Grades for Every NHL Team's 2014 Trade-Deadline Decisions

Steve Macfarlane@@MacfarlaneHKYFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2014

Grades for Every NHL Team's 2014 Trade-Deadline Decisions

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    Every team had a wish list heading into the NHL trade deadline.

    But just like kids with big dreams at Christmas, there's bound to be a few things not crossed off.

    Most teams—27 of the 30—got involved in the two-day frenzy, with plenty of big names changing uniforms. The Ryan Miller trade between the Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues got things rolling on trade-deadline eve, but even bigger names were sent packing on Wednesday, including a captain-for-captain deal between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

    After the dust settled, more than 30 players were on the move.

    Some teams will be left feeling better about their decisions and Stanley Cup chances going forward, while others could be regretting the moves they didn't make.

    A space here for a puck-moving defenseman, a gap there for a stay-at-home rearguard; missing out on that scoring winger or gritty body banger you're sure will make the difference come playoff time—there are plenty of pieces that have to perfectly come together for a team to make a serious run in the spring, and not everyone was able to fill their needs.

    Click ahead to see the grades for every NHL team's 2014 trade deadline.

Anaheim Ducks

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    In: D Stephane Robidas, 2014 fourth-round pick (Washington), 2014 fifth-round pick (Edmonton), 2015 third-round pick (Edmonton), W Andre Petersson

     

    Out: G Viktor Fasth, W Dustin Penner, D Alex Grant, 2014 fourth-round pick (conditional)

     

    Analysis: When the Ducks dealt Penner to the Washington Capitals, most were waiting to see what big-name winger would be coming back to replace him in another deal—Thomas Vanek, maybe Matt Moulson, even Michael Cammalleri.

    None came, which makes you wonder the motivation for dealing Penner when he is so well-liked by Ryan Getzlaf, has had some playoff success and shown chemistry with Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

    The team will have to depend on its organizational depth now to fill Penner's skates.

    The Ducks did make a shrewd move in adding the currently injured Robidas for a draft pick. Robidas is a tough customer who is also capable of contributing points. He could instantly become your shutdown partner for Francois Beauchemin.

     

    Grade: B-

Boston Bruins

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    In: D Andrej Meszaros

     

    Out: third-round pick

     

    Analysis: The Boston Bruins actually made two moves to improve the blue-line depth. They claimed Corey Potter off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers before making a late deal to bring Meszaros in.

    Meszaros provides experience and stability and takes some pressure off youngsters like Dougie Hamilton for the playoffs. He’ll land in a top-four role immediately, and the cost of a third-rounder was very reasonable even though the former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman is a rental.

     

     Grade: B

Buffalo Sabres

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    In: W Chris Stewart, G Michal Neuvirth, D Rostislav Klesla, C Torrey Mitchell, W William Carrier, 2015 first-round pick (St. Louis), 2014 second-round pick (Minnesota), 2016 second-round pick (Minnesota), 2016 third-round pick (St. Louis, conditional)

     

    Out: G Ryan Miller, C Steve Ott, W Matt Moulson, C Cody McCormick, G Jaroslav Halak, 2015 third-round pick

     

    Analysis: The Sabres, in spite of the turmoil at the top with Pat LaFontaine resigning from his post as president of hockey operations, managed to have a great couple of days.

    Neuvirth could prove to be a starter for them next season. Stewart might be able to find some consistency under coach Ted Nolan or be dealt in the offseason for more assets, and the Sabres loaded up on draft picks to help with the rebuild.

    Oh, and they claimed Cory Conacher off waivers to add more skill to the mix.

    It won’t make much of a difference this season, but things will get better for Buffalo in the future.

     

    Grade: A

Calgary Flames

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    In: 2014 second-round pick (Colorado), 2014 third-round pick (Pittsburgh)

     

    Out: G Reto Berra, W Lee Stempniak

     

    Analysis: It wasn’t the massive haul of picks expected for the Calgary Flames, who hung on to pending unrestricted free agents Chris Butler and Michael Cammalleri but parted with Berra and Stempniak instead.

    Surprisingly, the value was nearly as good for the two that went as it was expected to be for Cammalleri and Butler.

    GM Brian Burke chose to keep Cammalleri and potentially work out a new deal to keep him in Calgary beyond June rather than take a deal that he didn’t deem fair for the sniper who has struggled through a concussion and is looking to find his scoring touch again after a great start to the season.

    The extra picks work for Calgary, which is in complete rebuild mode.

     

    Grade: B-

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Debora Robinson/Getty Images

    In: C Andrei Loktionov, 2017 third-round pick (conditional)

     

    Out: C Tuomo Ruutu

     

    Analysis: There's not much happening in Carolina, but bringing in Loktionov in the hopes he continues to develop was a good move for the future.

