In order to cover Wednesday’s trade deadline, TSN had nine correspondents in the field, six satellite contributors, five panelists, four insiders, four reporters, three instant analysts, a “satirical blogger,” a live blogger and a host. Canada’s Sports Leader came on the air at 7 a.m. and provided deadline coverage for 10 hours straight.
“There is a chance that TSN’s coverage leading into the 3 pm deadline will be must-see TV,” wrote Star Tribune Wild beat writer Michael Russo, one of the greatest hockey minds in the business, “for no reason other than to watch how a 30-person team can twiddle its thumbs for hours.”
But this turned out to be one of the most eventful deadlines in recent history. Seventeen trades were made on Wednesday, which tops the 16 that were completed on deadline day in 2011 and 2012. In fact, 12 trades were made from 2-3 p.m.
Safe to say, it came as a pleasant surprise to everyone…well everyone whose team improved at least.
Unlike my usual weekly power rankings, which focus heavily on recent performance (and admittedly, last week’s rankings focused way too much on recent performance—thanks again everyone for your comments!), this special post-trade-deadline slideshow looks at things through a larger scope.
Last week: 29
Record: 12-19-6 (5-5-0)
Major Transaction? The Panthers sort of have their hands tied: They are obvious sellers, but don’t have enough assets to deal.
Why They’re Here: The Panthers may have fooled themselves a bit with their success last year. They backed into the playoffs by winning a weak division and didn’t really add any big players in the offseason.
Short-Term Outlook: To be honest, tanking this season may turn out all right for the Cats. They are best off trying to nab a top-three draft pick and build for the future. This is a long-term project and, at this point, they may as well start adding to what is already an impressive farm system.
Last week: 26
Record: 13-17-4 (4-6-0)
Major Transaction? Saying goodbye to a franchise player like Jarome Iginla is never easy, but it was time to say goodbye. Iginla has served the fans in Calgary well and he needs a chance to play with a contender. The Flames did not get the best return for him, in part because he nixed the Boston trade, but they got what they could and need to move on.
Why They’re Here: Calgary is in the Western Conference cellar because it has neglected to rebuild their team for years and it finally caught up to them. For years the Flames were on the playoff bubble and justified keeping the band together, but a collapse like this was going to happen eventually.
Short-Term Outlook: Calgary needs to rebuild, rebuild, rebuild. The Flames cannot try to salvage the core they have now; it is old and in need of a serious makeover. This team needs to go young with the intent of building a playoff team for their loyal fans in the near future.
Last week: 30
Record: 12-20-4 (2-8-0)
Major Transaction? The Avalanche could have easily gone “Eff this” and burnt the whole thing down. Wisely, they chose to keep their young core together in hopes that cohesiveness will serve them well down the line.
Why They’re Here: It’s hard to tell, really. The Avalanche are too talented to be at the bottom of the league. Have the players become complacent? Is it time for a coaching change? Or is it just plain bad luck? Time will tell, I suppose.
Short-Term Outlook: The trade deadline was not the right time to shake things up, but this offseason might be. Maybe Joe Sacco should go. Maybe the team needs to trade a couple pieces. Or maybe management will sit back, analyze the situation and say, “Next year is our year.” This team is one giant question mark right now.
Last week: 21
Record: 15-18-2 (5-4-1)
Major Transaction? Tampa Bay was addressed a need by trading for Ben Bishop at the trade deadline. While they lost a potential rookie-of-the-year candidate in Cory Conacher, they did not have to give up other members of their core in order to get a goaltender.
Why They’re Here: If the Lightning played any semblance of defense, they would be far and away the best team in their division. Unfortunately, they don’t.
Short-Term Outlook: Play some defense. Seriously, with a little improvement in their own end, they can make the playoffs and…well, hope they play a team that wants to challenge them to an offensive showdown.
Last week: 24
Record: 14-17-6 (4-3-3)
Major Transaction? The Sabres dropped a little cargo by sending Jordan Leopold to the Blues and Robyn Regehr to the Kings, but the big trade was sending captain Jason Pominville to the Wild. In return, this club got three second-round picks, a late first-rounder, a load of prospects and a few other goodies.
