The NHL Trade Deadline came and went on March 1, and to say the day was slow would be a massive understatement. Many of the league’s contending teams made small moves, with a few teams making larger deals in the days leading up to the 3:00 pm deadline. Here’s a look at how the Atlantic Division shaped up.
Let’s start with a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ own division. The Maple Leafs were relatively quiet, making just the one deal on March 1, acquiring Eric Fehr, Steve Oleksy, and a fourth round draft choice from the Pittsburgh Penguins for depth defenceman Frank Corrado.
On February 27, the Leafs made a somewhat surprising — if not blockbuster — deal sending minor leaguer Byron Froese and a conditional second round pick to Tampa Bay for Brian Boyle. Boyle, aged 32, has loads of playoff experience, going to the Stanley Cup Finals multiple times.
The Leafs are a young team, and the experience will surely help in their playoff push.
The Montreal Canadiens made a fair bit of buzz by adding depth players, and importantly size, when they acquired Dwight King and Steve Ott.
Montreal has long lacked the desired size up front, and while neither of those two will address the woeful lack of scoring, they do add bulk; something they will need for the grueling seven game series in the playoffs.
Ottawa made a few interesting moves, trading for Alex Burrows in exchange for either a sure prospect in Johnathon Dahleen or a slow of foot project — depending on who you ask. They also acquired former Maple Leaf Viktor Stalberg from Carolina.
The Boston Bruins made a small trade, acquiring Drew Stafford from the Jets.
Buffalo made a relatively insignificant trade acquiring Mat Bodie from the New York Rangers.
Florida acquired Thomas Vanek from the Red Wings, desperately trying to add scoring in the hopes of making a playoff push themselves.
Tampa Bay was decimated by the Steven Stamkos injury and have not been able to replace the scoring of a top player in the league. With their upcoming contract negotiations with young players, they decided to shed salary, as cap space has proven to be an asset in this age. They traded the aforementioned Boyle, as well as Valtteri Filppula and goalie Ben Bishop. Interestingly, Filppula refused to waive his no trade contract to go to the Leafs.
The Detroit Red Wings look set to miss the playoffs for the first time in 25 years. As such, they have traded away valuable pieces now in exchange for future draft picks — to rebuild.
The most impactful player they traded was defenceman Brendan Smith, who went to the Rangers. They received four draft picks in all and will look to draft and develop the next wave of players in the coming summer.
The rest of the league made a handful of trades — easily the most significant being Kevin Shattenkirk, who was moved from St. Louis to Washington. Shattenkirk is a solid puck moving defenceman, a premium in today’s NHL. He will undoubtedly anchor the power-play, which already features names like Backstrom, Oshie, and Ovechkin.
The Chicago Blackhawks also reacquired Johnny Oduya from Dallas and will look for him to add depth from the back-end as the Hawks push for another Stanley Cup.
The NHL Trade Deadline was not what it had been in years past, but still remains a vital time for clubs to add pieces for a playoff push.