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Grading the 5 Biggest Trades of the NHL Offseason Thus far

Grading the Biggest Trades of the NHL Offseason Thus far

Ryan Kesler
Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA Today

The beginning of the 2014 NHL offseason has dealt numerous jersey swaps. While some trades will undoubtedly benefit certain teams, others have left us wondering why they even occurred. Today, I grade the five biggest trades conducted in the offseason thus far.

5. Josh Gorges (Montreal) for 2nd-round pick (Buffalo)

Josh Gorges
Eric Bolte - USA Today

5. Josh Gorges (Montreal) for 2nd-round pick (Buffalo)

Josh Gorges Sabres
Eric Bolte - USA Today

Draft picks assist in shaping the future for teams, but it is never certain that the draft pick the team chooses will even make it to the NHL. Gorges might not have the best shot in the league, but he is virtually flawless in the defensive zone. Gorges is experienced and his work ethic does not go unnoticed. The Sabres should feel at ease with this trade.

Buffalo Sabres: A-
Montreal Canadiens: D+

4. R.J. Umberger/4th round pick (Columbus) for Scott Hartnell (Philadelphia)

R.J. Umberger
John E. Sokolwski - USA Today

4. R.J. Umberger/4th round pick (Columbus) for Scott Hartnell (Philadelphia)

R.J. Umberger Flyers
John E. Sokolwski - USA Today

As far as comparing players’ statistics, this ends up being a fairly neutral trade. Hartnell will bring his infamous toughness to the Blue Jackets, but he has been “showing age” on the ice more recently. Umberger is a versatile, skilled skater, but can be inconsistent. I’m giving the Flyers a better grade because I believe Umberger will benefit the Flyers more.

Columbus Blue Jackets: C
Philadelphia Flyers: C+

3. James Neal (Pittsburgh) for Patric Hornqvist/Nick Spaling (Nashville)

James Neal
Charles LeClaire - USA Today

3. James Neal (Pittsburgh) for Patric Hornqvist/Nick Spaling (Nashville)

James Neal Predators
Charles LeClaire - USA Today

Neal is great at producing points (mainly alongside Evgeni Malkin), but he had become problematic for the Penguins. The Penguins wanted “a different kind of player” and they received just that by acquiring Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Hornqvist and Spaling will add depth and grit to the Penguins while Neal will assist the Predators in goal scoring.

Pittsburgh Penguins: B
Nashville Predators: C+

2. Ryan Kesler/3rd-round pick (Vancouver) for Nick Bonino/Luca Sbisa/1st & 2nd-round pick (Anaheim)

Ryan Kesler Ducks
Ann-Marie Sorvin - USA Today

2. Ryan Kesler/3rd-round pick (Vancouver) for Nick Bonino/Luca Sbisa/1st & 2nd-round pick (Anaheim)

Ryan Kesler
Ann-Marie Sorvin - USA Today

The Ducks just became a lot more intimidating by adding Kesler to the mix. Kesler is an all around polished player and could be the missing piece to the Ducks’ playoff puzzle. Adding Bonino and Sbisa to the Canucks will help even their lines out and their newly acquired draft picks will assist them in building a better team in the future. An overall fantastic trade for both teams.

Vancouver Canucks: B+
Anaheim Ducks: A-

1. Jason Spezza/Ludwig Karlsson (Ottawa) for Alex Chiasson/Nick Paul/Alex Guptill/2nd-round pick (Dallas)

Jason Spezza
Perry Nelson - USA Today

1. Jason Spezza/Ludwig Karlsson (Ottawa) for Alex Chiasson/Nick Paul/Alex Guptill/2nd-round pick (Dallas)

Jason Spezza Stars
Perry Nelson - USA Today

Spezza will make a considerable addition to Dallas’ playmaking, if he is able to stay focused. Spezza won’t have all the on-ice responsibility resting on his shoulders like he did in Ottawa, so that will help his gameplay immensely. As for the Senators, they didn’t make out too bad on this deal either. The Senators have obtained a young and upcoming player, along with two talented prospects and a draft pick.

Ottawa Senators: B
Dallas Stars: B

Amanda Sklarek is a Pittsburgh Penguins/NHL writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandabukowski, “Like” her on Facebook or add her to your network on Google.