Why They’re Here: Nobody in Buffalo is going to be happy with this year’s team. For a second straight season, this club came in with big expectations and flopped. As a result, they have become sellers at the deadline and have had to say goodbye to cornerstone players like Pominville.
Short-Term Outlook: The Sabres are playing for pride right now. Florida is clearly the worst team in the east, but Buffalo needs to take this time to figure out who is who on its roster and hope for a good draft pick at the end of the year.
Last week: 28
Record: 15-15-6 (2-5-3)
Major Transaction? Phoenix showed signs of life in the beginning of the year, but has taken a nosedive and wasn't in a position to add any big names for a late-season playoff push.
Why They’re Here: Like the Panthers out East, the Coyotes won a weak division last year and didn’t do much to improve in the offseason. The Pacific Division simply got better and the Coyotes were left in the dust.
Short-Term Outlook: Arizona is in jeopardy of losing this team. If they stay, they may want to try an all-in strategy to rejuvenate an indifferent fanbase. Otherwise, a change of scenery may do this franchise some good. Perhaps they will be more successful in Seattle, Kansas City or Quebec City.
Last week: 27
Record: 16-17-2 (1-8-1)
Major Transaction? Carolina avoided the temptation to blow it all up after its poor recent performance. A productive offseason should still yield results for the Hurricanes, and they were wise to stick with smaller moves like trading longtime Cane Jussi Jokinen and adding Marc-Andre Bergeron.
Why They’re Here: Yeah, why are they here? Carolina re-signed major pieces like Jeff Skinner, added Jordan Staal and still finds itself out of a playoff picture despite playing in the league’s worst division.
Short-Term Outlook: Carolina can’t give up yet. The Hurricanes play in a weak division with the underachieving Lightning and Capitals, a green Jets club and the pitiful Panthers. They can still sneak into the division and
earn stumble upon a three-seed if they kick it into high gear right now.
Last week: 25
Record: 16-17-3 (5-3-2)
Major Transaction? Philadelphia really couldn’t do much here. The Flyers are unlikely to make the playoffs, but are talented enough, as constructed, to do so in a less injury-plagued season.
Why They’re Here: Injuries and underachieving: The Flyers were ravaged by injury in the season and haven’t played up to expectations this season.
Short-Term Outlook: Maybe this team needs a big trade or maybe you just go into next year with a similar club and hope they are healthier. There is a grey area to be found there, and the key is avoiding monotony without completely overreacting and blowing the entire team up.
Last week: 20
Record: 16-16-3 (4-5-1)
Major transaction? By dealing away Brenden Morrow, Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr, it looks like the Stars have mailed it in this year.
Why They’re Here: It’s hard to say that they for sure have given up hope on the playoffs, especially with how close the Western Conference is, but it looks that way right now. Morrow was a team captain, Roy was a potential piece to build around and Jagr was supposed to help this team come playoff team. I know this club has to keep one eye on the future while also trying to compete right now, but it looks like the focus is more on next season and beyond at this point.
Short-Term Outlook: Dallas has to see if it can sneak into the playoffs with what its got. They look like one of those bubble teams that can’t quite make it again this year. They’re like Calgary with the exception that the Flames have a die-hard fanbase that doesn’t want to see them blow things up, whereas the Stars are a bankrupt Sun Belt franchise that was trying to give their fans reason to show up to games. Years from now, they may wonder why they didn’t just burn it down earlier so they could have been more competitive now.
Last week: 19
Record: 17-17-2 (6-3-1)
Major Transaction? A little Martin Erat might go a long way for a Washington club that still has a chance at a playoff berth.
Why They’re Here: Washington went from the team that was always predicted to win the cup and always fell short to a borderline playoff team due in large part to the decline of Alex Ovechkin’s play, but also the loss of Bruce Boudreau, who’s doing wonders in Anaheim right now.
Short-Term Outlook: The playoffs aren’t that far away, and an experienced team like the Capitals could play spoiler if they get in.
Last week: 12
Record: 15-13-7 (6-2-2)
Major Transaction? The Oilers didn’t do anything too crazy at the deadline, opting to keep their young club together regardless of if they make the playoffs or not.
Why They’re Here: Believe it or not, Edmonton is in a good place. Nobody really expected the Oilers to make the playoffs this year, but it’s a complete possibility in 2013-14, so that would put them right on the bubble this season.
