NHL Trade Deadline Day Finishes With a Flurry
NHL trade deadline day started out very quietly and then picked up as 3:00 p.m. Eastern came around. Similar to most years, much of the big business was conducted ahead of time.
With teams either trying to fill in some holes for a playoff run or preparing for a rebuild, the April 3 date was marked on the calendar as soon as the NHL lockout ended.
It’s a battle between stocking up for the present versus rebuilding for the future, teams that are buyers and those that are sellers, teams that want to make a long playoff run, and those that are throwing in the towel for the season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins made their intentions abundantly clear in acquiring Dallas’s Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray, and Jarome Iginla in the span of three days in late March.
They also picked up a depth forward in Jussi Jokinen from Carolina on Wednesday. With a 15-game win streak under their belt, the Pens are Cup contenders and seemed to want to corner the market on experienced, talented players with character.
By contrast, the Calgary Flames, with no playoff aspirations have been stocking up the draft picks while offloading premier players like Iginla and defenceman Jay Bouwmeester. The Dallas Stars seem to be operating in similar manner by offloading Derek Roy, Jaromir Jagr, and Morrow. They occupy a similar position in the standings as the Flames in the Western Conference.
Simply because a team doesn’t figure to participate in the playoffs, doesn’t mean it automatically becomes a seller. The Florida Panthers made only two trades and both involved lesser-known players. The Montreal Canadiens stood pat on deadline day, content with their team and earlier acquisitions.
As is typically the case, as the 3:00 p.m. Eastern deadline approached, business picked up.
In a trade that was beneficial to both teams, the Ottawa Senators dealt backup goalie Ben Bishop to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for rookie forward Cory Conacher and a fourth-round draft pick. Tampa Bay has had problems in nets all season long and the Senators need to improve goal-scoring on their top three lines.
In other noteworthy trades at the deadline, the Minnesota Wild, who signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to identical $98 million contracts, picked up another first-line forward in Buffalo captain Jason Pominville.
The New York Rangers sent Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets for young forward Derek Brassard, tough guy Derek Dorsett, defenceman John Moore, and a sixth round pick. The Rangers have difficulty scoring and Gaborik has not been the answer. The speedy Slovak likely needs a change of scenery and less scrutiny than what he had in New York. Also, New York has to bring down their hefty payroll.
But now that it’s all over, teams have one less thing to worry about and we can all focus on what takes place on the ice instead of behind closed doors and on Blackberrys.
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