TRADE GRADES: Ratings for all of the NHL deals made in a busy leadup to deadline

By JIM MATHESON, Special to Postmedia

New York Islanders centre Bo Horvat (14) and Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dylan Samberg (54) chase for the puck in the first period at Canada Life Centre.

© Provided by Edmonton Sun
New York Islanders centre Bo Horvat (14) and Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dylan Samberg (54) chase for the puck in the first period at Canada Life Centre.

Remember when the NHL trade deadline day TV show was must viewing?


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Now it’s deadline days … gusting to deadline weeks.

GMs are jumping the gun to get what they can early rather than have a bidding war. Timo Meier going to Jersey from San Jose is a prime example for Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald rather than let Carolina get him.

Before we had commentators actually debating newsy stuff on the day of reckoning, all on their cell-phones trying to get the scoop (can we still use that word?) like last March 21 when Hall of Famer in waiting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury went from Chicago to Minnesota for a conditional second-round draft pick and Colorado GM Joe Sakic added Swiss army knife forward Artturi Lehkonen and iron man Andrew Cogliano and Pittsburgh got Rickard Rakell from Anaheim.

Not this Friday because almost everybody who has a high profile has already been traded long before the deadline.

With Leafs GM Kyle Dubas acquiring everybody but the anthem singers and Zamboni drivers from (fill in the blanks), we all await the 15 minutes of navel gazing over where Nick Holden will wind up or how about that mid-round draft pick for Derek Grant on deadline day.

Here’s how it looked so far, after Wednesday afternoon’s transactions:

Rangers land another big fish in Patrick Kane from Chicago

The details: Kane from the Hawks to NYR via Arizona with the Hawks getting a conditional 2023 second-rounder and 2023 fourth and defenceman Andy Welinski. The Rangers wind up only paying $2.625 million of Kane’s $10 million cap hit, with Arizona retaining $2.625M for a fifth-round pick in 2025.

Rangers A — They have Kane to play with old Chicago buddy Artemi Panarin on a 1B line with C Vincent Trocheck, Mika Zibanejad, Tarasenko and Chris Kreider on 1A. They gave up peanuts for the three-time Stanley Cup winner — far less than they did for Tarasenko — because Kane wanted to play only for the Blueshirts. There were questions about Kane’s hip, but pshaw. He has seven goals over past four games.

Hawks B — Chicago did Kane a solid moving him to the only team he wanted to play for. It was tough to drive the price up but the conditional second will move to a first-rounder in 2024 or 2025 if the Rangers make the Eastern Conference final, a 50-50 bet. Kane was leaving as a free-agent this summer. Now they get something for him.

Arizona B — If you’re into being a banker of draft picks—the Coyotes have close to 30 over the first five rounds from 2023-25 — getting a third in 2025 to eat part of Kane’s contract for the Rangers, was good business.

New Jersey gets winger Timo Meier from San Jose

The details: We could tell you all the draft picks and players coming and going from both sides (does anybody care about Timur Ibragimov or Nikita Okhotiuk?) and it would take far more than 150 words but mainly it’s Meier to the Sharks for a conditional 2023 first-round pick (it moves to 2024 if the Devils somehow pick first or second in the draft lottery) and a very good Russian D-man Shakir Mukhamadullin, Jersey’s former first-rounder playing in the KHL.

New Jersey B+ — They would get an A but they still have to re-sign the 26-year-old Swiss winger with a qualifying offer of $10M to keep his rights. They will likely try to work an eight-year deal in the $8.5 million range. The Devils are ultra-fast and skilled but not big and the 220-pound Meier, who has scored about every second game over the past two seasons, makes up for that. He’s a PP ace with 25 goals the past two years.

San Jose C+ — The Devils pick will be towards the end of round 1 (lottery excepted) and they are also getting a conditional second (2023) which moves to a first if the Devils get to the Eastern final. Mukhamadullin figures to be an NHL defenceman soon, either a 3-4. But, they couldn’t squeeze a better prospect D like Luke Hughes or Seamus Casey out of them or winger Alexander Holtz.

The Islanders go big and grab Bo Horvat from Vancouver.

The details: The Canucks captain was moved for forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Raty and a 2023 first-rounder (top 12 protected). Vancouver’s eating 25% of Horvat’s $5.5-million cap hit.

Islanders A ­— They quickly signed the UFA centre, who is on pace for a 42-goal year, to an eight-year deal at an $8.5 million cap. Even before Mat Barzal was hurt, Horvat was their No. 1 C with Barzal moving to the wing.

Vancouver B —They should never have traded their heart-and-soul captain but they decided to spend their money on J.T. Miller instead. Beauvillier has long teased coaches with his skill but not consistently and Raty has third-line C potential. The first-rounder is a good return but as the team that wins a trade gets the best player, no matter how many pieces.

