NHL trade deadline winners and losers: Rangers make biggest splash by adding Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko

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The 2023 NHL trade deadline was one of the most chaotic the league has seen in a long time.

After all, the likes of Patrick Kane, Bo Horvat and Ryan O’Reilly were all moved at the trade deadline. Several of the big names were kicked out long before the clock struck 3pm ET on Friday.

The Eastern Conference has really added a lot more star power in the past few days and weeks, which should make the run to the postseason more interesting.

While there were plenty of big wins by teams around the NHL at the trade deadline, there were also some head-scratching decisions that were or weren’t made. Let’s take a closer look at the winners and losers from this year’s trade deadline.


New York Rangers

There is no doubt that the Rangers will be the biggest winner in the 2023 trade deadline. The Rangers were able to acquire two stars in the form of Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko who really improve the their top six group forward.

New York had long been linked with Kane in the months leading up to the deadline, but the Rangers scuppered those plans when they bought Tarasenko on February 9. It looked like the Kane deal wasn’t going to happen, but the tide turned over the past two weeks and the deal was done. On Thursday, Kane made his Rangers debut.

So much credit must go to general Chris Drury for what he did to make these two trades. The Rangers didn’t have to part with Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko or Alexis Lafreniere to land Tarasenko and Kane. Drury sent 2018 first-round pick Vitali Kravtsov to the Vancouver Canucks to help make the money work in the Kane deal, but Kravtsov was underwhelmed this season with the Rangers.

Now the Rangers will enter the stretch race with an advanced group in the top six that includes Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck, Tarasenko and Kane. That’s what the team needed to do to challenge the Boston Bruins, who have been an absolute juggernaut all season, and got even better this week with Tyler Additional Bertuzzi. The Rangers now have the ability to make a run at the Stanley Cup, and the front office made the necessary moves while giving up very few assets.

Jakob Chychrun

Defenseman Jakob Chychrun has been mentioned in trade talks for a long time, and his patience has finally paid off. On Wednesday, the Arizona Coyotes trading Chychrun for a conditional 2023 first-round pick, a conditional 2024 second-round pick and a 2026 second-round pick.

The franchise was reportedly seeking more than three first-round picks and a roster player for Chychrun in the months leading up to the deadline. Still, it’s a solid result for a Coyotes team that is obviously in rebuilding mode and can use all the draft capital they can get their hands on.

For Chychrun, he’s finally getting out of a bad situation in Arizona and jumping right into a controversial record. Entering Friday, the Senators are just four points out of second place in the Eastern Conference Wild Cards and are riding a four-game winning streak.

From the Senators side, Chychrun stabilizes a defensive group that already includes Thomas Chabot and Jake Sanderson. Even with Josh Norris missing most of the 2022-23 season, Ottawa still has an advanced group that is scoring 3.15 goals per game. The 24-year-old is one of the most talented two-way defenders the league has to offer. Additionally, Chychrun is signed through the 2024-25 season with only a $4.6 million cap hit. This was just a win-win move for the Senators and Chychrun.

Toronto maple leaves

The narrative has been the same for several years when it comes to the Maple Leafs: This is a team that can’t seem to get out of the opening round of the postseason.

However, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas made a big splash before this year’s deadline. The biggest takeaway was definitely Toronto going out and Landing Ryan O’Reilly in trade with the St. Louis Blues. O’Reilly recorded a hat trick in just his third game with his new team last week and has been a perfect fit with Toronto’s third line.

The Maple Leafs also got some help on their blue line with the addition of Jake McCabe from the Chicago Blackhawks and Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks. McCabe and Schenn improve Toronto’s two best defensive pairings and energize a team that already allows the fourth fewest goals per game in the league (2.61).

O’Reilly is the real difference maker that a team like the Maple Leafs needs in the future. He also has the playoff experience this team needs after winning the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019.

The Maple Leafs may have finally assembled enough talent to make a deep run in the playoffs.


San Jose Sharks

The Sharks made a strong grab for the services of Timo Meier, so you might be wondering how their trade deadline performance can be considered a losing effort – and that’s because San Jose missed a chance to deal defenseman Erik Karlsson.

It is true that Karlsson’s contract is not expiring as he is signed through the 2027-28 season. However, Karlsson is having a career year as he leads all NHL defensemen in points (78), goals (19) and assists (59).

Yes, his $11.5 million cap hit makes making a deal a little more difficult, but it’s very likely that something could be worked out with another team. After all, if Karlsson landed with the right team, he could turn them into a Stanley Cup contender because of his offensive prowess.

Karlsson is having his best season since arriving in San Jose, and who knows if this kind of production will continue. He’s only 32, so he could still leave a lot of tread on the tires, but there’s no way to know for sure.

Karlsson’s value will never be higher, which is why the Sharks should have dealt him given their status as a rebuilding franchise.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers have had a calendar year to forget, and it just keeps getting worse.

During the offseason, the Flyers were unable to sign star player and New Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau to a large contract in free agency because the team had previously given away too many bad contracts. General manager Chuck Fletcher went out and acquired defenseman Tony DeAngelo from the Carolina Hurricanes for three draft picks and is paying him $5 million per season.

The trade deadline came and went with the Flyers making a few short moves. Philadelphia traded forward Zack MacEwen to the Los Angeles Kings for forward Brandon Lemieux and a 2024 fifth-round pick. Additionally, the Flyers traded forward Patrick Brown to the Ottawa Senators for a sixth-round pick in 2023.

When the dust settled at the deadline, forward James van Riemsdyk was still on the Flyers’ roster. van Riemsdyk is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, so it’s surprising he wasn’t moved for even a late pick. His $7 million cap hit certainly wasn’t a major selling point, but a team like the Seattle Kraken or Vegas Golden Knights could have used a veteran forward like van Riemsdyk and cashed in to burn it.

For a team that is at the bottom of the standings, it was terrible to see the Flyers doing basically nothing on the final day.

Western Conference

In the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, it was an arms race of sorts in the Eastern Conference. It started with the New York Islanders acquiring Bo Horvat right before the All-Star break. We saw the New York Rangers add Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane in February and the New Jersey Devils got Timo Meier.

If you look at the Eastern Conference standings, the Bruins, Rangers, Devils, Devils and Maple Leafs are looking to make a run to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Oh, and let’s not forget about the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have reached the Stanley Cup Finals in each of the past three seasons.

The East is completely full. On the other hand, the West isn’t quite as heavy, which is why I’m classifying the entire Western Conference as an underdog here.

The Western Conference is wide open. Sure, the Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, Seattle Kraken and Minnesota Wild have all had solid seasons, but none of those teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. These teams had a chance to create some separation at the end and they didn’t.

The Stars sent forward Max Domi and the Wild added defenseman John Klingberg. Those aren’t bad moves by any means, but not ones that transform your roster into a Stanley Cup contender. This was an opportunity to make a statement and no one really did.

Now, as brutal as the season has been, the Colorado Avalanche could be much healthier come playoff time. The Avalanche could move in and make a second straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

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