Picking winners and losers moments after the deadline is a fool's errand...so who better than me to take a stab at it?
I'm not looking at every team here, just the ones that jump out at me as the day winds up.
Sorry for the two-hour delay. Nothing like a computer meltdown just as the witching hour strikes to put a cherry on top of deadline day.
At this point, it's safe to say we've seen the last of the approved deals. The most interesting swap of the day? For my money, it was the two-parter involving Edmonton, Los Angeles and Carolina.
The Hurricanes dealt
Give the nod to the Canes on this one. They bring back Cole, who never really found his niche with the Oilers, and he can be re-teamed with former linemate (and roommate)
The Kings move out a player who hasn't yet lived up to expectations, and bring in Williams -- a first-line talent who has a bit too much of Bad Luck Schleprock in his genes.
The Oilers? They get a change of pace on the wing, and a high pick that should help restock their prospect cupboard.
San Jose addressed its need for additional grit and playoff experience with hard-rock winger
Earlier, Murray picked up
Morris is certainly an upgrade over
I like what the Coyotes did.
Savvy move by the Sabres to nab
Looks like a winner for the struggling Blueshirts, who are desperate for anyone who can put the puck in the net. That they were able to add Antropov without subtracting from their roster makes this look even better from their perspective. It'll be interesting to see where they play him. Do they put him on the wing with
A second-rounder isn't anything to sneeze at, but Burke clearly was hoping for more. Word is he continues to expect at least a second-rounder for
At least one deal snuck under the wire: multiple sources have
The Sabres grabbed
And it looks as though
Reports out of Canada have the Coyotes trading
First thought: Anyone else waiting for another shoe to drop? Carcillo is an aggravating player and he's willing to go with anyone, but he's a poor man's
Upshall is a more complete player who competes hard, but he's a free agent this summer. He'll bring some reliable jam, offensive upside and leadership to the desert, where they have the cap space to extend his deal --something they couldn't do in Philly. If this was a second even-up for Carcillo, I'd like this deal for the Coyotes. Adding even a few weeks of Upshall makes this a steal.
Lots of reader questions coming in about
The other hot question: what are the Hawks doing? The rumors have been floating about
Well, this clarifies the decision by the Leafs to pick up
This is exactly why I wait to get multiple confirmations before I report a deal.
When word initially began circulating that the Penguins had acquired
It's a fifth rounder -- with conditions. If the Pens make the playoffs -- a scenario that's looking more likely with the additions of Billy G. and
This is a solid deal for the Pens. Guerin's a great guy in the room and a leader on the ice. His numbers aren't stellar this season, but he hasn't been skating with
The Isles? Well, they have to be disappointed that Guerin didn't fetch a bit more, but this gives a good indication of why so many players are still floating around out there. The buyers aren't willing to up the ante at this point, and with less than an hour to go, the market may have been set.
A league source confirms that Boston has acquired
The Tampa side of the equation is taking shape. It looks as though they're sending a second-rounder (this year or next, their choice) along with Recchi to Boston for
If Boston wins the Cup then, hey, they win this deal in a walk. If not, it looks as though Tampa picked their pockets, adding two young players who can step in and contribute -- if not next year, then soon.
Lashoff, a former first-rounder, is an offensive-minded blueliner. Great skater, great first pass, but needs to work on his decision-making in his own zone. With coaching, he could mature into a top-four defender. Karsums, a former second-rounder, is a feisty checker with some touch who should become a reliable depth forward. It's a lot to give up, but the Bruins were dealing from a position of strength. Lashoff had been passed on the depth chart by
Looks like the
There are plenty of doubters about what Jokinen brings, and justifably so. He's never lived up to the hype of his third overall selection, and he's taken a lot of the blame for the fact that his teams have never made the playoffs. But the Flames offer an entirely different environment. It's a veteran squad where he won't be asked to play a leadership role.
And don't forget that he played his best hockey under
Are the Flames legitimate contenders now with Jokinen and Leopold in the fold? No doubt. Be interesting to see if San Jose or Detroit feel the need to counter these deals.
