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NHL trade deadline; teams beef up leading to playoffs

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NHL trade deadline; teams beef up leading to playoffs

Stefano Durante, Staff Writer

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As the 3 p.m. deadline finished up on February 25th, NHL teams were quickly said to be either ‘pretenders’ or ‘legit cup contenders.’

The day featured big trades into the final hours and many big names gone leading up to the deadline.

A notable trade on Saturday, February 23rd, was when Dallas Stars traded for New York Rangers star forward Mats Zuccarello in exchange for two conditional draft picks. It was not a surprise of Mats being traded. Rumors have been swirling around the last few years around this time that Mats would be dealt.

It’s a good move for the Stars who are looking for a little more depth up front and also for the Norwegian forward who needed a fresh new start with a team that has the weapons to make a good playoff run.

Early on Monday morning saw Detroit trading forward Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks for a couple of draft picks. This move is a huge one for the Sharks who are a team that has the players to make a deep run and with the addition of Nyquist it really gives them a legit scoring threat from the first line to the third. The Winnipeg Jets looked like to be a team on the move to a Stanley Cup appearance this year with adding forward Kevin Hayes from the Rangers.

Picture credit: NHL.com

Acquiring Hayes gives the Jets a 2ndline center who has a scoring touch. The Boston native has 14 goals for 42 points this season. Winnipeg also boosted their defensive depth with adding Nathan Beaulieu helping to add stability to a D-core that has lost Josh Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien.

AIC senior student and captain of the ice hockey team Shawn McBride shared his thoughts.

“The Jets are a big contender for the Stanley Cup this year,” McBride said.

“Top to bottom this team is stacked and the addition of Kevin Hayes only helps them. He is a big body that can play on the wing or center and provide scoring while playing a strong defensive game. He is the type of guy you want on your team come playoff time. The Jets roster is already very impressive, and this adds to it,” McBride said.

The Nashville Predators also looked like a team that could make a big run to the Stanley Cup Finals once again with the additions of Mikael Granlund, and Wayne Simmonds adding more scoring to the Preds second and third lines. These additions could help with the lack of offense from the Preds in the playoffs.

Sticking in the Western Conference and probably what I believe the biggest move of the day is the Vegas Golden Knights landing Mark Stone and Tobias Lindberg from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg and a 2ndround pick.

The Golden Knights, a team who were the Stanley cup runner ups after an incredible dream inaugural season acted fast and extended Stone to a big deal at an annual value of $9.5million for 8 years. The addition helps Vegas in a big way and can help create some more success for them as they go down this final stretch into the playoffs. Stone looks promising to play as the 2ndline right winger with Pacioretty and Stastny.

In the Eastern Conference, the big trade that made shockwaves through the NHL was Matt Duchene being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a few draft picks and two forwards. The Senators were perceived of going into the deadline as “sellers” and shipping off some good players who would be moving on. A day later Columbus was in the mix again receiving Ryan Dzingel from the Senators in exchange for forward Anthony Duclair and few more draft picks. Ottawa looked to be loading up for the future, and Columbus looking to be making a run to the finals. Columbus also added defenseman Adam McQuaid to add grit to their blueline and also KeithKinkaid in net to have a steady back up behind Sergei Bobrovsky with questions of him leaving at the end of the season.

AIC junior student and a member of the AIC hockey team Pat Demel commented on the Blue Jackets moves going into the final stretch of the season and how they changed from a “pretender” to a “cup contender.”

“Columbus is all in this year,” Demel said. “With Duchene and Dzingel they added extra skill their top 9. They definitely let the rest of the league know that they are a serious cup contender.”

Picture credit: NHL.com

Local Boston Bruins made 2 trades before the deadline receiving Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild to even out the Bruins 3rdline and also added a little more of a scoring touch in the 28-year-old right winger who is playing with Debrusk and Krejci and should take a load off the shoulders of the top line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak.

The day of the deadline was an exciting one and best one in the last few years. The West big guns look to keep their pace headed down the final stretch here after loading up with some key acquisitions and the East looks to be shaping much differently with Columbus loading up with top talent and look like a team that can do some damage through the playoffs. With about 20 games left in the regular season, it will be a wild ride to the last day of the regular season.

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NHL trade deadline; teams beef up leading to playoffs