Trade Deadline Winners, Losers and Shockers!
Perhaps it’s not so easy to determine who got the best of the trade deadline deals at first glance. But as a wise person once said, ‘sometimes when you win, you actually lose.. and sometimes when you lose, you actually win… and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie.’ Ok, that was Rosie Perez in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’, but I digress. So who put themselves in position to make a run for the Cup, and who made moves that make you run for the toilet?
Buffalo trades G Ryan Miller and F Steve Ott to St. Louis for G Jaroslav Halak, F Chris Stewart, F William Carrier, a 2015 1st round pick and a conditional 2016 2nd round pick.
We have to start with the move that started it all last week, and that’s the Blues’ acquisition of Miller. A lot of pundits immediately gave the Blues full marks for pulling this off since other teams out west were in the mix for his services. But there was a steep price to pay for him. They seemed to believe the hype that they needed a goaltender. Nobody will argue that Miller is an elite goaltender, as his .923 save% on an awful team looks that much more impressive. Halak isn’t exactly a slouch with his .917 save% this season. Their save % flip-flops in the playoffs as Halak has had the better numbers and both are free agents after the season. So I find this swap more curious than most if indeed they were looking for someone to backstop them to a championship. In addition to that, you give away Stewart who plays a similar game to Ott, but is 5 years younger with better numbers AND give up 2 high draft picks. I consider this a sizable win for the Sabres, which is not something people can say often nowadays.
Buffalo trades G Jaroslav Halak and a 2015 3rd round pick to Washington for G Michael Neuvirth and D Rostislav Klesla.
Did I say Buffalo actually WON a trade? Forget I said that. The Sabres turn right around and trade Halak and a pick away for Neuvirth who has one year left on his contract and Klesla, who will finish up the season and go elsewhere. Even if you consider the goalies an even exchange, Buffalo who are in major rebuilding mode, gives away a draft pick for a rental. This makes no sense on their part and kudos to the Caps on getting a great goalie, a draft pick, and dumping Klesla’s salary.
Washington trades F Martin Erat and F John Mitchell to Phoenix for D Rostislav Klesla, F Chris Brown and a 2015 4th round pick.
That’s right… Klesla and Halak have the unique distinction of being traded for each other, and having it be their second trade within a week. I actually like this trade from Washington’s perspective even if they kept Klesla. But, since they packaged him to land a true #1 goaltender, it’s an even bigger win for them. You didn’t really think I was going to say Phoenix won this swap by getting Erat did you? In 53 games this season, the former Predator favorite has ONE goal… and that was an empty-netter.
Vancouver trades G Roberto Luongo and F Steven Anthony to Florida for G Jacob Markstrom and F Shawn Matthias.
The implosion of the Canucks continues. Here is a team that had arguably the best goaltending tandem in the league with Schneider and Luongo, and within 2 years, have traded them both away. I give Florida credit for finding a long-term solution in net (Luongo is signed thru 2022) all while having Vancouver pick up some of his salary. The best part about this trade was Luongo’s twitter account following the trade when he simply tweeted a palm tree.
Florida trades G Tim Thomas to Dallas for G Dan Ellis
Speaking of tweeting, Luongo jokingly referred to he and Thomas as the ‘dream team’. But let’s be honest, these two have hated each other since facing off in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. Neither team is going to make the playoffs, but this eliminates a potential headache removed from Panthers head coach Peter Horacek’s locker room.
Columbus trades F Marian Gaborik to Los Angeles for F Matt Frattin, a 2014 2nd round pick and a conditional 3rd round pick.
If Gaborik is healthy, this could prove to be a huge move by the Kings to make a push for the Cup as they have struggled to score goals all season. Columbus is battling for one of the final playoff spots in the east but realize they aren’t a contender and manage to get a couple draft picks and a fringe player in return for the free agent to be, who has only suited up in 22 games this season due to injury.
Buffalo trades F Matt Moulson and F Cody McCormick to Minnesota for F Torrey Mitchell, a 2014 2nd round pick and a 2016 2nd round pick.
Though this looks like a fleecing by the Wild, this isn’t a bad return for Buffalo. Considering this was a buyer’s market, a couple 2nd round picks and a serviceable winger is about as good as can be expected at the deadline. Now whether or not the Sabres have a plan with the assets they’ve obtained is another story. Minnesota pays a decent price for the talented Moulson, but should they sign him to an extension (as they did with another former Sabre Jason Pominville), it turns into a great deal for Craig Leopold’s group.
New York Islanders trade F Thomas Vanek and a 2014 5th round pick to Montreal for F Sebastian Collberg and a 2014 2nd round pick.
Leave it up to Garth Snow to get hosed in a big way. It’s as if the Isles playoff appearance last season bought him another 5 years on the job. If this is truly the best return they can get for someone like Vanek, then he must’ve been demanding unreasonable assets with others earlier in the day. This seems like a panic move to do something before the deadline. They get a decent prospect and a pick, but also give away a 5th rounder in the process. Christmas comes early for the Habs.
New York Rangers trade F Ryan Callahan, a 2014 2nd round pick and a 2015 1st round pick to Tampa Bay for F Martin St. Louis.
This truly makes it hard to determine which New York team made the worse trade. The Rangers reportedly were only $250k/year off from what Callahan’s agent wanted, but they couldn’t come to terms on a no-trade clause. This is a complete debacle by GM Glen Sather. Here we have St. Louis, still seething over his own GM Steve Yzerman initially snubbing him from Team Canada’s roster, demanding a trade to the Rangers and only them. You would think someone like Sather who has been around the block more than 40 years would have the edge in a negotiation with Yzerman, a relative newbie comparatively speaking. Hats off to Yzerman who clearly couldn’t mend his relationship with the former Lightning captain, but managed to get Callahan and a couple high draft picks in a tough spot.
Nashville trades F David Legwand to Detroit for F Patrick Eaves, F Calle Jarnkrok and a 2014 3rd round pick.
For as much grief as GM David Poile has gotten, he comes up with some gems at times. You’ve read what some teams got in return for players that are clearly Legwand’s superior. I’m not saying that Eaves will make a difference because he is a marginal NHL player at best, but Jarnkrok has shown some great signs in the AHL that he will be ready to play with the big boys next season. There are stories circulating that Jarnkrok has an offer to play in Sweden next season and doesn’t wish to play in North America. I’ll remind those people that the same thing was said about Marek Zidlicky when he was dealt by the Rangers to Nashville. Lockout not withstanding, Zidlicky has played exclusively in North America since coming over. In addition, that 3rd round pick acquired becomes a 2nd should the Red Wings make the playoffs, which they’ve done now for 22 consecutive seasons. All in all, I’d say this is a nice win for Poile and the Preds who clearly aren’t making the playoffs. Poile made an unpopular decision in his locker room for the betterment of the team, something he failed to do 2 years ago with Ryan Suter.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a thanks to Legwand on behalf of the Predators fans. For as much flack he gets for never putting up enough points, there are only 7 players from the ’98 draft class with more career points than him and only 5 that have played as many games. His number is not likely to be retired by the Preds in the future, but he has been a solid and durable two-way center that often played against the opposition’s top lines on a nightly basis. A job well done over the last 15 years by the original Predator, who now returns home to Detroit.