Winners and Losers Following 1st Day of NHL Trade and Free-Agent Activity

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2013

Winners and Losers Following 1st Day of NHL Trade and Free-Agent Activity

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    The NHL is an ongoing business once again, and teams are free to carry out the business of improving their personnel.

    There was a school of thought that a number of trades would be announced shortly after the lockout was lifted, with some of them involving big-name players.

    The most anticipated trade would involve Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, but that deal has not yet materialized. Neither have any other big-name trades.

    Here are the winners and losers from the early trading and free-agent signing activity, as of 7:30 p.m. (Eastern).

Winner: New York Rangers

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    The New York Rangers wasted no time in signing Michael Del Zotto, their most productive offensive defenseman, to a two-year, $2.55 million contract (source: New York Post).

    The Rangers also signed free-agent defenseman Matt Gilroy to a one-year, $650,000 deal.

    Del Zotto scored 10 goals last year, and he also added 31 assists. He was a restricted free agent, so there was little danger of him signing elsewhere, but the Rangers signed him quickly so he would not miss any training camp time.

    Gilroy played with Tampa Bay and Ottawa last year and is expected to compete for a roster spot.

Winner: Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Philadelphia Flyers are rumored to have interest in Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, an assertion that has been denied by Paul Holmgren (source: Philly.com).

    Whether they ultimately pursue Luongo or not, the Flyers got some goaltending help when they traded for goalie Brian Boucher.

    Philadelphia send forward Luke Pither to Carolina for Boucher and defenseman Mark Alt (source: TSN.ca).

    Boucher is a proven commodity who should be able to step in if No. 1 goalie Ilya Bryzgalov struggles. This will be his fourth stretch with the Flyers (source: Philly.com).

    Philadelphia also signed free-agent defenseman Kurtis Foster to a one-year, $950,000 contract. Foster has a booming shot from the point, but he has had difficulty staying healthy.

Loser: Carolina Hurricanes

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    The Carolina Hurricanes traded backup goalie Brian Boucher and defenseman Mark Alt to the Flyers for minor league forward Luke Pither.

    Pither scored 11 goals in the ECHL, and he is not expected to play with the Hurricanes.

    Carolina also sent forward Anthony Stewart to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for tough guy Kevin Westgarth. In parts of three seasons with the Kings, Westgarth has scored one goal. He had 105 penalty minutes in 2010-11.

Winner: Edmonton Oilers

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    The Edmonton Oilers made a move to get bigger and tougher on defense when they sent a 2013 third-round draft pick to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Mark Fistric.

    The Oilers are concerned about the freedom opposing forwards may have when operating in the Edmonton defensive zone, so they got the hard-hitting Fistric to man a key role on the blue line.

    The 6'2", 233-pound  Fistric packs quite a wallop. The move was praised by TSN.ca scout and analyst Craig Button, who tweeted that the move improved the Oilers' playoff chances.

Winner: Los Angeles Kings

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    It was a minor move, but the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings appear to have improved their status by trading part-time enforcer Kevin Westgarth to the Carolina Hurricanes in return for forward Anthony Stewart and two draft picks (source: TSN.ca).

    Stewart is not a highly skilled player, but he has a huge advantage over Westgarth. Stewart has scored 27 goals and 44 assists in 262 career games, and he is also a physical presence.

    The Kings also received a fourth-round pick in 2013 and a sixth-round pick in 2014.

Loser: Boston Bruins

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    This move was not a surprise by any means, but Tim Thomas has been suspended by the Boston Bruins, according to TSN.ca.

    The two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goalie had said shortly after the 2011-12 season ended that he did not want to play this year.

    Prior to the lockout, general manager Peter Chiarelli had held out hope that an NHL team that needed to get to the $44 million salary cap floor would trade for Thomas, but he no longer thinks that's a realistic possibility.

    Thomas told the Bruins that he is interested in playing in 2013-14, but it will most likely not be with the Bruins (source: CSNNE.com).