The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and for most teams, it was a time to clearly decide on their path as a franchise.  Were they buying for a playoff run?  Were they retooling heading into next season?  Were they gutting the whole thing down to the studs and rebuilding?

Some teams made tough choices.  And some teams screwed them up.  And by God, we’re going to laugh at them.  This is the post-trade deadline edition of the Schadenfreude Hockey League.

Vancouver Canucks

A new contender appears!  When we last checked in on the Schadenfreude League, I didn’t even feel like including the Canucks.  They were rebuilding, sure, but I figured they knew that, and Elias Pettersson seemed cool.

Then some other stuff happened.

First off, the Canucks extended Jim “Jimbo” Benning for three years.  Jim Benning is widely considered to be a basically daft GM who is occasionally good at drafting.  He got fined $50,000 for a tampering violation.  He took several years to admit the team needed to be rebuilt.  He did things like sign Loui Eriksson to one of the worst contracts in the NHL, because he originally thought they were still going to be a good team.

They lost in the first round the year after that and now are going to miss the playoffs for the third straight time.  Somehow this was enough to earn Jim Benning a new contract.  God grant us all that kind of job security.

Newly extended, Jimbo’s first order of business was to pay a third-pairing defenceman $4M a year for three seasons.  Erik Gudbranson is neither good statistically nor good visually nor good in any other hockey-related way, but whatever, that’s not what’s important.  When you can pay a premium to a depth defender because he got drafted too high eight years ago, you just gotta do that.  Wouldn’t want to flip him for a pick or anything.  I’m not actually sure Jim Benning knows what a rebuild is, conceptually.

Related to that: on deadline day, he somehow walked away with a couple of “prospects” who have thus far not caught on and who will be hitting UFA just when the team is theoretically good again.

He didn’t trade Chris Tanev, either, even though the guy is 28, signed for two years after this one, and would have fetched a mint.

You know why?  Because, Vancouver fans, Jim Benning thinks this team will be good soon.  He thinks Elias Pettersson is going to walk in and drag a team with the 900-year-old Sedin Twins and one real defenceman to prominence.  This won’t happen.  Benning will draft high again.  It probably won’t happen the year after that, either.  Do you think Benning will start trading for draft picks by then, a mere six years after he took over a team that needed to rebuild?  Or will he complain about people pointing out that his team has been assbutt?  I’m excited to find out!

Edmonton Oilers

Ah, Peter Chiarelli.  We’ve all written so much about Peter Chiarelli.  The update here is that he traded Patrick Maroon for a third.  I will enlist Oilers Twitter to help tell the tale.

Peter Chiarelli, door to door salesman: “I waited at home ALL DAY and no one bought anything!”




Buffalo Sabres

They got a conditional first-rounder for Evander Kane.  On a day where people were giving out firsts like candy, GM Jason Botterill dealt the guy who was the top LW on the market all year...and got a first that’s conditional on the San Jose Sharks extending a guy whose teammates hate him wherever he goes.

In other news, the Sabres are playing possibly the worst forward lineup an NHL team has iced since...well, the Sabres two years ago.

The bottom nine there is an AHL team.  Seriously.  That’s the calibre that it is.  I hope they lose the lottery again and draft Ronald McDonald.

Montreal Canadiens

We took their best centre.  Now he’s our fourth-line centre.  Do the math on that and you pretty much get what’s happening with the Habs.

Ottawa Senators

Give me a second, I’m just going to run an IV into my cephalic vein.

[hooks up bag full of Sens failure]

Alright, let’s do this.

DORION: [stumbling into locker room] Turn that music down right now or so help me—

KARLSSON: FUCK YOU DAD [cranks My Chemical Romance]

Travis Yost, like a werewolf catching sight of the full moon, morphed into a Senators insider for the trade deadline, and he had wonderful things to say.  Basically, the Senators had destroyed their relationship with their franchise player, and they came so, so close to trading him at the deadline.  And yet—because these are the Senators, and they are owned by bankrupt rich person Eugene Melnyk—they tried to tie the Erik Karlsson trade to teams taking on the truly awful Bobby Ryan contract, while still demanding premium assets.  As most teams that are good don’t have $13M in spare cap space around, and most teams that aren’t good are still smart enough not to drink bleach when someone offers them a cup of it, no one was willing to take a deal on those terms.  The Senators could have gotten a ransom for a team seeking two playoff runs with the best offensive defenceman in hockey.  They decided to wait.  Maybe the price will get better later, as Karlsson approaches free agency.  Teams will be excited to pay more for less team control, right?

Anyway, the Sens did recognize that they’re going to be awful this year and honestly, probably forever, so they unloaded Derick Brassard in a passable rebuild deal.  That’s fine.  Here’s how the rest of this teardown goes:

June 2018: Sens trade Karlsson

February 2019: Sens trade expiring UFA Duchene

July 2019: Sens trade Mike Hoffman

September 2020:  Cody Ceci is made captain

December 2020: Melnyk attempts to pay the team in Monopoly money

February 2021: The United Nations Task Force on Human Rights invades to rescue Mark Stone

June 2022: Eugene Melnyk proposes the Sens play on a skating rink he will make with a garden hose

September 2023: Jean-Gabriel Pageau runs away to join the circus

December 2023: Thomas Chabot is traded to “start the rebuild”

January 2024: All of the Sens’ defencemen are now Cody Ceci

October 2024: Melnyk sells the team to Quebecor; TSN runs headline about the Leafs third-pair defencemen

I’m excited, guys.  I’m very excited.

Who is the current Leading Failure in the Schadenfreude Hockey League?

Vancouver Canucks39
Edmonton Oilers124
Buffalo Sabres95
Montreal Canadiens51
Ottawa Senators197