In your mind, does any one player acquisition on Monday tip the Stanley Cup in favor of their new team? -- @CutshallMark
No, because hockey doesn't work like that. There are too many variables to consider, including running into a hot goalie, injuries and chemistry, or lack thereof. What I look at is who has the best depth, or who helped themselves the most in the depth department by filling holes that needed to be filled.
That's why I like what the New York Islanders did in acquiring Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Ottawa Senators. They needed a third-line center and another forward who could score without deviating from their gameplan of being a tight checking, difficult to play against, defensive-oriented team. Pageau fits perfectly. He makes the Islanders better and deeper.
I like that the Pittsburgh Penguins gave themselves more forward depth going back to the acquisition of Jason Zucker on Feb. 10. Add in the additions of Conor Sheary, Evan Rodrigues and Patrick Marleau on Monday, and the Penguins are deeper than they were, which gives coach Mike Sullivan options for his line combinations, makes them more dangerous, especially in the bottom six forward group, and gives them a better chance at withstanding injuries.
The Carolina Hurricanes filled their need for a right-shot center by acquiring Vincent Trocheck from the Florida Panthers, and on defense by getting Brady Skjei from the New York Rangers and Sami Vatanen from the New Jersey Devils. Defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce are out with injuries, both potentially for the rest of the regular season, but the Hurricanes softened the blow and gave themselves a chance to stay in the race by getting Skjei and Vatanen, who is also injured but could be back soon. Trocheck brings speed and scoring to the lineup, in addition to being a top center who can take face-offs on the right side, the opposite side for Sebastian Aho, Carolina's other top center.
The Washington Capitals are better on defense with Brenden Dillon and they're more dangerous offensively with Ilya Kovalchuk. The Vegas Golden Knights are better positioned in net with the addition of Robin Lehner, who will cushion the blow if Marc-Andre Fleury slumps or sustains an injury. The Edmonton Oilers now have a speedy winger, Andreas Athanasiou, to play with center Connor McDavid. The Tampa Bay Lightning are harder to play against now with Blake Coleman in their top-nine forward group and Barclay Goodrow on their fourth line. The Boston Bruins top-six forward group should be more complete with the addition of Ondrej Kase.
Video: NHL Network looks at the Islanders deal for Pageau
With a new seven-year deal in place do you now see Chris Kreider as the next captain of the New York Rangers? -- @msilvers1979
Kreider is a top candidate, and he'd be my choice based on the way he plays and the respect he has in the locker room, especially from the younger players. In fact, I wondered if the Rangers were going to announce that Kreider was getting the 'C' when they announced he signed Monday. That didn't happen, and I can't tell you now if or when the Rangers will name their next captain, but they have some quality candidates. Kreider, as noted, is certainly one of them, but so is center Mika Zibanejad, who is another bona fide team leader and go-to player for younger players and the media. Kreider turns 29 on April 30 and Zibanejad turns 27 on April 18, so both players are in that window for the Rangers where they can relate to the young players on the team without alienating the older players. I don't know that the Rangers absolutely need to have a captain, but I do think it helps with the leadership hierarchy and it gives coach David Quinn the ability to allow a player to deliver his message on occasion. Kreider and Zibanejad could do that.
Video: NHL Tonight breaks down the Kreider deal
What trade most surprised you? -- @TJRinger1
I didn't think the Lightning would give up another first-round draft pick Monday after giving one up Friday to acquire Coleman from the Devils. They had two in the 2020 NHL Draft, their own and the one that belonged to Vancouver Canucks, acquired for forward J.T. Miller. Now they have none. The Devils got the Canucks' pick in the Coleman trade. The San Jose Sharks got the Lightning's first-round pick in the trade for Barclay Goodrow on Monday. That was the one that surprised me the most. Yes, the Lightning also got a third-round pick in the 2020 draft from the Sharks, but at first glance giving up a first-round pick to get Goodrow seems like an overpay. However, the Lightning are not in the mode of worrying about first-round picks right now. It could come back to bite them later but giving up two first-round picks will be a minor blip if Coleman and Goodrow help Tampa Bay win the Stanley Cup this season, next season, or both. That's what the Lightning are thinking about now. The picks can be recouped in other ways if necessary, but for now they need to go for it and to do that they need to get as much depth as they can get.
