Regrading the Biggest NHL Trade Deadline Deals from 2015

Steve Macfarlane@@MacfarlaneHKYFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2016

Regrading the Biggest NHL Trade Deadline Deals from 2015

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Last year's NHL trade deadline featured plenty of movement, but the quality of players exchanged wasn't exactly a thrilling list of who's who in the league. Some nice complementary players and a couple of legitimate stars such as Jaromir Jagr and Keith Yandle were peddled in the week before March 2.

    And now that nearly one year has passed, it's a good time to pass some judgment on how these deadline deals turned out for everyone involved.

    We're doing that with a grade, going to the team that was swinging the deal in order to boost its roster for a playoff run, as opposed to the side that was looking to land some sweet prospects or picks in upcoming drafts.

    Taking into account the impact on the team's success last season, the player's longevity and potential contributions this year and the cost of acquiring their services, we assign letters from A to F with hindsight in our favor. The deadline was the final week of the window—so earlier trades made by eager beavers such as the Minnesota Wild (hello, Devan Dubnyk) are not included here.

    Let's regrade the biggest NHL trades of the 2015 deadline.

The Wild Add Power Forward Chris Stewart

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    Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

    The deal

    The Minnesota Wild gave the Buffalo Sabres a 2017 second-round draft pick for winger Chris Stewart.

     

    Expectation

    With sights on the playoffs, the Wild brought in the power forward to add some secondary scoring, size and some punch to the lineup.

     

    Performance

    Stewart played fairly well down the stretch, helping the Wild qualify for the postseason in a wild-card spot in the Western Conference standings with three goals and 11 points while averaging nearly two shots in 20 games. In the playoffs, he was a disappointment, netting just two assists in eight games over two rounds. He left the Wild in the offseason and joined the Anaheim Ducks as a free agent on a one-year deal worth $1.7 million.

     

    Grade: C+

    Although the second-round pick doesn't get selected until next spring, the price was steep for a rental player whose presence likely didn't much affect the outcome for his team. The Wild would get an A for effort, but the result definitely wasn't what they had in mind. 

Canadiens Cough Up Picks for Petry

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    Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

    The deal

    Right-handed defenseman Jeff Petry was secured by the Montreal Canadiens, who shipped 2015 second-round and fifth-round picks to the Edmonton Oilers.

     

    Expectation

    Montreal brought in Petry to solidify a defensive group that was lacking real depth behind top blueliners P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov. He would instantly become one of the big minute-munchers and play in all situations, helping the Habs get deep into the playoffs. 

     

    Performance

    His execution has mirrored that of his team. He was fantastic last year down the stretch and a physical presence in the playoffs. He averaged more than 22 minutes and netted three goals and seven points in 19 regular-season games before adding two goals and three points in a dozen playoff contests. He leveraged that into a six-year deal worth $5.5 million per season.

    This year, however, the 28-year-old hasn't had the same impact. He has five goals and 16 points through 51 games but has been criticized for his efforts by some, including former Oilers and Canadiens enforcer George Laraque.

     

    Grade: B-

    Despite the disappointment this year, right-handed defensemen who can log top-four minutes come at a premium. Hurting the value is the fact the Habs fell short of their playoff goals last year and are abysmal this season without Carey Price. The Oilers packaged their return to bring in goalie Cam Talbot, who isn't exactly tearing up the NHL as a starter but could pan out long-term.

Capitals Trade for Gritty Glencross

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    The deal

    Winger Curtis Glencross headed from the Calgary Flames to the Washington Capitals for 2015 second- and third-round picks.

     

    Expectation

    The Capitals were looking for a winger capable of playing on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom or at least strengthen the second scoring unit alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov. The hope was Glencross could come in and open up even more space with his physical style of play and his scoring touch.

     

    Performance

    Glencross came in like a man possessed. He scored four times and had six points in his first seven games with the Caps. But he followed that up with just a single assist in the final 11 games of the regular season and was dropped to a fourth-line role with little playing time.

    He had one goal in 10 playoff games and was a healthy scratch for three straight games in the first round. He wasn't re-signed, and after a pair of failed training camp tryouts, he chose to retire from the NHL.

     

    Grade: F

    Coughing up two reasonably high draft picks for a rental player who was a healthy scratch in the playoffs—it doesn't get much worse than that. Adding insult to injury is the way the Flames were able to leverage the picks to contribute to the deal for defenseman Dougie Hamilton as well as draft a couple of promising blue-line prospects in the second round.

Lightning Make Deal for Defenseman Braydon Coburn

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    Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

    The deal

    Defenseman Braydon Coburn went to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Radko Gudas, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2015 third-round pick are returned to the Philadelphia Flyers.

     

    Expectation

    The Lightning were looking for more experience on the blue line and in the locker room, expecting to make it to the Stanley Cup Final by filling all their potential holes. Coburn is big and mobile, and it was thought he'd fit perfectly with the Bolts' style of play. 

     

    Performance

    Things got off to a slow start with Coburn playing just four games before an injury knocked him out of the regular season. He returned for the first round of the playoffs, however, and made his presence felt with the Game 7 series-clinching winner over the Detroit Red Wings—his only goal of the postseason. He isn't producing much in the way of points this year with one goal and nine points so far, and he has seen his minutes dip as well.

     

    Grade: B-

    He was a big part of the team that made it to the Cup Final last spring, and so the steep price seems somewhat justified. Draft picks Travis Konecny and Matej Tomek are unknown commodities for the Flyers as of yet. This may look more lopsided in the Flyers' favor down the road.

Detroit Red Wings Add Veteran Erik Cole

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    Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    The deal

    Winger Erik Cole and a 2015 third-round pick went to the Detroit Red Wings, with prospects Mattias Backman and Mattias Janmark and a 2015 second-round pick going back to the Stars.

