Johnson: "It's so nice to know that Scott Howson wants me in Columbus." Nash: "...I hate you so much right now." Jamie Sabau, Getty Images

The NHL trade deadline is one of the most over-hyped events in the NHL and this deadline was no exception. It took 2 hours from the start of the day for the first legitimate trade rumour to hit Twitter, as Bob McKenzie caught wind of Andrei Kostitsyn heading to Nashville, and in the end, only 16 trades were made.

It was a simple case of too many buyers and not enough sellers, as even a team like the Carolina Hurricanes, currently in 14th in the Eastern Conference, didn’t make a single trade. With Rick Nash staying put, everything was mostly quiet on the Western front; the biggest noise came after the deadline passed, as news came down that the Vancouver Canucks had sent Cody Hodgson to the Sabres for Zack Kassian.

That doesn’t mean that there weren’t other moves and other teams made some significant deals to improve their fortunes heading into the playoffs, while other teams repositioned themselves for next season.

With so few big names moved, it might have been tricky to keep track of who went where and why. As an intelligent hockey fan, you will likely be expected to provide an opinion on the trade deadline to your co-workers, friends, and family. Don’t get stuck for an answer. Allow me to help. Here’s your opinion:

Team: Anaheim Ducks

Moves: F Dale Mitchell from the Leafs for D Mark Fraser

D Sebastian Erixon from the Canucks for F Andrew Gordon

Here’s Your Opinion:

A couple months ago, the Ducks were mired in the basement of the NHL and trade rumours for Bobby Ryan were flying left and right. It was assumed that the Ducks would be a seller once the trade deadline came around; instead, they have gone on an absurd and unexpected 17-4-4 run and they’re just 6 points out of the playoffs. They clearly believe they still have a shot; however, they’re also still in 12th place in the West. They had no interest in being a seller, but aren’t in any position to be a buyer.

So the Ducks had to be satisfied with a pair of minor league deals, acquiring  two-way Swedish AHL defenceman Erixon and agitating ECHL forward Dale Mitchell and losing borderline NHLers Andrew Gordon and Mark Fraser. The Ducks prospect pool gets a bit younger and they retained full roster that has made such an impressive run over the last 25 games.

 

Team: Calgary Flames

Moves: None

Here’s Your Opinion:

Like the Ducks, the Flames believe they can make the playoffs. They’re sitting just 3 points out in 10th place, so weren’t in a position to be big buyers or sellers. The Flames ended up standing pat, making no moves other than to re-sign hard working right winger Tim Jackman. Once again caught between contending and rebuilding, the Flames were unable to either improve for the present or the future.

 

Team: Chicago Blackhawks

Moves: D Johnny Oduya from the Jets for 2013 2nd and 3rd round draft pick

2012 5th round draft pick from the Rangers for D John Scott

Here’s Your Opinion:

Seen together, these two trades make perfect sense. The Blackhawks switched an offensive defenceman for a physical defenceman. Oduya averaged over 19 minutes per game with the Jets and will provide some puck movement on the Blackhawks blueline, while Scott was a frequent healthy scratch and averaged fewer than 7 minutes per game when he was in the lineup.

It’s an upgrade on the blueline that might provide some relief for the overworked Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and it only cost the Blackhawks a couple draft picks.

 

Team: Colorado Avalanche

Moves: F Jamie McGinn, F Mike Connolly, and F Michael Sgarbossa from the Sharks for F Daniel Winnik, F T.J. Galiardi and 2013 7th round draft pick

Here’s Your Opinion:

Scott Audette, Getty Images

McGinn is the key piece for the Avalanche who are currently tied with the Dallas Stars for the 8th and final playoff spot. The 23-year-old winger is tough as nails, leading the Sharks in hits by a wide margin, but he doesn’t take many penalties. If that was all he offered, however, this would be a lopsided trade, but McGinn is currently having a breakout year offensively, putting up 12 goals and 24 points in 61 games.

Connolly is a 22-year-old in his first professional season, scoring 20 points in 30 games for the Worcester Sharks. A Hobey Baker finalist, Connolly could be a nice fit for the Avalanche in the future. 19-year-old Sgarbossa is a great addition for the Avalanche as well, as he is currently third in scoring in the OHL with 41 goals and 80 points in 54 games. Sgarbossa was signed by the Sharks as an undrafted free agent and has gone on to have an incredibly successful season with the Sudbury Wolves.

