Excuse Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis if he had to check his calendar once or twice.
Given all the wheeling and dealing that took place around the NHL over the past few weeks, he wondered if the league’s trading deadline had been switched.
“At one point there, I thought maybe they moved the trade deadline to like Wednesday, and nobody told me,” Francis said after the deadline officially arrived on Friday.
What surprised him and his counterparts was how a majority of the blockbuster deals were completed well in advance, turning deadline day into a bit of a dudline.
With Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko already dealt to the New York Rangers, Timo Meier in New Jersey, Ryan O’Reilly in Toronto, the Boston Bruins bulking up their NHL-leading roster with Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway and Tyler Bertuzzi, and Ottawa removing the last high-profile name off the market by landing Jakob Chychrun on Wednesday, the trades completed on Friday paled in headline-grabbing attention.
“It feel like it’s been going on for three weeks with today being really quiet,” Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said. “Most of the hard work had been done earlier.”
The Minnesota Wild made the most notable moves by acquiring Anaheim defenseman John Klingberg for defenseman Andrej Sustr, the rights to forward Nikita Nesterenko and a fourth-round pick in the 2025 draft. Anaheim also retained half of Klingberg’s salary.
Minnesota, which began the day three points behind Central Division-leading Dallas, also acquired center Oskar Sundqvist for a fourth-round pick sent to Detroit. The Wild freed up roster room by trading under-performing forward Jordan Greenway to Buffalo in exchange for a 2023 second- and 2024 fifth-round pick.
Next in line were the Pittsburgh Penguins, who sit seventh in the Eastern Conference standings and made several last-day trades in a bid to secure their NHL-leading 17th consecutive playoff berth.
The Penguins acquired Dmitry Kulikov from Anaheim for forward Brock McGinn and a 2024 third-round pick. They also brought back forward Nick Bonino in a three-team deal involving San Jose and Montreal.
In trading Bonino to Pittsburgh, the Sharks acquired two draft picks and the rights to Penguins prospect Arvid Henrikson. The Canadiens acquired Sharks defenseman Tony Sund for retaining half Bonino’s salary.
The Red Wings continued selling off players, dealing winger Jakub Vrana to St. Louis for a 2025 seventh-round pick and minors player Dylan McLaughlin, while retaining half of Vrana’s salary through next season.
In other moves:
— The New Jersey Devils added more forward depth by getting Curtis Lazar from Vancouver for a 2024 fourth-round pick.
— Vladislav Namestnikov was on the move again. A day after being dealt by Tampa Bay to San Jose, the 10th-year player was shipped by the Sharks to Winnipeg for a 2025 fourth-round draft pick.
— Nick and Brett Ritchie changed teams in what is believed to be the first NHL trade involving two brothers. The Calgary Flames traded Nick Ritchie and defenseman Troy Stretcher to Arizona for Brett Ritchie and defenseman Connor Mackey.
The Philadelphia Flyers made two trades, sending Patrick Brown to Ottawa and hard-hitting winger Zack MacEwen to Los Angeles for Brendan Lemieux and a 2024 fifth-round pick. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher, however, was unable to find a trade partner for veteran forward and pending unrestricted agent James van Riemsdyk.
“You need someone to be a willing buyer,” Fletcher said. “I didn’t even get a firm offer of a fourth-round pick for JVR.”
Only 21 trades were completed involving 34 players on Friday. By comparison, last year’s trade deadline day featured 32 trades, tying a one-day record set in 2020, involving 51 players and a record-matching 26 draft picks.
That followed a frenzied two-week stretch that was NHL’s busiest for trading over the past decade: 43 trades involving 85 players and 55 draft picks, including 12 first-rounders, all since Feb. 17. That’s more than double the trade volume over the same spans since the 2012-13 lockout.
Carolina GM Don Waddell credited the Islanders landing 30-goal-scorer Bo Horvat in a deal with Vancouver on Jan. 30 for prompting the early rush.
“Maybe it’s an abnormal year,” said Waddell, whose Hurricanes got winger Jesse Puljujarvi and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere in recent days. “Usually the last couple days of (the trade deadline) is the frenzy time. … But the significant deals were all made this past week.”
On Wednesday, after trading Chychrun to Ottawa, Coyotes’ Bill Armstrong joked how he and his NHL GM counterparts intended to have trades completed in advance to “ruin the trade deadline shows,” which dedicate a majority of their airtime to monitor the movement.
Just as notable were the teams in contention that mostly stood pat.
The Florida Panthers, in a four-way tie for ninth and four points out of contention in the Eastern Conference, failed to make a move. In Seattle, Francis resisted the urge to shake up his second-year team’s roster that began the day third in the Pacific Division standings.
“I think it’s easy to overpay for players at this point of the season. Your emotions get involved, and you want to do that,” Francis said. “At the end of the day, we believe in this group that we have, and didn’t think there were prices that we were willing to pay at this point to change the chemistry.” ___
AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno, AP Sports Writers Tim Booth, Dave Campbell and Dan Gelston and AP freelance writer Denis Gorman contributed. ___
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