The Best and Worst Moves of the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline
The NHL's 2016 trade deadline is history. With several stars such as Eric Staal (pictured above) being moved in the days leading up to the deadline, it's worthwhile reviewing the notable deals to determine the best and the worst.
The quality of the players involved and how each deal helps or hurts the teams involved factored into the compilation of this list. Given the lack of significant player movement, trades that took place leading up to the deadline are also included.
Here's a look at the best and worst moves of the 2016 NHL trade deadline. You can weigh in with your opinion in the comments section below.
Worst: Justin Schultz to the Pittsburgh Penguins
The trade: On Feb. 27, the Edmonton Oilers traded defenseman Justin Schultz to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft.
Analysis: Schultz, 25, struggled to establish himself as a top-four defenseman with the Oilers, hence the low return they received in this trade. The Penguins needed a shutdown blueliner after losing Ben Lovejoy to injury. Schultz has good puck-moving skills, but he's not a physical defender like Lovejoy.
Verdict: It's possible Schultz could regain his confidence with the Penguins, but he won't address their need for a shutdown defenseman. Barring significant improvement in Schultz's performance, he won't be much help to the Penguins' defense corps.
Best: James Reimer to the San Jose Sharks
The trade: On Feb. 27, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded goaltender James Reimer and minor league forward Jeremy Morin to the San Jose Sharks for goaltender Alex Stalock, right wing Ben Smith and a 2018 conditional fourth-round pick.
Analysis: Reimer was the Leafs' best goaltender this year. Given his free-agent status this summer and the soft trade market for goalies, they got the best return they could. The Sharks, meanwhile, get a significant boost between the pipes. Reimer will be a strong backup for starter Martin Jones.
Verdict: A good move by the Sharks. Reimer provides invaluable goaltending depth as they jockey for playoff positioning in the Western Conference.
Worst: David Jones for Niklas Backstrom
Analysis: On the surface, this looks like a reasonable player-for-player swap. The Wild add depth at forward while the Flames bring in an experienced goaltender. However, Jones' best years are well behind him, and injuries have all but finished Backstrom's career. Both players are pending free agents this summer.
Verdict: Both clubs swapped players they no longer wanted. This move fails to adequately address their respective roster weaknesses.
Best: Lee Stempniak to the Boston Bruins
The trade: On Feb. 29, the Boston Bruins traded a 2017 second-round draft pick and a 2016 fourth-round pick to the New Jersey Devils for right wing Lee Stempniak.
Analysis: The well-traveled Stempniak enjoyed a solid performance with the Devils this season, netting 41 points in 63 games. The 33-year-old should be a good addition to the Bruins' scoring lines. This move likely hurts the Devils' fading playoff chances, but they receive a couple of draft picks to put toward their ongoing rebuild.
Verdict: A good short-term move by the Bruins, acquiring veteran skill and experience to help them in their quest for a playoff berth. The Devils get a decent return for a pending free-agent forward.
Worst: Brandon Pirri to the Anaheim Ducks
The trade: On Feb. 29, the Florida Panthers traded center Brandon Pirri to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2016.
Analysis: This could become the steal of the 2016 NHL trade deadline. Pirri is a streaky scorer. However, he's only 24 and tallied 22 goals last season in 49 games. NHL.com's Abbey Mastracco notes Pirri remains out with an ankle sprain. That explains the low return for the Panthers.
Verdict: A good, low-cost acquisition for the Ducks, but what the Panthers got back for Pirri puts this deal among the worst for this year's deadline day.
Best: Florida Panthers Acquire Jiri Hudler and Teddy Purcell
The trades: On Feb. 27, the Florida Panthers shipped a 2016 second-round draft pick and a 2018 fourth-round pick to the Calgary Flames for center Jiri Hudler. On the same day, the Panthers also dealt a 2016 third-round pick to the Edmonton Oilers for right wing Teddy Purcell.
Analysis: Hudler is a year removed from a career-best 76-point season, and he won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008. Purcell could reach 20 goals and 40 points this season. Both are eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer. The Flames and Oilers got decent returns to two players who no longer fit into their future plans.
Verdict: The Panthers pick up a pair of good rental players for the playoffs. Hudler and Purcell will provide some scoring depth and invaluable postseason experience.
Worst: Kris Russell to the Dallas Stars
The trade: On Feb. 29, the Calgary Flames traded defenseman Kris Russell to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, prospect center Brett Pollock and a 2016 conditional second-round draft pick.
Analysis: The struggling Stars blue line lacked an experienced shot-blocking defenseman. They get one of the league's best in Russell, but they paid a steep price for the privilege. The Flames, meanwhile, get a couple of promising young players. If the Stars reach the Western Conference Final and Russell plays in half the playoff games in the first two rounds, that second-round pick becomes a first-round pick.
Verdict: While Russell should help to improve the Stars defense in the short term, the 28-year-old is a pending free agent. If he doesn't work out, the Stars will have given up a lot for a playoff rental. That's why this deal is among the worst moves of this year's deadline.
Best: Mikkel Boedker to the Colorado Avalanche
Analysis: Boedker's addition provides a much-needed boost of speed and playmaking skill at left wing for the Avalanche. He should significantly help their chances of clinching a postseason berth. Unable to re-sign Boedker, the Coyotes receive a roster player to play out this season in Tanguay, plus a couple of promising youngsters in Bleackley and Wood.
Verdict: A good move for both clubs. If Boedker plays well for the Avalanche, perhaps they'll re-sign the pending free agent. Meanwhile, the Coyotes get something for now and two youngsters who could contribute to their ongoing rebuild.
Worst: Eric Staal to the New York Rangers.
The trade: On Feb. 28, the Carolina Hurricanes traded center Eric Staal to the New York Rangers in exchange for prospect forward Aleksi Saarela, a 2016 second-round draft pick and a 2017 second-round draft pick.
Analysis: The Hurricanes get an average return for their former captain, whose no-movement clause limited the potential trade destinations. Staal's production has steadily declined in recent years. The Rangers are gambling on the 31-year-old regaining his scoring touch.
Verdict: While the Rangers didn't give up much to get Staal, it's by no means a certainty he's the missing piece of their championship puzzle. Unless his offensive numbers pick up, he won't improve their Stanley Cup hopes. The Hurricanes at least got something for Staal, but it won't help their postseason chances this year.
Best: Andrew Ladd to the Chicago Blackhawks
The trade: On Feb. 25, the Winnipeg Jets traded left wing Andrew Ladd and minor league forward Matt Fraser and defenseman Jay Harrison to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for center Marko Dano, a 2016 first-round draft pick and a conditional pick in 2018.
Analysis: The Blackhawks bring back Ladd, who helped them win a Stanley Cup in 2010. An experienced, physical two-way forward, the 30-year-old addresses the Hawks' need for a top-six left winger. Winnipeg got a decent return for a pending free-agent winger. Dano, 21, has the potential to blossom into a scorer for the retooling Jets.
Verdict: The addition of Ladd, along with recently acquired forwards Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann, improves the Blackhawks' chances of winning another championship this spring. Losing Ladd all but ensures the Jets won't rally back into playoff contention, but the return could become a big part of their future.
Player and trade info via NHL.com.