Final thoughts on the NHL trade deadline and best bets for Saturday, March 4th

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Thoughts on the NHL trade deadline and best bets for Saturday, March 4th

NHL trade deadline day rarely lives up to the hype, and Friday was no exception. However, unlike most past trade deadlines, where we saw an average of 40 trades, the weeks leading up to this year’s cut-off were very eventful with 62 trades in total.

 

Trade boards created by hockey insiders were decimated over the past two weeks, as just about all the big names rumoured to be on the trade block were in fact dealt. The number of trades that took place could shake up the league in a big way between now and the playoffs, but since the rich have gotten richer, the most likely effect is that teams that are fighting to make the playoffs have an even tougher time against the teams that are already in.

Especially in the East.

So, who did the best? In my opinion, it’s the Boston Bruins. They might not win the Stanley Cup, but they are undoubtedly the NHL’s best team, and it will take a herculean effort to knock them off in the playoffs. Boston has already become the fastest team in NHL history to reach 100 points, and they have now added a top-tier defenseman in Dmitry Orlov and forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who scored 30 goals and 60-plus points just one season ago.

The Rangers have added top-end talent in Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko, and the addition of Timo Meier solidifies the Devils as a contender, but I must hand it to general manager Don Sweeney and the Bruins because they could have easily stood pat while all the teams around them improved but chose to be proactive. Five out of the six teams with the best Stanley Cup odds reside in the East, but the Bruins have ensured that the gap between them remains a wide one.

An honorable mention should go to the Edmonton Oilers because they have addressed a significant weakness by bringing in two players who will improve their defensive game. The Oilers are probably the best offensive team in the NHL, with the best power play, but they need help with penalty killing and defense. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm and, to a lesser extent, Nick Bjugstad are smart acquisitions heading into the playoffs. The Western Conference is wide open this season and the Oilers are set up nicely to make another run at the Stanley Cup.

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