While the Avalanche lose some of their current forward depth in the deal, if McGinn can keep producing, the Avalanche look good for the present and the future.

 

Team: Columbus Blue Jackets

Moves: Two 2012 4th round draft picks from the Canucks for Sami Pahlsson

Here’s Your Opinion:

The Trade Deadline has to be considered a complete failure for the Blue Jackets on two fronts. First, he wasn’t able to procure anything more than two 4th round draft picks for Sami Pahlsson, who is the type of checking forward that many teams covet going into the playoffs. 4th round draft picks have very little value, as fewer than 8% of players drafted in that round ever make the NHL.

The second failure was even worse: while trading Rick Nash at the deadline wasn’t essential, handling the situation with class and dignity was. Instead, GM Scott Howson, reading from a prepared statement, threw Nash under the bus by announcing that he had requested to be traded. Howson should be commended for not budging from his asking price for Nash, but the press conference reeked of spitefulness.

Howson did manage to accomplish one task that I thought would be impossible: he managed to make me think less of him.

 

Team: Dallas Stars

Moves: None

Here’s Your Opinion:

Sitting on the edge of the playoff picture in 8th place in the West, the Stars chose not to make any moves at the deadline, while the team tied with them, Colorado, made a major trade. It will be very interesting to see which of these two teams will make the playoffs or if they will both be caught by Los Angeles or Calgary. The Stars could end up regretting not patching up their weak powerplay or seeking secondary scoring.

 

Team: Detroit Red Wings

Moves: Conditional 2013 7th round draft pick from the Lightning for D Mike Commodore

Here’s Your Opinion:

It looks like the pre-deadline acquisition of Kyle Quincey in a three-team swap involving the Lightning made Commodore expendable, and who better to call than Steve Yzerman? Commodore has played just 17 games with the Red Wings this season, partly due to injuries, but will get more of an opportunity with the Lightning.

Other than that, the Red Wings stayed quiet. They are a very well-balanced team, but they had some weaknesses that could have been addressed and the cap room to make a major splash. Questions will be raised if the Red Wings don’t make a strong push in the playoffs, particularly if injuries creep in and depth becomes an issue.

 

Team: Edmonton Oilers

Moves: D Nick Schultz from the Wild for D Tom Gilbert

Here’s Your Opinion:

Dave Reginek, Getty Images

Just when I think that GM Steve Tambellini has his priorities in order (re-signing Ales Hemsky), he goes and makes a baffling move like this one. At best, this is a lateral move for the Oilers, exchanging an offensive defenceman for a defensive defenceman. At worst, it’s a complete clustercuss.

Basically, the Oilers just traded their best all-around defenceman, a guy leading their team in ice time per game, for a decent, but one-dimensional defence-first defenceman who is fifth among Wild defencemen in ice time per game. Gilbert is in the prime of his career and is the kind of player they need in Edmonton to move the puck up to their talented forwards. They need more of that type of player, not less.

Schultz is a good defenceman, but acquiring him straight-up for Gilbert is just an awful, awful trade for the Oilers.

 

Team: Los Angeles Kings

Moves: None

Here’s Your Opinion:

The Kings did all of their movement prior to the deadline, picking up Jeff Carter for a first round pick and a terrible defenceman with pedigree. Considering the price, it was a great move for the Kings, who desperately need more scoring. Since they’re sitting on the edge of the playoff bubble, they were caught between buying and selling on trade deadline day, just like several other teams in the West.

 

Team: Minnesota Wild

Moves: D Tom Gilbert from the Oilers for D Nick Schultz

D Steve Kampfer from the Bruins for D Greg Zanon

Here’s Your Opinion:

Acquiring Gilbert for Schultz is an absolute steal, but Wild fans don’t want to hear that just yet, as Schultz was apparently pretty popular in Minnesota. Gilbert is exactly the type of player the Wild need, however: someone to transition the puck out of the defensive zone.

With Greg Zanon a UFA at the end of the year, the Wild got good value in acquiring Kampfer from the Bruins, a young defenceman with some upside who has shuttled between Boston and Providence for the past two seasons. Kampfer has a lot of potential and his skating and passing ability should help the Wild’s transition game in the future.

All in all, it was a very successful trade deadline for GM Chuck Fletcher, as both trades address the Wild’s biggest issue: getting the puck out of their own end of the ice. That he did so at minimal cost should be commended.

