NHL Players Who Benefited Most from Trade Deadline Deals
The 2017 NHL trade deadline is history. Several players who were dealt in the days leading up to Wednesday's deadline, such as Kevin Shattenkirk and Martin Hanzal, benefited from being moved to potential Stanley Cup contenders.
Some, such as Shattenkirk and Hanzal, are eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. Strong performances with their new clubs can bolster their value in this summer's free-agent market.
Here's a look at the NHL players who benefited the most from being moved to new clubs leading up to and on the day of the trade deadline.
Ottawa Senators Trade Curtis Lazar to the Calgary Flames
Sportsnet reports the Senators traded Lazar and minor league defenseman Mike Kostka to the Calgary Flames for blueliner Jyrki Jokipakka and a 2017 second-round pick. This move gives the 22-year-old right wing an opportunity for a fresh start.
The Senators' first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2013 NHL draft, Lazar was projected as a hard-working two-way forward. He showed some potential in his first two NHL campaigns, but illness and injury hampered his play this season. He also struggled to adjust under new Sens head coach Guy Boucher.
Lazar has a good opportunity to get his NHL career back on track in Calgary. The Flames' forward lines are stocked with good young talent, and he could be a solid fit on this promising club.
Detroit Red Wings Trade Tomas Jurco to the Chicago Blackhawks
On Feb. 24, the Chicago Blackhawks acquired Jurco from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. After struggling with the fading Wings, the 24-year-old left wing has an opportunity to regenerate his career with a Stanley Cup contender in Chicago.
The Blackhawks have rookies at left wing in Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman. Jurco brings some experience to that position at an affordable salary of $900,000. He's a swift skater with good offensive skills who can skate at either wing.
Jurco is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. If he plays well over the remainder of the season, he could have a place in the Blackhawks' long-term plans.
Carolina Hurricanes Trade Ron Hainsey to the Pittsburgh Penguins
On Feb. 23, the Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Ron Hainsey to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for minor league forward Danny Kristo and a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The 35-year-old blueliner goes from a team whose playoff hopes are fading to the defending Stanley Cup champions.
At 6'3" and 210 pounds, Hainsey has good size for an NHL defenseman. While his offensive skills aren't what they once were, he's still an effective all-around veteran blueliner who can log big minutes. He should be a solid addition to the Penguins' banged-up defense corps.
This move also ensures Hainsey will finally take part in the playoffs for the first time in his 14 NHL seasons. With his playing career winding down, this could be his only shot at winning the Cup. If he plays well with the Pens, it could improve his chances of landing a new contract elsewhere via free agency.
Vancouver Canucks Trade Alex Burrows to the Ottawa Senators
On Feb. 27, the Ottawa Senators acquired winger Alexandre Burrows from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for prospect forward Jonathan Dahlen. The move benefits the 35-year-old Burrows for the remainder of his season and beyond.
A veteran agitating forward who can play either wing, Burrows has plenty of postseason experience. He played a key role in the Canucks' march to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Though his scoring abilities are in decline, he remains an effective checking winger who should provide seasoned depth to the Senators' forward lines.
Burrows was eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer. Following the trade, the Senators re-signed him to a two-year, $5 million contract extension. He gets a chance to skate for a playoff contender and also ensured his NHL future over the next two seasons.
Detroit Red Wings Trade Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers
The Detroit Red Wings traded left wing Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers in exchange for minor league defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a conditional 2017 third-round pick. With the Red Wings poised to miss the playoffs, the 33-year-old winger has a shot at reaching the postseason with the Panthers.
After being bought out last summer by the Minnesota Wild, Vanek bounced back with a solid performance this season in Detroit. With 15 goals and 38 points in 48 games, he was the Wings' leading goal scorer. He should provide a boost to the Panthers' power-play percentage (16.5), which is among the league's worst.
Vanek is a streaky scorer who's been dogged by inconsistency throughout his career. As a free agent this summer, a good effort with the Panthers should improve his value.
Dallas Stars Trade Patrick Eaves to the Anaheim Ducks
On Feb. 24, the Stars traded Patrick Eaves to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a conditional second-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The 32-year-old winger moves from a non-playoff club to the third-place team in the Pacific Division.
Sitting 20th in goals per game (2.54), the Ducks needed offensive depth at left wing. With 21 goals this season, Eaves should address that issue. He skates well, can play on either wing and also possesses solid two-way skills.
Eaves turns 33 on May 1 and is eligible this summer for unrestricted free agency. Despite his career-best season, teams might be reluctant to sign him to a long-term contract. A strong performance with the Ducks should improve his chances for a significant raise on a multiyear deal, either with Anaheim or elsewhere.
Arizona Coyotes Trade Martin Hanzal to the Minnesota Wild
On Feb. 25, the Coyotes shipped Hanzal to the Minnesota Wild in a multiplayer trade that also involved several draft picks. The 30-year-old Hanzal moves from one of the league's worst clubs to a potential Stanley Cup contender.
With this deal, the Wild signaled their intent to push for a championship this season. The 6'6", 226-pound Hanzal brings size and two-way skill at center. He can play on the second or third line and also work the power play and penalty kill.
For the first time in his NHL career, Hanzal is eligible for unrestricted free agency. With over $60 million invested in 14 players and forwards Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter to re-sign, the Wild can't afford to re-sign him. A strong performance in Minnesota could make him an attractive commodity in the free-agent market.
St. Louis Blues Trade Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals
On Feb. 27, the St. Louis Blues traded Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals in a multiplayer deal that also involved several draft picks. While the move provides a significant boost to the Capitals' defense corps, it could improve the 28-year-old's value this summer as an unrestricted free agent.
Shattenkirk is a mobile blueliner with excellent offensive skills and a right-handed shot. He could become the key piece that helps the Capitals finally bring a Stanley Cup championship to Washington. Playing for the NHL's top team could also improve his chances of landing a lucrative long-term contract.
A strong performance in Washington could land Shattenkirk a long-term deal worth over $7 million per season. The Capitals have over $51 million invested in 13 players next season and stars such as Evgeny Kuznetsov. T.J. Oshie and Karl Alzner to re-sign. If the Caps can't re-sign him, the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins could be among his suitors in the free-agent market.