The Tampa Bay Lightning announced as their final trade on Monday that the Syracuse Crunch have sent forward Antoine Morand to the San Jose Sharks organization in exchange for 23-year-old goalie Alexei Melnichuk. Morand was a former pick of the Ducks and had four goals and 10 points in 44 games this season for Syracuse. Melnichuk was an undrafted goalie out of the KHL and playing in five NHL games last year, but has struggled this year in the AHL.
Melnichuk has been assigned to the Orlando Solar Bears to start.
The #SJSharks have traded goalie Alexei Melnichuk for center Antoine Morand of the Syracuse Crunch.— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) March 21, 2022
This trade, which was largely inconsequential to the Lightning, marks the end of a trade deadline that wasn’t huge, but made impactful moves at forward. Here’s a summary:
- Brandon Hagel (RW)
- Nick Paul (LW)
- Riley Nash (C)
- 2 x 4th round pick (CHI)
- Mathieu Joseph (LW)
- Taylor Raddysh (RW)
- Boris Katchouk (LW)
- 2 x 1st round pick (TBL)
- 1 x 4th round pick (TBL)
- Future Considerations
What grade do you give the Lightning after this Trade Deadline?
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Trades in the Atlantic
Here is a quick overview of what the other contenders in the Atlantic Division were up to. I didn’t include all the specifics, but the NHLers that got brought in. A full list of trades can be found in the related links over on their blogs, as well as CapFriendly.
- Claude Giroux (C), Ben Chiarot (LD), Robert Hagg (LD)
- Mark Giordano (LD), Colin Blackwell (RW), Future Considerations
- Hampus Lindholm (LD), Josh Brown (RD)
I would say Florida got better with Giroux, but then also got worse with Chiarot. They certainly haven’t turned into a super team. I would say Toronto got better, but more so by plugging holes rather than improving their team outright. Blackwell doesn’t move the needle much offensively while Tampa still has a better defense and the best goalie by far. Speaking of defense, Boston improved their defense a bunch, despite it already being very strong. Their problem is up front, which they didn’t address.
So when everyone is calling the Atlantic Division an Arms Race, at the end of the day, it just ended up being rather mediocre like every other year.
Through all the murk, here are some of the more major moves that happened. Credit to CapFriendly for having them all in one place.
- Rickard Rakell to Pittsburgh for Dominik Simon, Zach Aston-Reese, and a pick
- Andrew Copp to NY Rangers for Morgan Barron and picks
- Nick Leddy and Luke Witkowski to St. Louis for Oskar Sundqvist and Jake Walman
- Artturi Lehkonen to Colorado for Justin Barron
- Marc-Andre Fleury to Minnesota for a second round pick
- Kaapo Kahkonen to San Jose for Jacob Middleton
- Marcus Johansson to Washington for Daniel Sprong and picks
- Brett Kulak to Edmonton for William Lagesson and a pick
And a smattering of other moves as well.
Looking at the list of players who were traded, I can’t help but feel it’s rather underwhelming, especially considering the list of players that were rumored to be on the move. Here’s a quick recap of players who were heavily discussed to be on the move but didn’t end up going anywhere:
- John Klingberg (RD)
- Jakob Chychrun (LD)
- Filip Forsberg (LW)
- Jake DeBrusk (LW)
- Phil Kessel (RW)
- PK Subban (RD)
For some of these guys, like Chychrun and DeBrusk, they have deals for a couple more years, so this deadline wasn’t really a deadline for them. We’ll see them again at the NHL Draft. For others, like Kessel and Subban, their contracts were just too big to move and teams didn’t have the space. They’ll find new homes under new contracts in the summer.
What confuses me is the potential asset cost Dallas and Nashville just paid by keeping their own rentals just to miss the playoffs or get flattened by Colorado in the first round. Pick one, there is no third option. I think it’s a huge mistake. The contract negotiations between the Stars and Klingberg have been fraught, I can’t imagine anything realistic is going to fix that, while Nashville seem to be both on the verge of not having money but also giving out these long term contracts for guys in their 30s. It just makes them more and more mediocre. I don’t know why David Poile thinks that is good for the team or his own personal optics. If these two teams are fighting for two games of ticket revenue in the playoffs, they’ll lose more money in the long run by maintaining their mediocrity.
Before you go, there’s some news developing out of Vegas about a botched trade deadline move involving Evgeni Dadonov. We will have more on this comical developing story tomorrow when the dust has settled. In the meantime, here is Blake Coleman figuring out the Lightning photoshopped Nick Paul onto his body!