Last Word on Hockey is breaking down all of the moves made across the NHL at the March 3 trade deadline Next up is the Pacific division. The West as a whole was relatively quiet, and the Pacific division was no exception. With most teams being sellers rather than buyers, the long-term impacts remain to be seen.
Examining the Pacific Division Deadline Moves
The Ducks pulled off a big move right at the wire. Minutes before the deadline closed, they completed a trade to send veteran defenceman John Klingberg. He goes to the Wild in exchange for a 2025 fourth-round pick. Anaheim is also retaining 50% of Klingberg’s salary. Currently bottom of the division, the Ducks are gearing up for a larger rebuild. They will likely try to move bigger pieces like Adam Henrique and Kevin Shattenkirk when free agency opens this summer. Unloading Klingberg’s contract for any assets is a win for Anaheim. It allows them to start building a framework around young stars Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Mason McTavish. Bringing in Penguins winger Brock McGinn in exchange for Dmitry Kulikov only reinforces the idea that the Ducks are building from the ground up.
Our next team for the Pacific Division Trade Deadline is Calgary. The Flames are another team that was exceptionally quiet at the deadline. After making a few big offseason moves, they were expected to put up more of a fight in the division. However, the overall effect has been underwhelming, placing them fifth in the division and currently outside of playoff contention. The Flames have all the pieces to be a great team, they just haven’t quite been able to put the puzzle together. With more consistent production from players like Andrew Mangiapane and Jonathan Huberdeau, they could slip into a wild-card spot ahead of a Winnipeg Jets team that has been struggling. While the market may have been ripe for the Flames to capitalize on returns (a la Nashville and Tanner Jeannot), they’re not entirely out of the playoff picture. With the team they have in front of them, making holding at the deadline not a bad decision.
The Oilers made a surprise move ahead of the deadline. by acquiring defenceman Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators in exchange for Tyson Barrie, Reid Schaefer, and first- and fourth-round picks this summer. They also added Nick Bjugstad from the Arizona Coyotes in a late move Thursday. Ekholm adds another layer of protection behind Connor McDavid. He also provides a veteran presence on a defensive core that has struggled to be able to support their star. Their third pairing of Philip Broberg and Brett Kulak still leaves something to be desired, but adding Ekholm in on the second pair takes some of the pressure off of Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci. Ekholm is a solid trade that clearly addresses the biggest need that the Oilers have heading into the postseason. The Oilers were also able to unload Jesse Puljujarvi to Carolina. Puljujarvi is a player with an immense potential upside, but his career has struggled in Edmonton, making it difficult for the Oilers to justify keeping him around. While the Oilers didn’t make the flashiest moves, they were able to pinpoint their weaknesses.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings moved long-time goaltender Jonathan Quick to the Columbus Blue Jackets. They acquired defender Vladislav Gavrikov and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo in return. The trade seems like the ideal situation for the Kings. With Quick having his worst year ever and a save percentage of .876, the Kings replace a lacklustre performance in Korpisalo. Los Angeles did add Gavrikov to bolster the back end. The move was shocking, as Quick has been a pillar of the Kings since being drafted by them 16 years ago. However, with news of Quick’s trade to divisional rival Vegas Golden Knights, it may be a move they come to regret. The Kings also sent Brendan Lemieux to Philadelphia in exchange for Zack MacEwen, meant to increase the physical presence of the Kings’ fourth line. Los Angeles effectively addressed their biggest weakness, even though the move came at a high personal price.
San Jose Sharks
While the Pacific division overall was notably short of blockbuster trades, the San Jose Sharks hold the distinction of perhaps the most high-profile trade of the entire deadline. Rumours had been swirling around forward Timo Meier for months, and the Sharks finally sealed the deal. They sent the 26-year-old to New Jersey. They received Andreas Johnsson, Fabian Zetterlund, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Nikita Okhotiuk, and two picks in return. It has not been a secret that the Sharks are looking to sell, and the trade was no surprise to Meier himself or the fanbase. Through this trade, the Sharks were able to unload a player who cost more than they can afford, and they get a few young players with potential from New Jersey. San Jose also made a late move to flip centre Nick Bonino to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7th-round pick, opening up another spot in their bottom six. San Jose was hoping to acquire a bigger talent from the Devils, but made the most of the return and set themselves up for success in the future.
The Kraken’s biggest need is goaltending. They have Martin Jones and Philipp Grubauer as their tandem currently, and neither player is posting a save percentage above .895. It’s clearly the largest weakness for a Seattle team that has a lot of potential. However, the Kraken did not make a move to address it. At some point, push is going to come to shove, and the Kraken will need to get a solid goalie on board. But until then, they have a strong team without a ton of holes. The targets here should have been Cam Talbot of the Senators and Karel Vejmelka of the Coyotes, but the return price may have been too high for the Kraken to make a deal.
The Vancouver Canucks had two big names up on the trade board before the deadline. Both Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller were names that had been tossed around the rumour mill for weeks prior to the deadline. The Canucks made a few smaller moves, trading Luke Schenn to Toronto for a third-round pick and Curtis Lazar to New Jersey for a fourth-round pick. However, the only big move was acquiring defenceman Filip Hronek from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for first- and second-round picks. For the Canucks, who are solidly in the middle of a rebuild, trading away valuable front-end picks for a 25-year-old having a career year seems ridiculous. However, the Canucks are weak on the right side, and were able to grab a solid young player with a big upside. It’s a risky gamble, and one the Canucks are desperately hoping pays off. They recoup some of the loss with middling picks in the Schenn and Lazar trades, but will still be hoping that Hronek lives up to the hype.
Vegas Golden Knights
If there’s one thing to know about Vegas, it’s that they are going to make a splashy move. This year, it’s trading for former LA Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, sending AHL talent Michael Hutchinson and a seventh-round pick to Columbus. They also made a smaller move, acquiring centre Teddy Blueger from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Vegas is lacking in scoring, especially on the wing. The ideal would have been acquiring a high-powered offensive weapon like Brock Boeser or Tyler Bertuzzi, but injuries to goaltenders Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit necessitated a move for a netminder that can handle a playoff load. Blueger also adds a veteran composure to a young fourth line of Paul Cotter and Keegan Kolesar. It wasn’t ideal, but Vegas added strength where they needed to.
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