The first-rounder is the key to the return for Phoenix. Not too many teams are moving those these days, but adding two legitimate NHL forwards shouldn't be overlooked. Lombardi's a frustrating player -- his feet move a lot faster than his head, and in that way he reminds me of a
Prust is a depth forward who'll keep the opposition honest, but don't expect much more than that from him. And if the rumors are to be believed, just getting Jokinen out of the room may be the most rewarding aspect of the deal for the Coyotes. There was talk that he was unhappy playing on such a young squad, and did little to make life easier on the players who make up the future of the team.
Here's one of those deals that's going to look a lot more important in May than it does now: The Bruins acquired
Montador's a gritty veteran who fills a need for a right-handed depth defender. His jersey won't be a big seller at the souvenir shop, but he brings a smart, tough game -- he plays like a Bruin. Nokelainen's struggled to stick in the NHL this season, but he's a big body who projects as a solid checking line forward. That's exactly what the Ducks need with all three members of their third line eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer.
The Blues send
A flurry of action on the waiver wire: the Maple Leafs grabbed
Gerber is a short-term acquisition who can step in if the Leafs decide to pull the plug on
Morrison was an obvious pickup for Dallas, who has lost both
The Coyotes have dealt
Multiple sources confirm that Colorado has dealt
In Leopold, the Flames get a reliable puck-mover who will help stretch the offense. He's healthy (finally) and should fit in comfortably. He spent 2002-2006 in Calgary. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him slide in next to old partner
Best of all, the Flames strengthened the point without giving up anybody off the roster. The cellar-dwelling Avs had no intention of re-signing Leopold, so a high pick and a prospect is a return they can live with. Wilson, 21, is a 6-1, 210-pound defender playing his first year of pro hockey. He plays a physical game and has some offensive touch, but needs a lot of work on his skating. Best case scenario is he projects as a third-pairing guy.
Another one comes off the boards. The Buffalo Sabres and
The term makes great sense for the Sabres. Connolly's a high-end playmaker, but his injury history makes any deal a huge risk. Limiting it to two years makes that risk more palatable. The money. though, seems high for a player who hasn't played a full season since 2001-02 and whose career high is 55 points, but the Sabres backed themselves into a corner. After letting players like
Two league sources (not from the teams involved) say the Senators have dealt
Goaltending was Ottawa's biggest need, so this is a nice fix. The pick provides some insurance in case he can't carry the mail. From the Columbus perspective, the play of
But does Vermette really address their need for a top-six center who can put some jump in their 30th-ranked power play? Maybe, maybe not. He can play center, but he's not the true pivot they really needed. He's more effective on the wing where he carries less of a defensive load. He has good speed and good instincts, but is wildly inconsistent. The guess here is that GM
The Ottawa Senators have re-signed defenseman
Looks as though
Woke up to find a bunch of messages on the cell phone . . .and not one of them related a done deal. Odd, but not entirely unexpected. The sense I got from several of them is that things may not shake out until closer to the actual deadline, and that the big deals we all want to see may not be forthcoming.
"We're looking at one or two guys, but they're not front liners," said one league executive. "They're complementary pieces that can make us better."
Reality seems to have taken hold of the senses in a few front offices. "We don't want to mortgage our future this year," said an exec with a non-Cup contender. "We're looking further down the road."
General managers rarely tell you exactly who they intend on dealing -- it can make things a little awkward if the transaction falls through -- but sometimes they can't help tipping their hand. Tuesday's starting lineups feature a number of obvious omissions, players being held out in order to avoid injury before Wednesday's deadline.
Among the players who were held out of tonight's action:
Conversely, the fact that
A league source says that the Dallas Stars are in talks with the Lightning about Recchi. Center is their most pressing need with the injury to
Teams hoping to airlift an All-Star netminder in at the deadline can cross
Though Backstrom hadn't been offered around, its believed that at least one team (likely the Philadelphia Flyers) had made inquiries about his availability in hopes of shoring up their second-tier goaltending situation.
"Smart move by [
The deal looks to be a winner for the Wild, shorter in both term and dollars than what the Rangers paid
Teams looking for goaltending help may be focusing on Boston's