Short-Term Outlook: The Oil should make a playoff push this year, just to see if they can get the youngsters some postseason experience. Worst-case scenario, they just barely miss it and get their fans excited about what’s to come. They don’t really need another high draft pick at this point.
Last week: 14
Record: 15-14-7 (5-2-3)
Major Transaction? Columbus just went out and got Marian Gaborik, essentially asking the Rangers, “Hey, how’s that Rick Nash-Brad Richards-Gaborik Big 3 working out for you?" Sure, Gabby’s struggling and came at a high price (Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a pick), but for a team looking to spark a little playoff magic for the first time in franchise history, it’s a deal worth doing.
Why They’re Here: Call me crazy, but the Jackets might just be a playoff team. Like Montreal out East, this team went from the outhouse to the penthouse in quite a hurry. Unlike Montreal, however, this franchise has just about zero history and needs to make turn that around right about now.
Short-Term Outlook: It’s playoffs-or-bust right now. As long as Columbus doesn’t get swept this time around, a playoff berth of any kind will be a positive for this club.
Last week: 13
Record: 15-14-8 (4-4-2)
A quintessential Nashville Predator, Martin Erat was dealt in a shocking deadline move. The Preds are going to have to hope that Filip Forsberg, a top prospect, pans out as, many first round picks that are traded within the first three years of being drafted do not.
Why They’re Here: The Predators took a major blow in the offseason when Ryan Suter left them to join the Wild. They are in recovery mode and are looking to squeeze into the playoffs as a late seed.
Short-Term Outlook: Nashville just needs to get in. They are built for the postseason with a defense-first mentality and can do a lot of damage as a late seed.
Last week: 15
Record: 18-18-2 (3-7-0)
Major Transactions? No need to mortgage the future right now. That No. 3 seed isn’t all it’s chalked up to be (in fact, I’m sure the No. 6 seed will be more than happy to get a matchup with the Southeast Division winner). The Jets did the smart thing and kept quiet at the deadline.
Why They’re Here: With a combination of young talent blossoming and a poor division, the Jets could see the playoffs a year earlier than expected.
Short-Term Outlook: Hey, if you make it, it’s great, but this team is still on a honeymoon period in terms of fan support. At the same time, a little playoff experience never hurt an up-and-coming star.
Last week: 22
Record: 15-12-9 (3-3-4)
Major Transaction? Unsure of whether or not they are a playoff team, the Devils played it safe and just made a few small adjustments at the deadline.
Why They’re Here: New Jersey started the year off really hot, but came back to earth recently. They have some talent on their team, but the core is aging and they may get lost in the mix in a talented Atlantic Division.
Short-Term Outlook: Like the Predators, the Devils just need to make the playoffs. They always play stellar defense and nobody will want to play them in the first round, even if New Jersey has to play a majority of the games on the road.
Last week: 18
Record: 18-16-3 (6-4-0)
Major Transactions? The Islanders aren’t sure if they are in or out yet, so they stood pat at the deadline. You can count the signing of Anders Lee, a former Notre Dame standout, as a pickup if you want, though. He scored a goal on his first shot in the NHL.
Why They’re Here: Things are finally starting to come together on Long Island. John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and the rest of the up-and-coming stars on the team are starting to show their true colors.
Short-Term Outlook: Making the playoffs would be huge in terms of getting fans to start coming to games again and getting the young guys a little playoff experience, but if this team falls short, they shouldn’t sweat it. The Islanders have taken a big step forward this year and should be in the playoffs sooner or later.
Last week: 23
Record: 18-15-3 (5-4-1)
Major Transactions? In is Ryane Clowe; out is Marian Gaborik. The latter may have a little more upside than the former, but Clowe may mesh better with John Tortorella in the locker room. Both players were in a bit of a slump, but Clowe has already scored two goals in his new uniform. Maybe a change in scenery will do Gabby some good too.
Why They’re Here: After a mediocre start to the season, the Rangers could not stand still at the trade deadline. They made bold moves and now are in excellent position to secure a low playoff seed.
