The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and we have some clear-cut winners and losers. Based on the changes, here is a look at the teams who improved and are on the way up the futures board and a look at the teams who’ll become bigger longshots to win the Stanley Cup.
Odds On The Way Up
Vegas Golden Knights
Odds To Win Stanley Cup: +1600
The Vegas Knights are not having the type of Cinderella season they had last year but they are a top-six team in the Western Conference. They got a huge boost on Monday when they made the biggest move of the trade deadline.
The Knights picked up Mark Stone from the Ottawa Senators and promptly signed him to an eight-year extension. He was the top player on the market – a two-way player who is usually in the running for the Selke Trophy – and an excellent addition to their top-six forwards. This is a big shot in the arm to the team.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Odds To Win Stanley Cup: +2200
The Sens fire sale didn’t stop with Stone as they also traded away Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. The latter two went to the Blue Jackets, who were already #10 in scoring in the NHL (3.20 goals per game). Add this duo with Artemi Panarin and the Blue Jackets are suddenly a dangerous team few teams want to see in the first round of the playoffs.
Remember, this franchise has never won a playoff series in its 20-year existence. Could they lose Panarin and a lot more in free agency as a result of these moves? Yes. However, they’ve won seven of 10, really bolstered their lineup and can probably beat anyone outside of Tampa Bay in a series now.
Odds To Win Stanley Cup: +1200
The Predators entered Monday in fourth in the Western Conference with 77 points but they’ve been a fading brand. After starting the season out 22-10-1, they’ve been a losing team, going 14-13-4 in their last 31 games. Their offense has been inconsistent, scoring 2.57 goals per game in December (24 in NHL), 3.42 in January (7) and just 2.67 in February (21).
However, the additions of Wayne Simmonds and Mikael Granlund is going to help.
Granlund will offer a both ends of the ice while Simmonds gives the Preds a big power forward to crash the net. That should be a real asset in the playoffs – even if he’s had a down year. The Preds power play needs a lot of help as they’ve ranked 29th in the league this season. The good news is Simmonds has the second-most power play goals in the NHL since 2011-12.
On The Way Down
Odds To Win Stanley Cup: +4000
It’s been a rough stretch for the Stars. They have dropped six of nine but are still in playoff positioning. Management made a couple of moves to give this team a vote of confidence by acquiring Mats Zuccarello.
However, he broke his arm blocking a shot for his new team and is going to be out a month. They’re basically where they started, which means they’re still looking for offense.
New York Islanders
Odds To Win Stanley Cup: +1800
The Islanders weren’t expected to be in this position – to be a team who is contending and could add at the trade deadline – but they’ll probably look back and kick themselves.
Yes, nobody thought the Islanders would be one of the top teams in the East. Nobody thought the goaltending duo of Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner would be the best netminders in the league. At the same time, this team needs help on offense.
They lead the league in goals allowed (just 146 so far) but they have scored the second-fewest in the Eastern Conference. Given that Duchene and Stone didn’t cost both arms and a leg (and the Knights already extended Stone) really makes you wonder just where the Isles would have been had they made a couple of moves.
As it stands, they’re likely a few bricks short of a load and their positive season will end early in the playoffs.