NHL Trade Deadline Winners and Losers - (The Toronto Maple Leafs Are Losers)

Breaking down the three biggest winners of this year's NHL Trade Deadline and the three biggest losers.

Vladimir Tarasenko To Florida Panthers Headlines NHL Trade Deadline
Vladimir Tarasenko To Florida Panthers Headlines NHL Trade Deadline / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages
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Colorado Avalanche Biggest Deadline Winner

The Colorado Avalanche Front Office had a great trade deadline, they used underperforming roster pieces and draft picks to upgrade their defensive group by winning the battle for Sean Walker and bolstered their top six forwards by adding Casey Mittelstadt.

They also used late-round picks to add some much-needed depth and injury-insurance, here is a snapshot of who they brought in and who they moved on from.

Aqquistions

Departures

- Sean Walker (Philadelphia Flyers)
- Casey Mittelstadt (Buffalo Sabres)
- Yakov Trenin (Nashville Predators)
- Brandon Duhaime (Minnesota Wild)

- Bowen Byran
- Ryan Johansen
- Thomas Tatar (Seattle Kraken)
- Kurtis McDermid (New Jesery Devils)
- Ben Meyers (Anaheim Ducks)

Sean Walker > Bowen Byram

Although the trades did not work out like this, Sean Walker was brought in to be an upgrade from Bowen Byram and Casey Mittelstadt is the upgrade for Ryan Johansen.

Byram was the only liability in the Avalanche's defensive group. Byram excels at skating with the puck, finishing, and creating chances for himself but ranks below the league average among defensemen in defensive zone exits, entry chance prevention and defensive zone retrievals.

As long as Cale Makar is with Colorado, Byram was never going to get the chances on the powerplay and with the top players to be successful.

Walker is going to be a much better fit with this group. He ranks among the top 10 percent of defensemen in zone exits and entry denial rate and is in the top 16 percent in defensive zone retrieval success and entry chance prevention.

While Byram is the better goal scorer, Walker still has some upside on the offensive end. The cherry on top of this upgrade is that Walker ranks among the top four percent of defensemen in defensive wins above replacement (WAR), which is huge in the playoffs.

Casey Mittelstadt > Ryan Johanson

Casey Mittelstadt will also be a massive upgrade from Ryan Johansen, While Johanson is around the league average defensively among forwards, he is a complete blackhole offensively only posting 23 points through 63 games this season.

Mittelstadt is not an offensive superstar, but he is on pace for 62 points this season, three points more than the career high he set last season. He is more of a playmaker than a goal scorer on the offensive end, he ranks inside the top 20 percent of forwards in primary assists, off-the-rush shot assists and high-danger passes.

On top of being an offensive upgrade, he is also better than Johansen defensively. Mittelstadt is inside the top 18 percent of forwards in defensive WAR and had the best on-ice goals-for percentage on the Buffalo Sabres this season.

Yakov Trenin Bolsters Avalanche Top Nine Forwards

Yakov Trenin is the prototypical third-line winger every coach would love to have, he ranks among the top forwards in penalty kill WAR and in the top five percent in defensive WAR. He does not light up the stat sheet by only having 10 goals and 14 points this season, but he plays well in the flow of the offence during extended possessions which he should get more of with the Avalanche. Trenin is also a physical force ranking inside the top 10 percent of forwards in hits and forecheck involvement.

He is projected to slot in with Ross Colton and Miles Wood two other extremely physical guys that are much better at producing offensive chances. This line will be tough to play against given the size and physicality. The addiction of Trenin allows the Avalanche's top nine forwards to stack up with any other teams top nine in the NHL.

Avalanche Depth Add

The only other new piece to the Avalanche's everyday roster is going to be Brandon Duhaime, he is the perfect fourth-line winger in today's game. He plays with speed, kills penalties and is fairly physical. This is the type of guy any coach loves to have in the playoffs and he should be able to carve out a nice role for himself.

Going into the deadline the Avalanche were the highest-scoring offence in the NHL, they had questions to answer defensively as they were allowing just over three goals per game and with these moves, they addressed all of those issues. Adding two high-end defensive forwards and a quality defenseman in Sean Walker lofts them into the conversation of the best team in the NHL.