NHL Trade Deadline: Colorado makes two massive moves as Vladimir Tarasenko heads to Florida and Adam Henrique departs for Edmonton

With just two days to go until the NHL trade deadline, a flurry of moves occurred in the late morning and early afternoon on Wednesday.

For starters, the Florida Panthers acquired Russian winger Vladimir Tarasenko from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for two draft picks.

Next, the Edmonton Oilers made their move, receiving forwards Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick, as well as a seventh-round pick from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a first-round pick and a conditional fifth-round pick.

But both moves pale in comparison to the trading spree that Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic continued — with two huge moves announced in the span of about 20 minutes.

It’s just part of what should be a chaotic final 48 hours before the deadline arrives at 3pm on Friday.

Vladimir Tarasenko’s time in Ottawa was short, now he’s moving to the Florida Panthers

Ottawa Senators RW Vladimir Tarasenko to Florida for two picks

With Ottawa’s season already over, forward Vladimir Tarasenko has used his no-trade clause for a move to the top team in the NHL.

He will hit the free agent market this summer, but for the Panthers’ Stanley Cup aspirations, this is a perfect move.

The running back for the Senators is a 2024 fourth-round pick who will become a third-rounder in 2026 if the Panthers win the Cup.

Additionally, Ottawa will get a third-round pick in 2025 and the team will keep half of Tarasenko’s salary. This season, Tarasenko has 17 goals and 41 points.

For Florida, this is a fantastic move that gives the team a top-six winger who can provide important play-off experience and goals.

It’s the second straight deadline-day move for Tarasenko, who went from the St. Louis Blues to the New York Rangers last season.

Adam Henrique has finally made a move away from the Ducks – with a new home in Edmonton

Adam Henrique has finally made a move away from the Ducks – with a new home in Edmonton

Anaheim Ducks F Adam Henrique and F Sam Carrick to Edmonton for a first-round pick and a fifth-round pick

The Edmonton Oilers and adding scoring depth at the trade deadline have become commonplace.

This time they get a good playmaker in the form of veteran Adam Henrique and his 18 goals and 42 points from the Anaheim Ducks. At this rate, Henrique has been looking to leave Anaheim for at least two seasons.

He will likely slot into the third spot in the middle, which is currently occupied by Ryan McLeod.

Anaheim also keeps half of Henrique’s salary in this deal. Further salary retention efforts included Edmonton sending a conditional fourth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

As for the rest of the pieces in this deal, Carrick is an effective forward who could play as a fourth liner, if at all, for Edmonton.

Edmonton’s first-round pick for this upcoming draft, while the fifth-rounder opens for the 2025 season. Like Florida, that pick is conditional and will become a fourth-rounder if Edmonton wins the Stanley Cup.

Sean Walker

Ryan Johansen

Defenseman Sean Walker goes to Colorado in exchange for Ryan Johansen

Flyers D Sean Walker and a fifth-round pick to Colorado for F Ryan Johansen and a conditional first-round pick

In the first of two shock moves by the Colorado Avalanche, they moved on from a high-priced contract with Ryan Johansen in exchange for an impressive defenseman.

Walker brings his elite two-way abilities to the Mile High City and would join the Avalanche’s second pair.

The first round pick the Flyers receive is for 2025 and is conditional. That pick is top-ten protected, meaning if Colorado’s pick falls in the first ten picks, the Avalanche will instead send their 2026 first-round pick to Philadelphia.

But the equally intriguing part of the deal concerns Johansen and his $8 million AAV contract, which the Flyers have already waived.

Johansen has had a slow season by his standards, scoring just 13 goals and 23 points in 63 games played.

That gives Colorado some real cap relief and allows them to make other moves. Such as going out and acquiring a center.

Casey Mittelstadt

Bowen Byram

Casey Mittelstadt heads to Colorado while Bowen Byram moves to Buffalo

Buffalo Sabers F Casey Mittelstadt to Colorado for D Bowen Byram

Well, what do you know. With their new cap space, the Avalanche decided to make a shocking trade and pluck Casey Mittelstadt from Buffalo.

In a one-for-one deal, the Avs sent young defenseman Bowen Byram to Western New York in exchange for Mittelstadt.

Mittelstadt was the leading scorer for the Buffalo Sabers – with 14 goals and 47 points in the midst of a sub-par season even by that team’s standards.

He will likely take over the second-line center position that Johansen had, but he will actually have the numbers to back that position up.

As for Byram, he brings much-needed physicality and two-way skills that could make Buffalo’s already promising young defensive core even more lethal in the years to come.

But there is also some concern. After lighting up the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs — especially in that year’s final, which Colorado won — he struggled with on-ice performance and injuries.

If Byram can stay healthy, this will likely be a mutually beneficial trade. But the lack of low-end draft pieces could put the Sabers to shame – similar to a previous one-for-one deal in 2016.

Alex Wennberg is headed to New York and the Rangers after spending time in Seattle

Alex Wennberg is headed to New York and the Rangers after spending time in Seattle

Seattle Kraken F Alex Wennberg to the New York Rangers for a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick

Later in the afternoon, Rangers GM Chris Drury decided to get in on the action and grabbed Seattle center Alex Wennberg.

Wennberg’s two-way playmaking ability will be a welcome addition to the Blueshirts’ offense at a time when they are looking to acquire the best player in the Metropolitan Division.

But his production is slightly different from recent years. He has just nine total goals and 25 points across 60 games of action.

However, since the Rangers managed to get Seattle to swallow half of Wennberg’s salary, this could be a positive move for New York.