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NHL trade deadline impact moves: Hurricanes land Jake Guentzel, Golden Knights acquire Noah Hanifin

The 2024 NHL trade deadline was filled with an incredible amount of chaos as it normally is. Several of the league’s top teams loaded up for a potential Stanley Cup run while others kept building toward their future.

There was certainly quite a bit of star power on the move. Among the biggest moves were the Pittsburgh Penguins shipping Jake Guentzel to the Carolina Hurricanes and the Vegas Golden Knights landing defenseman Noah Hanifin. Still, plenty more big-time players switched addresses over the last few days.

Since the dust has settled on the 2024 NHL trade deadline, let’s take a look at the biggest impact moves we saw take place.

Hurricanes make a splash with Jake Guentzel

The Carolina Hurricanes made arguably the biggest move of the trade deadline by landing winger Jake Guentzel. In exchange for Guentzel, the Hurricanes sent forwards Michael Bunting, Ville Koivunen, Vasily Ponomarev, Cruz Lucius, a conditional 2024 first-round pick and a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Hurricanes are clearly going for it all this season with the acquisition of Guentzel. Carolina lands a dynamic goal scorer that can slot perfectly onto the team’s top line alongside Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov. Guentzel was dealing with an upper-body injury but recently began practicing, so he should make his Hurricanes debut in the very near future. It’s rare that a player of Guentzel’s caliber becomes available at the trade deadline, but this was an extremely necessary move for the Hurricanes if they want to come out of the East come playoff time.

Golden Knights add Noah Hanifin, Tomas Hertl

The Vegas Golden Knights continued their tradition of acquiring marquee players at the trade deadline once again this year. On Thursday, the defending Stanley Cup champions traded for defenseman Noah Hanifin from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Daniil Miromanov, a 2025 or 2026 first-round pick, and a conditional third-round pick. The first-round pick will be in 2025 unless the Golden Knights trade it this year. The Flyers netted a 2024 fifth-round pick as a broker in the trade.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, Vegas produced another bombshell by acquiring forward Tomas Hertl. In exchange for Hertl, the Golden Knights sent center David Edstrom, a 2025 first-round pick, a 2025 third-round pick and a 2027 third-round pick. The Sharks will also retain 17% of Hertl’s contract, which still spans another six seasons.

Hanifin is a top pairing-caliber defenseman that offers prowess on both ends of the ice. The veteran blue-liner is an above-average puck-mover that can skate with the best of them. Hanifin also offers a tremendous amount of physicality as he’s tallied 89 blocked shots and 46 hits on the year. The veteran defenseman is on pace for 46 points in 2023-24, which would be just two short of tying a career-high. Hanifin offers a very stabilizing presence for the Golden Knights, and he should help their back end going forward.

Meanwhile, Hertl heading to Vegas creates an embarrassment of riches for the team. Vegas is now absolutely loaded at the center position with Jack Eichel, William Karlsson, Nicolas Roy and now, Hertl. Hertl is currently out of the lineup following knee surgery, but he is expected to return to the ice prior to the conclusion of the regular season. The Golden Knights don’t really need Hertl until the postseason, so there’s no rush for him to get back.

Jets continue to stay active, add Tyler Toffoli

The Winnipeg Jets added veteran center Sean Monahan to their forward group earlier this season, but they weren’t content in the goal-scoring talent as the postseason draws closer. On Friday, the Jets acquired winger Tyler Toffoli from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2025 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick. In addition, the Devils will retain 50% of Toffoli’s $4.25 million cap hit.

The 31-year-old is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, so it wasn’t a massive surprise that Toffoli was being shopped by the Devils. New Jersey was expected to be one of the top teams in the Metropolitan Division, but has underachieved in a big way as they’re currently six points out of a playoff spot. Toffoli provides a huge scoring boost in the top six for a Jets team that seemed to be in an arms race with the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars in the Central Division.

Panthers add Vladimir Tarasenko to loaded forward group

The Florida Panthers were the most electrifying story of the 2022-23 season when they reached the Stanley Cup Final, which included an upset of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins in the opening round. One year later, and the Panthers are one of the favorites in the East. 

Florida may not have even needed to make a move prior to the deadline, but still chose to add veteran winger Vladimir Tarasenko from the Ottawa Senators. In exchange for Tarasenko, the Senators received a 2025 third-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick. 

Tarasenko certainly isn’t the dangerous forward that he once was. On the other hand, the 32-year-old is still extremely productive as he’s registered 17 goals and 24 assists this season. Tarasenko joins a loaded forward group that includes Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart, Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe. The Panthers now are one of the most lethal teams in the Eastern Conference, and they easily could have another Stanley Cup run ahead.

Avalanche loading up with acquisitions of Casey Mittelstadt, Sean Walker

The Colorado Avalanche made some very strong moves leading up to the trade deadline this year. They acquired center Casey Mittelstadt from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Bowen Byram, while also adding defenseman Sean Walker from the Philadelphia Flyers in a deal where Colorado sent a 2025 first-round pick and center Ryan Johansen the other way.

Mittelstadt, who is slated to be a restricted free agent this summer, is a productive forward that has tallied 14 goals and 33 assists this season with the Sabres. The Avalanche have been looking to fill the second-line center void since Nazem Kadri left the franchise following the team’s Stanley Cup in 2022. Colorado attempted to have Johansen fill that void, but he didn’t fit the bill at this stage of his career. If the Avalanche can agree to a contract extension with Mittelstadt beyond this season, this could end up being a massive move long-term.

On the other hand, the Flyers were expected to trade one of Walker and Nick Seeler, and it turned out that Walker was the blue-liner that would be on the move. Walker is having a career year to the tune of 22 points (six goals, 16 assists), and he provides a stabilizing presence on the back end for the Avalanche. He may not be a highlight reel-type of offensive defenseman, but produces on both ends of the ice. 

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