The NHL’s 2013 trade deadline appeared to be a dud on Wednesday afternoon. That was until the 2 p.m. hour when the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres all decided to make major deals.
The Pittsburgh Penguins made their splash well before the deadline. Last Thursday they acquired star veteran winger Jarome Iginla from the lowly Calgary Flames for a 2013 first round pick, and prospects Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski. Not only that, but the Pens were able to nab veteran forward Brenden Morrow and defender Douglas Murray. Veteran forward Jussi Jokinen was added on deadline day, making the Penguins the biggest winners and the current Stanley Cup favorite.
The Pens weren’t the only team to add. The hometown Boston Bruins, who thought they had Iginla, added a few players. They nabbed future Hall of Fame forward Jaromir Jagr from Dallas for prospects Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne along with a conditional second round pick. Jagr finally gives the Bruins that sniper they need, and will greatly help Boston’s ugly power play. The Bruins also traded for veteran Wade Redden, who is looking for a fresh start in his career.
The New York Rangers gave up three draft picks for power-forward Ryane Clowe, who scored in his Rangers debut on Wednesday night. The Rangers then shocked the hockey world by trading star sniper Marian Gaborik to Columbus for depth players like center Derick Brassard, winger Derek Dorsett and defender John Moore. Overall, I really like New York’s overhaul, and think they could very well be a better team with this deeper lineup.
The Islanders and Flyers were both quiet. The Isles, who sit eighth in the east, didn’t make a move, but they did hold onto pending free agents like forward Brad Boyes and defender Mark Streit. Philly on the other hand, added struggling goalie Steve Mason from Columbus for a third round pick and goalie Michael Leighton.
Some other major deals included Vancouver adding center Derek Roy from Dallas, the Blues adding star defender Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary for a package of picks and prospects, the Kings getting defender Robyn Regehr from Buffalo for two picks, and San Jose picking up Raffi Torres from the Coyotes.
In terms of winners, I think the Pittsburgh Penguins adding four solid vets in Iginla, Morrow, Jokinen and Murray, which really strengthened their Stanley Cup hopes. The Pens are going for it all, and they are truly loading up for a cup run. They have to be a winner.
The New York Rangers gave up a great scorer in Marian Gaborik, but they added a solid group of depth players that can really help them out. Ryane Clowe, coupled with Brassard, Dorsett and Moore really form a solid second line. Have to love what the Rangers did here, and I believe they set themselves up nicely.
Lastly, I think the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres are both winners today. I mentioned this trade in the opening. The Wild get a really good player in Jason Pominville for a playoff run, while the Sabres kick-started their rebuilding process by adding prospect forward Johan Larsson and young goalie Matt Hackett while also getting a 2013 first round pick and 2014 second round pick.
As for losers, I think Calgary, who gave up a lot of veteran talent while not getting much back, has to be a big time loser here. The Winnipeg Jets, who are leading the Southeast Division, failed to add anything at a very big deadline. They have to be a loser for me. The Flyers are my last loser, mainly because they failed to truly do anything, and they added a goalie who simply does not belong in the NHL.
With the deadline now passing, and winners and losers decided, it is now time for the playoff race to truly take flight. The month of April is going to be very fun in the NHL.