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Jets, Knights, Canes Make Statements On Deadline Day

There will be some new faces in different places for today’s NHL games after 23 deals were completed at the trade deadline.

The top teams in the Western Conference all improved their rosters over the last week with various trades, while the wide-open East saw some teams make bold moves and others stood pat for the stretch drive.

Jets, Knights, Canes Make Statements On Deadline Day
Ryan Donato #8 of the Chicago Blackhawks | Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

The Winnipeg Jets, defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers all made huge additions while the Carolina Hurricanes may have made the biggest swings over the final few days.

The Florida Panthers, who are the current favorite in the odds to win the Stanley Cup (+700) added veteran forwards Kyle Okposo and Vladimir Tarasenko to their lineup as they prepare to play host to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.

Big Winners in Winnipeg

The Jets have been one the biggest surprises in the league, staring down the Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars in the race for the Central Division title.

Their quest might have gotten more interesting after making three key moves to upgrade the roster. Sean Monahan was brought in on Feb. 2 from Montreal and the veteran center has registered eight goals in 13 games.

In addition, Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff traded second-, third- and fourth-round picks to the New Jersey Devils for veteran right wing Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Colin Miller on Friday.

Toffoli gives the Jets Cup pedigree after winning twice with the Los Angeles Kings and Miller provides depth on the right side.

Winnipeg currently has the fifth-lowest odds to win the West at +600 and may be a good bet at the sportsbook.


Rolling the Dice in Vegas

The Golden Knights, who have sunk to the second wild-card spot in the West after losing 9 of their last 11 games (2-8-1), made the boldest moves in the West.

Vegas, which had additional cap space due to injury issues with top-line forward Mark Stone, first added scoring forward Anthony Mantha from Washington. The Knights then made a stealth move to acquire top-pair defenseman Noah Hanifin from the Calgary Flames.

That would be enough to improve their NHL future odds, but Vegas swung another trade before the deadline for veteran forward Tomas Hertl from the San Jose Sharks. Hertl, who has 484 career points, is currently injured but expected back in the regular season.

Four teams are chasing the Knights for the last playoff spot and these deals give them the ammunition to hold them off.

Hurricanes Taking Chances

Carolina’s brass showed everyone it is confident its team can win a Cup with bold moves Thursday and Friday.

The Hurricanes traded three prospects, two draft picks and forward Michael Bunting to Pittsburgh for pending unrestricted free agent forward Jake Guentzel and minor-league defenseman Ty Smith on Thursday.

If that wasn’t enough, they acquired center Evgeny Kuznetsov from Washington on Friday. Kuznetsov has 67 points in 87 career playoff games, but has struggled the past two seasons on and off the ice.

Carolina, which is +500 in the NHL conference odds to win the East, potentially helped itself more than any of its top competitors. The Hurricanes also have goalie Frederik Andersen back healthy.

Tarasenko could help the Panthers, but the Boston Bruins only added fourth-liner Pat Maroon and depth defenseman Andrew Peeke. The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired so-so veteran defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin and Joel Edmundson.

The New York Rangers, who lead Carolina by four points in the Metropolitan Division, added centers Alex Wennberg and Jack Roslovic, along with defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, in under-whelming deals.

One of your best NHL bet predictions could be that the Hurricanes catch the Rangers.

Dallas, Colorado, Edmonton Were Busy

The Stars and Avalanche filled holes to fight with Winnipeg, while the Oilers added players that they hope fill out a Cup-winning roster.

Dallas acquired hard-nosed defenseman Chris Tanev on Feb. 28, but was quiet on Friday. Colorado filled a need at center by getting Casey Mittelstadt from Buffalo on Wednesday, then acquired bottom-six forwards Yakov Trenin and Brandon Duhaime on Thursday.

Edmonton was pleased to add forwards Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick from Anaheim along with depth defenseman Troy Stecher from Arizona. The Oilers are +800 to win the Cup, but they will have to prove themselves to bettors after failures the last few seasons.

Kings, Islanders, Rangers Disappoint

The Los Angeles Kings and New York Islanders have both been on a roll lately and did nothing at the trade deadline.

Was that smart? We think they needed to add something.

The players the Rangers acquired do not seem to be the ones they needed to get over the hump. West leader Vancouver was also surprisingly silent, although the Canucks made their bigger moves earlier by getting center Elias Lindholm and defenseman Nikita Zadorov.



Questions of the Day

What team helped its chances to make the playoffs the most in the East?

Tampa Bay. The Lightning, 3-5-1 in their last nine, added speedy forward Anthony Duclair and veteran defenseman Matt Dumba.

Which team out of playoff position made the best deal?

Buffalo. The Sabres got top-four defenseman Bowen Byram from Colorado for pending restricted free agent Mittelstadt.

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