Recapping the NHL Trade Deadline’s Major Deals

Posted: March 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

vanekWhat a wild trade deadline it was for the National Hockey League. While it wasn’t quite as lively as the 2010 event, in which 31 trades were made; the 2013 deadline saw many current and former superstars change home venues in the blink of an eye. The deadline, which occurred at 3:30 PM EST, brings to an end the NHL’s trading season, as any player acquired after today cannot play for their new team in the postseason.

As always, there were plenty of trades to go around. But, Skood Sports will only focus on the biggest and the brightest deals that went down over the last two days, as well as deals that impacted the Philadelphia Flyers.

Florida Panthers trade: G Jakub Markstrom and C Shawn Matthias
Vancouver Canucks trade: G Roberto Luongo and F Steven Anthony

Analysis: The Vancouver Canucks ended the 2013 season with both Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo on their roster. A year later, both have departed and made way for Eddie Lack to become the Canucks’ new franchise ‘tender. Luongo has been a sparkplug ever since his collapse in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. It’s surprising to see Vancouver cut bait on Luongo, even though his long term contract is considered one of the worst in the league. Even more surprising was Vancouver’s decision not to trade C Ryan Kesler. Though, the two time Olympian could be shipped out at next summer’s draft.

As for the deal at hand, it’s not as lopsided as it looks. Vancouver will retain 15% of Luongo’s salary. They’ll also acquire a pretty premium goaltending prospect in Markstrom, who many considered to be the netminder of the future in Sunrise. Matthias is your classic bottom-six center who can play minutes on the PK. He’s a possible replacement for Kesler if the star is dealt in the offseason. For Vancouver, I give this deal a B. They wanted to rid themselves of Luongo’s deal anyway, and they land a viable future replacement for him in the process. Still, I have to wonder why they didn’t just lose Luongo a year ago and hang onto Schneider.

Florida, meanwhile, lands their franchise keeper eight years after they shipped him to Vancouver. They had no need for Markstrom now with Luongo between the pipes and Matthias wasn’t a valuable future piece. If Florida plans on keeping Luongo long term and building around him, then I see this is a solid deal for them. I give Florida a B as well. The Panthers later traded Tim Thomas to Dallas in exchange for G Dan Ellis.

Philadelphia Flyers trade: C Matt Mangene, 2nd round pick (’15), 3rd round pick (’14)
New York Islanders trade: D Andrew McDonald

Analysis: It was no secret that GM Paul Holmgren wanted to boost his defense at the deadline. The Flyers struck early, landing Islanders’ blue-liner Andrew McDonald on Tuesday afternoon.

For Philadelphia, the trade solidifies their solid yet unspectacular defensive corps. McDonald’s strength, getting the puck out of his own end, is exactly what Philadelphia has struggled with all season long. For that fact alone, this is a solid deal. McDonald isn’t going to remind anyone of Ray Bourque or Zdeno Chara. But, he’s a very solid third pairing defenseman with sound mechanics in his own end. Philadelphia also didn’t surrender anything of note, as Mangene is unlikely to ever be an NHL regular. By solidifying their weakness at the expense of little, the Flyers earn a B+.

New York, meanwhile, might have had the worst deadline of any team. Though, this deal wasn’t the worst of the bunch. They were on record wanting a first round pick for McDonald, though the market never really materialized for anyone this deadline. After trading their first round pick to Buffalo in the original Thomas Vanek deal, the Isles wanted to recoup some of their lost assets. They did just that and earned a C+ for this deal.

Washington Capitals trade: F Martin Erat and F John Mitchell
Phoenix Coyotes trade: D Rostislav Klesla, F Chris Brown, 4th round pick (’15)

Analysis: A year ago, Washington made an atrocious trade at the deadline by shipping former first round pick Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat from Nashville. Erat did very little over the course of his time in Washington, and has now been shipped for D Rusty Klesla.

For Washington, this deal ends the inauspicious tenure of Erat, who scored just 2 goals in 62 games with the team. In exchange, the Capitals land a stay at home defenseman in Klesla. The team would then ship Klesla to the Sabres on Wednesday.

