The trade deadline has come and gone and all teams rosters are locked in for the remainder of the season. There were a number of significant and interesting moves at this years deadline: Brassard being the one that seemed kicked off the big deals, the McDonagh trade being the most intricate, and Tatar being the trade that… well seemed a bit pricey. However, even though there were plenty of players flying to their new homes when the clock reached 3:01pm ET last Monday. There were still a number of players on many radars that ended up keeping the same colour sweater.
Just because certain players didn’t move at the deadline, doesn’t mean they won’t move before next season, especially with July 1st just around the corner. So, out of the big players that stayed in place at the deadline, what does the future look like for them?
There is no point beating around the bush here. The biggest trade rumors, talks, reports, smoke signals, you name it, all revolved around Erik Karlsson. With Karlsson’s current contract he’s extremely affordable. Additionally what made him the apple in many GM’s eyes, was that his contract has two more seasons on it. From Ottawa’s perspective, his contract made him much more valuable this season, than if he were to be traded next year, meaning they would’ve got a much bigger payout, had he moved now.
If a cup contending team did acquire him, they’d get at least two playoffs runs with Ottawa’s captain before they had to re-sign him for more, or let him go in free agency. It’s no secret however that Karlsson has a personal connection with the city of Ottawa. He has a wife who’s from Ottawa, and his first child will be born in the city. It’s understandable that for those reasons, that he would like to stay. Although it’s known, Ottawa doesn’t want to spend at the level of other teams. Since Karlsson will be fetching a higher price tag when it comes time for him to re-sign, Karlsson will also have to consider the size of the team’s wallet.
As much as everyone involved would probably like Karlsson to stay put, if he can earn more money on a better team, then who really knows what his discussion might be. He already synced himself up with Drew Doughty’s comments earlier in the year, saying the two of them will get what their worth next time they sign a contract. So, unfortunately, the trade deadline didn’t clear up any mysteries about Karlsson’s future.
Detroit is having a rough season and it looks as though they will miss the playoffs again for the second year in a row. They were sellers at the deadline, making the Tatar move for three different Vegas picks. However, there was also a lot of talk around Mike Green that ended up amounting to nothing of substance. Green will be a UFA to start the 2018-19 season, and as a result, if he was traded this year he would have made a solid rental addition to a cup contending team. Apparently, though Detroit isn’t quite as down on themselves as the Rangers or the Canadiens, and have elected to keep a key piece like Green instead of selling him off. Perhaps they felt that the gift basket of picks they got in exchange for Tatar was enough of a win for this trade deadline.
At 32 years old Green still has plenty of good hockey left to play, and his numbers have been impressive among defencemen this season. It’s likely that Detroit will try to re-sign Green during or before free agency, as he’s a D-man of high-caliber, and there are only so many of those to go around.
Arizona and Buffalo, are the two teams on either side of the continent that started bad and seem on track to finish that way. So it’s no surprise that the Yotes were sellers at the deadline. They made three different trades, on, and leading up to deadline day. All three of the trades were straight across, player for player trades so no draft pick were acquired. There is more than one way to rebuild a team, so just because Arizona isn’t stripping down big pieces for picks, doesn’t mean they’re not making calculated moves for the future. However, there is no denying the power of acquiring well-placed picks in certain draft years.
Like the Evander Kane deal, If the Yotes opted to trade Domi they would’ve no doubt gotten a significant return. The Sabers walked away with a 24-year-centerman and two picks in the 2019 draft. It’s reasonable to assume that Domi would’ve fetched a similar price tag. Domi is a dynamic player that has been putting up points despite his teams underwhelming season. Domi will be an RFA for the 2018-19 season, so if the Cyotes want to keep him around, they have the ability to do so. The fact that Domi stayed put at the deadline, seems to lend to the idea that he will be a part of the Coyotes future, at least for now.
Pacioretty, Pacioretty, Pacioretty, what does Montreal have planned for you? Montreal, like Ottawa, was a team that made the playoffs last season, However, since October, they haven’t played like that kind of team. Their playoff dreams are all put over for this season and as a result many thought Pacioretty may be moved. He still has one more year with the team before he reaches his time as a UFA come the 2019-20 season. So like Karlsson, if he was dealt, his new home would be able to hang onto him for potentially two playoff runs.
As is standard with high-caliber players who are rumored to be traded, they tend to stay rather silent during the days leading up to the deadline, because they simply don’t know where the pieces are going to fall. Of course, after the deadline passed, Pacioretty stated that he never asked for a trade and is happy to be apart of Montreal’s squad. Which is likely true, because sometimes it’s easy to forget the emotional impact being traded and even the trade deadline can have. Even if it’s good for the player’s career, uprooting ones whole family and life to move far away, is rarely something that would be considered a completely thrilling experience.
If Montreal can’t make successful off-season moves, there is a very good chance that the captain will hear his name again come next years trade deadline. Most all players will develop an emotional attachment to the city they play for, especially those who root their family where they play. However the NHL is still a business and if the Canadiens are still in the red next season, they may need to start liquidating their assets.
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Out of the four players listed here, two of them will be Free Agents this off-season and two still have a year to go. Obviously for Green and Domi who are approaching free agency, there is a larger chance that they could be thrown into a new home sooner than Karlsson or Pacioretty. However, when you look at all four of their situations, it seems most likely that if any of them were gonna move, it was gonna be at this trade deadline. The two captains would’ve made great multi-season additions to two playoff contending teams, and the two rental players in Green and Domi would’ve helped a team at the level of Calgary or Colorado, that really just need an extra piece to give them a push for the playoffs.
Anything can change before these athletes have to sign on another dotted line, and the off-season gives players and management a lot of time to reflect on their futures. Things can definitely change before the puck drops next season, but an educated guess would suggest that these four players will be wearing their same colours for at least the first face-off of the 2018-19 campaign.