As the trade deadline has now passed us, a couple Armchair NHL writers take a look at our deadline winners and losers, as well as who our Stanley Cup favorites are. The stretch run is upon us, for teams to quickly acclimate their new pieces to make a run. The trade deadline is behind us, the playoffs are fast approaching.
Deadline Winner: The Washington Capitals.
The Capitals acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who will put their team over the top. Remember when Pittsburgh acquired Phil Kessel, which game them enough depth to win the Cup? This is the same thing. Shattenkirk will improve their power play and will provide plenty of points from the blue line.
Stanley Cup Favorite: The Caps, but the Penguins are a close second. If they meet in the playoffs, it will be a hell of a series.
Deadline Winner: San Jose Sharks
It is hard to pick just one winner. Three teams got better through their trades. Washington acquired Kevin Shattenkirk, who will add depth to a lineup which already features supreme depth and a guy named Alexander Ovechkin. Montreal added Dwight King and Andreas Martinsen to bolster their size up front. The best under the radar move belongs to San Jose. A Stanley Cup contender already, the Sharks addressed their speed issues with offseason signings of Mikkel Boedker and David Schlemko. The trade for Jannik Hansen adds even more speed, as well as a guy who can be a pain to play against. Hansen could be slotted into the lineup next to the Joes. With Hansen on the top line, others will shuffle down and create the type of depth that DeBoer loves to utilize with this team. While it may not have been a flashy move, the Sharks silently won the trade deadline.
Stanley Cup Favorite: San Jose Sharks
Call me a homer, but it is hard to argue against a team that was in the Finals last year that addressed the things that they were exposed in this previous year. And they have Martin Jones, who will do Martin Jones things in the playoffs.
Deadline Winner: Washington Capitals
They won this trade deadline because they added a player that has made this year officially a Stanley Cup or BUST type of year. With the addition of Kevin Shattenkirk, they have signaled to their players, fans, and the rest of hockey that they are going for it all, as they should be. Can they get over that Round 2 hump this year finally? That remains to be seen, but the acquisition of Shattenkirk solidifies their d-core along with Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik (when healthy), Karl Alzner, Dmitry Orlov, and John Carlson. He also makes their Power play even more scary than it already is.
Stanley Cup Favorite: Chicago Blackhawks
While the Capitals won the trade deadline, I believe that the Blackhawks are the Cup favorites. Look for the Columbus Blue Jackets as a darkhorse contender, but in the end, the Blackhawks are the favorite to hoist Lord Stanley come June.
Deadline Winner: Washington Capitals
Coming into the deadline, there were no real holes on the Capitals roster. But sure, they went ahead and added the best player available for the same price tag as Martin Hanzal. You simply cannot blame the Capitals for making this move. Eventually, you have to push all your chips into the middle of the table and go all in. The Capitals are showing Ovechkin and the fan base that this year will not be an early exit, and that they are all business.
Stanley Cup Favorite: Washington Capitals Well… Washington was my favorite going into the deadline. Best team adds the best player on the market, and I think I will stick to my pick on this one.
Deadline Winner: Tampa Bay Lightning
Sure it would be easy to anoint either the Minnesota Wild or the Washington Capitals as the winners of this deadline, for their trades for Martin Hanzal and Kevin Shattenkirk respectively. To me though, those teams were already both very clearly contenders that should be in “win now” modes. One team that is not that way is the Tampa Bay Lightning, and once again Steve Yzerman shows he is a wily General Manager. He was able to get rid of Valtteri Filppula’s horrendous salary, and that will allow them to re-sign a couple if not all of their elite players as Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and Jonathan Drouin are all restricted free agents at the end of the year. He also officially made the move to Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal by trading Ben Bishop away. It was a solid deadline for a team that was a seller, but still has a chance to make the playoffs and make a run, provided that Steven Stamkos can return from the IR.
Stanley Cup Favorite: Pittsburgh Penguins
It is hard to not go with one of the two teams playing the best hockey right now, especially when both made significant upgrades to their already talent-full rosters. The Caps and Wild did that, and each boast the best record in the Eastern and Western Conference respectively. Yet, the best player in the world plays for the defending champion Penguins. They are deep down the middle, and are currently flying under the radar in the loaded Metropolitan Division. As of right now, I still respect the position they hold of defending champions, and have them as my slight favorite. But I agree with Branden, what an incredible series it would be to see Ovechkin and Crosby lead their teams into battle.