Phoenix, always longing for offensive talent, lands a player in Erat who used to be one of the premier scorers on the Predators. Perhaps a change of scenery will do him well. In the end, this trade just screams C for both teams, as two players who are well past their primes changed rosters in an under-the-radar Tuesday evening transaction.

New York Rangers trade: F Ryan Callahan, Conditional 2nd round pick (’14), 1st round pick (’15)
Tampa Bay Lightning trade: F Martin St. Louis

Analysis: One of, if not the premier blockbuster of the year, saw the Rangers and Lightning swap stars on Tuesday. Callahan, a two-time USA Olympian, heads to sunny Florida for the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner.

On the surface, the deal looks to be a coup for Tampa Bay, who deals a 38-year old who no longer wanted to play there for an Olympian and a captain, plus two high draft picks. St. Louis, who spent over a decade in Tampa, grew tired of the disrespect that he felt he received from GM Steve Yzerman, who initially left St. Louis off of the Canadian Olympic team. The 2004 Hart Trophy winner is now going to be expected to be a game changer in New York, as he will debut for the Rangers tonight while wearing #26. For Tampa, this deal not only lands them a lauded penalty killer in Callahan as well as future draft assets. But, it also allows them to play their youngsters more as they continue their quest for the playoffs. By doing this, the Lighting earn an A-. It’s not often that you can trade a superstar and franchise icon and still come out smelling like roses. Yzerman continues to prove he’s as strong an executive as he was a hockey player.

Meanwhile, Glen Sather continues his quest to turn the Rangers into an old, highly paid crop of former stars. Now, this isn’t the worst deal that I’ve ever seen. After all, St. Louis can still play at a high level and will likely greatly aid the offense at Madison Square Garden. But, the Rangers knew that they wanted to rid themselves of the free agent to be in Callahan. Yet, they did not aid their future at all by doing this deal. In fact, they hampered it considerably, as the 2015 draft is expected to be one of the deepest in years. Sather earns a C-, as the deal may help in the short term. But, their loss of leadership, defensive prowess, and future assets in the trade hampers the value in the eyes of this analyst.

Ottawa Senators trade: 3rd round pick (’15), 5th round pick (’14)
Edmonton Oilers trade: F Ales Hemsky

Analysis: Ales Hemsky was once one of the premier playmaking wingers on the Edmonton Oilers. Injury and inconsistent play has since soured the forward’s value. Still, Ottawa felt strong enough that he would impact their playoff quest to invest a couple of mid-tier draft choices for him.

The Senators don’t give up a lot here and land their replacement for Daniel Alfredsson, who left the team for Detroit last year. Hemsky won’t wow you like he may have a decade ago. But, he’s a solid offensive threat who was acquired for peanuts. For that, the Senators earn an A-.

As for Edmonton, who is once again stuck in a perpetual lottery position, the deal sends their longest tenured player out of town. By landing more draft picks, Edmonton doesn’t do a whole lot to help them now or in the future. This deal was really just a cap dump, good enough to earn a C.

Montreal Canadiens trade: F Sebastian Collberg, conditional 2nd round pick (’14)
New York Islanders trade: F Thomas Vanek, conditional 5th round pick (’14)

Analysis: The robbery of the deadline saw the Montreal Canadiens, right in the thick of the Atlantic Division playoff race, acquire the biggest difference maker dealt this week, Thomas Vanek.

Montreal has been looking for an offensive impact player for years. By landing the free agent to be, the Canadiens positioned themselves for a potential deep playoff run. Vanek has scored at least 20 goals in every season of his career (21 this season) and has 15 career playoff goals as well. Montreal also didn’t give up anything of note, as Collberg is nothing more than a middling prospect. I’m a bit perplexed at how the Islanders could get so little for Vanek. But, the Canadiens will take it and run. Give them an A for their highway robbery of Garth Snow.

As for the Isles, it’s just another disappointing deadline day. After making the playoffs a year ago, New York is once again back at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They also don’t have their first round pick, as they dealt it along with Matt Moulson to Buffalo to acquire Vanek. Just a terrible turn of events for the Islanders, who get a D- for this disaster.