Short-Term Outlook: The Rangers have to make the playoffs. This team faced lofty preseason expectations and has disappointed thus far. But with some new blood, New York should be able to secure a postseason berth.
Last week: 16
Record: 18-14-2 (5-5-0)
Major Transaction? The Blues went out and got Jay Bouwmeester from the Flames and Jordan Leopold from the Sabres to solidify their blue line.
Why They’re Here: St. Louis is not the most talented team in the league, but they play hard every night and have one of the best coaches in the league.
Short-Term Outlook: It’s all about how this team does in the playoffs. They should be in at this point, but they are going to have to win as a late seed in just about every round. The Blues are built for playoff hockey and there’s no reason they can’t be a dark-horse contender this year.
Last week: 17
Record: 18-13-5 (6-4-0)
Major Transactions? Trades? Detroit doesn’t need no stinkin’ trades!
Why They’re Here: The Red Wings are going to make the playoffs this year; they always do. The difference is that now they are going to be a late seed. This is a recent trend and ownership is fine with that. Detroit is in transition and as long as they don’t miss the postseason entirely, there’s always a chance to win.
Short-Term Outlook: Short-term this team should just aim to make the postseason with what they’ve got. Long-term, however, the Wings will have to see if they can win with the bunch they’ve got, or if they need to wheel and deal in the offseason. My guess is they’ll keep everyone together and fill in with prospects as needed. That’s always how it’s been done in Motown.
Last week: 10
Record: 19-11-6 (6-3-1)
Major Transactions? Ottawa maybe could have done more at the deadline, but have shown confidence in the group they have and are moving forward. Adding a potential rookie-of-the-year candidate in Cory Conacher is a move that not only helps them immediately, but should offer returns in the future.
Why They’re Here: Ottawa has shown they are a playoff team. They are not in competition for a division title, however, and are likely to land a No. 4 or No. 5 seed.
Short-Term Outlook: Ottawa is probably looking at that No. 4/No. 5 matchup. They could get sneaky and try to drop to the No. 6 seed to get the Southeast team, but they do so at the risk of missing the playoffs entirely…which would be absolutely asinine and a strong incentive not to try to get a better first-round opponent. They are probably looking at Toronto, a fun series for any NHL fan, so at this point they should do what they can to ensure they can win four out of seven games against the surprising Leafers.
Last week: 6
Record: 20-12-4 (5-2-3)
Major Transaction? The Leafs did the right thing and took it easy at the deadline, keeping a team together that could finally lead them to the playoffs.
Why They’re Here: Let’s just say that things are finally coming together for the hapless Leafs. Guys who are supposed to be scoring are scoring, guys who are supposed to defend are defending and guys to are supposed to goaltend are goaltending.
Short-Term Outlook: Make. The. Playoffs. (It’s about damn time.)
Last week: 7
Record: 18-11-6 (7-3-0)
Major Transaction? The Sharks got some value for Douglas Murray, Michal Handzus and Ryane Clowe without completely shutting the doors on their playoff hopes this season.
Why They’re Here: San Jose still has talent. They’ve got Joe Thornton, they’ve got Patrick Marleau, they’ve got Logan Couture and they’ve even retained Dan Boyle. The problem is that their SoCal brethren are playing solid hockey as well.
Short-Term Outlook: San Jose just needs a playoff berth. They’ve been to the postseason before and should not be afraid of anyone once they get there. It’s a long road ahead, but the window hasn’t closed on this team just yet.
Last week: 4
Record: 19-11-6 (6-4-0)
Major Transaction? The Canucks went out and got Derek Roy, a solid addition to a team that needed a little boost down the stretch.
Why They’re Here: The window may slowly be closing on the Canucks, but Vancouver will not go down without a fight. Their core players aren’t that old right now and there’s still some gas left in this team’s tank.
Short-Term Outlook: Winning the division is still symbolically important for Vancouver. While they may not get that much better of a matchup as a No. 3 or No. 4 seed, if the Wild win the Northwest, it will look like a changing of the guard—even with realignment next year.
Last week: 5
Record: 20-13-3 (6-3-1)
Major Transaction? The Kings are sort of like the Blackhawks after they won the Stanley Cup…only L.A. doesn’t have to shed salary like Chicago did. They’ve got a strong core and had no need to deal away parts at the deadline.