I was also surprised the Hurricanes managed to make trades with the Panthers and Rangers, two teams they're directly competing against for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. And they got the best player in each trade. That's a no-brainer in the trade with the Rangers, since they acquired Skjei for a first-round pick that New York may or may not turn into a better player than the defenseman they traded. Carolina also got the best player in the trade with the Panthers, although they did give up forwards Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark off their current roster, and forward prospect Eetu Luostarinen and defenseman prospect Chase Priskie.
Was this trade deadline a disappointment for the Colorado Avalanche or were they solid enough pre-deadline that they accomplished their needs? -- @KennethFABQ
I wouldn't call it a disappointment, but I wonder if the Avalanche had to pivot once the Rangers re-signed Kreider, who would have been a perfect fit as a rental in Colorado. However, the Avalanche almost certainly would have had to part with their first-round pick in the trade to get him, and they didn't want to go in that direction. They instead got a depth forward in Vladislav Namestnikov for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, and another goalie, Michael Hutchinson for defenseman Calle Rosen, who wasn't playing for them anyway. This is far from a splash, but the Avalanche didn't need to make one. They're in solid position to make the playoffs, three points behind the first-place St. Louis Blues and one point ahead of the third-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division entering Tuesday. There is optimism that all of their injured players, goalie Philipp Grubauer, and forwards Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri and Matt Calvert, should be back before the playoffs. The Avalanche are one of the best teams in the League when healthy. They softened the blow of the injuries a bit by adding Namestnikov, who should be in the lineup even after all the injured players return. They're in trouble if they have to rely on Hutchinson, but the same could be said of any team if it has to rely on its third goalie.
Video: BUF@OTT: Namestnikov fires SHG past Hutton
What are your thoughts on the Blues standing pat this year? Wise move? -- @JasonHackwort10
It worked last season, so why not do it again? No, that's not what the Blues were thinking going into the deadline this season, but they were quiet last season, only acquiring defenseman Michael Del Zotto from the Anaheim Ducks for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and they won the Stanley Cup. So it did work. They were quiet again Monday, not even making a trade after getting defenseman Marco Scandella from the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 19 for a second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2021. Acquiring Scandella was necessary because of Jay Bouwmeester's cardiac condition. Keeping with the status quo was the right thing to do. They're a good team, the best in the Western Conference in my opinion. Losing Bouwmeester was a blow, but Scandella softens it. They have a room of champions and they should get their best goal scorer, Vladimir Tarasenko, back next month. He's been out since late October because of shoulder surgery. General manager Doug Armstrong said Tarasenko will be on the road trip next week, but he won't play at least until they return home. If he plays in 10 games before the playoffs, that'll be big, and enough to get him going. The Blues would have been all in on trying to acquire Kreider from the Rangers if they knew Tarasenko wasn't going to be back in the regular season. The NHL salary cap instead was a roadblock and they didn't want to take away too much from the current team to try to add him in.
Video: Canadiens trade Marco Scandella to the Blues
Goalie controversy in Vegas or a really good rotation opportunity? -- @DerekSchoen
The latter. Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday in a three-way trade that also included the Toronto Maple Leafs, will not make this a controversy. They're competitors but they're great people, and neither will rock the boat. Fleury is the No. 1. Lehner is his backup. But the Golden Knights feel better about their goaltending depth than they did when it was Fleury and Malcolm Subban. Lehner will play, but if Fleury is healthy and playing well he will continue to be their No. 1. If Fleury gets hurt, the Golden Knights will still be strong enough to get into the playoffs and win with Lehner. The competition will be good for each of them, and the Golden Knights.