As March approaches most NHL fans are focused on playoffs right around the corner, beginning in April. Some eagerly check the standings repeatedly, praying their team sneaks into the playoff picture. Other, more fortunate, fans sit back and relax as they watch their team maintain steady positioning in the playoff race.
But before the highly anticipated post season can make its appearance, fans must come to terms with the fact they could see a favorite player come or go as the trade deadline approaches. As appealing as a trade may look on paper, the true test of success comes with re-evaluation on how the players mesh with their new teammates. Many teams must face the fact that the trade was not as beneficial as originally hoped, while other teams have the pleasure of watching a new team member flourish in their system.
March 1st brought all the pop and circumstance expected of the trade deadline as many players were on the move. But who really benefited from the trade? Not every trade is as glamorous as it seems.
The Washington Capitals had arguably one of the biggest acquisitions with their addition of Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues. Capitals senior vice president Brian MacLellan spoke highly of the Shattenkirk.
“Kevin is a skilled, puck moving defensemen, who we think will help our team at even strength and on the power play,” said MacLellan.
The Capitals seem to have benefited from the trade as they have gone 6-4-1 since the acquisition – the four losses coming consecutively in a minor slump they had in early March. Since the trade Shattenkirk has six assists in eleven games and MacLellan’s prediction about his strong abilities on both the power play and even strength appear to be true as he has points in both scenarios.
Another team who had many eyes on them was the Minnesota Wild. They acquired Martin Hanzal and Ryan White from the Arizona Coyotes, but had to surrender a 2017 first round draft pick in order to do so.
General Manager, Chuck Fletcher commented, “We are taking a swing, our players deserve that, our fans deserve that, we will see where it goes.”
Swing and a miss it appears to be. After two impressive victories coming off the bye week March has brought disaster to the Minnesota Wild. The additions of Hanzal and White were supposed to bring offensive power to the team and, despite the points Hanzal and White are putting up, the team is suffering. The Wild are 3-9-0 in the month of March with Hanzal and White tallying three goal and six assists combined.
Only time may tell for some teams in regards to the success of their trades, but other teams are seeing immediate results. Many factors can play into a team’s struggles post-trade deadline: end of season fatigue, players having to relocate themselves and their families, struggles to adjust in a new system, among others. But, some teams will be forced to come to terms with the realization of a failed trade, while others can celebrate the success of a new team member or the potential to make a strong selection in future drafts. Regardless of the success or failure of trades, the only focus for these teams now is the rapidly approaching playoffs – the prime opportunity for traded players to shine.