The Journey: Trade Deadline Butterfly Effect

by Brayden Olafson on March 2, 2019
  • The Journey
  • The Journey: Trade Deadline Butterfly Effect


As promised last week, Dobber Hockey provided some excellent coverage on Monday’s NHL trade deadline. While this article will cover some similar content to that which was provided on Monday, here you’ll find the details focused a little more on prospects who were impacted by the moves in both a positive and negative manner.

A key component of my approach to evaluating these trades was to disregard the temporary effect that a pending UFA might have on an organization’s depth chart. While these NHL caliber players are often thrust to the top, or at least middle of a team’s lineup, their long-term effect on a team is difficult to quantify before anyone is sure whether or not they’ll end up staying or not. If a prospect might be impacted for just the remainder of this season, don’t expect to see it here – today we’re looking long-term.

More often than not, where we see the biggest butterfly effect is in the prospect shuffle, and the gaps it creates or fills in different pipelines. Below you’ll find what trades in my opinion had the greatest impact on some of the most relevant fantasy prospects, and how you should apply these impacts to your fantasy team.

Mark Stone, Tobias Lindberg FOR Oscar Lindberg, Erik Brannstrom, 2020 second-round draft-pick

Prospects Impacted

Erik Brannstrom to OTT | Positive impact

The obvious boost here is to Brannstrom’s file. The Knights’ first-round pick from 2017 receives an almost immediate open door to the NHL where he will belong relatively soon. He’ll likely see regular power-play deployment and as much leash for creativity as he could hope for.

Max Lajoie, OTT | Negative impact

The acquisition of Brannstrom is an extremely positive move for the Senators organization. The only negative effect that really comes of this addition is the long-term projection for Lajoie. More likely than not, Brannstrom’s addition will allow Lajoie to play a second- or third-pairing role long term, rather than being miscast as a top-pairing defenseman at some point. Brannstrom and Chabot project to earn the lion’s share of power-play time in Ottawa for the next 10-15 years, which will limit Lajoie in that regard as well.

Nicolas Hague, VGK | Positive impact

Brannstrom’s departure gives Hague sole possession of the top defensive prospect position in Vegas. It’s not out of the realm of expectations that Hague makes a partial transition to the NHL as soon as next season.

Tobias Lindberg to VGK | Negligible impact

After being tossed around the league yet again, Lindberg finds himself in yet another position where he’s destined for a minor league role.

Valentin Zykov, VGK | Negative impact

While Lindberg does not provide an extremely threatening form of competition for Zykov, this move simply gives Vegas another option on the left side. Zykov’s disappointing season has already brought him down a peg, but this acquisition will shorten any leash he’s lucky enough to get with the Knights in the future.

Brandon Montour FOR Brendan Guhle, 2019 first-round draft-pick

Prospects Impacted

Brendan Guhle to ANA | Positive impact

While Guhle had previously been considered Buffalo’s top defensive prospect, the past year has seen the Sabre’s open the door to another young blueliner in Lawrence Pilut. The move to Anaheim should keep Guhle on track for a 2020-21 NHL arrival.

Brandon Montour to BUF

Josh Mahura | Positive impact

The departure of Montour allows Mahura to continue his gradual transition to the NHL at the age of 20. He’s far enough ahead of Guhle in terms of his development that the new acquisition won’t have a negative impact on his trajectory.

Lawrence Pilut | Negative impact

With Montour’s contract extending through until 2021, Pilut’s timeline for full NHL arrival is pushed back until a time when the Sabres can clear a legitimate full-time role for him.

Keith Kinkaid FOR 2022 fifth-round draft-pick

Prospects Impacted

Keith Kinkaid to CBJ

Joonas Korpisalo | Negative impact

Korpisalo had been staring up the Jackets’ pipeline to a primary starting role prior to the Kinkaid acquisition. If the team retains just one of their pending UFA goalies, Korpisalo’s 1A position will be put on hold until even further down the line at a time when he appears to be fairly prepared to challenge for it right now.

Mackenzie Blackwood | Positive impact

Blackwood is at a very similar stage in his professional career to Korpisalo, which makes this move a little ironic. The Devils’ appear to be prepared for Blackwood to take an honest shot at the 1B slot next to Cory Schneider. If Schneider falters, Blackwood likely won’t be far from a 1A role. The Devils likely would have allowed Kinkaid to walk in the offseason anyways, so Blackwood’s path is largely unchanged.

A few other prospects who were bumped up a peg as a result of the trade deadline butterfly effect include the following:

Libor Hajek | Adam McQuaid to Columbus Blue Jackets

Cliff Pu | Traded to Florida Panthers

Filip Zadina | Gustav Nyquist to San Jose Sharks

Vitaly Abramov | Traded to Ottawa Senators

Trent Frederic | Ryan Donato to Minnesota Wild

Nic Petan | Traded to Toronto Maple Leafs

Some who were knocked down a notch include:

Luke Kunin | Kevin Fiala to Minnesota Wild

Oliver Bjorkstrand | Ryan Dzingel to Columbus Blue Jackets

Thanks for checking in once again on The Journey. If you’d like to add anything to the discussion, find me on Twitter @olaf1393, or get involved in the comments below.