With the trade deadline approaching, general managers across the league are busy making deals, sending tons of trade bait across the league and to playoff contending teams.
The most recent blockbuster trade came courtesy of the Los Angeles Kings and the Columbus Blue Jackets, which saw netminder (and former Stanley Cup winner) Jonathan Quick dealt to Columbus, with pending free agents Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo sent to the west coast. The move came as a bit of a shock, so here are our winners and losers from the latest blockbuster deal in the NHL.
Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NHL trade rumors
Winners: Los Angeles Kings come out on top in Jonathan Quick trade
It seems like a no-brainer for the Kings to do this deal. While Jonathan Quick was a popular guy in the locker room and reportedly unhappy to leave the Kings organization, the return on the loss exceeds expectations. The draft picks sent away include a conditional first-round pick in 2023 and a third-round pick in 2024 to the Blue Jackets in the trade. The Blue Jackets get a first rounder if the Kings qualify for the playoffs this year. If not, the Blue Jackets get a pair of second-round picks in 2023 and 2024.
The Kings are in a playoff push right now, currently sitting in a top three spot in the weak Pacific Division, and pending unrestricted free agent Vladislav Gavrikov beefs up a blue line that really needed some grit. What’s more, sending the aging Jonathan Quick away for a comparable, younger goaltender seems like a solid move for the future rebuild, especially if they can sign Korpisalo to an extension, as his $1.3 million contract expires at the end of the year. If Korpisalo does not perform and plays the same role as Jonathan Quick did in the blue paint, the Kings have no long-term obligations.
And, of course, the Kings got a netminder for a return that they could have gotten for Gavrikov alone, maximizing their return with a bonus player and wildly underpaying for Gavrikov, who was one of the top trade targets this season.
Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NHL power rankings
Losers: Columbus Blue Jackets
To put it bluntly, Jonathan Quick isn’t a player that should be traded for when you’re in the bottom of the league. Sure, he’s in the last year of his contract and a two-time Stanley Cup winner, but he carries a $5.8 million cap hit.
The 37-year-old has seen a sharp decline in his gameplay, and Los Angeles likely dealt a player on the edge of retirement in exchange for cap space, younger players they can potentially extend, and two draft picks.
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It’s hard to see the appeal from Columbus’ perspective, as they got two picks in return for an increased cap hit, though the team is currently accruing cap space. It seems like Columbus was the victim of low-balling and could have gotten way more than a pair of conditional picks for two young players who could make a big impact in a different environment.
A return of a past-his-prime goaltender in Jonathan Quick seems like a waste, and certainly not enough for two players at the top of most trade bait lists.