One trade teams should look to emulate at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline
It is not often that a trade is a clear win-win for both sides at the NHL Trade Deadline, especially a year or so after the trade takes place. One deal between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning continues to look like a great move for both teams a year later.
Last March, the Tampa Bay Lightning traded two first-round draft picks (2023 and 2024), Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Brandon Hagel and two fourth-round draft picks (2022 and 2024). A year later, this deal still makes sense for both sides.
During the limited time Hagel played with the Lightning last season, he was a good third-line forward for the team. He by no means was the top-six guy he was in Chicago, but on a very good Lightning team, that is alright.
This season has been a different story. Hagel is fourth on the team in points, with 41 points in 48 games. He is also tied for fourth on the team in goals with 19 on the year, the same amount of goals as star Nikita Kucherov.
Hagel is playing top-six minutes yet again. In 22 games with the Lightning last year, he averaged around 13:35 minutes a night. This season, that number has jumped to 18:51, an average higher than his time in Chicago.
The Lightning got a young forward from the Blackhawks in Hagel, but more importantly, they got someone on a good contract. Brandon Hagel is under contract with the Lightning through the end of next season at just $1.5 million. At that point, the Lightning can work on re-signing him or make a deal with another team, considering he will still qualify as an RFA.
This was a good trade on the ice, but the value in regard to cap space is even more valuable. Teams this season will want to try and replicate this, with the salary cap likely not rising a great deal this offseason. On the flip side, a team looking to rebuild would love to get a haul like the Blackhawks got for Hagel.
Chicago received two first-round picks and two NHL-caliber young players for Hagel. Both Raddysh and Katchouk have played for the Hawks this season, with Raddysh fourth on the team in points and tied for the team lead in goals with 14 on the year.
Rebuilding is about acquiring assets, and Chicago got four assets in return for Hagel. It will be interesting to see if there is another trade like this in 2023 at the deadline.