     

    Expectation

    The Red Wings were looking for some veteran leadership and scoring power on the wing. Cole was having one of the best years of his career with 18 goals and 33 points in 57 games before the trade.

     

    Performance

    Cole's story was tragic. He started so strongly with three goals and six points in 11 games with the Red Wings but suffered a scary spine injury that ultimately forced him to retire. He didn't get a chance to help the Wings in the playoffs.

     

    Grade: C

    The Red Wings can't control the result, as the injury was an unfortunate end to the relationship. However, even if Cole had played longer and the Wings won a round in the playoffs, they gave up some great prospects. Janmark has been a strong second-line forward this season with 10 goals and 19 points in 53 games.

Antoine Vermette Joins the Blackhawks

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    Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

    The deal

    The Chicago Blackhawks sent a 2015 first-round pick (Nicholas Merkley) and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck to the Arizona Coyotes for center/winger Antoine Vermette.

     

    Expectation

    Vermette was one of the hottest names on the trade market as an impending unrestricted free agent who would almost surely be a rental wherever he went. He was expected to join the Blackhawks and fill in for an injured Patrick Kane in the regular season and take some of the scoring pressure off Kane and Jonathan Toews in the playoffs.

     

    Performance

    Vermette saved his best for last. He was awful down the stretch for the cruise-control Hawks, contributing just three assists in the last 19 games. He was incredible in the playoffs, however, scoring four big goals and seven points in 20 postseason contests. He scored three game-winning goals in the second and third rounds.

     

    Grade: A+

    The photo says it all. The Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six years thanks in a big way to Vermette's clutch contributions. He left after serving his time as a rental, but the Hawks knew the price and were willing to pay it. It's hard to argue that point given the outcome.

Andrej Sekera Heads to Los Angeles

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    The deal

    The Los Angeles Kings brought in defenseman Andrej Sekera and sent Roland McKeown and a 2016 first-round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes.

     

    Expectation

    Given the legal issues facing the suspended Slava Voynov, the Kings figured that Sekera—one of the best offensive players available at the deadline—could chip in on the power play behind Drew Doughty while also offering key minutes to take some of the burden off the team's biggest star on the back end.

     

    Performance

    Sekera produced just four points in 16 regular-season games. The Kings didn't make the playoffs, and he joined the Edmonton Oilers as a free agent in the offseason.

     

    Grade: F

    Sekera barely stayed for a cup of coffee in L.A. and had zero impact. McKeown was one of the top defensive prospects in the 2014 NHL draft and could be a key piece of the Hurricanes' blue line in the near future. And they have a first-round pick this year to boot.

Ducks Land James Wisniewski

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    Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    The deal

    The Anaheim Ducks traded for defenseman James Wisniewski and a 2015 third-round pick, sending the Columbus Blue Jackets wingers Rene Bourque, winger William Karlsson and a 2015 second-round pick.

     

    Expectation

    The Ducks wanted to add depth and some dynamic power-play abilities to the defense, in addition to veteran leadership for a young core of talented blueliners. They anticipated Wisniewski would jump in as a top-four defender.

     

    Performance

    Wisniewski got just 13 games in with the Ducks down the stretch in the regular season, contributing five assists. He was benched the entire playoffs in favor of Clayton Stoner...yes, Clayton Stoner. It was a huge head-scratcher for fans, media members and Wisniewski himself.

     

    Grade: F

    It's hard to believe things turned out the way they did. The Ducks did manage to get to the Western Conference Final without Wisniewski playing a single game, but the cost of acquiring the defenseman wasn't cheap (and Karlsson is looking like a solid prospect in Columbus right now). The Ducks sent him packing in a deal with the Hurricanes in the offseason to bring in a backup goalie who is playing in the minors.

Jaromir Jagr Joins Panthers Attack

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    Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

    The deal

    Jaromir Jagr headed to the Florida Panthers. The Panthers sent 2015 second-round and 2016 third-round picks to the New Jersey Devils.

     

    Expectation

    Panthers general manager Dale Tallon had done a nice job of building up the young core and wanted to add some veteran star power to lead by example and help the team make the playoffs. 

     

    Performance

    The Panthers fell short of their goal last season, but Jagr energized young linemates Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov down the stretch. The relationship led to a new deal for Jagr with the Panthers, and this year's incredible jump in the standings has the organization looking like a genius for bringing the 43-year-old aboard. 

     

    Grade: A

    It's been a special year for both Jagr and the Panthers, and there's a great chance the NHL veteran will finish his career with the Cats. He was probably half-joking when he tweeted the Panthers could claim the Cup in 2016, but maybe he was on to something.

Rangers Deal for Defenseman Keith Yandle

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    The deal

    The New York Rangers acquired defenseman Keith Yandle, defenseman Chris Summers and a 2015 fourth-round pick from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for winger Anthony Duclair, defenseman John Moore, a 2016 first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick.

     

    Expectation

    The Rangers fell short in the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, and the thought was another dynamic defenseman would give them the offensive edge they needed to win it all in 2015.

     

    Performance

    Yandle had two goals and 11 points down the stretch for the Rangers, helping them win the Presidents' Trophy as the league's top regular-season finisher. In the playoffs, the team fell short of its goal but got back to the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Yandle's 11 points in 19 playoff games was tops among Rangers blueliners and fourth-highest on the team.

    This year, he is on pace for another 40-point season and will either fetch them a nice return in a trade or again help them toward their postseason goal.  

     

    Grade: B-

    Yandle has had a great impact on the Rangers' blue line, but the cost was steep. Duclair has been a top prospect with the Coyotes this season and could be part of that core for a decade. That and the short-term status for Yandle keep the grade from being higher.

     

    All stats via NHL.com and contract information courtesy of General Fanager.

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