The Western Conference has better overall teams right now but they usually are the division that beats the hell out of each other and the Eastern Conference team takes advantage of that. The West this season have four of the 10 top teams in the NHL. All these teams are just trying to one-up each other and a lot of trades occurred within this conference. Almost all of them.
- Nashville Predators: A very big day for the Predators, they added the perfect model for playoff hockey and a great third line, second line winger, power play guy in Wayne Simmonds. As well add some a solid two-way forward in Mikael Granlund who will come in and play on the second line right away. The Predators bolster that offensive front end even more now. With the additions of Simmonds, Granlund and Boyle the Predators seem like the Blue Jackets of the West. The Predators are really one piece away from a Cup. They have the best back end in hockey, a solid goaltender and now a very deep front end. I would be shocked not to see this team deep in the playoffs.
- Winnipeg Jets: Adding more forward depth in Kevin Hayes immediately makes the Jets a stronger team. With the addition of Hayes it allows for now three producing forward lines. The Jets nine look like, Wheeler, Scheifele, Connor, Hayes, Laine, Ehlers, Little, Perreault and Roslovic cannot be disappointed in that front nine. The Jets are a very good team and are going to find their stride here soon but also the addition of Nathan Beulieu and Matt Hendricks add some depth that will be needed come playoff time.
- Vegas Golden Knights: Anytime you add a 30-goal scorer you immediately are a winner and that is what Vegas did. They win the Stone sweepstakes and now make their top-nine very dangerous. Pairing Stone on that first line with William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault will be interesting to watch. Which also means that Riley Smith moves to the third line and Cody Eakin and Brandon Pirri, Smith third line is pretty solid. Could have used a minor defenseman move but the Knights add a very good playoff player and an overall great teammate and competitor in Stone that is going to make this team a lot better.
- San Jose Sharks: Adding Gustav Nyquist is very big. Nyquist is a veteran forward who can play top-six minutes, power play and is a great play maker. Pairing him with Joe Thornton and Kevin LeBlanc will pay off but Nyquist gets paired with a goal scorer like Kane, Couture, Hertl or Pavelski it could be big for the Sharks. A great move by the Sharks to add Nyquist a guy in his prime time, loads of experience and a versatile player come this push for the playoffs. This will be a trade we look back on and say really helped improve the Sharks roster the 2019 playoff run.
Calgary Flames: After you miss the playoffs and then bounce back and have this year, the Flames should of done something. They added a depth defenseman but that is not going to be the make or break between winning a playoff series vs Winnipeg or Nashville. The Flames are good young team that probably did not want to ruin the chemistry but still adding some depth on the front end would have been big. Adding Kevin Hayes would have been really big, Hayes and Gaudreau have such a chemistry too that you would think it would have been easier to land Hayes. For a team that turned it around like this and did nothing is a little disappointing.
Chicago Blackhawks: Could use a defenseman or bottom-six forward. The team is being held together by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane they will not be able to carry this team for the rest of the season. Perhaps Bowman figured they were a done deal and did not want to risk any assets but the Blackhawks missing the playoffs this season never looks good. I just deem them as losers because they have been playing very well these last few months and could possibly make a playoff push too.
Edmonton Oilers: If you are an Oilers fan this has to be a sign that the GM has thrown in the white flag and just waiting for the off-season. Sure they are a done deal right now but with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on that roster it is tough to see them consistently miss the playoffs and they have not done anything to make this team better or help these superstars in Edmonton out. Very bad showing by Edmonton.
To keep this short and concise due to the amount of trades that can happen. I will do a bigger over view after the deadline is over for now. Just the details.
Columbus made another trade this time for New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid.
Columbus received Keith Kinkaid and devils received a 2022 5th round pick.
The Sharks made a great deal for a premier passer, veteran and top-six forward. Gustav Nyquist was sent to San Jose for a 2nd and 3rd round pick.
The Sabres made a surprising deal that caught some of us off guard for Ducks young defenseman, Brandon Montour. Buffalo picked up Montour and Ducks received a 1st rounder (San Jose 1st round from Kane deal) and prospect Brandon Guhle.
We all saw this coming. The Red Wings were close to moving Howard last season but did not and almost, or at least entertained the idea of moving Howard early in the year but did not, obviously. The Red Wings have set a price for Jimmy Howard and Gustav Nyquist and it is a first round pick. The Red Wings want a first round pick for each player, to clear any confusion. I am not sure the Red Wings will get that unless they go as a package deal but if they split up I don’t think any team would be interested in giving a first round pick for Jimmy Howard.
Jimmy Howard has spent the last 13.5 years with Detroit, he has played in 494 games posting a 2.51 goals against and .915 save percentage. Nyquist has spent the last 7.5 years with Detroit playing in 468 games collecting 120 goals, 168 assists for 288 points (.62 points per game). Nyquist is definitely the bigger trade piece here as he has 29-years-old, a 0.62 point per game player, has playoff experience, can literally play with anyone it seems like and is also having a great year. Howard is 35-years-old nearing the end of his career and while he is having a decent year this year Howard at 35 is just not appealing to many teams.
The top suitors for Nyquist would be a contending team perhaps San Jose and Pittsburgh but I’ve also seen Edmonton, Buffalo, Anaheim on the list as well. These are some of the names I’ve seen be kicked around. Jimmy Howard I have not heard much news on him besides the confusion from fans about how he got picked for the All-Star game this year. Anyways the price is remaining high for these two and the Red Wings said they are going to keep the price high and hope someone bites closer to the deadline.
Johnny Gaudreau: It seems this kid is involved in every Calgary scoring play. The Flames five-game win streak that just ended Sunday night was in large part due to Johnny Hockey’s production. In the four games the Flames played this week Gaudreau had 2 goals and 6 assists. Gaudreau has been a big reason why the Flames are first in the West right now. On the year Gaudreau has 12 goals and 27 assists.
Elias Pettersson: Same as Gaudreau, every scoring play the Canucks have Pettersson is involved in. On the week Pettersson 2 goals and 6 assists. His big game coming vs St. Louis where he tallied 5 points, but every game this week Pettersson had a point. On the year this makes it now 15 goals and 15 assists for the rookie and clear Calder favorite.
Steven Stamkos: This is the first time Stammer gets on the list but Stamkos and the Lightning have had themselves a nice last two weeks. On a current six-game win streak, over the last week though Stammer managed 4 goals and 3 assists, picking up four points in the Lightning’s 7-1 win over Colorado. Stamkos has 12 goals and 18 assists on the year.
Jake Gardiner: If I am not mistaking this is the first defenseman to make the list. Gardiner is a very underrated offensive defenseman, his 2 goals do not speak for his offensive ability but Gardiner is a big part of this Leafs offensive success. Gardiner on the week had a point in every game, 1 goal and 5 assists, despite the Leafs two loses of their three games Gardiner managed to be productive for your fantasy team. On the year Gardiner now has 2 goals and 15 assists.
Gustav Nyquist: A name you probably have not heard in some time probably but Nyquist is a big part of the Red Wings offense, without his production and veteran leadership the Red Wings would not be as competitive. On the week Nyquist managed a point in every game managing 3 goals and 3 assists in three games this week. Nyquist now has 7 goals and 20 assists on the year.