NHL trades build anticipation for season

As the National Hockey League (NHL) season kicks into high gear after the All-Star break last month, the league is separated by a significant divide: the buyers and the sellers. Buying teams are playoff-bound, looking to acquire a player or two that can put them over the edge. The sellers, on the other hand, look to part ways with good players in preparation for a rebuild of the team.

The NHL’s deadline for a trade to take place is Friday, March 3 at 3 p.m. From now until then, there will be plenty of deals that take place, accompanying the ones that have already happened. Big names will move places, and the last two months of the regular season will become a wild ride for players and fans.

For now, there have been only a few trades. However, when you account for the ones that should happen, TV ratings could take a serious spike. Here’s what’s around the league before the deadline.


Recent trades


Rangers acquire Vladimir Tarasenko

On Feb. 9, the New York Rangers swooped in and dealt for St. Louis star winger Vladimir Tarasenko. With St. Louis losing steam in the Central Division standings, New York got themselves a four-time All-Star and, more importantly, a Stanley Cup champion. Tarasenko has been playing well since being traded, mostly due to his chemistry with fellow Russian and MVP candidate Artemi Panarin.


Maple Leafs acquire Ryan O’Reilly

St. Louis dealt another forward eight days later when the Toronto Maple Leafs called. Ryan O’Reilly won a cup in St. Louis and has plenty of playoff experience, including multiple appearances with the Colorado Avalanche. The Ontario native has less than 30 points this season, but his versatility gives Toronto options on their stacked forward lines and with special teams. O’Reilly is well-known for his penalty killing.


Winnipeg deals for Nino Niederreiter

With a promising year for the Winnipeg Jets, who are in second place in the Central Division, it was time to add veteran leadership to the mold. On Feb. 25, Winnipeg acquired experienced center/winger Nino Niederreiter for a second-round pick in the 2024 draft. The Swiss 30-year-old serves nicely on the penalty kill and even provides secondary scoring that the Jets will need to carry them into May.


Timo Meier to the Devils

While Winnipeg might have gotten a handy Swiss for their playoff push, the best Swiss player in the league, San Jose winger Timo Meier, was traded to the Devils on Feb. 27. Meier has 52 points this season, the second-most on the Sharks, and was an All-Star last year. With the help of Meier, the Devils could prove to be serious. The 2015 ninth-overall pick is versatile, both elusive and physical, and could also create nationalistic chemistry with Swiss teammate and Devils captain Nico Hischier. The Devils gave up a lot of names, but no one detrimental to the team’s mission over the next few years.


Patrick Kane to the Rangers

The Rangers are not done with the trade market after acquiring Tarasenko, as they acquired the greatest American hockey player of all time, making them cup favorites. Kane, while his payday isn’t the prettiest, is timeless. He has hands like lightning, world-class puck awareness and a wrist shot that’s helped the Blackhawks win three Stanley Cups from 2010-2015. In the three-team deal, the Rangers acquired Kane and defenseman Cooper Zech. The Blackhawks received Andy Welinski, Vili Saarijarvi, a conditional 2023 second-round pick and a 2025 fourth-round pick. The Arizona Coyotes took back a 2025 third-round pick from New York.


Trade that should happen


Erik Karlsson to the Oilers

The best defenseman this season by far, the Sharks will also be trading another star in 15-year veteran Erik Karlsson. The team that makes the most sense? The Edmonton Oilers, who have struggled defensively this season. Karlsson is a seven-time All-Star, a two-time Norris trophy (league’s best defenseman) winner and has made five playoff appearances with the Sharks and Ottawa Senators. With a player like this, the Western Conference could shake in their boots at the thought of Karlsson paired with Connor McDavid, who has been unquestionably the best player on the planet since being drafted in 2015.


There have been some intriguing moves this season so far, with buyers making their squads stronger for the postseason. More trades will happen over the next few days, and the next two months of hockey should be must-see.



Featured photo courtesy of HC Sibir, Wikipedia