free agents in Gavrikov, Korpisalo, and Nyquist.
They were also able to get a pick for Voracek, who has been out since November 4 with an upper-body injury, despite his massive $8.25 million cap hit for another year after this one.
They were able to get solid picks for Gavrikov, Korpisalo, and Nyquist (who will miss the rest of the regular season with a shoulder injury).
Current standing: 23-28-11, 14th in Eastern Conference
- acquired LW Brendan Lemieux, fifth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft from Los Angeles in exchange for C Zack MacEwen
- traded LW Isaac Ratcliffe to Nashville Predators in exchange for future considerations
- acquired 2023 sixth-round pick from Ottawa Senators for C Patrick Brown
Commentary: Philadelphia already sold off their pending unrestricted free agents in the past so it is understandable that they did not have much to offer at the trade deadline. They made a couple of minor tweaks to their fourth line with the trades that brought in Lemieux from Los Angeles and sent Brown to Ottawa.
New York Islanders
Current standing: 31-25-8, eighth in Eastern Conference (ninth in points percentage)
- acquired C Bo Horvat from Vancouver Canucks in exchange for LW Anthony Beauvillier, C Aatu Raty, conditional first-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft
- acquired LW Pierre Engvall from Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft
Commentary: New York acquired one of the biggest names on the market in Horvat, who is tied for seventh in the NHL with 36 goals (five in 12 games on Long Island) and 62 points (eight) in 61 games this season. It came at a steep cost with a first-round pick and a top prospect getting sent to the Pacific Northwest but made sense after Horvat inked an eight-year contract extension. The acquisition was necessary with New York 24th in the NHL with an average of 2.88 goals-per-game and 28th with a 16.9% power-play efficiency. Horvat, who has won 56% of the faceoffs he takes this season, will bolster New York (14th, 50.4%) even more in that department as well.
Engvall, 26, has 12 goals and 21 points in 58 games this season and should also help offensively.
Current standing: 31-21-9, seventh in Eastern Conference
- acquired D Dmitry Kulikov from Anaheim Ducks in exchange for LW Brock McGinn, third-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft
- acquired C Mikael Granlund from Nashville in exchange for second-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft
- traded C Teddy Blueger to Vegas in exchange for D Peter DiLiberatore, third-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft
- acquired C Nick Bonino from San Jose Sharks for conditional 2024 fifth-round pick, seventh-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft
Commentary: Pittsburgh bolstered their defensive depth with the addition of Kulikov and center depth by bringing Granlund and Bonino in expense for Blueger, who has had a disappointing season. Unfortunately, Granlund and Kulikov have both had tough campaigns.
New York Rangers
Current standing: 35-18-9, tied for fifth in Eastern Conference (have played one more game than Tampa Bay Lightning)
- acquired LW Patrick Kane, D Cooper Zech from Chicago Blackhawks for D Andy Welinski, conditional second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, fourth-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft
- sent 2025 second-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft to Arizona in three-way trade
- traded RW Vitali Kravtsov to Vancouver in exchange for RW William Lockwood, seventh-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft
- acquired C Tyler Motte from Ottawa in exchange for RW Julien Gauthier, conditional seventh-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft
- acquired LW Vladimir Tarasenko ($3.75 million retained), D Niko Mikkola from St. Louis Blues in exchange for LW Sammy Blais, D Hunter Skinner, conditional 2023 first-, 2024 fourth-round picks
Commentary: New York was able to get Kane, Tarasenko, Mikkola, and Motte all for reasonable costs. The return that they got for Kravtsov, who was the ninth overall pick in 2018, was underwhelming but the team made up for it in the three major trades they made.
New Jersey Devils
Current standing: 40-15-5, third in Eastern Conference
- acquired C Curtis Lazar from Vancouver in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft
- acquired RW Timo Meier, LW Timur Ibragimov, D Scott Harrington, D Santeri Hatakka, G Zachary Emond, and fifth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft from San Jose in exchange for LWs Fabian Zetterlund and Andreas Johnsson, Ds Shakir Mukhamadullin and Nikita Okhotiuk, conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, conditional second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, and seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft
Commentary: New Jersey made the biggest trade of the deadline, luring in Meier (who led San Jose with 31 goals and ranked second with 52 points in 57 games this season). They gave up a lot in three first-round picks and more heading to San Jose but it is understandable given they have been sellers for so many trade deadlines in the past. New Jersey lost Harrington on waivers to Anaheim after the deal. Meier, who can become a restricted free agent after this season, is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The addition of Lazar should add some more defensive responsibility to their dynamic, young forward group as well.
Current standing: 39-12-8, second in Eastern Conference
- acquired LW Jesse Puljujarvi from Edmonton Oilers in exchange for the rights to unsigned draft choice RW Patrik Puistola
- acquired D Shayne Gostisbehere from Arizona in exchange for third-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft
Commentary: Carolina did not make much noise at this season’s deadline but they made a couple of savvy transactions that have the potential to be bargains in Puljujarvi, who has tallied five goals and 14 points in 58 games and was the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, and Gostisbehere, who has 10 goals, 31 points, 46.9% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, and 43.81% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage in 52 games.
Having both of them hidden behind center Sebastian Aho, defenseman Jaccob Slavin, and left-wing Andrei Svechnikov should benefit both players. However, Carolina still lacks a legitimate scoring threat, something that both New York teams and New Jersey added.