Why They’re Here: The Kings have plenty of star power—Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick—and plenty of structure to go around them (read: pretty much all the old Flyers).
Short-Term Outlook: Things can only get better from here. This team started out really slowly, but is firing on all cylinders right now. They won’t win the Pacific, but they could potentially match up with future division rival Vancouver in a No. 4/No. 5-seed battle in the playoffs.
Last week: 2
Record: 21-12-2 (8-2-0)
Major Transaction? Some thought the Wild would look to replace the injured Matt Cullen at the deadline, but instead they found a strong linemate for Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu. Jason Pominville is more than a rental; he’s a part of the future in Minnesota.
Why They’re Here: The Wild not only invested heavily in Ryan Suter and Parise during the offseason, but quickly built a stable of young players that complement guys like Koivu, Parise and Suter that are in the prime of their career. Add Pominville to the mix and things could get dangerous.
Short-Term Outlook: The Wild will make the playoffs for sure, but they cannot overlook that first-round matchup. They are either going to face a No. 6 seed like San Jose, Detroit or Los Angeles that has been there before or get that No. 4/No. 5 game that’s always a toss-up. Just getting there is nice, but not enough for a team this talented.
Last week: 3
Major Transaction? Montreal went from worst to (almost) first in a heartbeat and were wise not to mess with a winning formula.
Why They’re Here: You tell me. I said at the beginning of the year that this team could turn things around quickly because they are a defensive-minded club and don’t need to stockpile superstars to win games. Having said that, nobody outside of Montreal thought this club would be competing for a division title with the mighty Bruins this year.
Short-Term Outlook: This team should go for broke. Regardless of if they win the division, the Habs have shown that with their defense-first philosophy and incredible home-ice advantage, they are tough to eliminate come playoff time.
Last week: 11
Record: 23-8-4 (5-4-1)
Major Transaction? Boston went out and traded for Jarome Iginla…oh wait. Okay, so they missed out on the Iginla sweepstakes, but they got Jaromir Jagr as a consolation prize for two middling prospects and a conditional second-rounder—and then got Wade Redden for a conditional seventh-round pick.
Why They’re Here: Boston and Montreal are really 4a and 4b. Both are playing great hockey right now and are neck-and-neck in the standings. The Bruins get the nod because they have won the Stanley Cup recently and have a more talented team. Jagr isn’t a game-changer, but he’s certainly an asset come playoff time.
Short-Term Outlook: Boston and Montreal should be vying for a division title down the stretch, and everyone would love to see them face each other in the playoffs. At this point, the Bruins should be expected to take that series and be serious contenders for the cup. It would be disappointing if this team didn’t go on a playoff run, to say the least.
Last week: 8
Record: 24-7-5 (4-4-2)
Major Transaction? The Ducks made minor tweaks at the deadline, but had a pretty solid core to begin with and really had no need to mess with it.
Why They’re Here: This team is No. 3 in the league because of its depth. Anaheim has always had high-end talent—Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Cam Fowler—but it is guys like Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem that have stepped up and provided much-needed secondary scoring.
Short-Term Outlook: The result of this sudden scoring depth is that this team is a serious threat in the Western Conference. Anaheim will challenge Chicago for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, but the question is: How will they fare once they get there? Remember, this team hasn’t made it out of the quarterfinals since 2008-09 and missed the postseason entirely in two of the last three seasons.
Last week: 1
Record: 28-10-0 (8-2-0)
Major Transaction? The Penguins were the most active team as the trade deadline loomed. They went out and got Jarome Iginla, Douglas Murray and Brenden Morrow, solidifying a roster of players hell-bent on winning a Stanley Cup.
Short-Term Outlook: This team wants to win it all. Simple as that.
Last week: 9
Record: 27-5-3 (6-4-0)
Major Transaction? The Blackhawks wisely stood pat at the deadline. Why mess with something that is working?
Why They’re Here: The Hawks sit atop the league because they have the core of their 2010 championship team and have built around them after suffering serious cap casualties.
Short-Term Outlook: This team should be thinking Stanley Cup right now. They have most of the key components from the last championship and have enough depth around them to avoid a playoff letdown like they experienced after winning it all three years ago.