The 2013 NHL trade deadline came and went with a few surprises and a lot of deals that confirmed what we already knew—the playoff race is going to come down to the wire in both conferences.
Every team on the trade market was in search of the right pieces to make a playoff push. Some found what they were looking for, while others may have to start preparing for next season and a shrunken salary cap with which to work.
Jarome Iginla’s move to the Pittsburgh Penguins was a big domino to fall, but all was quiet in the following days. Despite only six deals being struck in the five days that followed, April 2 and 3 held a number of big transactions—though none rivaled the clout of Pittsburgh’s March 27 blockbuster.
Playoff standings had a big effect on the deals we witnessed in the last few days. The Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers both made moves to improve their playoff chances (in a surprising fashion), while the Phoenix Coyotes loaded up on draft picks, and the San Jose Sharks did a little bit of both.
We’ll break down some of the biggest deals that took place in the three days leading up to the April 3 deadline and highlight the biggest pieces in each deal.
Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers
Columbus received: Marian Gaborik
New York received: Derek Dorsett, John Moore, Derick Brassard, 2013 sixth-round pick
With a surprising stretch of quality hockey in March, the Blue Jackets have found themselves in playoff contention, just one point out of eighth place in the Western Conference. The playoff race in the West is a tight one, and Columbus is now in much better position after trading for Rangers winger Marian Gaborik (per TSN’s Bob McKenzie):
Derick Brassard has been a key contributor for the Jackets this season, but Derek Dorsett is currently on injured reserve. Both players were expendable for a talent like Gaborik. He fills the void left by Rick Nash (whom they dealt to the Rangers in July) and gives Columbus another strong scoring threat to aid in its playoff push.
Gaborik has slumped this season, but he’s coming off a 41-goal campaign a year ago and certainly has the potential to turn it around down the stretch with Columbus. Without another top-tier scorer, the 31-year-old will be the Jackets’ go-to winger.
That Gaborik was dealt wasn’t particularly surprising, though. His 19 points through 35 games is a far cry from his typical production, and New York added another gritty winger in Ryane Clowe on Tuesday. The move also opens up valuable cap space heading into next season.
Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars
Boston received: Jaromir Jagr
Dallas received: Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne, conditional 2014 second-round pick
The Boston Bruins missed out on the Iginla sweepstakes, but they made up for it by acquiring Dallas Stars winger Jaromir Jagr, as McKenzie reported with this tweet:
The 41-year-old probably doesn’t have many years left in the league, but he’s still playing at a high level this season. With 26 points through 34 games, Jagr still has the talent to justify the price.
Granted, Jagr isn’t as big an acquisition as Iginla, but he adds a scoring presence that Boston is profoundly lacking this season. If the Bruins hope to keep pace with the surging Penguins, they need Jagr to come up big.
Boston certainly paid a hefty price for the 14-time 30-goal scorer. Losing MacDermid and Payne will further limit its depth, but the trade-off warranted the move. The conditional second-round selection Boston surrendered also has the potential to become a first-round pick should the Bruins make the conference finals this season (h/t Stephen Harris of The Boston Herald).
This move was fairly obvious for Dallas. At 41, Jagr wasn’t part of future plans, and the Stars got a good deal in return for the veteran.
New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks
New York received: Ryane Clowe
San Jose received: 2013 second- and third-round picks, conditional 2014 second-round pick
As TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Tuesday, the Sharks agreed to deal winger Ryane Clowe to the Rangers in exchange for three draft picks:
Losing three high draft picks stings, but the Rangers got their man. His arrival allowed for the trade of Gaborik on Wednesday that netted New York a trio of good young players and extra depth for a playoff push.
Clowe isn’t having a great year (11 points in 28 games), but he averages .64 points per game in his career and certainly adds a level of size and toughness to New York’s second line. Those traits can’t be measured by statistics and box scores.
In a vacuum, this deal wasn’t all that monumental, but it opened the door for the Rangers to continue reshaping their roster for the playoffs and beyond.
St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames
St. Louis received: Jay Bouwmeester
Calgary received: 2013 first-round pick, Mark Cundari, Reto Berra
After dealing Iginla to the Penguins, the Flames found themselves in position to reshape their roster. Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was the next domino to fall, as reported on Calgary’s Twitter account:
St. Louis got excellent value in this deal, and Calgary’s willingness to accept two mid-level prospects and a conditional pick is somewhat of a head-scratcher.
According to Brian Stubits of CBS Sports, the 2013 first-round pick included in the deal becomes a fourth-round pick this year (with the addition of a first next year) should the Blues fail to make the playoffs this season.
With 38 points and an eighth-place standing in the West, there’s certainly no guarantee St. Louis makes the playoffs, but it got a lot better with the addition of Bouwmeester. The 29-year-old is one of the most reliable and consistent defensemen in the NHL, and despite his hefty cap hit ($6.68 million next season), he gives the Blues a better chance of winning this season.