by Alexis Barton
As the regular season comes to its final stretch, all 32 teams in the National Hockey League got in on the action at the season’s trade deadline earlier this month. Several big trades took the stage as some franchises are looking for solid players to make it through the playoffs, while others are looking for younger players to help build out their futures.
Several days before the deadline, the Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers came out strong with an exciting deal. The Flyers put their former captain, Claude Giroux, along with two other forwards and a 2025 draft pick on the table. The Panthers returned with young forward Owen Tippett and two draft picks. Giroux’s move away from his longtime franchise has been anticipated as the Flyers have struggled to maintain his high salary cap hit as his career lingers towards retirement. The acquisition of Tippett signals the new start that the Flyers need. Tippett, a 2017 draft pick, has had lulls throughout his short career, but shows a lot of promise. As a bottom-six player, he can give the Flyers the support they need to start rebuilding their franchise to its former glory.
On deadline day, the Blackhawks traded veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild. In a similar move as Philadelphia, the Blackhawks needed to make some unfortunate cuts due to their longstanding salary cap issues. Their mega-contracts with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane helped ensure their success from 2010-2015, but have almost entirely put the flame out on any hope to secure another high-caliber, highly regarded player like Fleury.
To round out the final day of trade, the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Florida Panthers worked together on a complicated three-way trade. Carolina ended up with forwards Max Domi and Tyler Inamoto, Columbus took defenseman Aidan Hreshuk, and the Panthers added forward Egor Korshkov to their ranks. To many fans, the Hurricanes are the clear winners of the trade as they are taking on only 25% of Domi’s salary after Columbus and Florida were both forced to retain 50% and 25% of his salary, respectively, as a part of the negotiations. Inamoto also proves to be a promising choice as he has come up through the University of Wisconsin’s DI program over the past five years.
As the 82-game season winds into its final month, teams will hone in as the race to clinch berths in the playoffs begins.