Boston was sure it had a deal for Jarome Iginla last week. The Bruins settled instead for a pretty nice consolation prize in Jaromir Jagr.
The Dallas Stars shipped the 41-year-old Jagr, a five-time scoring champion, off to Boston in the biggest trade a day before the NHL deadline.
The Jagr trade gives the Bruins some needed offensive punch for the post-season, which starts April 30, as they chase their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons.
The NHL trade deadline is 3 p.m. on Wednesday, forcing a flurry of activity among the glut of teams that believe they’re in the Cup mix thanks in part to a lockout-shortened season.
The Jagr trade was the biggest one Tuesday, but it won’t be the last before the deadline clock ticks down.
The New York Rangers acquired rugged forward Ryane Clowe from the San Jose Sharks for three draft picks. Clowe, who has 11 assists this season, waived his no-trade clause to join a Rangers team that entered Tuesday holding the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
He was originally selected by San Jose in the sixth round of the 2001 draft and leaves the Sharks ninth on the team’s career points list with 271.
While Jagr is heading East, Buffalo captain Jason Pominville faces a murky future until the deadline.
Pominville could play his last game for the struggling Sabres on Tuesday night at Pittsburgh. Pominville has a partial no-trade clause in his contract and appears to have handed a list of teams he’d refuse to play for to general manager Darcy Regier.
“I don’t want to answer by yes or no, but what I can say is that obviously Darcy has a job to do and for him to be able to do that, in my case and in guys that have these kind of lists, for them to be able to listen, he needs to know,” Pominville said.
“I think it’s just part of the process and he said it a while ago that he was going to listen to everyone, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that this came up.”
Pominville has one year left on his contract with a salary cap hit of $5.3 million. Pominville, who has 10 goals and 23 points entering Tuesday night, said he wanted to do what was best for the Sabres.
“It’s a tough situation for everyone,” Pominville said. “This time of year there’s a lot of talk, a lot of speculation that comes out and some guys hear it, some guys don’t. We don’t talk about those kind of things before games, but obviously, in off days and in the morning, guys will throw a chirp in here or there. And that’s just part of the business and we have to deal with it.”
So many teams are dealing with swirling speculation. It’s over for now in Boston.
Jagr, one of the NHL’s all-time greats, will play for his third team in two years. He signed with Dallas after spending last season in Philadelphia.
Instead of being one of the Stars’ missing pieces for a playoff push, he’ll try and help the Bruins move past Montreal in the Northeast Division.
Jagr, who leads the Stars in points this season, was traded for two prospects, forwards Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne, and a conditional second-round pick in this year’s draft.
With the trade deadline coming Wednesday and the Stars in 12th place in the Western Conference, they decided to trade a player who could become a free agent after the season. Dallas could miss the playoffs for the fifth season in a row.
The deal came six days after the Bruins thought they obtained Iginla from the Calgary Flames, only to learn Iginla had been traded to Pittsburgh.
Iginla was set to play his second game for the Penguins on Tuesday night as they looked for their 16th straight win against Buffalo. The Penguins will have to do it with the former Flames captain, but without captain Sidney Crosby, out indefinitely with a broken jaw.
“This team, we have lots of leadership. They’ve been doing a lot of great things for a long time and winning,” Iginla said. “They’re on a real roll and it’s different guys who have stepped up. What I’m going to do is just play hard and compete on the ice and battle and try to fit in.”
The Stars, looking to acquire draft picks as they build for the future, weren’t done with Jagr. They also traded centre Derek Roy to Vancouver for defenceman Kevin Connauton and a second-round pick.
Roy has four goals and 18 assists in 30 games with Dallas this season. He previously spent eight seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, scoring 161 goals with 266 assists in 549 games. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Teams on the cusp of a playoff spot could be the biggest movers before the deadline. The St. Louis Blues, in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, acquired defenceman Jay Bouwmeester from the Calgary Flames on Monday night.
In return, the Flames got picks and prospects.
“He’s certainly a big body and he’s a tremendous skater,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. “He’s a workhorse back there and he logs 25 minutes a night on a regular basis. He gives us, really, what we believe is one of the stronger defences in the NHL right now.
“When you bring Jay and (Jordan) Leopold into it with the consistent players we have on the right side, we have a lot of players now.”
Bouwmeester has 71 goals and 229 assists in 10 seasons with the Flames and Panthers.
Out of the playoff picture, the Sabres are cleaning house. They’ve made three deals in three weeks, all involving defenceman.
Veteran defenceman Robyn Regehr dropped his no-trade clause to allow the Buffalo Sabres to deal him to the Los Angeles Kings. They also sent Jordan Leopold to the Blues over the weekend and rookie TJ Brennan last month. The underachieving Sabres netted draft picks in all three trades.
“That’s part of the time right now, part of the time of the year and where we’re at,” interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. “The guys understand that; it’s just that making sure they keep their focus and are ready to go tonight.”
AP freelance writer Chris Adamski in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.