Toronto gets D Luke Schenn, a first-rounder for D Rasmus Sandin and a fourth- for F Pierre Engvall

The details: The Canucks get a third-rounder for Schenn this June. The Capitals dealt the first-round pick they got in the Dmitry Orlov-Garnet Hathaway Bruins trade and D Erik Gustafsson for Sandin. Toronto receives a fourth-rounder in 2024 for Engvall.

Toronto A- — Schenn can kill penalties and play 15 minutes in the third pair with Timothy Liljegren. Sandin was a moveable 5-6 D with too many bodies there and they retrieved a first-round pick after giving up two to get O’Reilly and Jake McCabe. Engvall was a fourth-liner with speed and Noel Acciari and Sam Lafferty can do his job. Gustafsson provides offence and can be a 6-7 guy, good on the PP.

Washington B — After losing their UFA Orlov, they needed a warm body and Sandin, just 22, might fit into their top four. He’s got skill and was playing 18 minutes a game in Toronto. They have John Carlson, Nick Jensen and Sandin as three-quarters of their top two pairings.

Islanders C+ — Engvall is an NHLer with lots of size and speed, a solid role player who knows how to check but don’t hold your breath for goals or physical play.

Toronto gets D Jake McCabe and F Sam Lafferty from Chicago.

The details: The Hawks get a first in 2025 (top 10 protected) and a second in 2026, so we’re kicking this can far down the road. They also are taking on two borderline forwards Joey Anderson and Pavel Gogolev and they’re retaining 50% of McCabe’s $4-million cap hit, for two years.

Toronto A — To get McCabe for $2 million a year for two years is a heist. McCabe would waive his no trade to play in only one Canadian city, Toronto. He’ll be on the second pair with TJ Brodie. Leafs have Morgan Rielly, McCabe and Mark Giordano as their top three on left side now. The RW Lafferty is fast and has four short-handed goals. He’ll fit nicely with Acciari.

Chicago B — All they want to do is accrue draft picks and make sure they get the best odds in the Connor Bedard draft lottery sweepstakes. So they’re doing a good job of tanking, getting rid of their second best D-man and a young Lafferty.

Toronto gets Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from St. Louis Blues

The details: The Leafs give up a first and third-round pick in 2023, a second in 2024 and two forwards Mikhail Abramov and Adam Gaudette and the Blues eat 50% of O’Reilly’s $7.5 million cap hit. Minnesoto retains 25% for a fourth in 2025.

Toronto A — O’Reilly doesn’t have the same gravitas he had in 2019 when the Blues won the Cup, but he’s the Leafs No. 2 C with John Tavares moving to the wing. He’s the sandpaper to Auston Matthews tool kit on the first line. Acciari is an in-your-face 4C who has double digit goals. Paying only $1.875 million for O’Reilly as a rental is a beauty.

St. Louis B- — Getting a first-rounder for O’Reilly means they’ve got two and a third for Tarasenko this June if Rangers get to the Eastern Conference final. Abramov might be a player, Gaudette is not an NHLer.

Minnesota B — They had the cap room and acting as a banker, they got a pick but it’s two years down the road.

Edmonton gets D Mattias Ekholm from Nashville

The details: The Oilers gave up their power play D Tyson Barrie and two first-round picks (2023) and winger Reid Schaefer (2022 top choice) to get a top four defender. The Preds are picking up $250,000 a year of Ekholm’s four year cap of $6.25 million.

Edmonton A — Ekholm turns 33 shortly but fills a hole as a second LD. The Oilers have lots of offence; they needed sturdy defensive help for Darnell Nurse on the back end.

Nashville A — Barrie joins Roman Josi and Ryan McDonagh in their top four and they can always flip Barrie now to a contender now because he seems redundant on their PP with Josi running things, or at next year’s deadline when he’ll be a rental. Schaefer is a power forward with soft hands.

The Rangers deal with the Blues to get F Vlad Tarasenko, D Niko Mikkola

The details: St. Louis gets a first-rounder in 2023 (either the Rangers or Dallas, whichever team has fewer points) and a fourth in 2024, winger Sammy Blais who went to New York in a trade last season for Pavel Buchnevich and a borderline prospect D Hunter Skinner. Blues pick up half of Tarasenko’s $7.5 million cap.

New York A — Tarasenko will play RW with Zibanejad and Kreider. Mikkola has been on their third defence pair with Braden Schneider. They gave up virtually nothing except the first-rounder deep in the opening round.

St. Louis B — Getting an extra first is worthwhile for a refresh, not a rebuild but Blais is a fourth-liner who doesn’t move the needle much and Skinner is in the ECHL. They had to eat $3.75 million to get the first-round pick.

