The 2020 SSG NHL Trade deadline came with a number of shocking moves yesterday with several teams looking to load up for the NHL playoffs, while a few teams looked to the future acquiring assets to help them down the road. The SSG Florida Panthers, SSG Tampa Bay Lighting, SSG Los Angeles Kings, SSG Detroit Red Wings, SSG Edmonton Oilers, SSG Vancouver Canucks and SSG Carolina Hurricanes all found deals to help their team today or for tomorrow. Things had been relatively quiet leading up to the deadline with a few small deals involving the Florida Panthers Derrick Brassard going to SSG Columbus, Florida’s Mike Hoffman moving to Edmonton and SSG Toronto’s Madison Bowey being shipped to Vancouver in the weeks leading up to the deadline. In the hours before the trade deadline several hockey insiders remarked their was a real possibility of no trades happening as it seemed GM’s might be content to go with what they had. Luckily for fans some trades were made, some shock and awe happened with a few of the players involved and some teams improved their chances of having an extended playoff run. Here is a list and analysis of the trades which were completed:
SSG Florida Panthers Trade: RW Brandon Pirri
SSG Los Angeles Kings Trade: RD Sean Durzi & RW Johnny Brodzinski
The Florida Panthers probably saved the trade deadline from being a bust this year. They started things off trading RW Brandon Pirri to the LA Kings for prospect RD Sean Durzi and RW Johnny Brodzinski. A veteran of 12 NHL seasons, Pirri was in his second tour of duty with the Panthers and had 2 goals and 8 assists this season in a depth role. Always seen as a skilled player with good speed, Pirri should settle into a role on the 3rd or 4th line in LA and give them some offensive depth as they look to catch Calgary for top spot in the Pacific division. Going to the Panthers, Sean Durzi is a former 2nd Round pick in his first season of Pro hockey. A terrific offensive defense-man, Durzi still needs to develop his game in his own end of the rink. Brodzinski was seen by most as a swap of contracts and a depth piece who helps fill a void left with Pirri moving out.
Florida Panthers Trade: RD Aaron Ekblad
Tampa Bay Lightning Trade: RD Cal Foote, 2020 & 2021 1st Round Picks
The Panthers stunned the NHL in a move that came out of nowhere sending stud defense-man Aaron Ekblad to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Tampa Bay’s 1st Round picks in 2020 and 2021 and prospect D Cal Foote. In the rare rivalry trade between the sunbelt Florida teams, former 1st overall pick in 2014 Ekblad further strengthens an already might blue-line in Tampa. Tampa Bay had recently lost Captain Steven Stamkos for the year to a fractured ankle and were able to just barely fit Ekblad into their salary cap squeeze. While Ekblad’s numbers may not wow anyone this year, there is no doubt in most people’s eyes that he is fully capable of being a true cornerstone defender that any team would love to have. Having to face both Hedman and Ekblad on the back-end may be to much for any team to handle in a 7 game series and further cemented the Lightning as one of the Cup favorites this year. With the team they have, it was worth mortgaging the future to get a repeat Stanley Cup championship. In Cal Foote the Panthers believe they could be getting Ekblad’s replacement in a couple seasons. The 14th overall pick in 2017 was in his first season of pro hockey and had put up very solid numbers this year in the AHL. The Panthers will have to hope they can find some late first round gems with the 2 1st Round picks as Tampa’s pick will most likely be late in the first round.
Detroit Red Wings Trade: LW Anthony Mantha, C Jonatan Breggren & 3rd Round Pick
Edmonton Oilers Trade: RW Jesse Puljujärvi & 3rd Round Pick
In what would have been the biggest trade of the deadline had Ekblad not been traded, the Red Wings sent winger Anthony Mantha, prospect Jonatan Breggren and a 3rd round pick to the Oilers for RW Jesse Puljujarvi and a 3rd Round pick. There had been rumors all year that Puljujarvi was not happy in Edmonton and wanted a change of scenery and the Oilers were able to find a return that helps them for this season and the future in Mantha and Breggren. Mantha is a big bodied winger with a fantastic shot and good wheels for his size. He should fit right in with McDavid and Draisaitl long term. The Oilers were rumored to have already locked Mantha up to a 3yr $4.4AAV Million deal after the trade. Breggren is a young center drafted in the 2nd round in 2018 who the Oilers will develop. Some insiders believe long term he will most likely end up on the wing. The enigmatic Puljujarvi had not lived up to the hype in Edmonton and the Red Wings will hope a change of scenery will be just what the former 4th overall pick needs to find his game. An incredible skater and puck handler, his offensive totals had so far not matched what his toolkit suggests he is capable of. The Oilers GM commented on the players involved: Puljujarvi, “We mostly felt like Puljujärvi’s potential was volatile and he didn’t indicate that he would develop fully, despite the numerous chances he was offered.” On Breggren “Berggren is a quality prospect that we wanted to have in return. Our scouting team values him as the fourth best prospect in the organization behind big names like Kailer Yamamoto, Evan Bouchard and Spencer Knight.” On Mantha, “We finally get the true left winger we were looking for to play with McDavid and Draisaitl. It certainly feels like an upgrade over Milan Lucic and Tobias Rieder who previously occupied that role. We felt like we had to get a deal done for a winger after our Mike Hoffman deal with Florida fell through and our recent losing streak. Hopefully this will get us back on track.”
Vancouver Canucks Trade: G Jacob Markstrom & Brandon Sutter