The trade deadline is over and now, the push for the playoffs officially begin.
There’s just over a month left in the 2023-23 NHL regular season, and we have a good idea based on moves at the deadline who is trying to make a run for the Cup, and who is conceiting this year.
The Eastern Conference looks like it’s going to be a bloodbath come postseason time. The top six teams — the Bruins, Hurricanes, Devils, Maple Leafs, Lightning and Rangers — all got better, setting up for an eventful first few rounds in the playoffs. The Western Conference remains wide open, with no clear favorites.
In addition, there were a humber of clubs that moves correlate to a likely fall in the standings, Which means there may be more candidates for Connor Bedard and the No. 1 pick in the draft.
With the deadline past, The Sporting News gives its NHL power rankings.
2022-23 NHL post-trade deadline power rankings
1. Boston Bruins
Boston became the fastest team in NHL history to reach 100 points, needing just 61 games to do so. The team is on pace to break the NHL single-season record for wins and points. Oh, and to make matters worse for the rest of the league, the Bruins Dmitry Orlov, Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway at the deadline. No one is knocking these guys off from the top anytime soon.
2. Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina may not have made flashy moves at the deadline, but the acquisitions of forward Jesse Puljujarvi and defenseman Shayne Gostibehere were two very underrated deals. Neither were expensive either, as the Hurricanes in total paid a third-round pick and Patrik Puistola, an unsigned Finnish draft pick. Those two should compliment well on a deep Hurricanes team.
3. New Jersey Devils
Timo Meier is officially a Devil. New Jersey was able to land the coveted trade target at the deadline from the Sharks, for a package that was lighter than expected. Meier joins a talented young forward group in New Jersey that includes Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Dawson Mercer. The Hurricanes have had a strong hold on first in the Metro for awhile, but the Devils are right there.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
Can somebody check on Kyla Dubas please? No team made nearly as many additions as the Maple Leafs did at the deadline. Toronto brought in seven new faces, highlighted by Ryan O’Reilly and Jake McCabe. Dubas left no doubt that the team is all-in this year, but as always, is it good enough to get out of the first round?
5. New York Rangers
No one made more fireworks at the deadline than the Rangers, trading for not just one, but two Stanley Cup champions in Vladimir Tarasenko and and Patrick Kane. It gives New York one of the best top-six forward groups in the league. Despite how dominant the Rangers have looked, they may not even get home ice in the playoffs, sitting behind the Devils and Hurricanes in a tough Metro.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning
In very Lightning-like fashion, the defending Eastern Conference champions made a couple of under the radar acquisitions, bringing in Tanner Jeannot and Mike Eyssimont. The cost for Jeannot left a lot of jaws on the floor, but if there is a general manager whose moves are hard to question, it’s Julien BriseBois.
7. Dallas Stars
While the Eastern Conference loaded up, that wasn’t the case with the West. The Stars, who lead the Central, added Max Domi and Evgenii Dadonov as their significant transactions. Right now, Dallas is the top team in the Western Conference based on points, but there are teams hot on the club’s trail for the Central title.
8. Vegas Golden Knights
Like the Stars, the Golden Knights didn’t do a ton at the deadline. The leaders in the Pacific Division brought in Jonathan Quick and Ivan Barbashev to shore up the squad ahead of the postseason. The goaltending remains a concern given all the injuries, but we’ll see if Quick can turn back the clock with added motivation after surprisingly being dealt from the Kings.
9. Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche didn’t have nearly as active of a deadline like last season, but they did add a veteran forward and Stanley Cup champion in Lars Eller. The team is getting healthy and as a result, have worked its way up the standings. Colorado still looks like the club to beat in the West.
10. Edmonton Oilers
GM Ken Holland’s trade to bring in Mattias Ekholm was huge for the Oilers, who continue to struggle to keep the puck out of their own zone. He also added a bottom-six forward in Nick Bjugstad. There’s no one doubting the offense of the Oilers, but again, that defense is the Achilles heel.
11. Los Angeles Kings
Rob Blake, you are a cold man. The Kings GM shipped out longtime goalie and two-time Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick to the Blue Jackets for Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo. It didn’t settle well with the fans, but from a hockey standpoint, it greatly improved a Los Angeles team in the midst of a close Pacific Division race.
12. Minnesota Wild
The Wild swooped in at the last second and got a deal done with the Ducks right before the 3 p.m. deadline on Friday to acquire John Klingberg. In addition, Minnesota added Gustav Nyquist and Oskar Sundqvist to its roster, while saying goodbye to Jordan Greenway. It’s been an up-and-down year in the Land of 1,000 Lakes, but the Wild are still in a good spot in the standings.
13. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets have traditionally known to not be active at trade deadlines, and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff followed that game plan again in 2022. Winnipeg added Nino Neiderreitter and Vladislav Namestnikov, but as expected, not a whole lot of turnover on the roster. The Jets have slipped out of the top of the Central, but need
14. Seattle Kraken
Last year, GM Ron Francis was busy selling at the trade deadline. This year, he didn’t sell or buy. Seattle is going to rely on the group it has to clinch the franchise’s first playoff berth in just the second year of the club, which it is in a good position to do so.
15. New York Islanders
GM Lou Lamoriello’s big move came a month before the 2023 deadline, bringing in Bo Horvat from the Canucks. The Islanders also added Pierre Engvall, who fits their system perfectly. New York is hanging onto a wild card spot, but the club has played more games than anyone else in the league.