Boston picks up D Dmitry Orlov, F Garnet Hathaway from Washington.

The details: The Bruins add top-four D Orlov and fourth-line winger Hathaway for a 2023 first, a 2024 third and a 2025 second and send winger Craig Smith in a salary dump. Washington retains half of Orlov’s $5.1-million cap hit and Minnesota 25% of $2.55m left for a 2023 fifth-rounder.

Boston A — Orlov has already been playing with Charlie McAvoy in their top pair. Hathaway fits with C Tomas Nosek on a fourth line. They wanted to move out Smith who couldn’t play in their top nine at $3.1M cap and the picks were the price of trying to check all boxes.

Washington B — The first rounder they got from Boston didn’t last long. They sent it to Toronto for Sandin who is ready to be a 3-4 D with Caps. The UFA forward Smith is a useful player but a $2 million guy if they want to re-sign him.

Los Angeles gets G Joonas Korpisalo and D Vlad Gavrikov from Columbus

The details: The Jackets get a first in 2023 and third in 2024 and G Jonathan Quick for the two rental players. They hope to flip Quick to a contender for another draft pick.

Los Angeles A- — Korpisalo has bounced back after hip surgery derailed his career and they needed a better stopper than Pheonix Copley with Quick’s career on the decline. Gavrikov is a minute-munching defender who can play in their second pair. Dumping Quick and his two Stanley Cups to a team in the draft lottery is cruel business. It reportedly didn’t go down well with his veteran teammates.

Columbus B+ — Korpisalo is better than Elvis Merzlikins but they’ve hitched their horse to Elvis so he had to go. T hey were hoping to get two pieces (draft pick and prospect) for Gavrikov. Instead just two total draft picks.

Winnipeg gets winger Nino Niederreiter from Nashville.

The details: The Jets gave up a 2024 second-rounder for a top-six forward.

Winnipeg B — Niederreiter has seven 20-goal seasons and can play LW on the second line with C Adam Lowry and Nik Ehlers. He’s a big, useful forward.

Nashville B — Getting a second-rounder is adequate because they are divesting themselves of his $4 million in 2023-24 and they’re turning over the roster.

Washington moves C Lars Eller to Colorado.

The details. The Caps keep moving UFA’s and they’re getting a second-round pick but not until 2025. They’re eating 31% of his $3.5-million cap hit.

Washington B+ — Eller was an excellent No. 3 C behind Nick Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov but he’s 34 in May and he’s had a mediocre (16 points) season. Getting a second-rounder even two years from now is good work.

Colorado C+ — This equates to them getting Cogliano last year to help with their depth. Eller will easily slide into the 4C slot vacated by the injured Darren Helm, playing with Cogliano and Matt Nieto. He’ll help the 18th-ranked PK.

Tampa Bay gets winger Tanner Jeannot from Nashville.

The details: Five draft picks including a third, fourth and fifth in 2023 and defenceman Cal Foote from the Lightning for Jeannot.

Tampa C+ — In recent seasons Lightning GM Julien Brisebois struck gold with Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow then Nick Paul and Brandon Hagel in deals, looking to add to his big core of Steve Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nitita Kucherov. Brisebois boldly goes where no other GM goes, giving up draft capital but his scouts at the draft will see more of Tootsies than the Bridgestone Arena not having a pick until the sixth round.

Nashville B+ — Jeannot is a tough kid who can play and it hurts to lose him but outgoing GM David Poile did a wonderful job getting all those picks and Foote, who can likely be a third-pairing defenceman while maybe a little heavy in the boots.

D Shayne Gostisbehere to Carolina from Arizona

The Canes are tossing out a stocking stuffer third-round pick in 2026 to get Gostisbehere to round out back end.

Carolina B — Gostisbehere will be better than Jalen Chatfield on the third pair as a secondary PP guy behind Brent Burns but he’s a $4.5 million cap hit and the Coyotes aren’t retaining any of that.

Arizona A — How you get a team to pick up all of Ghost’s cap hit is unbelieveable. They had already received a second- and seventh-rounder from Philly when they originally traded for him.

D Filip Hronek to Vancouver from Detroit

The Canucks are giving up the 2023 first-round pick they got in the Bo Horvat New York Islanders’ deal, plus a second this June.

Detroit B+ — Hronek was playing right D on the Wings’ second pair with Ben Chiarot with his $4.4 million cap hit next season. The first-rounder gives them two for the Nashville draft.

Vancouver B- — Hronek is a live body rather than a draft pick on a team with a weak back end, with 38 points in 60 games, so that’s all good. The Wings just lost two straight to Ottawa so maybe feel they’re out of playoff contention and could move Hronek. But giving up two good draft picks, especially the first they got for Horvat, doesn’t make sense.