Rangers acquire All-Star winger from Blues

The NHL trade season is getting interesting, especially if you live in New York.

The New York Islanders and New York Rangers have pulled off the biggest trades in what, up to then, had been a boring trade season.

First, the Vancouver Canucks did their initial piece of ‘major surgery’ on the disappointing team’s roster by trading captain Bo Horvat, an All-Star, to the Islanders on Jan. 30.

The New York Rangers made their move on Feb. 9 by acquiring winger Vladimir Tarasenko from the St. Louis Blues. 

Here is analysis on the bigger deals or other moves that have taken place leading up to the March 3 NHL trade deadline. There will be a live blog on deadline day. 

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When is the NHL trade deadline?

The NHL trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET on March 3.

Who are some of the bigger names who could be moved before the deadline?

Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Max Domi. San Jose’s Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier. St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly. Vancouver’s Brock Boeser and Luke Schenn. Anaheim’s John Klingberg. Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun, Shayne Gostisbehere and Nick Bjugstad. Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov. Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk. Montreal’s Joel Edmundson and Sean Monahan. Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi.

What trades, transactions or other news occurred before the March 3 deadline?

Feb. 9: The New York Rangers acquire forward Vladimir Tarasenko and defenseman Niko Mikkola from the St. Louis Blues for a conditional 2023 first-round draft pick, a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick, forward Sammy Blais and defenseman Hunter Skinner. Tarasenko, an All-Star this season even with reduced numbers as he missed time with an injury, boosts the Rangers’ top six and they didn’t have to give up one of their top youngsters to get him. He’s a six-time 30-goal scorer who puts up good playoff numbers. The Rangers also hold the Dallas Stars’ first-round pick and they’ll give up the lower pick, helping them in this year’s deep draft. Mikkola is a 6-4 shutdown defenseman who kills penalties and is an upgrade on defenseman Libor Hajek, who was placed on waivers. Blais used to play for the Blues and put up better numbers there. He had no goals with New York. Both he, Mikkola and Tarasenko are pending unrestricted free agents. The Blues will retain 50% of Tarasenko’s salary.

Feb. 6: Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane addresses his future. The pending unrestricted free agent has a no-movement clause and told reporters he’s ‘not really at that point’ about deciding whether to waive it. He did say agent Pat Brisson has told him ‘a few’ teams have reached out. “We’re probably taking it up to the deadline before making a decision,’ he said. Meanwhile, captain Jonathan Toews has missed the past two practices because of a non-COVID illness, coach Luke Richardson said. Toews also has a no-movement clause.

Feb. 5: The Seattle Kraken acquire defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick. He 6-6, 220, adding size to a defense that also has 6-7, 255 Jamie Oleksiak. He averages 19 minutes a game and was a plus player on a Sharks team that was full of minuses. He’s signed through 2024. The Kraken have until June 15 to decide whether the pick they give up is theirs or the one that belonged to the Colorado Avalanche.

Feb. 5: New York Islanders sign Bo Horvat for eight years.  Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, as usual, didn’t reveal terms, joking, ‘All I can tell you it’s too long and too much money.’ But Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the cap hit is $8.5 million, which puts Horvat second on the team behind Mathew Barzal ($9.15 million). Knowing that Horvat is more than a rental makes this deal even better. He and Barzal, the Islanders’ most skilled offensive players, are signed through 2030-31. ​​​​​​

Feb. 4: The Washington Capitals announce a three-year, $5.7 million extension for forward Sonny Milano. That’s two signings in two days for the Capitals. Milano (Ducks), like Dylan Strome (Blackhawks) the day before, came to the Capitals as free agents after their previous team didn’t qualify them. Milano didn’t join the Capitals until Nov. 5 and has 22 points in 40 games.

Feb. 3: The Washington Capitals announce a five-year, $25 million extension for center Dylan Strome. The pending restricted free agent wasn’t going to be moved, but the Capitals did well to lock him up long-term. He was an important offseason acquisition, helping the team get through the early absence of Nicklas Backstrom, plus ranking third on the team in points and power play points.

Feb. 1: The Columbus Blue Jackets announce forward Gustav Nyquist (shoulder) is likely out for the season. He is on an expiring contract and the Blue Jackets could have received something in return for him had he been healthy. 

Jan. 30: The New York Islanders acquire forward Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks for forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Raty and a protected 2023 first-round draft pick. This deal solves two problems. The Canucks couldn’t offer Horvat enough to account for his All-Star season, and the Islanders are having trouble scoring. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said it was incumbent upon him to try to fix that, and he made a very good start. Horvat has 31 goals this season – matching his career best from last season – and 54 points in 49 games. He had four assists in his final game with the Canucks, and is the Islanders’ new leader in goals, points and power play goals and points. That could make the difference on a team that has had to rely too much on its stellar goaltending. The deal will be even better if the Islanders can re-sign Horvat. The Canucks wanted back players who could step into the lineup. Beauvillier has had a 20-goal season but just nine this season. Raty, the Islanders’ top prospect, could benefit from a change of scenery. The draft pick would move to 2024 if it lands in the top 12. Vancouver will retain 25 percent of Horvat’s salary.

Jan. 25: The Colorado Avalanche acquire forward Matt Nieto and defenseman Ryan Merkley from the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Jacob MacDonald and forward Martin Kaut. The banged-up Avalanche need depth players, and Nieto played for them previously. Merkley, a former first-round pick, never found a place with San Jose. Sharks general manager Mike Grier ends up getting some assets for Nieto, a pending unrestricted free agent. His better test will be the return if he deals Karlsson or Meier.

Dec. 19: The Florida Panthers acquire forward Givani Smith from the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Detroit then trades Del Zotto to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Danny O’Regan. Smith didn’t pan out a fourth-line grinder with the Red Wings. He fills that role in Florida.

Nov. 23: The Minnesota Wild acquire forward Ryan Reaves from the New York Rangers for a fifth-round 2025 pick. The Rangers made this move early in the season to give them more cap space to make a bigger move at the deadline. The Wild were interested in Reaves’ toughness.

Nov. 23: The Toronto Maple Leafs acquire defenseman Conor Timmins from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forward Curtis Douglas. The Maple Leafs were missing three defensemen at the time, and Timmins adds to their defensive depth.

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