2023 NHL Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

Here’s who hit it big at the trade deadline, who flopped, and what are the Philadelphia Flyers doing?

The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone - the Blue Jackets were active, but not to the level to raise to one of the biggest winners in the league, nor did they screw up enough to be one of the losers. For the Jackets news, catch up on our coverage here:

Gus Nyquist dealt to Minnesota
Gavrikov, Korpisalo traded to Kings
Jonathan Quick traded to Vegas
Jake Voracek traded to Arizona in cap dump

Today, we will take a look at the league as a whole - who positioned themselves better for the Cup chase, who missed out on opportunities to tank better, and what in the world are the Philadelphia Flyers doing?


Boston Bruins

The best team in the NHL (currently on pace for 64 wins and 136 points) went out and got even better. After moving on from the Blue Jackets’ offer and adding a better defenseman than Vladislav Gavrikov in Dmitry Orlov, adding bottom-six pest Garnet Hathaway, and using suddenly available cap space to bring in Tyler Bertuzzi, the Bruins extended their lead at the front of the horse race. With Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno coming back for the playoffs, the Bruins are a terrifying juggernaut.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils may not have become the best team at the deadline, but they added the pound for pound best player available by bringing Timo Meier over from the San Jose Sharks. The Devils paid less than expected for Meier, trading only a conditional first, a second, and a seventh rounder with four prospects (none of which were ranked as the top four prospects in the Devils’ organization). Meier, who has 31 goals thus far this season, should fit nicely next to the breaking-out Jack Hughes and make the Devils a formidable opponent in the Metro Division.

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers, in desperate need of defensive help, acquired Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators in exchange for Tyson Barrie, a prospect, and two draft picks. Ekholm has two years left on his deal after this one, but in a season where Connor McDavid leads the NHL with 52-70-122 and Leon Draisaitl is second with 41-55-96 in points scored, Ken Holland owed it to those players to try to shore up his subpar defense and try to make the conference finals in a down year in the Western Conference. The Oilers have two of the five best players in the NHL - any year they are not swinging for the fences is a waste of another year of McDavid and Draisaitl.

Honorable mention: Nashville Predators

David Poile, months before stepping down as GM, finally made the decision the Predators needed to make and committed to rebuilding. He captured five assets for Tanner Jeannot. He traded Mattias Ekholm and got two draft picks. Poile even managed to turn Mikael Granlund into a second rounder with no salary retained (more on this later). The Predators finally accepted their reality and committed to starting the tear-down right as Barry Trotz is coming home to run the franchise. A home run deadline for the Predators.


Pittsburgh Penguins

The oldest team in the league somehow managed to get older while not giving Sidney Crosby and co. a real chance at another Stanley Cup. Teddy Blueger was dumped to Vegas while GM Ron Hextall brought in Mikael Granlund (at his full salary - $5 million per year with two more years after this one, 9 goals this season), Nick Bonino (a maybe fourth line depth guy), and Dmitry Kulikov (old depth player who doesn’t help). Hextall made the cap situation worse without helping the Penguins get closer to winning the Cup this season. You hate to see it.

Vancouver Canucks

Imagine if the Columbus Blue Jackets bought a win-now player at this year’s trade deadline. That’s basically what the Vancouver Canucks did. The Canucks brought in Filip Hronek from the Detroit Red Wings for a first and second round pick in 2023, a move that leaves the Canucks committed to the most money against the salary cap next season of any team in the NHL. The Canucks, whose prospect pipeline is threadbare, now no longer have a pick in the first two rounds of this year’s draft. If there’s a plan here from Jeremy Rutherford, it’s impossible to see. Oh, and they failed to unload JT Miller before his absurd extension kicks in. Not great, Bob!

Philadelphia Flyers

What in the world are the Flyers doing.

No, seriously.

The Flyers made a few fringe moves (trading Zack MacEwen and Patrick Brown for late-round picks), but got stuck holding the bag with James van Riemsdyk as apparently trades fell through and one of the highest-profile rentals ended up not moving at all. The Flyers did nothing to “get younger,” a stated goal of the organization, were left holding on to van Riemsdyk’s deal, and a team that is bad, capped out, and with minimal options did absolutely nothing to even take advantage of the limited moves it could make. Chuck Fletcher ‘s deadline was terrible (he was quoted as receiving two calls for his players while he made 17), and it’s unclear why he deserves to keep his job as GM of the Flyers.

Honorable Mention: Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes stated asking price for Jakob Chychrun was two first round picks and a first round-talent prospect. Instead, they traded Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators for a conditional first in 2023, a conditional second in 2024, and a second in 2026. The Coyotes held out for a high price before capitulating for far less than their price. The Coyotes gained a few extra picks for retaining salary on players like Patrick Kane, but also dumped Troy Stetcher, Nick Bjugstad, and Shayne Gostisbehere while taking on Jakub Voracek’s cap hit for basically nothing. The Coyotes are basically a Ponzi scheme at this point and yet still somehow the Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers had worse trade deadlines. Great job, Ron Hextall and Jeremy Rutherford!

Who were your trade deadline winners and losers? What did you think of the Blue Jackets relative to the rest of the league? Sound off below!

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