Was Greg Zanon really the most important piece taken on by an Eastern Conference contender?

Team by team deadline analysis? Team by team deadline analysis. Look later on this space for Daniel’s Western Conference analysis.

IN: D Mike Mottau, F Brian Rolston, D Greg Zanon
OUT: D Marc Cantin, F Yannick Riendeau, D Steve Kampfer

Don’t look now, but the Bruins may have landed the coup of the day by acquiring Greg Zanon from Minnesota. Zanon saw time this season with Clayton Stoner and the pairing went on to be Minnesota’s best in puck possession although they did see some of the more protected minutes of Minnesota’s back six. That said, Boston has very limited defensive depth, so a guy who can play in a third pairing in one of the league’s better defensive systems could be quite a boon and that depth is never a bad thing.

In Brian Rolston, the Bruins get a guy who can play on the point on the powerplay, which may have been something lacking last year when they acquired Tomas Kaberle. Both Zanon and Rolston are expensive, but are unrestricted at the end of the season and the Bruins really gave up nothing of tremendous value that will come back to bite them. The defending champions, again active, learned from last year’s mistakes when they lost one of their top prospects in Joe Colborne for a player who didn’t really help them in their Cup run.

Cody Hodgson was arguably the biggest piece to be moved Monday

IN: F Cody Hodgson, D Alex Sulzer, NSH 1st round pick
OUT: F Zack Kassian, D Marc-André Gragnani, F Paul Gaustad, pick

Out of the playoff race for all intents and purposes, the Sabres got some very good value for impending unrestricted free agent Paul Gaustad, getting a low first round pick in a top-heavy draft from the Nashville Predators. Considering what another Western Conference team picked up for a rust belt defensive centreman, the first rounder is quite impressive and should add a piece to a team that’s quietly entering rebuild mode. As for Cody Hodgson, he’s garnered Calder Trophy consideration and will get tested playing more minutes in Buffalo’s system. He’s a player described as having a high ceiling, while the Sabres dealt away a top guy in their prospect fold who was maybe considered a safer choice. That said, Hodgson will step in this year and draw a tryout with an organization loaded with wingers.


What’s the best way to improve a team that’s one of the worst in the league? Re-sign your  key guys in Tim Gleason and Tuomo Ruutu and not get anything for impeding free agents in Jaroslav Spacek and Bryan Allen. The Canes are spinning on a stationary bike right now, hoping that some of their young talent can mould itself into the system of veterans the team created, but not getting anything for Spacek and Allen is ludicrous.

IN: F Wojtek Wolski, F Jerred Smithson
OUT:  D Mike Vernace, pick, pick

The Panthers didn’t get a whole hell of a lot and didn’t give up much, which I suppose beats this summer when they didn’t get a whole hell of a lot and spent a bunch of cash. Jerred Smithson is a defensive player who can’t play against tough competition without getting steamrolled anymore, while Wojtek Wolski is a former first round draft pick on his fifth organization in two years after no team figured they could unlock his talent. Despite hooking up for an important goal in their first game, this isn’t a move that is expected to be a home run, but Florida only gave up a pair of late round picks and a minor league defenceman. With how weak the Southeast Division is, however, this move won’t set them apart, and they still need scoring.

Andrei Kostitsyn didn't generate much pre-deadline talk, but he was one of the few players traded

IN: 2nd round pick, conditional pick, F Brad Staubitz
OUT: F Andrei Kostitsyn

Just the one move was made by the Montreal Canadiens and it was a pretty solid return for an impending free agent that had clearly seen better days in Montreal. Andrei Kostitsyn had just 12 goals this season after 20 last year and was restricted in minutes on the powerplay. He’ll be re-united with brother Sergei who has put up amazing numbers since becoming a Nashville Predator. The return on Kostitsyn was good, but where was the return for Travis Moen, a player expected to draw a good price at the deadline? Where was Pierre Gauthier in finding a buyer for Chris Campoli? Like the Carolina Hurricanes, the Canadiens could have done better in picking up any assets at all for the guys who won’t be around next season.

Oh yeah, they also got Brad Staubitz off waivers for some reason.

IN: D Marek Zidlicky
OUT: D Kurtis Foster, F Nick Palmeri, F Stephane Veilleux, 2nd round pick, conditional pick

I thought this was quite a lot for New Jersey to give up for Marek Zidlicky, a guy who can still be somewhat useful although the Devils are on the hook for another year at $4M, but nothing they gave up will really help them at the NHL level in the next couple of years. The players won’t advance to anything past a good replacement, while they held onto their first. Still, Zidlicky is a guy who had been a powerplay goal scorer in the past before this season, and the Devils don’t have a lot of firepower from the point with just Mark Fayne and Adam Larsson as defensemen seeing any time on the man advantage. Given how poorly the Devils have fared at stopping short handed goals, maybe getting another defenceman on the blue line for those situations may help.

IN: D Marc Cantin, F Yannick Riendeau
OUT: D Mike Mottau, F Brian Rolston

Do the New York Islanders have the ability to shock and surprise and make the playoffs? The odds say “no” but the team refusing to trade Jay Pandolfo, PA Parenteau, Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina, Steve Staios, Al Montoya or Evgeni Nabokov says “yes”! Deep market or not, there had to be a team willing to either take on Parenteau or Nabokov (and if there isn’t, then I’m founding one) for any sort of piece that can help the team for the future. If the team loses these guys and fails to re-sign the key ones (I’m looking at Parenteau and Nabokov again) then this team will turn into the 2008 New York Islanders, just another team stuck in perpetual rebuild mode.

