So much happened leading up to the actual NHL trade deadline this year, our heads were already spinning by the time 3 p.m. ET rolled around on March 3. We were just starting to process all the blockbusters leading up to the big day, and yet teams still managed to make some sneaky consequential moves at the buzzer.
Now that we've had a weekend to take it all in, it's time to describe every team's trade deadline in one word before we shift our focus to the playoff push.
Boston Bruins: Perfect
What do you get the team that has everything? A New England-native, playoff-tested grit guy in Garnet Hathaway, an electric second-ish-line winger in Tyler Bertuzzi, and another dimension to a well-rounded blue line in Dmitry Orlov. The Bruins only gave up one NHL player in Craig Smith to accomplish this. Well done, Don Sweeney.
Buffalo Sabres: Meh
The Tage Thompson-led Sabres probably score enough goals as it is. They needed something the trade deadline can't buy in defensive consistency and goaltending. The Jordan Greenway pickup is good on the shutdown front, as was actual depth defenseman Riley Stillman. The Sabres weren't particularly moving the needle this trade deadline, but they didn't need a flashy goal scorer whatsoever.
Detroit Red Wings: Smart
In a trade deadline where buyers made off better than sellers, the Red Wings snagged two potential first-round picks and more. They're in the mix for the Eastern Conference wild-card race, but it's such a gamble this year that I like sticking to the Yzerplan, signing first-line center Dylan Larkin to a long-term deal and getting rid of Bertuzzi before he walked–even though it was difficult.
Let's be real, some very good teams aren't making the playoffs in the East this year, and even fewer are advancing to the second round. I respect getting the Larkin deal done and holding off before making any drastic deadline moves this year.
Florida Panthers: Absent
The Panthers were the only team in the East to not make any moves at all at the 2023 deadline. A weird year for the defending Presidents' Trophy recipients trudges on.
Montreal Canadiens: Quiet
The Canadiens sold, but they didn't go as far as they maybe could've at this point in their rebuilding process. Then again, they're currently dealing with give-or-take 10 injured players on their NHL roster.
Ottawa Senators: Alive
Inside of you there are two Eastern Conference wolves: The Red Wings and the Senators. As much as I respect the Red Wings for sticking to the plan, I respect the Senators just as much for deciding they're in the playoff race and winning the Jakob Chychrun sweepstakes. With Claude Giroux heating up, it feels like the Senators have clawed their way into the playoff race, and they aren't done yet.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Classic
Leave it to the Lightning to acquire a gritty-yet-effective middle-to-bottom-six-ish player at the trade deadline. It's felt like an overpay before with the likes of Barclay Goodrow, but it typically ends up paying off for the Bolts. This year wasn't any different, with five picks including a first-rounder shipped to Nashville for Tanner Jeannot. It does feel like an overpay considering he's only got five goals on the season, but he's their kind of player come playoffs, so I'll bite my tongue until all is said and done.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Dedicated
It's an absolute shame that newly acquired Leaf Ryan O'Reilly (broken finger) is now on long-term injured reserve, because he was fitting in so well on his new team. This was a huge deadline for GM Kyle Dubas between O'Reilly and several other complementary moves, and Dubas did enough without doing too much as the team looks to advance to the second round. Hopefully for Leafs fans, O'Reilly is back for the playoffs–y'all have been through enough.