NHL Trade Deadline have the Rangers and Wild as big winners, Maple Leaf fall flat

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The NHL Trade Deadline did not disappoint. Over 30 transactions took place and there were several big winners with one team that fell completely flat.

On Monday, there were two contenders that truly did what the deadline is for and that’s to augment your lineup with key pieces while not giving up the farm.

That’s why the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild stand out as clear winners. Meanwhile, if there was a team that really needed to do something it was the Maple Leafs. By failing to address their major issue in goal, they are our biggest deadline day losers.

NHL Trade Deadline Winner: Minnesota Wild

cam talbot marc-andre fleury
Mar 21, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) congratulates goaltender Cam Talbot (33) after the game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Wild moves:

  • Marc-Andre Fleury for a conditional second-round pick in 2022
  • Jacob Middleton for Kappo Kahkonen and fifth-round pick in 2022
  • Nicolas Deslauriers for a third-round pick in 2023
  • Tyson Jost for Nico Sturm
  • Acquired a 2022 second-round pick for Jack McBain

You have to hand it GM Bill Guerin, who was able to get the prized goalie on the trade bait board. He admitted on NHL Network that he was working on acquiring Marc-Andre Fleury for weeks and thought at one point he wasn’t going to be able to get it done. Apparently, the Maple Leafs were also after him but balked in the end. The Wild only gave up a conditional second that turns into a first if Fleury can win at least 4 games through two rounds.

Landing Fleury also meant that the Wild had to move goalie Kaapo Kahkonen, which they were able to do with San Jose and pick up a tough top 4 defenseman many teams were after in Jacob Middleton. Guerin then topped it off by getting more bottom six grit in Nicolas Deslauriers

Finally, he added Tyson Jost for center depth and was able to recoup a second round pick for the rights to Jack McBain, who was not signing in Minnesota.

NHL Trade Deadline Winner: New York Rangers

nhl trade deadline
Mar 6, 2022; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp (9) skates with the puck against New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller (79) during the second period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers moves:

  • Andrew Copp and a 2023 sixth-round pick for Morgan Barron, (2) conditional second-round picks in 2022, and a 2023 fifth-round pick
  • Tyler Motte for a 2023 fourth-round pick
  • Justin Braun for a 2023 third-round pick
  • Nick Merkley for Anthony Bitetto
  • Frankie Vatrano for a 2022 fourth-round pick

While many contenders were chasing the biggest fish in the pond and using as much bait as possible to get them, Chris Drury remained focused on addressing his team’s need for a little more scoring and depth.

The rookie GM played the deadline like a seasoned veteran showing a level of patience rarely seen these days. In the final hour of trading, Drury backed out of trying to acquire prime target Rickard Rakell. The Penguins gave up two roster players in Zach Anson-Reese and Dominik Simon, plus a prospect goalie and a second-round pick to land him.

Instead, Drury acquired versatile and comparable forward Andrew Copp, who can also help the PK. In doing so, he gave up one decent prospect in Morgan Barron and two conditional second round picks. One of those picks can become a first if the Rangers make it to the Eastern Conference Final and Copp plays 50% of those games.

From there, the Rangers added more center depth with Tyler Motte and defense depth with Justin Braun for mid-round picks.

The former Wolf Pack GM didn’t forget his AHL team by acquiring Nick Merkley for Anthony Bitetto. Merkley will slot in where Barron was and freshly signed NCAA free agent Brandon Scanlin will take Bitetto’s place.

Just an incredible job by Drury to bolster his team for the playoffs and keep his biggest trade chips for the summer. As rumors persist that Patrick Kane and Mark Scheifele may be on the block in the offseason, the Rangers have all their blue-chip prospects to make a major deal.

NHL Trade Deadline Loser: Toronto Maple Leafs

Mark Giordano Maple Leafs
Mar 8, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano (5) goes to pass the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Maple Leafs moves:

  • Traded Alex Biega for future considerations
  • Traded Travis Dermott for 2022 third-round pick
  • Mark Giordano and Colin Blackwell for a 2022 second-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, and a 2024 third-round pick

Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was cap-strapped coming in, even if they keep Jake Muzzin on LTIR. However, with his glaring issues in goal to only come away with a 38 year-old rental defenseman and a 13th forward is not very good.

In the meantime, Toronto continues to give up tons of future assets with not much to show for it. Let’s not forget last season they gave up their 2021 first-round pick for Nick Foligno and a third-round selection for goalie David Rittich.

But the reason why Kyle Dubas and the Leafs take the big L is because a leak out of Chicago had them refusing to pay the price to land a monster package for both Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Hagel. Dubas told Kevin Weekes that he’s very upset that the Blackhawks leaked a private conversation. But now that’s it is out there, it’s hard not to look at the Leafs on deadline day and give them a failing mark.

Noteworthy Teams

Florida Panthers: They certainly went all in by acquiring Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot, but they paid a hefty price. If they win the Cup no one will care.

Colorado Avalanche: GM Joe Sakic did a great job addressing his team needs without totally selling the farm.

Boston Bruins: Made one real big move but it was more than a rental after they trade for Hampus Lindholm and then gave him a massive extension.