Thursday, April 04, 2013

Deadline Day success for some, for others deals not for the making

By the time the final trade had filtered into the NHL offices on Wednesday, there was a clear indication as to which teams navigated the day's dealings well and which ones are perhaps in more trouble today than yesterday.

While the standings and potential playoff positioning may yet prove them wrong, the Columbus Blue Jackets proved to be ambitious in the this years version of the Trading Day experience, a couple of trades that suggest that the Blue Jackets may yet give their fans some hope for a playoff experience in 2013.

The highlight of the day for the Blue Jackets, was the acquisition of Marion Gaborik from the Rangers, a move that should instantly give Columbus hopes for a run at playoff positioning. Two other more minor deals will help shore up the Blue Jackets line up, but it's the Gaborik move that made one of the biggest splashes on Deadline Day.

They moved Steve Mason on to Philadelphia, where he will quickly learn that goaltenders have seven circles of hell, all of them it seems circle the space between the bench and the crease, in  exchange for Mason the Blue Jackets pick up some insurance for the nets  with Michael Leighton

The Rangers may also have been one of the more successful of traders over the last few days, picking up Ryan Clowe yesterday added some more grit to the team and while not particularly household names, the players the Rangers picked up from the Blue Jackets on Wednesday seemed to fit in fine with the Ranger line up, making a fine impression in the Broadway Blue debut.

Minnesota gained some more experience on deadline day, picking up Jason Pominville from the Sabres in a late deadline day transaction. They also added to their goaltending roster with Jeff Deslauriers obtained from the Ducks.

The Senators proved to be pretty smooth operators, parlaying the success of Ben Bishop this year into a solid acquisition in Cory Conacher, Bishop may soon get that starting role he seems destined for with Tampa Bay, while Conacher upon arrival in Ottawa will jump to the top of the team scoring list. A welcome bit of offence for the Sens while they await for all their injured players to begin to return.

While not particularly active on Deadline Day, the Pittsburgh Penguins overall have made the boldest moves of the run up to  Deadline day, their transactions of the last week had vaulted them into the status of Stanley Cup favourite, up until Saturday and Sidney Crosby's injury.  The moves may yet tide them over til his return, but the juggernaut that they had assembled lost a bit of its power over the weekend.

On the other side of the Deadline Day ledger, it was not a great day to be a Coyote fan, Phoenix was moving players to and fro accumulating for the most part draft picks and such, the usual path of a financially troubled team and one that more than likely is destined for a move by the end of the year.

The Jets proved to be a puzzling group, while Washington and to a fashion Carolina were looking for ways to improve, Winnipeg stayed more or less content with their current lineup, not adding a missing piece or shoring up a worrisome deficiency. A strategy which in the case of a very tight division and conference race, may provide for disappointment when the playoff rounds are set.

Likewise Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto for the most were quiet before and on the trading day.

Clearly Vancouver had a bad day, while picking up Derek Roy yesterday was a good story, the inability to strike a deal for Roberto Luongo once again brings the focus of the Canuck inconsistencies of late back into the spotlight. While Luongo has been pretty classy about the whole mess, the never ending focus of the story surely is taking its toll on the team, Mike Gillis has had more than enough time to sort out the burden of Luongo's contract with the need to move his team forward.  He did neither by the trade deadline.

And then there's Calgary and GM Jay Feaster, the consensus over the state of the Flames is that Calgary waited far too long to make the necessary changes to an aging line up. The returns from this years trading period were not particularly as strong as they could have been even a few years back. Mikka Kiprusoff for the most part will finish off the year and seemingly retire from the NHL, there's not much Feaster could do about that and Kiprusoff has earned the right to exit whatever way he wishes.

However, if as Feaster says that the mission statement from the upper offices is to win next year, one gets the feeling he may as well start packing up the brown boxes, as the Flames look further away from success today than they have in the last five years or so.

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