Why Marquee NHL trade deadline deals becoming rarer


Here is the question: If the Islanders had been able to knock off the Lightning under the Edmonton bubble in the 2020 Stanley Cup semis, would just about everyone in the league have spent the last two trade deadlines looking to acquire third-liners?

And would Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow have become the latter-day equivalents to Butch Goring?

The more lengthy contract extensions that are signed, the fewer marquee pending free-agent rentals are available at the deadline and the fewer clubs are willing to sacrifice first-rounders in exchange for the diminishing breed.

In other words, two second-rounders (perhaps even linked to conditions) have become the new first-rounder.

By the way, do you know the last Rangers second-rounder to make an impact with the team? That was Derek Stepan, selected 51st overall in 2008. .

I kind of get it. The Islanders are 11-6-3 in their last 20 games after losing Saturday afternoon at Boston. They have more or less resembled the team they were expected to be coming into the season. Next year won’t open with 13 games on the road and it likely won’t be ruled by pandemic-related protocols.

So doubling down might be a winning play. But Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello does realize the group he intends to bring back next year never actually won a championship even when at its best, correct?

Rangers GM Chris Drury, we’re told, was in on Nick Leddy before the Red Wings sent the one-time Islanders defenseman to the Blues in a five-asset deal.

Rangers general manager Chris Drury
Rangers general manager Chris Drury
Getty Images

And Lamoriello, honoring the pledge he made at Zdeno Chara’s free-agent signing in September that he would not trade the 45-year-old defenseman, ended talks with the Blueshirts before they could even begin.

For the first time in quite a while, there is no benefit to gaming the playoff system, because sliding out of the two-three matchup into the wild card will provide no advantage in either conference.

Snapshot. Post deadline Elite Eight: 1. Colorado; 2. Florida; 3. Calgary; 4. Carolina; 5. Toronto; 6. Boston; 7. Minnesota; 8. Rangers.

If a dispersal draft for a one-season league were being held, which Rangers skater do you think would be selected first: A) Mika Zibanejad; B) Adam Fox; C) Artemi Panarin; D) Chris Kreider?

Chris Kreider (left) celebrates with Mika Zibanejad (right).
Chris Kreider (left) celebrates with Mika Zibanejad (right).
Robert Sabo

Same imaginary league: Who gets chosen first, Zibanejad or Jack Hughes?

The NHL lost all claim to concern over cap integrity the moment the league allowed players on career-ending long-term injured reserve to be traded.

So enough with the sudden hand-wringing about exploiting the LTIR system the way Chicago (Patrick Kane) and Tampa Bay (Nikita Kucherov) did en route to their respective 2015 and 2021 Cup championships.

Are we certain that Ryan Kesler, on Anaheim’s LTIR since the start of 2019-20, waived his no-trade clause so he could be sent to Vegas in that deal for Evgenii Dadonov that was eventually negated by the NHL because the Ducks were on Dadonov’s no-trade list?

Ryan Kesler
Ryan Kesler
USA Today Sports

Vegas is still attempting to navigate serious cap constraints and may try to trade Dadonov again in order to clear space. Players traded after the deadline are ineligible to play for the remainder of the season. If the Golden Knights do indeed trade Dadonov, who has another full year on his contract at an annual $5 million cap hit, the NHLPA could grieve the move.

In the not-breaking news department: Eight years later, we’re being told that the Rangers had something going with the Flyers at the 2014 deadline, whereby Ryan Callahan would have gone to Philadelphia for a couple of prospects. It is only when that fell through that the Blueshirts turned to Tampa Bay and pulled off the captains’ exchange for Martin St. Louis, according to a well-placed source.

Ryan Callahan while he was with the Rangers.
Ryan Callahan while he was with the Rangers.

Chances are that the Rangers, who defeated the Flyers in a very nervous seven-game opening round, would have been defeated in that matchup had Callahan been the other side, and who knows what that would have meant for Alain Vigneault’s tenure behind the bench if the team had gone backward in Year 1?

Building through the draft on a five-year plan with Seattle, Ron Francis would have fit right in as the GM of an expansion team in the 1970s, wouldn’t he have?

Neither I nor Darryl Sutter can quite conceive of the question if healthy-scratch Sean Monahan is allegedly the answer.

That was interesting the other night in Toronto, when the on-ice officials got together to reverse a tripping minor against Mark Giordano that had been called correctly in the first place.

In recognition of Andrew Copp’s arrival, rating the Rangers’ No. 18s: 1. Walt Tkaczuk; 2. Marc Staal; 3. Mike York; 4. Mike Ridley; 5. Tony Granato. Honorable Mention: Wally Hergesheimer; Mention: Ales Pisa.

Glen Sather doesn’t understand why the Flyers were unable to get a pair of first-rounders in return for Claude Giroux after he waived his no-move clause to go only to the Panthers.

Finally, there is something wrong with the picture when you walk into a Rangers game at the Garden and can see a Phish banner hanging from the spoked ceiling but the name “Emile Francis” is nowhere in sight.


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