All right, everybody, let’s get one thing straight before we go even one step further here. What you are about to read is highly subjective and a snapshot of one day of (in)activity. Picking winners and losers less than two hours after the trade deadline has expired provides only a snapshot, but once the dust cleared here’s who we saw as Monday’s winners and losers.
Remember, we’re basing our assessments only on the moves teams made Monday when we pick our winners and losers. All in all, it was a yawner of a trade deadline day, which probably makes those who invest a vacation day into following the proceedings the biggest losers. But for what it’s worth, here’s what we thought:
NHL TRADE DEADLINE DAY WINNERS
In picking up Jason Arnott and Dennis Wideman, the Capitals went a long way toward addressing the shocking problems with their power play, which is currently ranked 25th in the NHL despite an abundance of offensive creativity. Arnott gives the Capitals a playoff proven performer who can be a big body in the offensive zone and score big goals. Wideman gives the Capitals some thrust from the blueline and will help fill the void created by Mike Green’s injury troubles. They lost arguably the best faceoff man in the league in Dave Steckel, but Arnott is pretty good on faceoffs, too, and gives the Capitals more versatility. The Capitals are not looking beyond this year’s playoffs, so the upgrades will help them. Wideman is also under contract for another season at close to $4 million.
The Canucks had very little wiggle room under the cap and risked upsetting a team that has created incredible chemistry and trust this season with a big trade. So instead, GM Mike Gillis went out and got Maxim Lapierre and Christopher Higgins without altering his roster. Now the thought of Lapierre and Alex Burrows being on the same team might scare the Canucks from a discipline perspective, but the betting here is that Lapierre will be smart enough to stay in line in a good situation. The Canucks were lacking some speed on their fourth line and now they have it and if you’re going to go on a long playoff run, you need lots of bodies with experience. The biggest loser in all of this is prospect Cody Hodgson, who should probably warm up to the idea of spending the rest of the season in Winnipeg.
If you’re going to commit to rebuilding, you might as well go all the way. That’s what the Oilers did in dealing the disappointing Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings for a first round pick and defenseman prospect Colten Teubert, along with a conditional second-rounder next summer. Yes, we know Penner has played relatively well this season. We’re also aware that first-rounder will be somewhere in the neighborhood of the 20th pick and Teubert’s stock has fallen precipitously. Two years ago, Teubert was ranked as the NHL’s 30th best prospect in Future Watch, fell to 48th last year and didn’t even crack the top 75 this year. But the Oilers, who are paying too many players more money than they deserve, get the Penner contract off their books and continue to load up on prospects.
Same goes for the Senators, who moved the inconsistent Chris Campoli to the Chicago Blackhawks for a second round pick and Ryan Potulny, who can be an effective fill-in player for them. After seeing Bryan Murray sign defenseman Chris Phillips to a three-year deal, we have no doubt Murray will remain a significant part of the Senators brain trust even if he does not return as GM.
NHL TRADE DEADLINE DAY LOSERS
Wideman for an ECHL player and a third round pick? That was really the best they could do for the puck-moving defenseman that everyone supposedly covets at the trade deadline? Compound that with the fact they essentially gave up Nathan Horton to get Wideman and the deal looks even more disastrous from a Florida perspective. They failed to move goalie Tomas Vokoun and now risk losing him for nothing if he walks as an unrestricted free agent in the summer. Trading Bryan Allen to get Sergei Samsonov was nothing but a salary dump. That said, the Panthers do deserve kudos for getting Niclas Bergfors in exchange for Radek Dvorak and hanging onto Stephen Weiss and David Booth, two core players who could be part of the solution if the Panthers ever find it.
The Canadiens blueline has been ravaged by injuries and while Brent Sopel, who the Canadiens acquired earlier in the week, is a good addition, a lot of people would have liked to see the Canadiens get more help on the blueline and a little help up front. Perhaps they weren’t willing to pay the price the Kings did for Penner, but you would have thought the Canadiens would have been more proactive than simply acquiring goaltending prospect Drew MacIntyre.
The Predators already made their big move in getting Mike Fisher for a first-rounder, but have faded in a big way down the stretch and could have used some offense in exchange for the glut of young defensemen they have. Perhaps GM David Poile is still stinging from giving up so much for Peter Forsberg at the deadline and still failing to win a playoff round in 2007.
FANS WHO RELIED ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THEIR TRADE DEADLINE INFORMATION
Thanks to bogus Twitter accounts, someone posing as Rogers Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos tweeted that the Montreal Canadiens had acquired Dustin Penner from the Edmonton Oilers for Jarred Tinordi and a first round pick. Joffrey Lupul was part of a hoax of a deal that had him going to the New York Islanders and someone posing as ESPN.com columnist Pierre LeBrun said Brad Richards was coming to Toronto. Perhaps the best was when the bogus LeBrun was tweeting that the real LeBrun was a fake.
THN PUCK PANEL – NHL TRADE DEADLINE RECAP
PRODUCER: Ted Cooper