What a bust of a day. All the hype, all the anticipation, and in the end, much ado about nothing! I don’t know about the rest of you, but I actually wasted the entire day devoted to watching the nothing. Sure there were a few insignificant deals swung, but honestly what a complete waste of time. The number of trades has been cut in half over the last couple of years, perhaps asking prices are too high, or perhaps GMs today have a better understanding of the salary cap and how to work within it. Either way, there were a few deals that did get done, or I’m here to break down those deals and let you know who the winners were and who the losers were.
Top 5 winners
5. Boston Bruins– I’m sure the Earth didn’t shatter when the Boston Bruins re-acquired Brian Rolston from the New York Islanders on Monday, but it was a band aid for a Bruins team that has lacked a bit of scoring as of late. This isn’t the same Brian Rolston that used to score 30 goals a year with regularity, however there are no expectations for anything more then to fill the void at the wing until the Bruins can get healthy. At 39, Rolston’s best years are definitely behind him, but I believe people said the same things about Mark Recchi last year also and things worked out pretty well for him. The addition of two stay at home defence in Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau should help out immensely if the Bruins are primed to make another long playoff run.
4. Colorado Avalanche– Even with the deals that the Avalanche made, I still can’t tell if it was for a playoff push for this year or to make their Organization stronger in the future. At any rate I believe they may have accomplished both those things with the deals they have recently made. Adding Steve Downie (24) and Jamie McGinn (23) will help bolster this team immediately providing much needed depth to the second and third lines. In Michael Sgarbossa (20), they acquire the current leader in goals and points from the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves. The future looks good in Colorado!
3. Nashville Predators– They had to make that splash and David Poile gave it his best effort. Nashville paid a steep price to acquire Paul Gaustad, but his playoff experience and face-off expertise should pay huge dividends in the post season. I would have liked to see them to add a legitimate top 6 forward, but I know the price for Rick Nash was far too high, so to settle on Andrei Kostitsyn is acceptable. He is the brother of Sergei Kostisyn, who led the Predators in scoring last year. I’m not sure if these moves will be enough to make a deep run, but it is an upgrade of some sort.
2. Vancouver Canucks– A team that didn’t have to do a thing may have made the biggest splash on deadline day. Sometimes the best trade of the day is the trade you don’t make, not here. I truly like acquisition of Zach Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani for Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer. First off Sulzer is nobody, let’s take him out, this is strictly a two for one deal. I realize that Cody Hodgson is a talent with high expectations, however he can’t thrive if he doesn’t get any ice time. How does he get ice time behind Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kessler? You don’t want Cody Hodgson in a checking role, but you would love Zack Kassian in that checking role. With Marc-Andre Gragnani, the Canucks get a young puck moving defenceman with enormous upside. The addition of Sami Pahlsson will help stabilize the fourth line. Pahlsson’s job is to stay unnoticed while on the ice, he won’t light up the score sheet, but neither will the opposition.
1. Buffalo Sabres-This team made the most improvements to their team on trade deadline day. In securing a first round pick from Nashville for UFA Paul Gaustad and acquiring future all-star Cody Hodgson, this team is well on their way to a fast re-build. This is taking a page from Bryan Murray’s book and trying to re-build on the fly like the Ottawa Senators have done. Cody Hodgson will get the ice time he needs to be an elite player, and he will have a couple of good wingers in which to work with, maybe not quite the talent they had in Vancouver, but Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville are no slouches either.
Top 5 Losers
5. Los Angeles Kings– It’s not as if the LA Kings stood idly by and did nothing to try to improve their team, but I don’t believe that they did enough, and I think that the price they paid was far too much for a disgruntled player that comes with as much baggage as Jeff Carter does. Don’t forget this is the same Jeff Carter who’s off ice problems got him a one-way ticket out of Philly, and now his new team couldn’t wait to unload him, makes me wonder how there were any takers? I realize that the Kings were up against the cap so they had to move an attractive piece in order to obtain some sort of quality back, but Jack Johnson and a first round draft pick for player who is under contract until the 2021-2022 season. Are you kidding me? You notice that Rick Nash wasn’t moved on deadline day, that’s because NO OTHER TEAM WOULD PAY THAT PRICE, but LA did. Now they will struggle to find money to re-sign their captain Dustin Brown.
4. Washington Capitals– My issue here is that there were plenty of contracts to move if they were sellers, or plenty of places to upgrade if they were buyers, but instead they did nothing. George McPhee couldn’t indentify if they were buyers or sellers so he did nothing. What does that equal? At best playoff mediocrity. If the Caps play their asses off and get into the playoffs, they are not equipped to take on teams like the Bruins, Rangers, Flyers or the Penguins. There UFAs on this team like Alexander Semin, Dennis Wideman, Mike Knuble and Thomas Vokoun could have fetched a slew of prospects, draft picks and good young talent, instead the fans of the Caps will have to settle with a GM who sat on his hands. Maybe he forgot when the deadline was, or maybe all the lack of inactivity put him to sleep.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs– Fans of any other team would have long stopped going to games by now. The stands would be empty and the franchise nearly bankrupt. Not the case in Toronto, where once again Brian Burke fails to make headlines on deadline day. It’s not that he doesn’t make trades; he just doesn’t make impactful deals on deadline day. This team has been stumbling as of late, losing 8 of their last 9 games. A big change was needed yesterday, a change that did not happen. There was no upgrade made in net, and no upgrade made to bring in a top 6 forward. This team will now probably miss the playoffs for a franchise record 8th consecutive year.
2. San Jose Sharks – The Sharks who have been slumping lately have fallen into the seventh spot in the Western Conference and were in need of an impact player at the deadline. That did not happen. They are pretty thin up front so it was important that if they made a deal, they couldn’t afford to lose any player from their current roster. Instead they make a trade with Colorado and give up, maybe the best player in the deal in Jamie McGinn but also one of their top prospects all to acquire role player Daniel Winnik and speedster TJ Galiardi. These two players don’t offer a lot in the way of scoring, which is what the Sharks desperately needed. When you need a top 6 forward, and you get a third and fourth liner from Colorado, that’s simply not good enough!
1. Dallas Stars– Somehow Steve Ott was considered to be the darling of deadline day. Apparently Steve Ott sent to any other team in the league and they would automatically be a Cup contender. I’m not here to cut up Steve Ott by any means; I’m here to cut up the Dallas Stars for not dealing Ott for something tangible. If there was as much interest in Ott as was speculated then he should have been dealt, along with UFAs Sheldon Souray and Radek Dvorak. This marks the second time in as many years that the Dallas Stars held a big piece that the rest of the league was willing to pay for, and did nothing. You can’t rebuild your club if all your pieces walk away and you’re left with nothing.