Blame Vegas and an ever-tightening playoff race for turning the NHL’s trade deadline day into mostly a dud.

With teams jockeying to stay in contention and eager to preserve their protected lists to brace for the NHL expansion draft in June, there were only a few notable deals completed before the deadline struck Wednesday afternoon.

Officially, the NHL said, there were 18 trades completed involving 33 players, the lowest totals since April 2013, when 17 deals were made involving 30 players. Even so, quantity didn’t equate to quality on Wednesday, with 17 of the players dealt having been placed on waivers at one point this season.

And of the 18 deals completed, only 12 involved NHL players. The others were limited to minor leaguers.

Colorado was one team to move a name player, trading veteran forward Jarome Iginla to the Kings for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft.

The only other notable move involved the Red Wings, who traded veteran forward Thomas Vanek to Florida for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a conditional third-round pick in June.

It was a big step up in the standings for both Iginla and Vanek, who are suddenly playing for teams in the playoff hunt.

Veteran defenseman Mark Streit changed teams twice and stayed in Pennsylvania. First, Streit was traded by Philadelphia to Tampa Bay for forward Valtteri Filppula and two conditional draft picks. Then the Lightning dealt Streit to Pittsburgh for a 2018 fourth-round pick.

The Boston Bruins acquired forward Drew Stafford from Winnipeg for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2018. The pending free agent has four goals and nine assists in 40 games with the Jets this season.

More notable was the list of players staying put, including Arizona’s Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata, Buffalo’s defensive tandem of Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson, and Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog.

In being limited to protecting only eight players, teams placed an emphasis on keeping youngsters because they don’t have to be exposed in the expansion draft. One strategy will be to expose aging, high-priced players in hopes they’re taken by Vegas.

The Golden Knights officially opened for business Wednesday when the final installment of owner Bill Foley’s $500 million expansion payment was cleared. Vegas can begin making trades for draft picks and unsigned prospects, and sign free agents whose college or European league seasons are over.

The Canadiens were relatively busy, beefing up their Atlantic Division team by acquiring checking-line veteran Dwight King from Los Angeles.

In a deal struck just after midnight, the defending Western Conference champion Sharks acquired winger Jannik Hansen from Vancouver in exchange for prospect Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick that becomes a first-rounder if they win the Stanley Cup.

BRUINS: Defenseman Colin Miller will not be suspended for his hit that forced Coyotes forward Alex Burmistrov to leave the ice on a stretcher Tuesday, according to a person with knowledge of the NHL’s decision.

Miller was given a charging major and a game misconduct.

WEDNESDAY’S GAMES

LIGHTNING 4, HURRICANES 3: Victor Hedman scored his second goal of the game 46 seconds into overtime, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves and Tampa Bay won at home to improve to 7-1-2 in its last 10 games.

BLACKHAWKS 4, PENGUINS 1: Patrick Kane had his second hat trick in three games, Scott Darling made 36 saves and host Chicago won its fifth straight and 10th in 11 games.