The NHL trade deadline has passed, and this much is clear: the Lightning are going for it. So are the Bruins. And the Penguins. And the Sharks. And hell, so is Vegas.
The contenders fall into three categories. There are the teams going for broke (Tampa Bay, Vegas, Boston, Pittsburgh), the ones moving the needle (Nashville, Winnipeg, Toronto, Washington, and staying put (Minnesota).
It'll take some time for this to shake out. Last year, we saw some deals backfire spectacularly—see Kevin Shattenkirk with the Capitals or Martin Hanzal and the Wild. Will that be the case this year? If you're Tampa Bay or Boston and coming off some headline-making deals, you hope not. If you're Minnesota or Washington, you're hoping the deadline karma has its way with others.
Here's how we see teams stacking up in the NHL, from 31-1 (stats and records through Tuesday's games):
31. Arizona Coyotes
Last week: 31 (-)
You can question not trading Antti Raanta, but overall, there was not much to do for the Yotes on deadline day.
30. Buffalo Sabres
Last week: (30)
Buffalo probably would've liked a Rick Nash-esque return for Evander Kane, but the haul (Danny O’Regan and a pair of conditional picks) seems to have been the market for a talent like Kane.
29. Ottawa Senators
Last week: 27 (-2)
You have to wonder what the return for Erik Karlsson would've been, but we'll find out for sure in the summer. Gives the Senators more time to evaluate the deals.
28. Montreal Canadiens
Last week: 28 (-)
The Habs got a nice return for Tomas Plekanec and getting defenseman Mike Rielly from the Wild on the cheap was good. Hanging on to Max Pacioretty was probably smart, given how low the return value would've been.
27. Vancouver Canucks
Last week: 29 (+2)
GM Jim Benning should've been able to get more for Thomas Vanek. Tyler Motte is fine, but a pick would've been better.
26. New York Rangers
Last week: 22 (-4)
They traded just about everyone they could, and seemingly got good returns for all of them. There are now some much needed picks for a franchise that didn't have many to start with.
25. Edmonton Oilers
Last week: 26 (+1)
Maybe there was an opportunity to get more for Pat Maroon, but overall not terrible. Pontus Aberg showed that he has some skill in the playoffs with Nashville.
24. Detroit Red Wings
Last week: 25 (+1)
What a return for Tomas Tatar—that blew expectations out of the water. The Wings didn't deal Mike Green, but Tatar's return is worth it.
23. Chicago Blackhawks
Last week: 23 (-)
It’s hard to do a full rebuild with the contracts they have, but getting a first-round pick for Ryan Hartman is an absolute steal.
22. Florida Panthers
Last week: 24 (+2)
Wisely, they decided to hold tight. There’s lots of intriguing young prospects—next season should be exciting.
21. Carolina Hurricanes
Last week: 19 (-2)
The Canes decided not to sell—or do anything for that matter. Should've done something for Marcus Kruger.
20. St. Louis Blues
Last week: 7 (-13)
Trading Paul Stastny is a sign the the season is officially over. Injuries killed this team. Should they have blown it up more?
19. New York Islanders
Last week: 20 (+1)
This team could've used a lot more than defenseman Brandon Davidson. It will still be hunting season on Isles' goalies.
18. Colorado Avalanche
Last week: 16 (-2)
It was prudent to stay put. The Avs are already ahead of schedule—no need to do anything crazy.
17. Los Angeles Kings
Last week: 17 (-)
Tobias Rieder is a nice piece, but certainly not enough to fix the offense. The Kings will have to hope Jeff Carter's return is sufficient
16. Columbus Blue Jackets
Last week: 21 (+5)
Thomas Vanek finally gives them some legit scoring, and Mark Letestu and Ian Cole are good depth pieces. Not sure it'll be enough to take them far.
15. Calgary Flames
Last week: 13 (-2)
Nick Shore is a nice depth guy, and Chris Stewart might see his game picked up playing with some super talented guys. But not a ton to move the needle.
14. New Jersey Devils
Additions of Maroon and Michael Grabner suggest a team that's going for it. Add in Sami Vatanen from earlier in the season, and the Devils are willing to risk their long-term prospects for short term gain. Very not Lou-like.
13. Dallas Stars
Last week: 18 (+5)
The Stars would've benefited from doing something, and it now seems they could fall behind.
12. Anaheim Ducks
Last week: 14 (+2)
Jason Chimera and Chris Kelly, along with J.T Brown, really round out the fourth line. Could've still used more offense, but the moves do give them depth.
11. Philadelphia Flyers
Last week: 15 (+4)
Petr Mrazek is a stabilizer in net and someone who is capable of getting hot for long stretches. They've been playing so well, that he's the type of move that could pay big dividends. Adding Johnny Oduya is a nice move.
10. San Jose Sharks
Last week: 11 (+1)
They were searching for some offense and Evander Kane can provide that. Is it enough to make a playoff run? We'll see, but they certainly needed the boost.
Last week: 10 (+1)
Derick Brassard is a big-game player who will fit in nicely on a line with Phil Kessel. The Pens might miss Ian cole, but this is about as deep a team as you can find.
8. Minnesota Wild
Last week: 12 (+4)
Standing pat is not a terrible option, especially how Martin Hanzal shook out last season. They need continued success from Eric Staal—a hat trick in an 8-3 rout of the Blues is good stuff.
Last week: 8 (+1)
They seemingly learned from last year's Kevin Shattenkirk trade. Adding Jakub Jerabek and Michal Kempny are the type of smaller moves that could pay dividends.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs
Last week: 5 (-1)
Tomas Plekanec is a nice addition, but the Leafs didn't do anything big to stay with Tampa Bay and Boston. Will it come back to bite them?
5. Boston Bruins
Last week: 3 (-2)
Rick Nash and Tommy Wingels are already contributing to an offense that will need to survive without Patrice Bergeron for at least a few weeks. Nick Holden and Brian Gionta add some depth that will come in handy during a packed stretch run. All in all, a pretty good deadline.
4. Winnipeg Jets
Last week: 6 (+2)
Paul Stastny has trended downward since getting to St. Louis, but he slides in as third-line center. Brassard might have been better, but if Stastny can regain even a bit of his former form, not a terrible deal. A goal in Tuesday’s loss to the Predators was a good start.
3. Nashville Predators
Last week: 4 (+1)
They skipped out on the huge deals, and probably gave up too much for Ryan Hartman. At this point, bigger addition might be the return of grizzled vet and briefly retired former captain Mike Fisher.
2. Vegas Golden Knights
Last week: 41-17-5
Record: 1 (-1)
The Wings gave up a lot for Tomas Tatar, but he's a good player and will help as a secondary scorer. Not sure what Ryan Reaves does, but if it helped Brassard not go to Winnipeg, probably worth it.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
Last week: 2 (+1)
Ryan McDonagh is now a second-pair defenseman while J.T. Miller probably slides in on the third or fourth line. It's a whale of a deal. Both have playoff experience, and both are bonus adds to a team that didn't need much. It's Cup-or-bust time.