The NHL trade deadline was as active as we’ve seen it in years, and multiple teams made upgrades that could help them capture a Stanley Cup.
It wasn’t the most active trade deadline day that we’ve grown accustomed to, but the pair of weeks leading up was filled with action that ultimately helped change some teams’ Stanley Cup odds for the better.
Additions at the deadline, especially ones where you pay a big price, don’t always work out, but we’re confident in the three players listed below that they’ll give their respective new teams their money’s worth and then some.
1. Timo Meier (New Jersey Devils)
Along with being one of the biggest players moved at the NHL trade deadline, Timo Meier was also a perfect fit for the squad he ended up on. The San Jose Sharks moved the pending UFA big winger to the New Jersey Devils, and he gives the team an element that they’ve been sorely lacking this season. New Jersey has been looking for a winger that can fit into their top-six forward group and help create space for players such as Jack Hughes. Jersey should have the cap space necessary to offer Meier a long-term contract, and he really fits the exact age window that this Devils team is looking to capitalize on. Maybe they don’t win the Stanley Cup in Year 1 as contenders, but they have one of the strongest prospect pools in hockey, and they should only get better moving forward, which Meier should be a big part of.
2. Mattias Ekholm (Edmonton Oilers)
It’s hardly a secret that the Edmonton Oilers have been looking to add a noteworthy presence to their top four on defense. That’s been an area of concern for years, along with their goaltending. There will still be questions about their goalies in the playoffs, but adding a two-way star like Mattias Ekholm to this mix is exactly what this team needed. Edmonton made it to the Western Conference Finals last season on the back of elite performances from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and with both those players still being game-changing threats, adding a player of Ekholm’s skillset will only bolster the Oilers’ chances in a wide-open Western Conference.
3. Dmitry Orlov (Boston Bruins)
There are multiple players you can make a strong case for in the third spot here, but we’ve landed on defenseman Dmitry Orlov. The Russian defender was acquired from the Washington Capitals and has a Stanley Cup-winning pedigree, not that this version of the Bruins necessarily needs that with their plethora of experience. Orlov fits nicely into their top four on defense, and he can eat minutes and contribute offensively, which is another way of saying that the rich got richer with this acquisition. Boston likely didn’t need a move like this, but the deal for Orlov signified that management wanted to give some of the team’s veterans, like Patrice Bergeron, all the support he may need to add another Stanley Cup ring.