Today is the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Today is the last day for teams to register trades that will allow players to participate in the playoffs. In other words, it is effectively the last day for trades to be made during the season. All deals must be registered with the league’s offices by 3 PM ET. Some may get reported after 3 PM ET, but today’s deadline is with actually registering the trade with the league. That is the true deadline.
A whole lot has happened. Let me try to summarize it all as best as I can as a day-of preview of the day. As this is a New Jersey Devils blog, let us begin with the Devils.
The Devils Situation
They got Timo Meier. On Sunday, Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald and San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier completed the deal. The Devils got Meier with 50% of his salary retained, a fifth round pick in 2024, Scott Harrington (already waived and claimed by Anaheim), and three minor league players in Timur Ibragimov, Santeri Hatakka, and Zach Emond. The Sharks received Andreas Johnsson, Fabian Zetterlund, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Nikita Okhotiuk, a top-two protected 2023 first round pick, a conditional 2024 second round pick, and a 2024 seventh round pick. Yes, the Devils got a dominant top-six forward who can produce, drive play, and make the Devils forwards vastly deeper. All without giving up Dawson “DAWGSON” Mercer, Alex Holtz, Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec, Seamus Casey, Arseni Gritsyuk, Topias Vilen, Akira Schmid, Nico Daws, or Graeme Clarke.
So now what do the Devils do? Especially in the wake of the entire league deciding to make this week all about trades?
The Devils should be buyers if they are anything. They stand set in second place in the Metropolitan Division and still chasing Carolina for first. The Meier deal is definitely a “go for it” decision as much as it is a decision for future if/when Fitzgerald inks Meier to an extension. According to CapFriendly, here is what they have on the books:
- They are projected to have $1.26 million in cap space by Friday.
- They have 44 contracts out of 50 signed.
- They have 23 players on their active roster.
- The injured reserve has Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier on long-term IR. Both are goalies.
If the Devils need to make space for their active roster, then that is simple with a transaction to Utica. They have some players who are ineligible for waivers so they can be sent down at any point. Akira Schmid is with New Jersey on an emergency loan and he is waiver ineligible anyway. Kevin Bahl is also waiver ineligible. The recently called up Clarke is also waiver ineligible; he was sent down on Wednesday night as a paper transaction - which means he stays with the team physically and is only in Utica on paper. They could also make a paper move for Mercer, who is also ineligible, but there is no need for that given Bahl and Clarke on the roster.
The Devils do not have a ton of cap space to play with but they could go after a veteran for depth at either forward, defense, or goaltender. Among them, a bottom-six forward may be the easiest to get. The defense is seemingly fine with Kevin Bahl and Brendan Smith in the sixth spot. I think the Devils trust Akira Schmid in case Mackenzie Blackwood is injured. Given that the team waived Harrington just after getting him in the Meier trade, I would expect the veteran to be at least better than him. We shall see if they can fit anyone - if anyone is left.
Notable Pre-Deadline Day Moves
How much time do you have for this? The league has been absolutely active with making deals. So much so that I wonder if some teams had an internal trade deadline day earlier in the week. Here are the major ones made since February 23:
- February 23 - Ottawa dumped Nikita Zaitsev’s awful contract to Chicago with a 2023 second round pick and a 2026 fourth rounder for Future Considerations. This effectively set up a deal just this past Wednesday.
- February 23 - Washington sent Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to Boston for Craig Smith, Boston’s 2023 first rounder, 2024 third rounder, and 2025 second rounder. Minnesota facilitated this deal by retaining some of Orlov’s salary and received Boston’s fifth rounder in 2023. Columbus kept Vladislav Gavrikov as a scratch pending a deal to Boston, only for the B’s to rebuff the Blue Jackets and make this deal. Poor Jarmo Kekalainen.
- February 25 - Nashville decided to become sellers and that began with moving Nino Neiderreiter to Winnipeg for a second round pick in 2024.
- February 26 - As the insiders and pundits and journalists waited for the full details of the Timo Meier trade, everyone’s brain kind of broke when Tampa Bay acquired Tanner Jeannot from Nashville. Check out what Tampa Bay gave up: Cal Foote (OK), Tampa Bay’s third, fourth, and fifth round picks in 2023 (uh), Tampa Bay’s second round pick in 2024 (wait), and Tampa Bay’s first round pick in 2025 (why). Jeannot garnered a player and five picks in return, possibly one for each goal he had with the Preds this season. Julien BriesBois of Tampa Bay does not care for those picks.
