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Non-trades bigger than trades

Some random thoughts on the fly -- Toronto to Detroit, if I recall my itinerary -- on the record-setting, yawn-inducing 2010 NHL trade deadline:

• Without the "thunderclouds" as Toronto Maple Leafs general manager BrianBurke put it -- no player with the stature of JayBouwmeester or MarianHossa in play -- DanHamhuis, a top-four defenseman overshadowed in Nashville by Olympians SheaWeber and RyanSuter, stayed with the Predators. RayWhitney, a useful veteran forward with a no-trade clause, remained in Carolina. The only forwards on the move who can comfortably play in a top six are WojtekWolski (Colorado to Phoenix for the unmotivated PeterMueller and former HobeyBaker-winner KevinPorter) and FredrikModin (from Columbus to Los Angeles). Edmonton swapped offensive defenseman LubomirVisnovsky for Anaheim's RyanWhitney -- a pair of Olympians -- but DennisSeidenberg was the one other top four defenseman to be traded, going from Florida to Boston. Seidenberg was effective for Carolina last spring when the surprising Hurricanes reached the Eastern Conference final.

• Calgary is now officially Toronto West. After the DionPhaneuf mega-deal prior to the Olympics that included four Maple Leafs, Calgary general manager DarrylSutter added VesaToskala, who took a quick detour to Anaheim last month, as his backup goalie. While Toskala is an upgrade over CurtisMcElhinney -- expect Toskala to start maybe two games in place of Miikka Kiprusoff in the next six weeks -- he is one more player to come out of a franchise with no recent history of success. In baseball, you can never have enough pitching. In Cowtown, apparently you can never have enough Leafs.

• Boston GM PeterChiarelli fixed a big off-season mistake by off-loading DerekMorris to Phoenix, one of the defenseman's former teams. The Bruins, who signed Morris because they were looking for an upgrade over AaronWard as ZdenoChara's partner on the No. 1 pair, dumped Morris for a fourth-rounder in 2011. Morris earns $3.3 million this season, a one-year deal that helped put the Bruins in salary-cap jail. Morris is one of those vaguely disappointing players, a perpetual tease with a healthy dose of offensive skill. He is not unlike JordanLeopold, a career underachiever acquired by Pittsburgh from Florida on Monday.

• The playoff teams that seemed to need goaltending -- Philadelphia, Washington and Chicago -- did not address those needs. With RayEmery (hip) incapacitated for the season, MichaelLeighton will have to carry the burden for a Flyers franchise that hasn't seemed to get its goaltending right since RonHextall was a pup. The Capitals will again ride the combination of SemyonVarlamov and veteran JoséThéodore while the Blackhawks will try to finesse four rounds out of veteran CristobalHuet, who never has won one even although he did have a strong regular-season stretch run with Washington in 2008, and rookie AnttiNiemi. If neither team wins the Stanley Cup, it will rue not having grabbed Dallas' MartyTurco (an unrestricted free agent July 1) or Florida's TomasVokoun, who looked like the only real difference-maker available, but the goalie carries a $6.3 million price tag for next season, a big hit for teams hugging the salary cap.

• Like Macy's swapping dry goods with Gimbel's, the Edmonton Oilers deigned to make a trade with the Calgary Flames, their bitter provincial rivals. SteveStaios, a third-pair defenseman, was the centerpiece. The Oilers are shedding salary -- Staios will earn $2.2 million in 2010-11 -- but it was shocking to see them deal with the hated Flames. The reason: Oilers GM SteveTambellini, unlike Edmonton president KevinLowe, was never part of the insane Battles of Alberta. For Tambellini, there were no taboos.

• The Phoenix Coyotes, wards of the NHL, added five players. If the Coyotes win the Stanley Cup, will Commissioner GaryBettman, who always congratulates the owners, congratulate himself?

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