It’s that glorious time of year where NHL teams in contention load up for deep playoff runs and teams out of contention re-stock their cupboards with youth and draft picks. However, today is also the day in the NHL that the most mistakes are made and a King’s ransom sometimes is paid in favor of the pursuit of Lord Stanley.
Although only time will tell if a trade worked out or if a team grossly overpaid for a player rental, now that the deadline has passed we can look at teams who improved their chances at making the playoffs and making a run at the Stanley Cup.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins
Notable Additions: Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray, Jussi Jokinen, 2013 3rd (DAL)
Notable Subtractions: Joe Morrow, Kenneth Agostino, Ben Hanowski, 2013 1st (PIT), 2013 2nd (PIT), conditional 2014 2nd (PIT)
There is perhaps not a more aggressive general manager in the NHL around the trade deadline than Penguin’s general manager Ray Shero. Once again, Shero weaved his trade deadline magic and acquired significant depth to his team without even giving up a current roster player. The crown jewel of Shero’s deadline haul this year is none other than former Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla. Iginla has been one of the most prominent goal scorers of the past 15 years in the NHL and gives the Penguin’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin that veteran goal-scoring winger they have coveted. Not only did Pittsburgh boost their top line, but they also bolstered their bottom six with former Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow and former Carolina Hurricane Jussi Jokinen. To top it off, they added a big body presence to their defense when they acquired Douglas Murray from the San Jose Sharks. Already sitting atop the Eastern Conference prior to any of these additions, Pittsburgh has made it crystal clear they are going all in this year for the Stanley Cup.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets
Notable Additions: Marian Gaborik, Blake Comeau, 2015 3rd (PHI)
Notable Subtractions: Steve Mason, John Moore, Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett
Columbus Blue Jacket’s general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen has wasted little time putting his stamp on Columbus organization. Over the past month, Columbus has crawled out of the NHL’s dumpster and into playoff contention and became unexpected buyers at the deadline. At the trade deadline, not only did Columbus rid themselves of the albatross salary of back up goalie and former Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason by trading him to the Philadelphia Flyers, but they also acquired NHL superstar Marian Gaborik from the New York Rangers. The price for Gaborik was steep and they had to included top 4 potential defenseman John Moore, bottom 6 forward Derek Dorsett, and second line center Derick Brassard. However, Columbus gets to hold onto all of three of their 2013 1st round draft picks which is huge for them considering the 2013 NHL Draft is regarded as a draft rich with talent.
3. Boston Bruins
Notable Additions: Jaromir Jagr, Wade Redden
Notable Subtractions: Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne, conditional 2nd (BOS)
Although Bruin’s general manager Peter Chiarelli missed out on Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow earlier this spring, he acted quickly and acquired future hall of fame winger Jaromir Jagr. The 41-year old Jagr is not only the top 6 offensive presence Boston needs, but he also provides them with a significant boost to their power play and gives them additional playoff experience that should mesh well with a group that is already Stanley Cup tested. The price for Jagr was extremely reasonable and only cost Boston two mid level prospects and a conditional 2013 2nd round draft pick (if Boston makes the Eastern Conference Finals, that 2nd round pick turns into a 1st round pick). Boston also added a veteran presence to their defense by acquiring Wade Redden from the St. Louis Blues and these two additions has Boston thinking Stanley Cup.
4. Buffalo Sabres
Notable Additions: Johan Larsson, Matt Hackett, 2013 1st (MIN), 2013 2nd (STL), 2014 2nd (MIN), 2014 2nd (LA), 2015 2nd (LA)
Notable Subtractions: Jason Pominville, Robyn Regehr, Jordan Leopold
It appears as if the Buffalo Sabres were one of the few NHL teams this trade deadline that knew when to hold, knew when to fold, knew when to walk away, and knew when to run. Buffalo received a huge bounty for Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild by receiving two coveted prospects and two high draft picks. They also dealt defensemen Robyn Regehr to the Los Angeles Kings and Jordan Leopold to the St. Louis Blues for draft picks, respectively. The Sabres have primed themselves for years to come with the amount of youth the acquired and they also shed significant salary off of their books as well.
5. New York Rangers
Notable Additions: Ryane Clowe, John Moore, Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett
Notable Subtractions: Marian Gaborik, 2013 2nd (NYR), conditional 2014 2nd (NYR), 2014 3rd (FLA)
Although New York dealt their superstar winger Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets, they bolstered there team depth ten fold as they prepare for a playoff push. Yes, the Rangers are struggling mightily on offense ,but they do get out from under Gaborik’s 7,500,000 cap hit and also acquired the aforementioned John Moore, Derick Brassard, and Derek Dorsett. In a move to address the Ranger’s lack of grit, they also traded for San Jose’s Ryane Clowe for a couple of 2nd round draft picks. Although none of these moves are flashy like Rangers fans are accustomed to, they do provide New York with depth, youth, and will hopefully kick start a struggling offense as they fight for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.