Marc-Andre Fleury may have been the biggest winner at the NHL trade deadline, getting dealt by the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks to the potentially contending Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota acquired the biggest name available on Monday, adding a three-time Stanley Cup winner. The bold move boosts the Wild’s chances of making the playoffs and perhaps making a deep run for the first time since reaching the 2003 Western Conference finals.
The Wild gave up a conditional first-round pick in this year’s draft, and Chicago agreed to pay half of what is left on the last year of Fleury’s three-year contract.
“It was a very open, collaborative process and Minnesota obviously was a very favorable location for him,” Chicago’s first-year general manager Kyle Davidson said. “I’m glad we could work out something that worked for the Wild, Marc and also the Blackhawks.”
The 37-year-old Fleury, who was 19-21-1 with four shutouts in Chicago, won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie with the Vegas Golden Knights just a year ago. The high-scoring Wild effectively exchanged Fleury for Kaapo Kahkonen, who they traded to San Jose for a fifth-round pick, and gave themselves an option in net other than Cam Talbot.
Here’s a look at some of the other winners at the deadline, when 33 deals were made involving 54 players, and in the days leading up to the potentially pivotal day:
NEW YORK RANGERS
The Rangers, who failed to make the playoffs last season for the third time in four years, improved their chances of making noise in the postseason for the first time since reaching the 2015 Eastern Conference finals.
New York bolstered its defense by acquiring Philadelphia’s Justin Braun and improved their depth up front, adding Tyler Motte from Vancouver and Winnipeg’s Andrew Copp. The Rangers gave up a total of five picks, including two conditional second-round selections to Winnipeg, along with a pair of minor league prospects.
The NHL-leading Avs, clearly, are not content with their place in the standings by acquiring forward Artturi Lehkonen from Montreal to make plays at both ends of the ice. They also landed San Jose forward Andrew Cogliano to add depth after bolstering the blue line after acquiring defenseman Josh Manson from Anaheim last week.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Winners find a way, and the Lightning looked as if they did on Friday by acquiring 23-year-old forward Brandon Hagel — who scored 21 goals for a second straight season in Chicago — for a pair of first-round picks.
Tampa Bay also added a layer of toughness by adding 6-foot-3, 225-pound forward Nick Paul from Ottawa in a quest to become the NHL’s first team to win three straight Stanley Cups since the New York Islanders won four in a row from 1980 to 1983.
“Everybody’s trying to get that extra edge — whatever they think that is,” coach Jon Cooper said.
The Panthers, who lead the rival Lightning in the Atlantic Division, made a splash Saturday by acquiring seven-time All-Star forward Claude Giroux from Philadelphia a few days after adding standout defenseman Ben Chiarot of Montreal.
Vying with Carolina and the Rangers to win the Metropolitan Division, the Penguins added 16-goal scorer Rickard Rakell from Anaheim. His 154 goals in 550 games rank fifth on the Ducks’ all-time list and his secondary scoring is needed in Pittsburgh.
AP Hockey Writers Stephen Whyno and John Wawrow and freelance reporter Denis Gorman contributed.
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