- February 27 - A day after Johnsson was moved, ex-Devil prospect Joey Anderson was moved. Toronto sent Anderson, Pavel Gogolev, a 2025 first round pick with top-10 protection, and a 2026 second round pick to Chicago for Jake McCabe with 50% retained salary, Sam Lafferty, a conditional 2024 fifth round pick, and a conditional 2025 fifth round pick. This was a shrewd move as McCabe was a good player on a really bad Chicago team.
- February 28 - Carolina has decided to make an addition of their own. They acquired Jesse Puljujarvi from Edmonton for Patrik Puistola. Puljujarvi needed a scenery change in the worst way. He is solid off the puck and drives play well without much production. The Hurricanes can absolutely fit him in.
- February 28 - The Washington sell-off continued with moving Marcus Johansson to Minnesota for a third rounder in 2024.
- February 28 - Not content with moving Johnasson alone, Washington moved on from Erik Gustafsson. He was traded to Toronto for Rasmus Sandin and Boston’s first round pick in 2023, which Toronto previously owned. Sandin should be an upgrade over Gustafsson.
- February 28 - Toronto made their second deal of the day by sending Pierre Engvall to the Islanders for a 2024 third round pick. The Isles added depth.
- February 28 - Toronto made their third and final deal of the day by sending a 2023 third rounder to Vancouver for Luke Schenn. Yes, the Leafs added McCabe, Gustafsson, and Schenn to their blueline within 48 hours. Clearly, Kyle Dubas wanted to beef that up.
- February 28 - Edmonton decided to get involved in this whole “trade for a defender” thing. They made a bigger trade. They got Mattias Ekholm and a 2024 sixth round pick from Nashville for Ty Barrie, Reid Schaefer, a 2023 first round pick, and a 2024 fourth round pick. Ekholm is really good, but can he handle Edmonton?
- February 28 - Gustav Nyquist was injured but was dealt in what was one of the funnier deals so far. Remember that fifth rounder Minnesota got from Boston for making the Orlov deal happen? The one that Boston made after spurning a deal with Columbus for Gavrikov? Minnesota sent that fifth round pick to Columbus for Nyquist. Even off the ice, the Blue Jackets suffer ‘L’s this season.
- February 28 - Patrick Kane whined about Our Hated Rivals getting Vladimir Tarasenko instead of him. Kane was only willing to waive his trade clause to go to Manhattan. This meant Chicago had little leverage in getting anything close to a fair return. The deal: Our Hated Rivals got Kane and Cooper Zech. Chicago got Andy Welinski, a conditional second round pick in 2023, and a fourth rounder in 2025. Arizona got involved to take on 25% of Kane’s salary to make it work and they got Vili Saarijarvi from Chicago and a 2025 third round pick from Our Hated Rivals. They got a stud scoring winger that plays no defense. Like a souped up Petr Sykora. Will he help them or join a long list of aging big name players that helped the Our Hated Rivals win diddley squat?
- March 1 - Just after Los Angeles won a shootout over Winnipeg, 6-5, the Kings decided to move Jonathan Quick. One of the heroes from their 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cups. It’s a tough business. Quick, a conditional first round pick in 2023, and a third round pick in 2024 were sent to Columbus for Joonas Korpisalo and Vladislav Gavrikov. OK, Kekalainen was not forced to move Gavrikov for nothing. Good for him! Los Angeles, that’s a harsh way to move a significant figure, but goaltending has been a need for the Kings. As for Quick, he will not stay long in Ohio.
- March 1 - The Washington sale continues: They send Lars Eller to Colorado for a 2025 second round pick. Washington is retaining 31% of Eller’s salary too. Eller played against the Devils on Wednesday.
- March 1 - Carolina beefed up their blueline by getting Shayne Gostisbehere from Arizona for a 2026 third round pick. That is not a typo. A 2026 third rounder. You could not ask for more?
