There was no shortage of teams looking for a quick fix at the NHL trade deadline.
Marian Hossa landed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Brad Richards joined the Dallas Stars and Brian Campbell became a member of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
All three teams are banking on those star players making an impact in the final six weeks of the regular season and into the playoffs. The last Stanley Cup winner to make a significant addition at the deadline is New Jersey with Alex Mogilny in 2000, but that didn’t discourage general managers from making moves on this day.
“There’s risk in anything you do,” said Penguins GM Ray Shero. “There’s risk in standing pat at the deadline. There’s risk in acquiring players of this magnitude – especially Hossa.
“I feel very confident in our team that we have right now and I want to give it every opportunity to win.”
He wasn’t alone. There were 25 trades involving 45 players on Tuesday and all but four teams made at least one move. Philadelphia, Boston, Edmonton and Calgary were the only teams to stand pat.
The Hossa trade came just before the 3 p.m. ET deadline and made the biggest splash because of the package Pittsburgh put together to land him. The Penguins sent a first-round pick in 2008, young forwards Erik Christensen and Colby Armstrong and prospect Angelo Esposito to Atlanta for Hossa and Pascal Dupuis.
It gives the Penguins a dynamic forward group with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin but Shero will certainly come under some fire if the team fails to make some noise in the playoffs. Hossa is an unrestricted free agent who will be able to sign wherever he wants come July 1.
In the Western Conference, the Stars and Sharks signalled their intent to challenge Detroit and Anaheim for a spot in the Stanley Cup.
Richards arrives in the Lone Star State along with goaltender Johan Holmqvist. The Stars gave up backup goalie Mike Smith, forwards Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern and a fourth-round pick in next year’s draft to get them.
Come the spring, Dallas is hoping that Richards will show the form that saw him win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP during Tampa’s Stanley Cup win in 2004. The 27-year-old had to waive a no-trade clause to complete the deal and is looking forward to a fresh start after a tough year with the slumping Lightning.
“I have played in the playoffs the last four years. I can’t wait to get back in them,” said Richards, who will earn US$7.8 million each of the next three seasons. “I will keep playing the way I always have in the playoffs, and been successful, and we’ll see what happens.”
The Sharks hope Campbell’s addition will help get them over the top – whether it’s this year or beyond.
The 28-year-old defenceman is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer but Sharks GM Doug Wilson intends to sign Campbell to an extension, especially after giving up young winger Steve Bernier and a first-round pick in 2008 to get him.
“We don’t view anybody as a rental player,” said Wilson. “If there’s an opportunity to make your team better, you’ve got to do it. We’ve talked about this, and we were pretty open about what our needs were. If we hadn’t backed that up, I’m not sure it would have necessarily been a good thing.”
One of the biggest surprises of the day came out of Montreal, where the Habs anointed Carey Price their No. 1 goalie by dealing Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals for a second-round draft pick.
That means that the Canadiens will carry a young goaltending tandem into the playoffs. The combined age of Price (20) and Jaroslav Hasek (22) is one year younger than Detroit Red Wings starter Dominik Hasek (43).
“There is a risk there,” said Habs GM Bob Gainey. “They’re not experienced. …
“(But) we definitely believe that our future in goal is with one of these goaltenders, or maybe both in tandem.”
There wasn’t much action in the other Canadian cities: Ottawa acquired two-time Stanley Cup winner Martin Lapointe from Chicago for a sixth-round pick; Vancouver got Matt Pettinger from Washington for Matt Cooke; and Toronto sent Wade Belak and Chad Kilger to Florida in separate deals while trading defenceman Hal Gill to Pittsburgh.
Those deals netted the Maple Leafs four draft picks in return: a second-, third-and fifth-round selection in 2008 and a fifth-round pick in 2009.
In addition to adding Huet and Cooke, the Capitals also raised some eyebrows by acquiring former Hart Trophy winner Sergei Fedorov from the Columbus Blue Jackets for prospect Theo Ruth.
Fedorov will team with fellow Russian Alex Ovechkin to try and help Washington reach the post-season for the first time in five years. Things are clearly changing in the U.S. capital.
“It feels good to be able to try and do this, this year, after selling off for a few years,” Caps GM George McPhee said of his moves. “We’re sending the right message to everybody.”
In other moves:
-Anaheim added G J.S. Aubin from Los Angeles for a seventh-round pick, traded W Brandon Bochenski to Nashville for future considerations and acquired D Jay Leach from Tampa for W Brandon Segal and a seventh-round pick.
-Carolina acquired C Tuomo Ruutu from Chicago for W Andrew Ladd in an exchange of former first-round draft picks.
-Colorado re-acquired D Adam Foote from Columbus for a conditional first-round pick and conditional fourth-round pick and added D Ruslan Salei from Florida for D Karlis Skrastins and a third-round pick.
-Detroit landed D Brad Stuart from Los Angeles for a second-round pick and fourth-round pick.
-Minnesota got W Chris Simon from the N.Y. Islanders for a sixth-round pick.
-Nashville added W Jan Hlavac from Tampa Bay for a seventh-round pick.
-New Jersey acquired D Bryce Salvador from St. Louis for tough guy Cam Janssen.
-The N.Y. Islanders signed C Mike Comrie to a $4-million, one-year contract extension, acquired D Rob Davison from San Jose for a seventh-round pick and traded D Marc-Andre Bergeron to Anaheim for a third-round pick.
-The N.Y. Rangers acquired D Christian Backman from St. Louis for a fourth-round pick.
-Phoenix added G Al Montoya and W Marcel Hossa from the N.Y. Rangers for W Fredrik Sjostrom, G David LeNeveu, W Josh Gratton and a conditional pick.