IN: Not Rick Nash, D Mike Vernace, “D” John Scott, pick
OUT: Not roster players and prospects that would have been traded for Rick Nash, F Wojtek Wolski, pick

Whatever the rumoured package was for Rick Nash, the Rangers made the best move of the day by not pulling the trigger and breaking up a pretty good group for a scorer who is a maybe for the next five years. Otherwise, the team stood pat for the most part, dumping a depth player in Wojtek Wolski who had become expendable and “gaining” John Scott, an NHL defenceman so bad, a team desperate for NHL defencemen traded him away. The team certainly didn’t keep up with Boston who added a quality depth piece, while the Rangers got rid of one.

This man looks pleased to be going to Ottawa.

IN: D Matt Gilroy, G Ben Bishop
OUT: D Brian Lee, pick

Set to lose Alex Auld after this season and not quite sold on Robin Lehner, the Ottawa Senators made a shrewd move to acquire a goaltender in Ben Bishop who comes very highly-regarded, and also managed to keep him away from provincial rival Toronto. As for Matt Gilroy and Brian Lee, they are two project defencemen who could have used a change and got one. Both are young and tread water in possession, but Gilroy plays against better competition than Lee. Call this one a push for now.

IN: D Pavel Kubina, D Nicklas Grossman
OUT: F Jon Kalinski, 2nd round pick, pick

This team already screwed the pooch for years to come by signing Ilya Bryzgalov to that awful, long contract, so best surround him with mediocre defencemen and hope for the best. As I think in many cases, if either Kubina or Grossman were any good defensively, they wouldn’t have been on teams that were so brutal at giving up shots on goal. Really, if this team goes anywhere, it will be thanks to the forward unit, which is really quite good.


Pittsburgh couldn’t do anything at the deadline this year, presumably because they are still giggling about getting James Neal and Matt Niskanen for Alex Goligoski last season. They are a top team with one of the league’s best forwards and will get their mid-season pickup if Sidney Crosby ever returns to the damn lineup.

IN: D Brian Lee, D Keith Aulie, D Mike Commodore, D Sebastien Piche, F Jon Kalinski, DET 1st round pick, 2nd round pick
OUT: F Dominic Moore, D Pavel Kubina, F Steve Downie, F Carter Ashton, D Matt Gilroy, pick, conditional pick

Tampa were certainly a busy team this deadline. How desperate did they get for young defencemen? Within a span of a few minutes they landed both Brian Lee and Keith Aulie, a pair of guys in Ottawa and Toronto that weren’t getting it done at the NHL level. The funny thing is that the team probably landed the best deal of the deadline when they traded for Kyle Quincey giving up just Steve Downie, but they promptly flipped him to Detroit for a journeyman minor leaguer and a low first rounder. Quincey is a 26-year old defenceman who could be just what the Lightning need going ahead but Steve Yzerman felt the need for a draft pick for whatever reason.

The best trade of the deal was Mike Commodore for the conditional 7th round draft pick, which is about as close to nothing as you can possibly trade for a guy.

IN: F Carter Ashton
OUT: D Keith Aulie

Keith Aulie actually looked really good over a second half stretch with Toronto playing on the team’s top unit with Dion Phaneuf, but it turns out that that was just a percentages-induced streak that wasn’t reflective of his play. So the Leafs gave up a guy struggling to find his NHL legs on defence for the same at forward, although Ashton won’t slot in as a guy who can do anything really useful for the team’s playoff hopes right now.

Probably the big deal here are the deals that weren’t made. Still nursing their wounds from the past two weeks, the Leafs failed to go out and get a Ben Bishop, a Josh Harding, or an Evgeni Nabokov or somebody who could provide them insurance in goal. Toronto is not a good enough team to make the playoffs without out-goaltending the other side and that problem simply wasn’t addressed at the deadline.

Also, Carter Ashton not only has two first names, but two last names as well. Don’t trust him.

"Clit-SOME!" - Jesse Fuchs


Washington seem to think that the team can make it anywhere without an added piece at centre or on defence to help out the team that’s been bleeding shots against since the firing of Bruce Boudreau.

In any other year, this would have concluded our bit of analysis, on a real empty note featuring a team that did nothing. Luckily for the Score’s Backhand Shelf, not only is there a team listed alphabetically after Washington, but they’re also a team that picked up a guy with a suggestive name off waivers.

IN: D Grant Clitsome, 2nd round pick, pick
OUT: D Johnny Oduya

Unfortunately, my insatiable inner 13-year old self did not get the privilege of witnessing a Jack Johnson-Grant Clitsome pairing in Columbus, and to make matters worse, Oduya-Clitsome won’t happen either. Winnipeg made out very well for themselves here, not mortgaging the future to make a splash in their new market at the deadline, and dumping their worst possession blueliner for a pair of picks that Carolina somehow didn’t get for Bryan Allen. They replaced him with Clitsome who is younger and under contract for another season, so this sorta worked out for them.

So, clear winners and losers? Well, obviously the winning teams are the ones who are still competing for the Stanley Cup, and that only looks like Boston, New York, Pittsburgh and maybe New Jersey or Philadelphia at this point. None of what happened the week leading up to Monday’s deadline really changes much of that. Washington had a chance to sneak back in and gain some ground, but they missed that one.