With the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline one week in the rearview mirror, the early returns for teams that were active have been both positive and negative. Some teams have improved their standings and their new acquisitions have fit right in. Other teams haven’t faired as well as they would have liked. Let’s take a look at some of the early winners and losers.
Winner: Bruins and Dmitry Orlov
Despite a loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, the Boston Bruins continue to roll with a 9-1-0 record in their last 10 games. They are clearly the cream of the crop in the NHL this season and one of their biggest additions at this year’s deadline has fit like a glove.
Dmitry Orlov has been incredible for the Bruins since his arrival. He was named the NHL’s first star of the week, he has scored nine points in his first six games and he’s eating a ton of minutes. He’s playing with Charlie McAvoy on the Bruins’ top pair, and he’s playing sound defense and then transitioning his linemates into a strong offensive position. He’s been physical and laid in some massive open-ice hits and he’s been the quintessential Bruin.
Perhaps no deadline trade has fit quite as well as Orlov when it comes to meshing with his new team almost immediately.
Winner: Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators
Jakob Chychrun has been as advertised with the Ottawa Senators. He’s been solid defensively and he’s scored regularly since being acquired for a price far cheaper than anyone would have expected at the deadline. The Senators waited to acquire him and it paid off. The addition has given the entire team a boost, helping them go 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.
The Senators are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, but the way they’ve come of late leaves them only four points out of a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. They seem like a club on a mission and GM Pierre Dorion wanted to make good on a promise to add this year. He did so and the team is responding.
Winner: Ekholm to the Edmonton Oilers
Mattias Ekholm has not only fit right in with the Oilers by making their team better defensively but he’s been underrated on the offensive end and has been a great addition for both Evan Bouchard and Darnell Nurse. Ekholm has given coach Jay Woodcroft the ability to up Bouchard’s minutes with confidence, but lower Nurse’s minutes, all while getting both players more power play time.
The Oilers are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and just became the first team to come back on the Bruins after the B’s scored the first game of the season all year. Edmonton won that game and the team has looked solid as they make their way into the top Wild Card spot in the West and are just four points out of the Pacific Division lead.
The addition of Nick Bjugstad has been solid for the Oilers as well. Between Ekholm and Bjugstad, the Oilers’ penalty kill has been solid, and their 5-v-5 play has improved. Both were goals of GM Ken Holland heading into the deadline.
Loser: The New York Rangers and Patrick Kane
The Rangers are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and while they’ll make the playoffs and Patrick Kane is starting to feel a bit more comfortable, this team still leaks goals and there are questions about whether their additions were the right type of players to fill some important holes. No doubt, the Rangers are offensively stacked and if they find chemistry, could be dangerous. But, if they don’t limit the goals against them, they could be in trouble. They are fairly one-dimensional.
Patrick Kane has not helped in that regard and he’s perhaps been the one star player moved that has taken more time to fit in with his new environment.
Loser: Calgary Flames
There was a clear need in Calgary to add a scorer and the Flames simply didn’t do it. As a result, they continue to struggle to post goals and are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. On the back of strong performances by Jacob Markstrom, they won a couple of games right after the deadline and then lost to the Anaheim Ducks, proving that even if they squeak into the postseason, they’re in real trouble. No there are questions about Brad Treliving’s future as the GM of the team and what direction this club will go with some important contracts coming due in the next two seasons.
Just to kick the Flames when they’re down, the franchise set an NHL single-season record with 19 losses when outshooting opponents by 10+ shots (tracked since 1955-56).
Next: Maple Leafs Meet Oilers in Revenge Game: Who Will Win?
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