3. Boston Bruins
Starting out the season with 12/1 odds at winning the Cup, the Boston Bruins made their first trade deadline move on February 20 when they acquired forward Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild for forward Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth-round draft pick. Coyle has spent the entirety of his career with the Wild and heads into Boston with 28 points in 60 games. Coyle also boasts 45 blocked shots, 61 hits, and 31 takeaways this season. His style lines up exactly with the type of game the Boston Bruins bring to the ice. He has two hits, two takeaways, and a 61 per cent success rate in the faceoff circle through his first three games with the team.
Boston then managed to further bolster their offense by making a trade with the New Jersey Devils. Boston sent a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Devils for forward Marcus Johansson. Johansson, despite playing for a team closer to the league’s basement, still managed to put together a season of 27 points in 48 games. He also has 18 blocked shots, 23 hits, and 27 takeaways. He has two blocks, two hits, and one point in his first two games with the Bruins.
The Bruins are now +1000 to win this year’s Stanley Cup.
2. Washington Capitals
The defending Cup champions came into this season not needing to change a thing about their roster. More than just the core stuck around after the off-season and the Caps hit the ice healthy, strong, intact, and had 11/1 odds to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
Although a change wasn’t needed, you also can’t pass up a good opportunity when you see one. Forward Carl Hagelin, who had been a major player in the last few years of the Pittsburgh Penguins success (including their Cup wins in 2016 and 2017 - both years in which the Pens eliminated the Caps from the playoffs) became available. Unfortunately for Hagelin, the Penguins couldn’t re-sign Hagelin due to a CBA issue and he found himself traded to the struggling L.A. Kings and has only been able to pull together five points in 22 games.
But now the player formerly known as the “Caps Killer” finds himself playing in Washington and the Capitals couldn’t be happier. The Penguins retained some salary in the trade with Los Angeles and all Washington had to part with was a 2019 third-round pick and a conditional 2020 sixth-round pick.
The Capitals then sent defenseman Matt Bowey and a 2020 second-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Nick Jensen and a 2019 fifth-round pick. Jensen has 15 points in 60 games so far this season and brings 79 blocked shots and 65 hits to the Washington blue line.
Hagelin and Jensen add incredible depth and playoff experience to a team that already boasts the offensive powers of Alexander Ovechkin, Matt Niskanen, Niklas Backstrom, and Evgeni Kuznetsov. The Washington Capitals are officially listed as a +1700 to repeat their Cup victory from last season.
1. Columbus Blue Jackets
Without question, the Columbus Blue Jackets “won” this year’s trade deadline - not just in the East, but the entire league.
It kicked off on February 22 when the Blue Jackets sent forwards Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, a first-round pick for either 2019 or 2020 and another conditional first-round pick to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Julius Bergman and the main focus of the trade: Matt Duchene. Duchene led the floundering Ottawa Senators this season with 58 points in 50 games and already finds himself with three points in his first four games with the Blue Jackets.
Columbus didn’t stop their talks with the Senators there though as one day later the Jackets sent forward Anthony Duclair, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick for a 2019 seventh-round pick and another one of Ottawa’s few shining lights of this season: Ryan Dzingel. Dzingel racked up 44 points for the Sens in 57 games and now has two points in his first two games playing with his new club.
The Blue Jackets then flipped defenseman Julius Bergman and a couple late-round picks to the New York Rangers for defenseman Adam McQuaid.
The final notable move for Columbus was the acquisition of goaltender Keith Kinkaid from the New Jersey Devils. Kinkaid only cost the Jackets a 2022 fifth-round draft pick. Kinkaid has spent his whole NHL career with the Devils, but after the poor season that New Jersey has had thus far (through no fault of Kinkaid), a change of scenery will probably do him well. Kinkaid is 15-18-6 this season with a goals against average of 3.36 and a save percentage of .891. He has three shutout.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are +2000 when it comes to Stanley Cup victory odds.
Honourable Mention: Tampa Bay Lightning
An honourable mention has to go out to the Tampa Bay Lightning for doing absolutely nothing this trade deadline. The Lightning have been the favourites all season long to win the Cup and there was no need to risk changing a thing. Tampa Bay is currently first-place in the league with a record of 49-12-4. Their leading scorer, Nikita Kucherov, has 104 points in only 65 games (he finished all of last season with 100 points).
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the +300 favourites to win the Stanley Cup this season.