It's that time of year again. The NHL Trade Deadline is next week and in the buildup to the deadline, tons of trade rumors (most of them overblown) are ruling the NHL media landscape. The Vegas Golden Knights are expected to make a move, with captain Mark Stone now on LTIR.
I've only been an NHL media member for two seasons, but I've been an NHL fan since I was eight. So I've lived through several TDLs and I have come to the following conclusion regarding the day: The deadline is overblown and never results in anything good except for mostly bad trades, and overhyped fans.
Let me explain what I mean.
I think the trade deadline is a great tool for contending teams to add complimentary players to their already strong rosters. I also think it is a great tool for rebuilding teams to sell off assets. I do not think it is a good place for contending teams to add star players as rentals to try and go "all in."
This isn't the NBA, as these moves never work in the NHL.
Every year we see a fake contender trade for a big player and it dominates the news cycle for weeks on end. But these players never go on to achieve the ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup, with their new teams. Instead, they become players who you forgot played for that specific franchise, and the draft picks and prospects that were paid to acquire that player, even if they don't pan out, always look more appetizing in retrospect.
Here are some recent examples.
- 2022- Panthers trade for Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot, Rangers trade for Andrew Copp.
- 2021- Capitals trade for Anthony Mantha, Red Winsg get Jakub Vrana. Panthers trade for Sam Bennett.
- 2020- Penguins trade for Patrick Marleau, Hurricanes trade for Sami Vatanen, Vincent Trochek, and Brady Skeji.
- 2019- Blue Jackets trade for Matt Duchene, Stars trade for Mats Zuccarello, Jets trade for Kevin Hayes, Sharks trade for Gus Nyquist.
- 2018- Penguins trade for Derrick Brassard, Bruins trade for Rick Nash, Jets trade for Paul Stastny, Golden Knights trade for Tomas Tatar.
- 2017- Capitals trade for Kevin Shattenkirk. Kings trade for Ben Bishop and Jarome Iginla. Panthers trade for Tomas Vanek.
- 2016- Rangers trade for Eric Staal. Bruins trade for Lee Stempniak. Avalanche trade for Mikkel Boedker.
Let me specify and say that most of these players were pure rentals. I think moves that involve an extension, such as Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins last season or Bo Horvat to the Islanders this year are wiser. Heck, Mark Stone was technically a trade deadline acquisition by the Golden Knights.
Whoever trades for guys like Timo Meier and Jakob Chychrun, young players who either have term or can be signed to an extension, are onto something.
But pure rentals for big-name players never work. I can already confirm to you that neither the Toronto Maple Leafs nor New York Rangers will win the Stanley Cup this season. The same goes for whoever trades for Patrick Kane, which might actually be the Vegas Golden Knights.
If you look back at the last few Stanley Cup winners you can see that none of them used the deadline to acquire star talent. Instead, they added complimentary depth pieces as they were already a strong team and not a fake contender.
- 2022 Colorado Avalanche- added Josh Manson, Nico Sturm, Artturi Lehkonen, and Andrew Cogliano.
- 2021 Tampa Bay Lightning- added David Savard
- 2020 Tampa Bay Lightning- added Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow
- 2019 St. Louis Blues- added Michael Del Zotto
- 2018 Washington Capitals- added Michal Kempny
- 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins- added Ron Hainsey and Mark Streit
- 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins- added Justin Schultz
(You're hearing it here first- the Boston Bruins will trade for Vladislav Gavrikov and win the Stanley Cup this season.)
So with all that being said what does this mean for the Vegas Golden Knights? Well, considering I don't view them as a legitimate Stanley Cup Contender, they should avoid the likes of trading for a star rental at the deadline. Trading for Patrick Kane would be a huge mistake by general manager Kelly McCrimmon.
Just because the deadline is approaching and the cap space is there with Stone out, it does not mean you have to make a big trade.
To be honest, there aren't any names on the trade market I think the VGK should go after as they are either pure rentals, too old, or players that simply do not project to fit well in the team's system.
For the Golden Knights, I think Timo Meier is the only player worth trading for given that he is young, skilled, and an RFA. But that would cost a fortune to not only trade for him, but to re-sign him and manage the cap accordingly.
Like every year before, I don't have high expectations for this year's trade deadline. Im expecting more costly trades and fanbases to get overhyped because they added a big name and are "going to win the Cup."
For all of VHN's trade deadline content, check out our trade roundup page.