NHL Power Rankings: Trade deadline edition
Hey everyone, we here at Puck Daddy are doing real power rankings for teams Nos. 1-31. Here they are, based on only how I am feeling about these teams, meaning you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. Please enjoy the Power Feelings.
31. St. Louis Blues
Okay so this is ONLY based on the trades made in the last week. Nothing to do with the games. Do not yell at me about this.
And also, I’m not gonna go out there with these rankings and, like, kill Ottawa for not trading Karlsson, Montreal for keeping Pacioretty, or something like that. Could they have gotten a big return for those guys? Sure. But those are guys who are still signed for next season so there’s probably plenty to be done at the draft. So that’s fine as long as they don’t screw it up then. Which, hey, they might.
Anyway, the reason St. Louis is dead last at the deadline? They traded their No. 2 center while they were a point out of the playoffs to a division rival. That’s running up the white flag, which I don’t think is necessarily fair to the guys in the room. They got a nice return and they might not have thought they were bringing him back, but for this team to sell seems wild to me.
30. Vancouver Canucks
Not bad to pick up Brandon Leipsic I think, but to get no picks back in only two trades as a rebuilding team? C’mon! People are saying Tyler Motte is a good prospect. He has 32 points in 65 career games in the AHL and, and he’s 22. He’s not even a prospect, let alone a good one.
29. Vegas Golden Knights
I cannot countenance giving up three picks for Tomas Tatar. Not for an expansion team in its first year. I know they’re overperforming expectations but if you think that’s gonna last forever, I have an Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas to sell you.
Plus, I really don’t understand taking on the money in the Derick Brassard trade. They said it was to play defense and keep Brassard from coming to the West (Calgary maybe?), but man, I dunno why you’re doing that.
28. Buffalo Sabres
Depending on conditions, etc., they might only get a second-round pick out of San Jose for Evander Kane. Not great.
27. Arizona Coyotes
How is this team not a seller??? Truly mystifying.
26. Ottawa Senators
They got a bunch of stuff (six pieces) but only one pick in the coming draft and a couple of mediocre prospects. That’s it.
Y’know they got a bunch of picks and that’s pretty good but if you’re gonna sell, sell. That’s not just a Pacioretty thing. That’s a “they had more guys to offload than they did” thing.
24. Minnesota Wild
The decision to stand more or less pat is fine. They didn’t like Mike Reilly so to get anything for him is perfectly fine. We’re now into the “they stood pat and probably they should have” region. Especially with a couple of Central teams, because there was an arms race there, and like, there’s basically no chance Dallas or Minnesota could beat Winnipeg or Nashville even before those teams made solid deadline adds.
23. Dallas Stars
See above. They’re just slightly better than Minnesota.
22. Florida Panthers
The Frank Vatrano pickup for them could end up being like the Reilly Smith pickup: They’ll get an undervalued young Bruin, get some good production out of him this year, sign him to a maybe-too-big contract, see him regress a bit, then lose him for nothing in an expansion draft.
21. Anaheim Ducks
I guess not doing anything is better than buying but not much better.
20. Calgary Flames
They needed to buy Monday. They didn’t add anything of note.
19. Detroit Red Wings
Well they got a big haul for Tatar, who’s fine I guess, and they now have 10 picks in the first three rounds in June. But they didn’t trade Mike Green or a bunch of other guys they should have at least tried to trade.
18. Edmonton Oilers
Pontus Aberg and two third-round picks isn’t a bad return for two guys who wanted the hell out. Maybe they should have traded a few more guys but this was fine.
17. Colorado Avalanche
They claimed Mark Alt off waivers from Philly and that was literally the only thing they did on or before deadline day. Weird.
16. Carolina Hurricanes
They offloaded Josh Jooris, who I like but who they didn’t have much use for, for Greg McKegg, who I don’t rate. May as well have not done anything, and this was all but doing that. Fair enough.
15. New York Islanders
Well, I think Brandon Davidson can play, so…
14. Washington Capitals
Same with Michal Kempny, I guess. They probably should have done more, though.
13. Chicago Blackhawks
Gotta like the return they got for Ryan Hartman. Interesting that they didn’t do more, but there probably wasn’t a lot they could do given their cap situation.
12. Philadelphia Flyers
I really like that Petr Mrazek trade and maybe Johnny Oduya is a low-end defender for them. That’s all fine.
11. Los Angeles Kings
They felt they had some needs and they addressed them starting with the Phaneuf trade (which I guess was longer out than the survey period here but that’s fine). I thought they did a great job with the Tobias Rieder deal.
10. Nashville Predators
Is Ryan Hartman some kind of huge difference-maker for them? No. Did they probably pay a little too much? Yes. But they’re better now than they were before all this started, so I guess you take that, especially if you’re also getting Eeli Tolvanen at the end of the KHL season.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets
I liked Columbus’s depth adds (Mark Letestu and Ian Cole) more than I liked Nashville’s, but they’re also not as good. The decision to keep Jack Johnson is a bit puzzling, but maybe it’s just that no one wanted him. Very plausible there.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
I like the Plekanec pickup. Gives the Leafs a very solid Nos. 1-4 down the middle. The problem, of course, is that the other two top teams in their division (both better than Toronto before) added better players than Plekanec. So yeah, nice to add that guy. Bad to do so in the face of the Nash and McDonagh/Miller trades.
7. New Jersey Devils
The adds of both Michael Grabner and Pat Maroon for basically nothing really help fill out that not-too-deep Devils offense. How much? Well, that remains to be seen. And how much does it ultimately matter given what else transpired at the top of the Eastern Conference? Probably very little.
6. Boston Bruins
Big fan of the Nash trade. Think Nick Holden helps their defensive depth even if he doesn’t make a huge difference for them. Tommy Wingels adds some forward depth, which they needed after trading Vatrano, Spooner, and Beleskey (whom they would have recalled for the playoffs when the cap doesn’t matter anymore).
5. San Jose Sharks
Getting Evander Kane for very little? That’s a good move.
4. Winnipeg Jets
Woooooo baby do I like that Stastny trade for these guys. Running Scheifele, Little, and Stastny down the middle? Yes please. They probably have the best top-nine in the league now. Everyone in it can skate and score. What a pickup.
(And here’s me whispering: What if Joe Morrow is fine as a No. 7 D?)
Now, they did give up a lot here, but I gotta tell ya: This team is done rebuilding. What do they need late first-round picks and okay prospects for?
3. Pittsburgh Penguins
I wouldn’t want to go up against Pittsburgh’s center depth if I’m literally anyone in the league, including Winnipeg. They have three of the 30 or so best centers alive. It’s crazy. And look, they should be all-in with this group because Malkin and Crosby are both over 30. It’s now or never.
2. New York Rangers
They did everything right, more or less. I would argue the return for Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller is perhaps a little underwhelming, given that you gave up two pretty good players, but if you’re rebuilding, it’s good to get youngish roster players (Namestnikov and Spooner), a few potentially intriguing prospects (Lindgren, Howden, Hajek), two first-round picks, and two second-round picks. Even if you have to take on a salary dump (Beleskey).
This went about as well for them as it could have.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
Hahaha they’re gonna win every series in five or fewer games. Good lord this team is stacked, and didn’t really give up as much as you would have thought to acquire McDonagh and Miller.
The only loser for the Lightning is McDonagh, who’s probably gonna have to play with Dan Girardi again.
(All stats via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)