Current standing: 30-27-6, sixth in Metropolitan Division, tied for 11th in Eastern Conference (12th in points percentage)
- traded D Dmitry Orlov (50% retained, 25% by Minnesota), RW Garnet Hathaway to Boston for RW Craig Smith, first-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft, third-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft, second-round pick in 2025 NHL Draft
- traded C Lars Eller to Colorado Avalance in exchange for second-round pick in 2025 NHL Draft
- acquired D Rasmus Sandin from Toronto in exchange for D Erik Gustafsson, Boston’s first-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft
- traded LW Marcus Johansson to Minnesota in exchange for third-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft
Commentary: Washington, who is currently four points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with everybody they are competing with but Long Island having games in hand on them, had an excellent trade deadline as they lured in a haul of draft capital by trading Orlov and Hathaway in addition to taking on Smith’s $3.1 million cap hit when it became clear they were not going to be able to extend Orlov’s contract.
They used the first that they got from Boston on top of Gustafsson for some immediate help in getting Sandin (four goals, 20 points, a +10 rating, 53.85% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 57.73% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 58.93% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 52 games) from Toronto. The 29th overall pick in 2018 should make an impact right away and fits the age range they need as he is only 22 years old.
Washington got Colorado to overpay for Eller, who recorded just seven goals and 16 points in 60 games before the trade. Washington took on $1.085 million (31%) of Eller’s $3.5 million cap hit, which increased the cost for Colorado.
The return on Johansson, who counts just $1.1 million against the salary cap for the remainder of the season and has had a renaissance year with 13 goals and 28 points in 60 games with Washington, was not bad but the team arguably could have milked that cow a little more considering Johansson’s production and very team-friendly contract. Though, the return they got for Eller more than makes up for it.
Washington also re-signed right-wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel to a one-year, $1.225 million contract extension and defenseman Nick Jensen to a three-year contract extension ($4.05 million cap hit) this week. Both could have become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Grading Other Major NHL Blockbuster Deals
- Ottawa acquired D Jakob Chychrun from Arizona in exchange for first-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft, second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, second-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft
The 24-year-old has seven goals, 28 points, a +8 rating, 50.04% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 47.96% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 49.32% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage while averaging 23:10 per game (including 2:58 on the power play and 39 seconds on the penalty kill) in 37 outings. The 16th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft has 60 goals and 170 points in 374 career NHL games. Ottawa, who allows an average of 3.13 goals-per-game (16th) this season, has been searching for help on the blueline since last offseason. Chychrun has three years left on his contract that carries a $4.6 million cap hit.
Grades: Ottawa – B+, Arizona – B
- Edmonton acquired D Mattias Ekholm, sixth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft from Nashville in exchange for D Tyson Barrie, LW Reid Schaefer, first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft
Ekholm (five goals, 19 points, +2 rating, 52.48% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 54.86% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 53.42% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 58 games this season), 32, bolsters Edmonton’s backend, which has allowed an average of 3.26 goals-per-game (20th) this season and is a paltry 75.5% efficient on the penalty-kill (25th). Ekholm has four seasons remaining on a deal that counts $6 million against the salary cap.
Barrie, 31, has tallied 10 goals, 43 points, a -4 rating, 50.38% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 52.83% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 52.43% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 62 games. He has two years left on a contract that takes up $4.5 million of the salary cap.
Schaefer, 19, has 23 goals and 47 points in 44 WHL games. He was taken 32nd overall in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Grades: Edmonton – C, Nashville – A
- Tampa Bay acquired LW Tanner Jeannot from Nashville in exchange for D Cal Foote, conditional first-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft, second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, and third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks in the 2023 NHL Draft
Foote, 24, was the 14th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and has one goal, three points, a +3 rating, 47.81% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 43.79% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 49.85% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 27 games.
Jeannot, 25, has just five goals and 15 points in 58 games this season after a 24-goal, 41-point campaign last season. He can become a restricted free agent after this season and carries an $800,000 cap hit for 2022-23.
Grades: Tampa Bay – D, Nashville – A+
- Dallas Stars acquired LW Evgenii Dadonov from Montreal in exchange for LW Denis Gurianov
Dadonov, 33, has five goals and 21 points in 53 games this season (but one and three, respectively, in his first three games in Dallas) and can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Montreal retained half of $5 million cap hit.
Gurianov, 25, has just three goals and 10 points in 45 games this seasson and scored 20 goals during his rookie season in 2019-20. He can become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and counts $2.9 million against the salary cap.
Grades: Dallas: B-, Montreal: B
- Toronto acquires Cs Ryan O’Reilly, Noel Acciari from St. Louis for Mikhail Abramov, C Adam Gaudette, first-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft (from Toronto), third-round pick in 2023 NHL Draft (from Ottawa), second-round pick in 2024 NHL Draft (from Toronto)
- Minnesota acquires fourth-round pick in 2025 NHL Draft (from Toronto)
O’Reilly, 32, can become an unrestricted free agent after the season and has 15 goals and 24 points in 47 games this season, including three and five, respectively, in seven since the trade. He has also won 56.43% of the faceoffs that he has taken this season. St. Louis retained 50% ($3.75 million) of his salary while Minnesota took on 25% ($1.275 million). O’Reilly won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Acciari, 31, is also on an expiring contract and has 11 goals, 19 points, and a 53.58% faceoff-winning percentage in 61 games, including a goal in seven games with Toronto. Acciari counts only $1.25 million against the salary cap.
Gaudette, 26, has earned 20 goals and 35 points in 45 AHL games this season. Abramov, 21, was taken 115th overall in 2019 and has six goals and 17 points in 36 AHL contests.
Grades: Toronto: B+, St. Louis: A
By Harrison Brown