5 Teams Already Regretting Inactivity at the NHL Trade Deadline
The NHL trade deadline is where philosophies and directions really come to light.
General managers and the like can talk all they want to local radio stations about how they want to be patient, how they don't want to force anything, how they are just looking to make good "hockey trades," but when the phones start ringing, true colors emerge.
GMs that believe their teams have a legitimate chance at the Stanley Cup are likely to move some futures to bolster their lineups, while teams that are on the cusp are much less likely to move draft picks and such.
Still, inaction is a choice. Standing pat while teams around you improve is, in an essence, choosing to allow your team to fall off a bit in the immediate future regardless of the reasoning.
Here are five clubs currently regretting their quiet deadline day.
The Philadelphia Flyers have been looking for ways to bolster their blue line all season long and once again failed to come up with anything at the trade deadline.
Failing to replace the departed Matt Carle and the concussed Chris Pronger has made 2013 quite the long season in the City of Brotherly Love. Injuries have further depleted the quality of play in the defensive zone, with important pieces like Andrej Meszaros missing considerable time on the shelf as well.
Roll all this together and the Flyers are currently the sixth-worst defensive team in the NHL, giving up an average of 3.05 goals per game.
GM Paul Holmgren effectively did nothing at the trade deadline besides dealing for an underwhelming young netminder in Steve Mason and snagging depth defender Kent Huskins from the Detroit Red Wings.
Not exactly the kind of moves that will put a struggling team over the top and into the playoffs—the Flyers are five points behind the New York Islanders for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Winnipeg Jets were one of two teams to make zero moves leading up to or at the trade deadline. Interesting approach for a team that is currently in a dogfight for the Southeast Division lead with the Washington Capitals.
While the Caps went out and added perennial 50-point man Martin Erat, the Jets made no moves despite (probably) needing to win the division to make the playoffs.
While they don't want to move future assets and are building for the future, there were some solid upgrades to be had for low asking prices.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings—like the Philadelphia Flyers—knew that they were going to have some work to do on the blue line before the 2013 season got underway. After a bevy of injuries left them depleted at every position for long periods of time this season, the need to add skill on the back end was even more paramount.
Yet they stood still while other teams in the Central Division beefed up in big ways. GM Kenny Holland stated that he was only looking for an impact player at the deadline, but that the prices were too high. (per Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press)
The Wings are pinning their playoff hopes on guys that are returning from injury now, which may or may not be enough to keep them competitive in the suddenly outstanding Central.
The Edmonton Oilers were in a different position than many other teams at the trade deadline. While GMs were out searching for a big-game difference-maker, Edmonton really only needed to add some "glue" players.
Forwards like Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall bring plenty of talent and goal scoring talent to the lineup—what the Oilers need is sandpaper.
By the looks of the trades other teams managed to pull off, there was plenty of grit to go around, but Edmonton failed to make a deal of any kind to address its most pressing need.
While the Oilers have been a better team as of late, they may end up missing the playoffs once again and could regret not making a few small deals at the deadline.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs appear to be headed to the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season. A big reason for the postseason return has been the goaltending provided by youngsters James Reimer and Ben Scrivens.
Management made no bones in the preseason about wanting to add a veteran in net. Since then, the goaltending tandem has been outstanding for the Leafs, who are currently four games up on the ninth- and 10th-place teams in the Eastern Conference.
While other teams failed to step up and bolster their lineups at the deadline, the Maple Leafs failed to clearly show that they believe in the goalies that have played the team into the playoffs—which leaves a bad aftertaste just like a questionable trade or lack of moves do.