Wednesday, February 29, 2012


JACK JOHNSON, CBJ - Not a deadline day deal, and not to a contender, but Johnson is a significant piece to start the Jackets rebuild. it was no secret that Johnson didn't enjoy playing 2nd fiddle to Drew Doughty in L.A. He already appears happy to be a cornerstone piece in the Midwest.

JEFF CARTER, LA - The other half of the most significant late season deal, Carter goes to Hollywood at a heavy price (over 5 million a year through 2022) and with lots of baggage. But the Kings need scoring, and Carter, a perennial underachiever, should provide that just to show his appreciation for getting out of Columbus.

PAUL GAUSTAD, NAS - A centerpiece in Nashville's "go for it" year, the Goose provides some much needed strength down the middle for an expected first round showdown against St. Louis Blues.

ANTOINE VERMETTE, PHX - A good two way player who should fit perfectly into Dave Tippett's system. Another solid under the radar move by a team that is a focus of attention for its off ice problems but isn't getting enough notice for its first place standing in the Pacific.

MAREK ZIDLICKY, NJ - The veteran blue liner is what the charging Devils lacked. Zidlicky should enhance the New Jersey power play and make the Devils an even tougher playoff foe.

CODY HODGSON, BUF - The Sabres add a valuable piece for the future in the Calder Trophy candidate who will finally receive top 6 minutes. Only Tedy Purcell has more points of NHLers averaging under 15 minutes a night. Hodgson may get enough ice time down the stretch to win the Calder, but he's likely found a home where his talents will be appreciated.

NICK SCHULTZ/TOM GILBERT - A true hockey trade was one of the highlights of deadline day. Schultz is a character, stay at home prairie boy who will help stabilize the Oilers defensive zone. Tom Gilbert goes home to Minny and brings an offensive flair that the Wild have missed since the departure of Brent Burns. Schultz is tougher, Gilbert more skilled. We call it a good trade.

HAL GILL, NAS - The Predators bolstered an already sturdy blue line with this veteran pickup. A number of other playoff bound teams coveted Gill, including Boston and Pittsburgh, but the Preds  landed Gill who should lower the ice time demands on Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.

PAVEL KUBINA, PHI - The Flyers added veterans Kubina and Nick Grossman for picks to help compensate for the devastating loss of Chris Pronger. Nobody replaces Pronger but Kubina, a veteran right hand shot, should help the Flyers at crunch time.

ANDREI KOSTITSYN, NAS - Even when Kostitsyn scored 20, was a plus player and was among the Habs hit leaders, he seemed to be in the doghouse. A new address, less attention and perhaps even being reunited with his brother could revive Kostitsyn's career and give the Predators another offensive weapon.

JAMIE McGINN, COL - A feisty, solid third line player, with some offensive upside and a great attitude, McGinn along with Steve Downie will make the Avalanche a lot tougher to play against.

Honourable Mentions - Ben Bishop has a chance to be a star goaltender. The Blues think he's ready to play now. A solid pickup by Ottawa and a mystery that Tampa GM Steve Yzerman wouldn't spend a 2nd round pick on him. John Scott is a nuclear deterrent for the Rangers in their impending playoff battle with the Bruins. The body of work on the deadline by Boston adding veterans Greg Zanon, Mike Mottau and Brian Rolston to provide solid veteran depth. The hidden gem might be Michael Sgarbossa acquired by the Avalanche in the Gagliardi Winnick deal. Sgarbossa is 2nd in OHL scoring.


MONTREAL - Like their season not nearly enough accomplished. Other pieces like Chris Campoli should have been moved but Travis Moen's suspected concussion prevented the Habs from getting good value for his playoff resume.

OTTAWA - The Senators didn't expect to be active but made a solid add with Bishop and hope Matt Gilroy is a better long term blue liner for them than Brian Lee, who had finally cracked the lineup but never lived up to his high draft.

TORONTO - The Leafs are involved in the best minor league swap, getting power forward of the future Carter Ashton for big blue liner Keith Aulie. But where is the help for a struggling team that should be expected to make the playoffs sooner than later?

WINNIPEG - The Jets weren't expected to be busy but get a premium price for Johnny Oduya.

CALGARY - Jay Feaster and the Flames front office fiddles while the Calgary franchise burns. Only 2 Flames draft choices were in the Calgary lineup against the Blues. Every year that the Flames delay the inevitable rebuild is another year of frustration in Southern Alberta.

EDMONTON - It's hard to believe with so few skill players moving at the deadline that the Oilers couldn't get a good price for Ales Hemsky. Instead Hemmer is extended for 2 more years and the Oilers are left with only one, albeit positive, deadline deal.

VANCOUVER - Somewhere between Neely for Pederson and Naslund for Stojanov lies the Kassian-Hodgson trade. Kassian may very well become a Milan Lucic  type player but he is young, raw and not ready for the expectations that will be heaped on him. As a physical presence Kassian has been credited with 32 hits in 27 NHL games to date. The Canucks were well positioned to put themselves over the top on deadline day. Sammy Pahlsson adds depth and Stanley Cup experience. Marc Andre Gragnani could be another offensive contributor on the blue line. Perhaps there just wasn't a better, more experienced fit available. But without Hodgson, Vancouver isn't as deep offensively. With Kassian they have loaded up for a rematch with the Bruins, a team that the Canucks may never see. 2 or 3 years from now Kassian could be an impact player for the Canucks. But Vancouver's time is now to win a Cup and yesterday's deal falls short of expectations.


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