The 2023 NHL trade deadline is a week away, and no matter where your team is in the standings, you probably have some sort of an idea of what you want the deadline to look like.

Maybe you want your general manager to buy aggressively and look for that impact player to put your team over the top.

Maybe your team is near the bottom of the standings and needs to start looking ahead.

Or maybe you simply do not trust your general manager and want them to sit back and do nothing.

No matter the situation, you have a vision for your team.

But what if that vision goes all wrong? We are going to take a look at the potential nightmare scenario for every team at the deadline. That could be anything from your team not getting the player or addressing the position it needs, a rival improving its roster by stealing the player you want, or perhaps a trade already made that ends up going poorly.

Let's dig into all of the potential nightmare scenarios, looking at it on a division-by-division basis.


Atlantic Division

Boston Bruins: The Bruins have the best team in the league and are on track for one of the best regular-season performances in NHL history. The only concern is whether or not they added the right player in Dmitry Orlov from the Washington Capitals and if those resources and salary-cap space could have been utilized elsewhere.


Buffalo Sabres: It would be a nightmare for the Sabres if they did not recognize the opportunity in front of them. They have a chance to end a decade-plus-long playoff drought and have one of the most exciting teams in the league. They also have a loaded farm system and are swimming in salary-cap space. Their window is just opening, and they have a chance to add pretty much any player they want.

It would be a shame to miss that opportunity. Jakob Chychrun? Erik Karlsson? A forward with a term remaining on their deal? A potential long-term goalie? See who you can get to make a serious push.


Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings are most likely going to hold on to pending unrestricted free agents Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi for a playoff push. That sets up a very possible nightmare situation where they still end up missing the playoffs and then lose one or both on the open market.


Florida Panthers: The Panthers have made a lot of missteps over the past year, from some of their trade deadline additions a year ago to not upgrading their defense this offseason to bringing in a consistently mediocre head coach in Paul Maurice. They need to shed salaries to help improve the defense, but they can not trade the wrong players. Moving somebody like Sam Reinhart or Anthony Duclair (especially at his lowest value) could be problematic.


Montréal Canadiens: The Canadiens do not figure to be very active ahead of the trade deadline but should be looking to explore whether or not they can shed some of their larger contracts to create some salary-cap flexibility for this offseason. If there is a market for Josh Anderson, Christian Dvorak or Mike Matheson (even if he has been very good), they should aggressively explore those options. Not doing so might be a missed opportunity.


Ottawa Senators: The Senators just need to avoid making an ill-advised trade, either giving up too much to add a player they do not need or selling a player they should not be selling. Even after their big offseason, this was never going to be a playoff team. They just needed to show progress. They are starting to do that.

They should not sell off any of their core players, and they are not yet ready to be trade deadline buyers. Honestly, the best approach here might be just standing pat and seeing where this roster can take them this season. Anything other than that would be making a move for the sake of making a move.


Toronto Maple Leafs: The Maple Leafs already made their big pre-deadline move by getting Ryan O'Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues. In theory, it looks like a great deal for the Maple Leafs to get a center that has been one of the league's best two-way players with a proven track record of playoff success for a championship team.

Toronto desperately needs to find playoff success, and adding somebody like O'Reilly could be a significant addition.

But O'Reilly has had an extremely down year (by his standards) and is a pending unrestricted free agent after this season. The nightmare scenario here is that O'Reilly is simply cooked, and Toronto fizzles out in the first round again against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It would be hard to imagine general manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe getting another chance if that happens.