NHL fans and pundits should probably cancel all their plans on March 1. League commissioner Gary Bettman announced today that the NHL’s trade deadline will fall on March 1 this season, noting that the time cutoff would be 3 P.M ET.
The deadline can be among the league’s busiest days of the year, with players and draft picks sometimes swapping places at an alarming rate. Still, last season the trend of most big trades happening ahead of deadline day continued. The likes of Dion Phaneuf, Hunter Shinkaruk, Andrew Ladd, James Reimer, Eric Staal and Jiri Hudler were all dealt traded before the February 29 cutoff came and went.
We did see a few minor moves that had smaller impacts happen as that day progressed, with players such as Jamie McGinn, Kris Russell and Mikkel Boedker being traded away from their respective teams. All told, 19 deals went down at the NHL’s trade deadline while 14 occurred during the weekend leading up to the big day.
Not surprisingly, the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins made a few small, smart moves that paid off for their down the stretch. Their addition of Carl Hagelin for Adam Clendening and David Perron flew under the radar a bit but turned out to be a masterstroke. Pittsburgh also acquired defenseman Justin Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick, and he played some important minutes for the team down the stretch.
Who will make the slick moves this season? Will we see bigger names flipped at or ahead of the deadline? Tune in on March 3 for what will likely be wall-to-wall coverage of one of the NHL’s more intense days.