16. Pittsburgh Penguins
The moves made by GM Ron Hextall at the deadline were … perplexing. He got rid of Brock McGinn’s contract, but he also added an expensive, underwhelming player in Mikael Granlund as the team’s “big” move. Pittsburgh can still make the playoffs, but they aren’t scaring anyone.
17. Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres remain the most entertaining team in hockey, and the results are swinging in their favor. All of a sudden, Buffalo has entered into the playoff race and the rebuild looks to be a lot closer to done than initially expected. GM Kevyn Adams did not tinker much with the roster, other than acquiring Jordan Greenway and Riley Stillman.
18. Florida Panthers
The Panthers stood pat at the deadline, as GM Bill Zito did not move any of his rumored trade pieces like Radko Gudas or Marc Staal. The team didn’t add either, making the return of Anthony Duclair the team’s technical deadline move. Florida is in a battle for a wild card spot, and Zito is putting his trust in the current roster.
19. Calgary Flames
Speaking of inactivity, the Flames added Troy Stetcher and Nick Ritchie from the Coyotes as depth options, but there were no significant moves out of Calgary. The team is still on the outside of the playoff picture, but have not looked like a playoff team for most of the year. Like the Panthers, the front office is banking on the players they have to get to the postseason.
20. Washington Capitals
The Capitals were slipping right before the deadline, and GM Brian MacLellan made the decision to sell, which has not been the Capitals’ strategy in recent years. Washington traded away Dmitry Orlov, Lars Eller, Garnet Hathaway and Erik Gustafsson. Even with the subtractions, the team isn’t out of it yet, but it looks bleak in the nation’s capital.
21. Ottawa Senators
The Senators made a statement at the deadline, acquiring Jakob Chychrun from the Coyotes to give the team the top-four defenseman they have been looking for. Ottawa has been surging as of late and find themselves in a position to make a playoff push. Like the Sabres, the Senators are an entertaining team to watch in the East, even if it doesn’t result in a postseason berth.
22. Nashville Predators
Shoutout to David Poile. He announced he was retiring as the team’s general manager after this season, and then gave his successor, Barry Trotz, a plethora of draft capital to work with by trading Mattias Ekholm, Tanner Jeannot, Nino Neiderreiter and Mikael Granlund. The Predators are going to fall in the standings as a result, but a smart decision by Poile.
23. Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings are still in the playoff hunt, but GM Steve Yzerman traded away Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Hronek, Oskar Sundqvist and Jakub Vrana. It’s going to be a tough ask for the current group to compete in a tight Eastern Conference wild card race.
24. St. Louis Blues
Like Poile and MacLellan, GM Doug Armstrong recognized the state of the team in comparison to the rest of the Western Conference and elected to sell. Out the door went Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko and Ivan Barbashev, but in return came back two first-round picks, giving the Blues three in 2023.
25. Philadelphia Flyers
Is Chuck Fletcher still employed? The deadline is gone and James van Riemsdyk remains a Flyer. So does Justin Braun, Ivan Provorov, Kevin Hayes, and pretty much any other Flyer that was potentially on the move. Philadelphia is stuck in this middle land where they are too good to finish last, yet aren’t sniffing the playoffs. Fletcher’s lack of action at the deadline doesn’t help, one way or another.
26. Montreal Canadiens
It was an extremely quiet deadline for Kent Hughes and the Canadiens. The team is seriously banged up, and injuries most certainly played a factor into why Joel Edmundson and Sean Monahan stayed put at the deadline.
27. Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks made a good move in trading for Vitali Kravtsov and then made a head-scratcher by sending a first-round pick to the Red Wings for Filip Hronek. They also did not deal either Brock Boeser or J.T. Miller, who both were in trade rumors. What does the Vancouver front office have in mind? Who knows.
28. Arizona Coyotes
You know what everyone says: Arizona is where you go if you’re on a bad contract and are likely never going to play hockey again. The Coyotes took on the Shea Weber and Jakub Voracek contracts and now the team has committed almost half of its money to players that don’t actually play.
#Yotes have $28.2M on injured reserve (Weber, Ladd, Little, Voracek, Brown)
They also have $3.6M in dead cap hits (OEL, Kane)
A sum of $31.8M, 42% of their total $75M in total cap hit
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) March 2, 2023
29. Anaheim Ducks
The 2023 deadline wasn’t as busy for Pat Verbeek as last year’s was, but it still involved trading away a number of free agents, headlined by John Klingberg. But someone needs to tell the team to stop winning, with the Ducks coming out victorious in four out of their last five.
30. San Jose Sharks
San Jose parted ways with star winger Timo Meier at the deadline, sending the Swiss forward to the Devils. But the team held onto Erik Karlsson, who is the likely frontrunner right now for the Norris Trophy and one of the only fun parts of the Sharks’ season this year.
31. Chicago Blackhawks
The Patrick Kane era in Chicago is officially over, with the longtime Blackhawks star now in New York. General manager Kyle Davidson had a busy deadline day, sending out Kane, Jake McCabe, Max Domi and Sam Lafferty. This is what Blackhawks fans have to look forward to for the rest of the season:
Behold arguably the worst roster ever assembled in the cap-era NHL. Blackhawks practice lines:
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) March 3, 2023
32. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets still own the worst record in the league, and it’s only going to get worse with the losses of Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo. The Jonathan Quick era in Columbus was fun and … quick.
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