 

Team: Nashville Predators

Moves: F Andrei Kostitsyn from the Canadiens for 2013 2nd round draft pick and conditional 5th round pick

F Paul Gaustad and 2013 4th round draft pick from the Sabres for 2012 1st round draft pick

Here’s Your Opinion:

Bill Wippert, Getty Images

The Predators made some noise in the trade market this season, making a total of 4 trades in the last 2 weeks. They got things started by reuniting Andrei Kostitsyn with his brother Sergei, then made the team a whole lot tougher to play against by adding Gaustad, though it cost them a 1st round pick. Sergei Kostitsyn has become an essential offensive player for the Predators and it is hoped that Andrei can provide similar offensive upside.

Considering Sami Pahlsson went earlier in the day for two 4th round draft picks, it was a little surreal to see Gaustad go for a 1st round pick, but he faced tough competition for the Sabres, dropped the gloves when necessary, and still scored a few goals.

While neither trade was a big splash, they made a clear statement that the Predators plan to make a long playoff run. Most importantly, they did so without losing any players off their roster.

 

Team: Phoenix Coyotes

Moves: None

Here’s Your Opinion:

The Coyotes have won 5 straight, haven’t lost in regulation in 11 straight games, and sit on top of the Pacific Division. After acquiring Antoine Vermette prior to deadline day for minimal cost, the Coyotes refrained from making any more trades, content with their current team. Also, given their internal salary cap thanks to a tight budget, the Coyotes likely did not have much leeway to make any big trades.

 

Team: San Jose Sharks

Moves: F Daniel Winnik, F T.J. Galiardi, 2013 7th round draft pick from Avalanche for F Jamie McGinn, F Mike Connolly, and F Michael Sgarbossa

Here’s Your Opinion:

The Sharks have the third worst penalty kill in the NHL. Winnik averaged over 3 minutes of shorthanded ice time per game for the Avalanche and Galiardi averaged 1:11 on the penalty kill. That likely played a big role in acquiring both of them in this trade.

Winnik is a very good possession player despite starting most of his shifts in the defensive zone. Galiardi, on the other hand, doesn’t have as good possession stats as Winnik, but he’s younger and has more offensive upside. While giving up McGinn must have been painful, Winnik and Galiardi are good depth forwards for the Sharks, who are currently hanging on to a playoff spot at 7th in the West.

 

Team: St. Louis Blues

Moves: None

Here’s Your Opinion: 

The Blues are currently battling with the Red Wings for top spot in the Central Division and, like the Red Wings, the Blues stayed quiet on deadline day. The one area that could have used an upgrade is the powerplay, but with powerplay specialists Marek Zidlicky and Kurtis Foster moved before the deadline, there likely wasn’t much available for GM Doug Armstrong to go after.

 

Team: Vancouver Canucks

Moves: F Sami Pahlsson from the Blue Jackets for two 2012 4th round draft picks

F Zack Kassian and D Marc-Andre Gragnani from the Sabres for F Cody Hodgson and D Alexander Sulzer

F Andrew Gordon from the Ducks for D Sebastian Erixon

Here’s Your Opinion:

The Canucks absolutely made the biggest splash at the deadline, swapping blue chip prospects with the Buffalo Sabres. The issue for Canucks fans, of course, is that Hodgson wasn’t a prospect any more, having scored 33 points in 63 games this season, while Kassian hasn’t been able to find his way into Buffalo’s lineup with any consistency.

When taken from the perspective of what players will actually be on the ice, the Canucks’ trades make a bit more sense than they do on the surface. The veteran Pahlsson is a big upgrade defensively on Hodgson on the third line, but a downgrade offensively. The Canucks haven’t struggled to score goals this season, however, so Hodgson’s offense may have been deemed expendable. Acquiring Pahlsson for just two 4th round picks has to be considered a great trade.

Gragnani provides far more capable defensive depth than Sulzer and was a near point-per-game player in the AHL last season as a defenceman and had 7 points in 7 games in the playoffs for the Sabres last season. He’ll step into the lineup immediately and may be able to find a spot on the powerplay.

While Kassian has plenty of potential for the future, he will be partially judged on how well he performs this season, given the offensive production of Hodgson.

A deal featuring two players as young and talented as Hodgson and Kassian is fraught with risk and it’s nearly impossible to evaluate. Five years down the road, this could be seen as an incredibly lopsided deal or it could be seen as a completely fair trade. It will all depend on how these two young skaters develop. The 24-year-old Gragnani may help sway the balance in the direction of the Canucks, but only time will tell.