Roundtable: Reviewing NHL trade deadline; best First Round matchups

What was the best trade from the 2022 deadline?

Adam Gretz, NHL writer: It did not get the most attention, but I really like the Colorado Avalanche adding Artturi Lehkonen. He is a really good fit for the way they play and gives an already loaded roster an ideal third-line winger that can defend, play in a lot of different situations, and also score some goals. Sometimes in the playoffs your top lines can cancel each other out with your opponent and it comes down to who has the better depth players. I think Lehkonen is a great addition to really help Colorado in that area and they did not have to give up a ton to get him. Great trade.

Sean Leahy, NHL writer: Artturi Lehkonen is a great middle-six pickup for the Avalanche and a move that will go a long way to strengthen them, even if Claude Giroux had no desire to go to Colorado. Lehkonen has proven to be a valuable scorer, forechecker, and a versatile winger that Jared Bednar can plug in where needed. He has a good two-way presence and you only need to look at how Val Nichushkin has fit in perfectly there — the same will be said about Lehkonen.

Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: The Panthers’ acquisition of Claude Giroux. It’s rare that a player of Giroux’s caliber gets moved at the deadline. Although the price was steep for a rental, it came at a minimal cost to the current roster so it significantly increases Florida’s Stanley Cup chances.

[2021-22 NHL Trade Tracker]

Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: I like the Leafs move in getting Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell from Seattle. While most will think that Giordano was the gem and Blackwell was more of a throw-in, I think that Blackwell will more than prove his worth in the playoffs as he is a hard-working pesky player who will give opponents fits in the playoffs. It is something the Maple Leafs need as they attempt to win a playoff round for the first time since 2004.

James O’Brien, NHL writer: Let’s throw out strong rebuilding work from the likes of the Ducks and Canadiens, and constrain it to teams aiming for success this year. Even then, there are some great trades to sift through.

I’ll lean slightly toward the Wild landing Marc-Andre Fleury over the Maple Leafs getting Mark Giordano. While I’ve laid out plenty of reasons why MAF may not upgrade the Wild much in net, the ceiling is huge. The Wild badly needed a goaltending upgrade, and they made a bold move in hopes of solving it. Giordano feels like more of a sure thing, yet if Fleury shines, no trade would swing a playoff team’s fate quite like MAF to the Wild.
Even if it doesn’t work out, they did what a lot of other teams are too squeamish to do.
That it only costs them a second-rounder if it fails, and a first-rounder if things go well, is the icing on the cake.
(Now, things get tricky if you count the Tyler Toffoli trade from February.)
dadonov
David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images

What was the worst trade from the 2022 deadline?

Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: The Vegas-Anaheim Evgenii Dadonov mess. We don’t know all the facts, but it’s hard to believe a mix-up like this happened. You feel for the players involved, who are now in a very awkward position. And for Vegas, it could torpedo their already-fading playoff chances.

Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: I don’t understand what the Golden Knights were doing when they dealt Evgenii Dadonov to Anaheim for Ryan Kesler’s salary as well as a minor league defenseman in John Moore and a conditional second round pick in 2024. I understand that they have to get under the salary cap and the $5 million hit that Dadonov has this season and next will help but the Golden Knights have been operating like this for a few seasons now and it is catching up with them. Signing good players and then dealing them away quickly isn’t a good thing when players think they are staying for a while and are traded and that is giving the Golden Knights a poor reputation around the league.

[Ed. Note: The Dadonov trade has been invalidated by the NHL.]

James O’Brien, NHL writer: Look, sometimes you go with the obvious. The Fleury trade feels that way, and so does the Ben Chiarot trade for Florida. Sometimes the answer is flashing in front of you.

To me, context makes the Chiarot trade go from bad to abysmal. Without winning a playoff round yet, the Panthers have already coughed up three first-round picks. Giving up first-rounders for Giroux and Reinhart (last offseason) works for me. But throwing a Hail Mary that the Panthers’ knack for taking seemingly flawed players and getting the most out of them with Ben Chiarot? Really, really bad value.
Also, the painful reality of the Atlantic Division is that a team can do just about everything right and still get bounced out of the first round. If that happens, the Panthers spent huge at the trade deadline, just for rentals. Suddenly, they risk mopping up almost as much flop sweat as the desperate Maple Leafs.

[NHL Power Rankings: Contenders and pretenders after NHL trade deadline]

Adam Gretz, NHL writer: Not a fan of the Ben Chiarot trade for the Florida Panthers. Not only does he not really seem to fit their style of play, but they clearly overpaid for him given the rest of the market. When they got him from Montreal it seemed to cause this perception that prices were going to be outrageous for rentals, but nobody really came close to matching that price for better players. Just think they really slowed down their defense when they really did not need to do that and paid a pretty expensive price for it. 

Sean Leahy, NHL writer: Why did the Senators need to go out and get Travis Hamonic now? Was there a demand for the services of a declining defenseman? Pierre Dorion says he sees the blue liner as a good veteran partner for one of their young defensemen, like Jake Sanderson, but you couldn’t find one of those not carrying a $3 million cap hit through next season? Maybe someone cheaper over the summer or one not worth a third-round pick? It has to be alarming that soon after the trade reports surfaced of Canucks players happy to see him leaving their room.

Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images

Which possible First Round playoff matchup would you like to see the most?

Sean Leahy, NHL writer: We’ve wanted Colorado-Vegas, but this year? Nope. The Golden Knights are banged up and could miss out completely on the postseason. Now? Give me LA-Edmonton. Drew Doughty soundbites all series vs. the pressures on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to win along with the future of Ken Holland’s job at stake with their current goaltending setup.

Adam Gretz, NHL writer: The Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals. Every Eastern Conference First Round matchup looks like it will be incredible because every single one of these teams is so good. But these two teams clearly hate each other, and I would not be surprised if Washington actually won that series. 

Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: Boston vs Toronto. Would there be a more crushing way for the Leafs to lose in the First Round again?

[NHL Trade Deadline winners, losers: East loads up, GM beefs]

James O’Brien, NHL writer: The Golden Knights’ most realistic path to a playoff spot involves bumping the Oilers or Kings out of the Pacific top three. But let’s say the Stars fade, and the Golden Knights snag the second wild card.

Imagine the chaos and pressure, not to mention combined talent, of the Avalanche vs. the Golden Knights in the first round? An expected Western Conference Final instead could happen to start the playoffs. Yes please. (And sorry for the harsh hypothetical draw, Avs.)

Panthers vs. Lightning looks even less likely, but that would provide tremendous theater, too.

Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: Both Atlantic matchups will be outstanding and it is so close that the pairings are up in the air. Florida-Boston or Florida-Toronto will be outstanding as will Tampa Bay-Toronto or Tampa Bay-Boston. If it is Toronto-Boston and Florida-Tampa Bay, that will be even better due to the history of the teams.

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