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NHL Trade Deadline Recap

Ben Ebert |
March 7, 2014 | 3:13 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

Martin St. Louis on the bench with his new team (Facebook / NY Rangers).
Martin St. Louis on the bench with his new team (Facebook / NY Rangers).
The trade deadline has passed, which means rosters are officially locked in for the remainder of the season. There were a number of huge transactions this year, beginning with the Ryan Miller/Steve Ott trade to the St. Louis Blues from the Buffalo Sabres. It was the big spark that set off a slew of highly unanticipated moves, many of them coming Wednesday morning right before the deadline at 3 p.m. EST.

ALSO SEE: NHL Trade Deadline 2014 Countdown

The biggest trade, originally speculated as nothing more than a rumor, was the Martin St. Louis/Ryan Callahan trade between the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was an exchange of team captains and a move that St. Louis had apparently been desiring for a few years. The Rangers definitely got the better end of this deal, getting an elite player that is fast and loves to score goals. As for the Lightning, General Manager Steve Yzerman seemingly had no choice but to honor St. Louis’ trade wishes and make the best of the situation by acquiring Ranger captain Ryan Callahan along with a first, second and conditional draft pick. Steve Stamkos, having just returned from his injury that kept him out of the Olympics, was named the new team captain for the Lightning.

Another headlining move was the trade that sent Marian Gaborik to the Los Angeles Kings. Gaborik didn’t end up producing for Columbus the way they had expected, but the Kings will hope that it will work for them, bringing in some much needed offensive power. Not that it has any real significance, but something worth mentioning is in 2012, when L.A. acquired forward Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team went on to win the Stanley Cup. Let’s see if they can mirror that result through the transaction with Blue Jackets this year.

Goalies were a popular demand in this year’s market, as we saw a number of big moves, including a mind-boggling trade that sent the Vancouver Canucks' Roberto Luongo back to the Florida Panthers. From the Panthers' perspective, they got one of their old star players between the pipes; this is the first step of many toward turning Florida into a true contender. As for the Canucks, this trade shows their faith in younger goalies Eddie Lack and the newly added Jacob Markstrom. Because of this deal, the Panthers moved netminder Tim Thomas to the Dallas Stars, who will be relying on the past Stanley Cup winner if Kari Lehtonen isn’t playing lights out in the following weeks. The Minnesota Wild got goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers for a bargain price of only a fourth round pick. The Oilers were so willing because they acquired goalie Viktor Fasth from the Anaheim Ducks for a third and fifth rounder.

Other notable moves included Thomas Vanek going from the New York Islanders to the Montreal Canadiens; Ales Hemsky from the Edmonton Oilers to the Ottawa Senators; winger Tuomo Ruutu from the Carolina Hurricanes to the New Jersey Devils; and the Detroit Red Wings getting longtime Nashville Predator David Legwand. The Red Wings are in desperate need of some depth at the center position, with injuries sidelining key players like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. That makes this move all the more important if Detroit is hopeful of maintaining their 22-year playoff streak. Currently, the team is hanging in the race for the Eastern Conference wild card.

On the other end of that, the first place Ducks made some more noise in the trade market, sending Dustin Penner to the Washington Capitals for a fourth round pick which they used to get defenseman Stephane Robidas from the Dallas Stars, adding some veteran experience to their blue line.

The Buffalo Sabres continued their rebuilding process trading forwards Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to the Wild for Torrey Mitchell and a second round pick in 2014 and 2016, as well as sending recently acquired goalie Jaroslav Halak to the Capitals. Similarly, the Calgary Flames sent off goalie Reto Berra and winger Lee Stempniak in exchange for picks in this year’s draft; the Flames are another team looking to rebuild.

With many of these traded players awaiting free agency at the season’s end, look to see which of these “rentals” truly pays off. It is a tricky game by itself, and when general managers attempt to bolster their teams' rosters they have to see which players are available and which players they are willing to give up. Chess match deadline deals are never a guarantee of team success, as it takes more than just talent to win games, but also team chemistry.

Reach Staff Writer Ben Ebert here.



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