- March 1 - In one of the strangest trades made so far, Vancouver decided to add Filip Hronek and a fourth round pick from Detroit. The Canucks gave Detroit a conditional first round pick in 2023 originally from the Islanders and a second round pick in 2023. Why is a bad Vancouver team adding Hronek? Why are they moving picks out? How are they over the cap for next season already?
- March 1 - Arizona finally moved Jakob Chychrun. To Ottawa of all teams. Remember that Zaitsev dump at the top of this list? That led to this trade. Ottawa gets Chychrun. Arizona got a top-five protected first round pick in 2023, a conditional second round pick in 2024, and a second round pick in 2026. That’s it, Arizona? You could not ask for anything more than that? Also, Ottawa, you’re way behind in the wild card race.
- March 1 - Pittsburgh waived Teddy Blueger on February 28. He was not claimed. He was sent to Las Vegas on March 1 for Peter Diliberatore and a third round pick in 2024.
- March 1 - Pittsburgh did make an addition, helped by moving out Blueger. They got Mikael Granlund from Nashville for a 2023 second round pick.
- March 2 - Boston is not done adding. Shortly before locking up David Pastrnak for eight seasons, they send a 2024 first round pick with top-10 protection and a 2025 fourth round pick to Detroit for Tyler Bertuzzi. Detroit is retaining 50% of Bertuzzi’s salary.
- March 2 - Jon Quick lasted all of one day as a Blue Jacket. He was sent to Las Vegas for Michael Hutchinson and a 2025 seventh rounder. Quick is definitely past it but Las Vegas needed a goaltender and Quick could have a chance to take out his anger on the Kings in that division. He was not happy about the deal, now he is on a rival team.
- March 2 - Arizona took on Jakub Voracek’s contract and a 2023 sixth round pick from Columbus for Jon Gillies. The desert remains the dumping ground for big deals with little money. This is significant as it means the Coyotes can just sell off even more as Voracek’s contract ensures they remain at the cap floor. Edmonton took advantage of that first by sending Michael Kesselring and a third rounder in 2023 to Arizona for Nick Bjugstad and Cam Dineen.
- March 2 - Max Domi is off the board too. It was finalized late in the day but the deal was Domi and Dylan Wells to Dallas. Chicago received Anton Khudobin and a second rounder in 2025. Domi even walked to his new team as Dallas played Chicago last night.
If that list seems long, then consider there have been 41 total trades prior to deadline day. I do not want to read or hear any complaints in the hockey media about a boring trade deadline for a while. Sure, there may not be a lot happening today itself but this has been an incredible amount of action for a week. Teams up against the cap were able to make moves. Three-team trades with salary retentions happened. Unhappy players (Kane, Gavrikov, Quick) added to the drama. Teams have been creative. There even have been some real head-scratchers. The Hockey People in the hockey media got what they wanted in terms of a trade deadline period. I expect them to forget this and make this same complaint next year.
Could there be more activity? I think so. Montreal has not sold all that much. Ditto for Philadelphia. Minnesota has a lot of space to spend as well to strengthen their playoff push. Buffalo has more cap space than anyone else in the NHL and they could (and, in my view, should) be buyers this year. Vancouver continues to confuse me and surely others so they are a total wild card today. I am somewhat expecting others who have been quiet to be more active as the 3 PM deadline approaches. Plenty can happen even if it is not so obvious. Whether that involves the Devils will depend on Fitzgerald, what he is willing to give up, and what is out there.
This is an open post for you to discuss whatever happens today for the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. What has happened - a lot has happened!, what could happen, what does happen, and what should not happen in terms of trades and transactions. Please feel free to comment about what the New Jersey Devils should do, should not do, and what they have done so far. You can even talk up what other teams should, should not do, and what they have done so far.
The annual reminder: Please do not post false rumors, “hot tips from sources” that nobody knows, and cite Twitter accounts that are not legitimate or real insiders. Nobody here has the time for riling people up over fake rumors and made up nonsense that would not even work in a videogame. Instead, please stick to following real people with real Verified marks - be sure to check for it, that it is not a ‘7’ - on Twitter accounts. Please follow real sources of news from known beat reporters to big companies (e.g. TSN’s Tradecentre) to even the team’s official website and/or social media accounts. As always: It’s better to be right than first. All other rules apply (no trolling, no swearing, no personal attacks etc.) to this post as well.
Thank you for reading and enjoy the activity of the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.