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The Edge of Lori: Trades made

By Lori Bennett National Sports Columnist

NHL Noise It has been a crazy week in the NHL. The trade deadline came and went on Friday, and in the week leading up to the deadline several blockbuster deals were completed. The Toronto Maple Leafs took the trade market by storm. After a blockbuster deal that netted Ryan O’ Reilly and Noel Acciari, they claimed two more names from the trade board. The Leafs landed blue liner Jake McCabe and forward Sam Lafferty, and a couple of late picks, sending back conditional picks, including a first, and depth players. They followed that up by trading Rasmus Sandin to the Washington Capitals for Erik Gustafsson and a first round pick. Then they dealt forward Pierre Engvall to the New York Islanders for a third round pick and traded their own third to the Vancouver Canucks for Luke Schenn. With these deals, the Leafs were really saying they were counting on veterans McCabe, Schenn and Gustafsson to bring more of what they needed right now than Sandin, and others, were ready to deliver. They were also able to recover a first rounder by dealing Sandin. As of press deadline, it wasn’t clear if the Leafs were done or if they would try to add again before Friday’s deadline. Regardless, there is no mistaking these moves for Toronto – they are all-in. McCabe is a solid upgrade, Schenn brings toughness around the net that they lacked, and their forward depth has been strengthened considerably. O’Reilly has fit like a glove, and he’s only expected to get better in the post-season. If they can’t go deeper this year, it will be tough to blame GM Kyle Dubas. In addition to dealing Schenn, the Vancouver Canucks made another significant trade. They were expected to be sellers, but they added defenseman Filip Hronek from the Detroit Red Wings, using the first rounder they received from the Islanders in the Horvat deal. Hronek is still young, and the Canucks are betting he’s more valuable than what they could fetch with the pick. It’s hard to figure what the Canucks are doing, but it looks like they’re not interested in a deep rebuild. In Edmonton, Ken Holland was looking asleep at the wheel and wasting Connor McDavid’s best years, but he came through. First, Holland finally offloaded forward Jesse Puljujarvi to the Carolina Hurricanes, who will try to get him on track. After freeing up cap space Holland made his big move for a defenseman. The Oilers obtained Mattias Ekholm and a pick from the Nashville Predators for an enormous package that included Tyson Barrie, local boy Reid Schaefer who was their first round pick in 2022, their 2023 first rounder, and another pick. With that the entire hockey world breathed a sigh of relief that Holland seems to know his team’s window to win is right now. Ekholm is a huge upgrade for them on defense, and he is under contract for three years after this, so he fits the low risk approach that Holland likes. GM Pierre Dorion finally acquired the veteran defender the Ottawa Senators have been looking for all season. The Sens have not given up on a push to make the playoffs, and they added one of the biggest names when they acquired Jakob Chychrun from the Arizona Coyotes. Chychrun had been on the market since Joey Smallwood was Premier because his price tag. But the Coyotes gave in, and the Sens gave up a first rounder that is top-five protected, and a couple of second round picks. One of those can become a first if Ottawa makes it to the Eastern Conference Final, which seems low risk. That’s a tidy bit of business by Dorion, holding out for the price to drop. The Winnipeg Jets landed skilled forward Nino Niederreiter from the Predators for a 2nd round pick, but at press deadline we were all still waiting for the conservative Kevin Cheveldayoff to take advantage of a wide open Western Conference. The Montreal Canadiens, who were expected to be quieter at the deadline than they hoped because of injuries, were able to make a deal involving unrestricted free agent forward Evgenii Dadonov. Dadonov was moved to the Dallas Stars for Denis Gurianov, a restricted free agent who had cooled after a hot regular season and playoffs in 2019-20. He will get a new chance under the bright lights of Montreal. As of deadline, the only Canadian team to not have entered the ring was the Calgary Flames, who are firmly in no man’s land. This is not the season they were expecting. Elsewhere around the NHL, Patrick Kane controlled all the marbles and was dealt to the New York Rangers for an underwhelming package. The Tampa Bay Lightning appear to be trying to keep their contention window open, and made a huge deal for Tanner Jeannot, giving up defenseman Cal Foote and a collection of five picks in what looks like the overpayment of the season. The Boston Bruins got their upgrade on defense, landing Dmitri Orlov, along with forward Garnet Hathaway, in a three-team trade involving the Washington Capitals and the Minnesota Wild. This is the opponent the Leafs eventually expect to face if they can overcome the Lightning, and they have loaded up with both teams in mind. The New Jersey Devils won the sweepstakes for Timo Meier, perhaps the most coveted forward on the market. They landed Meier, along with defenseman Scott Harrington, sending back forward Fabian Zetterlund, prospects and picks. In a “cutthroat business” story, the Los Angeles Kings made a move to add goaltending, but it meant parting with franchise goaltender Jonathan Quick who led them to two Stanley Cups. Quick and some picks went to the Columbus Blue Jackets for netminder Joonas Korpisalo and coveted defender Vladislav Gavrikov. Quick was in the last year of his contract, and the trade came as a shock to teammates. Reports suggest the netminder wasn’t happy about the trade, but he got flipped to the Vegas Golden Knights a day later, so perhaps that’s preferable. That’s where press deadline left us. By the time you’re reading this, rosters will be all but set for the toughest part of the hockey year. Here’s hoping you like your team’s newly revised roster.

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