The NHL took a nod from reality at the trade deadline this season. Like how some enjoy turning their birthday into a weeklong event, general managers across the league got a jump on the deadline by stretching out the fun and games (and transactions) over the course of about a month or so.
Although spreading out the moves might not have made for great television on deadline day, what it did allow was taking a wider look at all the moves that came through up until 3 p.m. ET on Friday. Even when it came to picking winners and losers, it allowed us to get a bit more creative when passing judgment.
That's why while the players pack up and head to their new teams, we're handing out the W's and L's in ways you've (probably) not seen before. Out with the old team-by-team breakdowns…in with hammering on trends, copycat notions and outright totally bad moves.
What constitutes a winner or a loser? Apart from that being somewhat of a philosophical question, it's the snap judgment that takes care of it. If your team brought in a big name or addressed a serious need, there's a good chance they came out ahead. If they didn't do much of anything, that's not necessarily bad, but if they did that when they had moves to make, then that's bad. No, I'm not Captain Obvious; I just play one on the internet.
Is your favorite team a winner, a loser or one that could be construed as such? Let's find out.
Winner: Building an NHL Superteam
The arms race in the Eastern Conference before the deadline was truly incredible to see. Six of the seven best teams in the NHL reside in the East (entering Friday), and they all have designs on winning the Stanley Cup. However, only one of them can do it. Heck, two of those top teams won't even get out of the first round of the playoffs.
When the situation presented itself to go for it, a couple of teams decided to take that to the extreme by trying to build the ultimate Cup contender. The Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers were already three of the best teams in the NHL—and the Bruins might shake out as one of the best regular-season teams in league history—but none of them could rest easy knowing the competition is so stiff.
The Bruins acquired Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from Washington and then Tyler Bertuzzi from Detroit. Did they need to get a point-scoring, puck-rushing defenseman who helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018? Probably not, but they did.
Did they have to add two physical forwards, one who's very offensively capable, to help out the middle of their forward lines? Maybe the injuries to Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno are troubling, but they still could've weathered them over the rest of the regular season.
The Maple Leafs went whole-hog wild before the deadline, adding Ryan O'Reilly, Noel Acciari, Jake McCabe, Sam Lafferty, Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn while giving up a boat load of draft picks, including two first-round picks, and younger support players like Joey Anderson and Rasmus Sandin.
Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is in the final year of his five-year contract, and the Leafs haven't advanced past the first round since 2004. If the all-in push works, Dubas will have a job for life and a statue in downtown Toronto. If not, well…things might get ugly all around.