The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and now the stretch run to the playoffs begins. Some teams made big waves, while others chose not to tinker too much. Here are the NHL’s top 10 teams following the trade deadline, according to my model:
1. Florida Panthers: Claude Giroux was the best player available at the deadline, and the Panthers were reportedly the only team he was willing to go to. As a result, the Panthers are the winners of the trade deadline because no team increased its chances of winning a given game more than they did. Giroux is 34, but he put up 42 points in 54 games on a bad Flyers team because of his playmaking ability. The Panthers already attack the opposition relentlessly for long stretches, driven by their elite ability to pass the puck around as they rush into the offensive zone and toward the goal. Giroux will help the team keep up that pressure. The addition of defenseman Ben Chiarot is also a positive one, but he can’t replace Aaron Ekblad, who has been moved to long-term injured reserve. There are reports that Ekblad might not be ready to return until the start of the playoffs, which will leave them weak on that side, but I don’t think the Panthers will miss a beat.