Well that was exciting...
Today's Trade Deadline couldn't have been more boring as only 15 deals were struck with the biggest one coming from the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres which saw Cody Hodgson and Zach Kassian swap jerseys. The Trade Deadline day is over-hyped but it has been proven to be one of the most important days in the NHL season, as smart teams have added the right pieces and have went on to win Stanley Cups.
I get excited every year for the Trade Deadline and I don't think that will change anytime soon. Now that is over, here are today's winners and losers.
For a team that has had an underachieving season, GM Darcy Regier proved why he is still one of the league's better GM's. Regier was busy all day long as it took right up to the deadline for him to pull the trigger on a couple deals. The first one saw C Paul Gaustad being shipped off to Nashville for a 1st round draft pick. Gaustad had been rumored to be on the block for weeks as he will become a UFA this summer. Getting a 1st rounder for a third liner is what Regier should be applauded for. For most of the day, it sounded like a 1st rounder was too steep but Regier stayed persistent and got what he wanted.
The second deal of the day for the Sabres is the deal that will make immediate dividends and make them stronger for years to come. Regier shipped power forward Zach Kassian and defensemen Marc-Andre Gragnani to the Vancouver Canucks for rookie of the year candidate, Cody Hodgson and defensemen Alexander Sulzer. Both Kassian and Hodgson are highly touted prospects but Hodgson is much more proven than Kassian is. Hodgson has put up 33 points in 63 games this season, playing on the third line in Vancouver. Hodgson will come out of the shadows of Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler and will be given every opportunity to become one the the Sabres top two centres. Hodgson has loads of potential and joins the likes of Tyler Ennis and Tyler Myers, making the Sabres future very bright.
As good as that deal was for the Sabres, in my eyes it was just as good for the Canucks. Kassian even though unproven, will add something the Canucks don't have, a prototypical power forward with skill and size. Many people compare Kassian to Milan Lucic. Kassian has a lot to prove but if he does in fact become the type of player many think he will, that type of player is more valuable to the Canucks than Hodgson, who wasn't going to pass Henrik or Kesler anytime soon on the Canucks depth chart. The Canucks also received Marc-Andre Gragnani in the deal who is easily an upgrade over Alexander Sulzer and at only 23 years old, he also has a lot of upside. Gragnani is considered a good puck moving defensemen but has to work on his play away from the puck.
For more on the Kassian-Hodgson deal, check out Newman's post
The Canucks also acquired Sammy Pahlsson from the Columbus Blue Jackets to add depth in their bottom six forwards. Pahlsson was an integral part of the Anaheim Ducks past playoff success, whether he is still that effective is something yet to be seen.
The Bruins were another team who waited till the last minute to swing a couple of deals. Both of Boston's moves are pure depth as the Bruins look to defend their championship. GM Peter Chiarelli made his first move by adding former Bruin, Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau from the Islanders for a couple of prospects. Chiarelli then added more depth on his backend, acquiring Greg Zanon from the Minnesota Wild for defensemen Steven Kampfer.
Rolston will be looked to fill the same role Mark Reechi did during last year's Cup run and will also be asked to help fill the shoes of Nathan Horton who is out indefinitely with a concussion with no time table on his return. Zanon who is one of the league's best shot blockers is one of those undervalued defensemen who becomes so important during a playoff run. Rolston, Zanon and Mottau give the Bruins the depth they will need as one of the heavy favourite's to hoist the Cup again.
I truly hate being so critical of my favourite and home town team but I'm just so sick of being mediocre and no one doing anything about it. In my blog, Intellectual Honesty, I said I didn't expect the Flames to do anything earth shattering but for them to sit and do nothing would be a mistake.
That's exactly what happened today as the most notable Flames news was the re-signing of Tim Jackman to a two-year deal (I did like that news). The Flames have a handful of pending UFA's that most likely and shouldn't be back next season. Cory Sarich and Scott Hannan lead that pack as both players should have been shipped out for draft picks and/or prospects. I didn't expect something mind blowing but if the Blue Jackets can get two, 4th rounder's and a prospect for Pahlsson and Detroit can get a 7th rounder for Mike Commodore, the Flames should have managed to get something for both Hannan and Sarich.
It's time this team starts to think more about the future and less about the present. The Flames are in no man's land right now and getting something for a couple of their pending UFA's on a day where teams tend to give up more, staying pat is the last thing the Flames should've done. If the Flames do end up missing the playoffs, all this intellectual honesty talk better come to fruition, as the onus is 100% on the players.
New York Rangers-
I understand the asking price for Rick Nash was too steep and that the Rangers didn't want to disturb their team chemistry but to add only tough guy John Scott?
Successful playoff teams are always looking for that extra depth, re the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. I thought the Rangers should have added another top 9 forward and a depth defensemen. The Rangers still have a solid team and will be a tough out in the playoffs but will it be enough against a Bruins team, even a Penguins team, who still could add the biggest deadline player in Sidney Crosby, I'm not so sure. Regardless the Rangers still have Henrik Lundqvist and I for one, wouldn't be putting money against him.
Overall it's always tough to pick winners and losers on a day like this as many deals have far too much impact in the future to make a definite decision today. It has been a busy day at TCL West and I hope everyone has enjoyed our coverage.
Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon