The three teams atop the Eastern Conference didn't make much collective noise at today's trade deadline. The Devils and Capitals stayed put (despite the Devils having a 25-game winner in the minors), and the Bruins only acquired Steve Montador and Mark Recchi. Not the biggest names.
But the teams trying to earn the right to be ousted by these three clubs... well, they were working hard. The Penguins and Rangers, both hovering around the bottom of the playoff pool, made significant moves today.
The Penguins acquired Bill Guerin (finally) from the Islanders for some lint and a broken toothpick. Don't know how they managed to pull that one off, but Guerin should be a solid addition to the team, and will probably replace the recently-waived Miroslav Satan.
Meanwhile, the Rangers made two very big trades.
In the first, they got defenseman Derek Morris from the Coyotes for Dimitry Kalinin, Nigel Dawes, and Petr Prucha. In a vacuum, it's a good trade. Morris is certainly more valuable than those three combined. But I'm not so sure the Rangers made such a great move here.
Don't get me wrong. Prucha was a consistent scratch, and Kalinin was a waste of space, so to get Morris for those two and Dawes is a slick transaction. But it could have been a better move for a different club.
See, the Rangers have puck-movers Michael Rozsival and Wade Redden on the blue line already, and lack a real shut-down defenseman. Morris is another scoring-type defenseman, the kind who gets more involved in the offense, a Scott Niedermayer type as opposed to a Ken Danyeko.
He's a great player, but he doesn't exactly fill a need for the Rangers.
Morris would have been a superb fit for the Devils, whose only move the past few days saw them acquiring Niclas Havelid. Oddly, Havelid is a stay-at-home type, someone the Rangers could use. If the teams were to swap their new defensemen, I could see it as a huge benefit to both teams.
Regardless, it's a good move for the Rangers. As a Devils fan, I wish they could have gotten Morris (I'm happy with Havelid, mind you, but Morris would have been very useful), but I'm also happy to see Nigel Dawes leave town, especially with Marty Brodeur back in net. I don't know how, but that guy is a Brodeur fiend.
In a much more significant move for the Rangers, they also acquired Nik Antropov from Toronto for a couple of draft picks. Antropov isn't a tremendous scorer, but a scorer he is, and the Rangers need serious help on that front. They simply don't score goals, and Antropov does exactly that. He cost them nothing, and will be a big boost to the team.
Lou Lamoriello had said he was pursuing a second-line center, and Antropov could have been the guy for the Devils. I don't see why a trade could not have been reached: the Leafs claimed Martin Gerber off waivers recently, because they were having goalie issues. Scott Clemmensen, the Devils' main trade piece, could have been sent back to Toronto, where he played last year, for Antropov.
In retrospect, it almost seems like a no-brainer.
But the Rangers got him, and it was a good move. The Rangers made two trades today, and got two guys I would have liked to see on the Devils. I can't say I'm thrilled about that. Still, with the "Avery and Torts Showdown" about to begin, no one knows how certain the Rangers' future is.
They could be renting these two players and not getting any return. Or perhaps this will get them to the playoffs so the Devils can beat them in the first round.