Welcome to the final edition of Deadline Deals, a series where I have been looking at every team in the NHL and their trade deadline plans. In the final article for this series, we will be looking at the Pacific edition. If you missed it, last week we looked at the Central.
#1 Anaheim Ducks:
The Ducks have had a long season, to say the least. They were absolutely decimated by injuries to start the year and had to ice a part AHL team for a while. This team had to just stay afloat in the West. They actually did a good job too. They have gotten bodies back and have been a much better team as of late. Currently, just outside the wild card, they are 1 of 6 teams fighting for the last few spots. So what to do? They already added a 3C this season when they traded for Adam Henrique. They used Sami Vatanen to do this, but they still have one of the stronger D cores in the league.
A 6th D could be useful, to get Francois Beauchemin off this team. This would be a relatively cheap addition and could be useful. Their first 5 D is a pretty solid group. Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm are one of the best pairs in the league, and Cam Fowler and Brandon Montour are also both solid. The big thing is to get Kevin Bieksa down to the third pair to stop playing big minutes. Outside of D help, the Ducks may look at adding a depth forward or two. They could really use a 4th line LW to replace Chris Wagner, who is the worst in most production, and future success categories.
Overall, a few cheap pieces and this team should be good. This is a team that could either make it and make some noise or totally miss. They have a good enough team to compete, but the west is so close. Look for the Ducks to add some depth this deadline.
#2 Arizona Coyotes:
This team has had a tough year, and there aren’t many roster players teams would love. However, see what you can get for Luke Schenn, Brad Richardson, and maybe Tobias Rieder. These should get you some mid to late round picks, Reider maybe a higher one. After that? Not much. This team is just praying they win the lottery this season and can re-sign OEL. They actually do have a decent future, and I think OEL will stay no matter what. They should have at worst a top 4 pick this season, and most likely a top 3. That will be huge as this is a very solid front end of the draft, with the likes of Dahlin, Svechnikov, Boqvist, Tkachuk, and Zadina. At the deadline, the Coyotes need to just not do anything crazy.
#3 Calgary Flames:
The Flames are just another team in the West that could be good enough to make some noise but also are not terrifying. They have a very good top 6, but their depth leaves something to be desired. On the backend their first pair is dynamite. Michael Stone is an overpaid, “meh” 3rd pair guy, not that this is a surprise. This team has really good top end talent as well as some solid looking prospects who could even help this season. They don’t match up to the monsters in the Central though. So what should they do?
Overall, they should probably just stay put. If they really feel like this is the year to go for it there need to be a lot of adding. They have to probably bring in 3 good depth guys, and a T6 or really good 3rd liner too. It’s possible, we saw Ottawa do it last year with adding Viktor Stalberg, Tommy Wingels, and Alex Burrows (Yes, he was still an NHLer last season). If the deals are there and prices are low, adding depth could be key. However, to truly contend with Nashville, St. Louis, or Winnipeg I think they need to add a lot more than those said teams. Something that Calgary may just want to hold off on doing to a later year, and see what this team can do come playoff time.
#4 Edmonton Oilers:
Ohhhh the Oilers. It’s amazing how a team can be this bad with THIS guy on their team… But alas, here the Oilers are. In all seriousness, Chia is bad and should be fired, but this Edmonton team is way underperforming. Cam Talbot has been bad this season, and the special teams have been historically bad. Their 5v5 play has been great, and they really shouldn’t do anything crazy this season. They have 8 RFAs and 4 UFAs up at the end of this season. With McDavid getting an 11 million dollar raise next season they will need to cut cap elsewhere.
Moving a guy like Mark Letestu, who is a C in a weaker C rental market, and Patrick Maroon could get a fine return. Maroon is going to get way overpaid this offseason, with some of the bad contracts the Oilers already have they really need to stay away from that. Mike Cammalleri is another small piece to trade.
Other than this, the only thing the Oilers should do is fire Chia before he can trade away RNH for like, Cody Ceci or Jack Johnson… That should be their biggest priority this season. Any team with McDavid is always going to be lethal, and with some good additions in the offseason, it seems hard to believe they’ll be this bad again next season.
#5 LA Kings:
The Kings are the perfect candidate to be neutral. They may miss the playoffs, and if they do make it they are not good enough to do damage. A very average team in shot shares, they lack lots of depth and have been carried by their high-end players. You can’t win like this in the playoffs. If they chose to sell then a name like Torrey Mitchell who is a UFA is someone they may look at. It feels like they should just try and ride it out, “see what happens” in the playoffs and go from there. This team really needs to look at their core and decided if they can win with this team. They also have that Doughty contract to talk about this summer.
Staying out would be my advice. The West is SO close that you may be able to get either Pacific 3, or WC1/2, but it feels like it would be quick exits either way. This team will be in the race come playoffs, but it would take a LOT of spending to make them anywhere close to a true contender, which seems like a big risk and waste of assets.
#6 San Jose Sharks:
The Sharks are kind of in the same boat as LA. They are a much better shot share team, their depth isn’t all that inspiring, especially with Joe Thornton out for a while. This is another team I would say just stay put, but at this point what do they have to lose? Pretty much every single one of their core players is over 27 and will be starting to regress a bit. Their management hasn’t done them many favours lately drafting, they have a pretty weak looking prospect pool, with only a few names that look intriguing. This team is going to need a massive roster change sooner than later.
So why not just go all in and worry about the future later? This team could use a top 6 player, and also some depth. It would be pricey making these guys into a legit threat, but it’s either go all in or be mediocre for another few years before a painful stretch of declining, bad play. They may not actually be buyers, but they probably should be.
#7 Vancouver Canucks:
Going to keep this one short because there really is not much to say. The Canucks obviously are sellers this deadline. They actually have a quietly good prospect pool, and with another high pick could be much better, much sooner than people expected. What to do this year? Trade Erik Gudbranson and Thomas Vanek. If the Sedins wanted to be traded, trade them too. All signs point to them staying in Vancouver however. I won’t count anything out, but overall this teams plan should be easy, sell what you can, see if you can fleece another team like you did with Ottawa last year, and move on to next season.
#8 Vegas Golden Knights
Finishing off with the #1 seed in the Pacific, the Golden Knights have blown expectations out of the water. Competing for first in the West and the clear favourite to finish first in this division, it has been an amazing story. Are they as good as they look? Yeah, they may be close to it. Now there are still some factors that will probably regress. William Karlsson shooting 25% is for sure one of them. But these guys are a playoff team. This is going to make what I say next sound weird.
The Knights shouldn’t buy. Now hear me out. There are a few reasons I am saying this. The first is, this season is like found money. As great as this is, the Knights shouldn’t stray away from the plan too much. They BARELY have a prospect pool, and trading away the few prospects they do have would be dumb. Just keep this team, and keep drafting prospects. They should keep their picks as well. This again goes back to the prospect pool. They need all the picks they can get for more young guys because eventually, they will need to develop their own talent. Don’t waste assets when you don’t have assets to waste.
The second reason I say don’t buy is I feel like this team may flame out in the playoffs. It really depends on the rules these playoffs. The refs have cracked down on slashing, which is a huge reason Vegas can be so successful. They have more speed than any other team and can fly by people. Those defenders cannot do anything because they can’t slash or hold. Well, in the playoffs it has been known you can get away with murder. Will it be the same this year? Or will the rules follow over? If the rules follow over this team may be a threat, but I doubt they will. If everything is once again legal it is very easy for me to see these guys getting stomped by Dallas. Don’t waste the assets you barely have when it’s very plausible you get bounced in round one.
That’s my list! What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know here, or on Twitter @NHLsensandstuff. Thanks for reading along with the series!