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The NHL Trade Deadline’s Biggest Winners and Losers

Credit: Sam Navarro/USA Today Sports


No matter how bland the market seems to be, the NHL trade deadline which closed on Friday, March 8, always seems to deliver some of the best or most heartbreaking news for NHL fans and teams across the league.


The final day of the trade deadline was huge. However, the deals didn’t all come through on the final day, with the floodgates opening up earlier this week. With the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko, Noah Hanifin and Casey Mittelstadt changing teams last Wednesday, and the Jake Guentzel blockbuster trade coming through on Thursday. Friday featured another blockbuster trade, with Tomas Hertl heading over to the Vegas Golden Knights. Add them all up, and there were a total of 42 trades across the deadline, with 23 coming on that Friday. 


Those who have Stanley Cup aspirations this year like the Carolina Hurricanes or the Vegas Golden Knights, managed to strengthen their roster by adding some firepower and depth to an already powerful group of players who are looking to win it all. Those who are aiming to move assets and build a team that could contend in the future like the Calgary Flames, also had a successful deadline. However, as always, there have to be some winners and losers. 


To find a Stanley Cup winner who did not make a big trade deadline move in the past, you’d have to look back at the 2019 St. Louis Blues. The Blues made no deadline moves and kept a tight-knit roster throughout the entire season. However, they presumably made no moves because they didn’t even see themselves as contenders at the time. 


In 2020, the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, three players who were vital to Tampa’s back-to-back Cup wins in ‘20 and ‘21. In 2022, the Colorado Avalanche grabbed Artturi Lehkonen who scored eight playoff goals on the way to a Stanley Cup. Last year, the Vegas Golden Knights grabbed Ivan Barbashev, who racked up 18 points in 22 games on the way to their Stanley Cup win. 


However, as contenders tend to make moves in order to push them towards the cup or a deep playoff run at least, there have to be teams who make some bad moves or no moves at all during the deadline. So, who were this year’s winners and losers at the 2024 NHL trade deadline?


Thomas Hertl

Credits: Evan Sabourin/The Hockey Writers


The biggest winner of this year’s trade deadline, similar to last year, is the Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights added two above-average players in Noah Hanifin and Anthony Mantha as well as one superstar in Tomas Hertl to their roster without losing any of their firepower. Vegas is an aggressive deadline team, in the sense that fans question their legitimacy in terms of cap space and the LTIR. However, they’re not cheating, the sour fans just wish their team was as aggressive as Vegas. With the updated squad, the Knights are undoubtedly one of the Stanley Cup favourites. 


Another major winner is the Carolina Hurricanes. Finally, a deadline move from the Canes which they have desperately needed the past few seasons. After dominating regular season play year in and year out on the back of elite defensive play, the Canes have finally added the piece that could carry them past their postseason issues. With the addition of Jake Guentzel, the Canes are getting a winner, who has 34 goals in 58 playoff games. They also secured Evgeny Kuznetsov, another serial winner. With these pieces, do not be surprised if the Canes hand out some massive post-season upsets. 


Another winner is the Colorado Avalanche. Instead of watching the arms race pass them by, they decided to join it this year and add some pieces to an already-loaded roster. The Avs know what they are, a win-now organization with four of the best players in the world at the peak of their primes. The Avs shipped out young talent Bowen Byram but acquired Casey Mittelstadt, a much-needed centre with plenty of upside. They also acquired Sean Walker, Yakov Trenin and Brandon Duhaime. Now, the Avs are arguably the most dangerous team in the playoffs. 


However, with winners, there has to be at least one major loser. That loser this year is the San Jose Sharks. That Sharks organization is in absolute shambles, especially after this trade deadline. They shipped out their star player, Tomas Hertl, which somewhat makes sense, however, the return was pathetic. They now also have filled up all of their salary retention spots, meaning they can't take on any new deals until 2025-26. To make it worse, the Sharks then took on Vitek Vanecek, arguably the worst goalie in the NHL this season. The Sharks made an even bigger mess of an organization that’s already deep in the mud.


Cale Makar

Credit: Harry How/Getty Images 


Even though there may not have been the biggest names available to be moved this trade deadline, the fans got the best of a below-average situation. With over 40 trades completed over the course of three days, the playoffs will presumably look a little bit different than they did before the deadline. 


Highlighted by the Guentzel and Hertl trades, a few teams managed to strengthen their already stacked rosters. The Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche who were favourites to make deep playoff runs or a run at the Stanley Cup, are even stronger now. Whereas the San Jose Sharks, continue to make a mockery out of one of the worst teams and organisations in the NHL.


Whether your team was a winner or a loser this deadline, you can’t help but look forward to the NHL playoffs. Especially with these NHL giants strengthening their teams, it will be interesting to see who runs the show in this year’s quest for the Stanley Cup.



Edited By: Josh Reidelbach


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