Pittsburgh Penguins trade: 5th round pick (’14), 3rd round pick (’15)
Florida Panthers trade: F Marcel Goc

Analysis: While the Penguins fell short in their effort to land an impact player like Ryan Kesler, Pittsburgh did improve their bottom six by bringing in Marcel Goc.

The 30-year old center is a solid bottom-six forward with defensive responsibility. He’s not going to wow anyone offensively. But, on a team with Crosby, Malkin, and Neal, he doesn’t need to. Pittsburgh would have been smart to improve their blue line. But, Goc is a solid pickup for very little in return. Ray Shero earns a B with this deal.

From Florida’s perspective, it’s just another piece of the fire sale. The Panthers have one of the worst offensive forward corps in the business. So, losing Goc won’t exactly make much of an impact. It’s a classic C average for the Florida Panthers.

Washington Capitals trade: G Michal Neuvirth, D Rostislav Klesla
Buffalo Sabres trade: G Jaroslav Halak, 3rd round pick (’15)

Analysis: For Washington, this trade makes sense. They land a goalie in Halak who once acted like a brick wall in upsetting the #1 seeded Capitals in the first round of the 2009 playoffs. The former Canadiens keeper has long been one of the best playoff goalies. So, acquiring him for a youngster in Neuvirth is a win for a team like Washington. The Capitals packaged Neuvirth, who had lost the confidence of the organization along with the recently acquired Klesla to bring in an experienced netminder. That’s good enough to earn a B in my book.

Meanwhile, it was just another piece of the rebuilding puzzle for the Sabres. Buffalo is stockpiling draft picks, so losing a future 3rd rounder is no big deal. But, acquiring Neuvirth, a netminder with solid potential, is a win. After dealing Ryan Miller last week, no one was sure whether or not the Sabres had their goalie of the future in the pipeline. There’s a chance that they now do after this deal. For that, Buffalo is able to earn a B+.

Los Angeles Kings trade: F Matt Frattin, 2nd round pick (’14 or ’15), conditional 3rd round pick
Columbus Blue Jackets trade: F Marian Gaborik

Analysis: It wasn’t long ago that Marian Gaborik was considered one of the best scoring forwards in the game. That time has come and gone. But, the veteran is still thought of as a very valuable top-six winger on a contending team. For that reason, Los Angeles pulled the trigger on acquiring him.

For the Kings, the deal was a no brainer. Los Angeles, for all their defensive acumen, possessed one of the worst scoring offenses in all of hockey. Gaborik can only improve that statistic for the remainder of the season. Frattin, while a nice young bottom-six player, is never going to amount to nearly as much as Gaborik. It’s a solid deal in my book, worth of an A- for the Kings.

For Columbus, a team that is still in the thick of things, Gaborik never really fit in. After acquiring the forward from New York at last year’s deadline, the Blue Jackets tried to make it work with the perennial scorer at the top of their forward lines. But, they still somehow managed to struggle at scoring goals. With this deal, Columbus cuts bait. It’s not a great return for a guy with Gaborik’s pedigree, so I’ll give Columbus a C on the deal.

Boston Bruins trade: 3rd round pick (’14)
Philadelphia Flyers trade: D Andrej Meszaros

Analysis: Boston has been looking to improve their defensive depth ever since Dennis Seidenberg was lost for the season earlier this year. With Adam McQuaid also on the mend for a few weeks, Peter Chiarelli desperately needed to improve the unit.

Adding Meszaros, however, doesn’t really do that. Yes, Andrej was a solid soldier for Philadelphia and he certainly packs an offensive punch. But, that’s not what Boston needed. After all, the Bruins already have Zdeno Chara and Torrey Krug, two of the best scoring defenseman in the league. No, the Bruins needed a defensive minded blue liner like Nick Grossmann. Instead, they land a glorified forward in Meszaros. They didn’t give up anything. But, it’s still not something to be proud of and certainly isn’t worthy of anything more than a C grade for either team.

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