    A little surprising goaltender, Cam Ward, wasn’t dealt; his injury history put a lot of teams off, and they went elsewhere for help in the crease.

     

    Grade: C

Chicago Blackhawks

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    Gus Ruelas/Associated Press

    In: D David Rundblad, D Mathieu Brisebois, 2014 third-round pick, 2016 fifth-round pick

     

    Out: C Brandon Pirri, 2014 second-round pick,

     

    Analysis: When you're the defending Stanley Cup champion and are among the top regular-season teams again this season, there isn’t a great need to improve at the trade deadline.

    So, the Chicago Blackhawks made few moves, adding a couple of prospects a few days after parting with Pirri in another minor move.

    The team added depth with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin in February and will just hope to get completely healthy—that means you Marian Hossa—by the playoffs.

     

    Grade: B

Colorado Avalanche

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    Michael Martin/Getty Images

    In: G Reto Berra

     

    Out: 2014 second-round pick

     

    Analysis: Why change what’s working is a good philosophy to cling to if you’re the Colorado Avalanche.

    Although tempting to see what they could get for Paul Stastny, who is no worse than a stellar second-line center on any team in the NHL, doing so would only have weakened the team, which is sitting pretty in the Western Conference and in little danger of losing its playoff spot.

    What the Avs did instead was bring in a goaltender with potential just in case things go horribly wrong with starter Semyon Varlamov. The aging Jean-Sebastien Giguere is dealing with a bad back, so the Swiss netminder the Flames deemed expendable solidifies that situation.

    That said, a second-round pick is a hefty price for a guy who has played less than a full season and boasts an .897 save percentage—albeitg on a terrible team.

     

    Grade: C+

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    In: D Nick Schultz, W Matt Frattin, C Dana Tyrell, D Matt Taormina, second-round pick (Los Angeles), third-round pick (L.A., conditional)

     

    Out: W Marian Gaborik, fifth-round pick, F Jonathan Marchessault, F Dalton Smith

     

    Analysis: The Columbus Blue Jackets needed help on defense and found it in Schultz, a steady defensive player with experience who should help out in the top six.

    Giving up Gaborik and really only looking to replace him with Frattin seems scary, but Frattin has had success with the Toronto Maple Leafs and may be able to rediscover his scoring touch in Columbus.

    If it doesn’t work out, the Jackets will continue to lean on Nathan Horton, who fared well while Gaborik was injured—which happens a lot.

     

    Grade: B-

Dallas Stars

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    In: G Tim Thomas, 2014 fourth-round pick (Anaheim, conditional)

     

    Out: D Stephane Robidas, G Dan Ellis

     

    Analysis: The Dallas Stars are a bubble team in the playoff race and did nothing to improve that position.

    In fact, you could argue that by dumping Robidas, they fall into the seller category when most thought they’d be buyers.

    The team has a lot of young talent up front but could have used another center for the second line to take some of the scoring pressure off Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Instead, the Stars weakened the defense and made a swap of backup goalies.

     

    Grade: D

Detroit Red Wings

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    John Russell/Getty Images

    In: C David Legwand

     

    Out: W Patrick Eaves, C Calle Jarnkrok, third-round pick

     

    Analysis: The Detroit Red Wings are hurting badly up front with Henrik Zetterberg out for the regular season and Pavel Datsyuk ailing as well.

    Center Stephen Weiss was an offseason addition expected to help out, but he’s also been injured and so adding Legwand is a strong move for depth. If the team can get healthy, it will provide them with three strong center options down the stretch and (maybe) into the playoffs.

    The asking price was reasonable, and the reward could be high with Legwand, who has been a double-digit goalscorer in 13 of his 14 seasons.

     

    Grade: B

Edmonton Oilers

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    In: G Viktor Fasth, 2014 fourth-round pick (Minnesota), fifth-round pick (Columbus), 2014 fifth-round pick (Ottawa), 2015 third-round pick (Ottawa)

     

    Out: W Ales Hemsky, G Ilya Bryzgalov, D Nick Schultz

     

    Analysis: The goaltender merry-go-round continues in Edmonton, where a goalie swap took place for a second time this season and completely changed the rotation.

    This time, Bryzgalov was shipped to the Minnesota Wild, and Fasth was brought in from the Anaheim Ducks. The Oilers brought in Ben Scrivens from the Los Angeles Kings and sent Devan Dubnyk to the Nashville Predators in January.

    Signing Scrivens to a two-year extension this week secured him as the starter, but they wanted him to continue to have to earn it by bringing in Fasth.

    They didn’t get a great return on Hemsky, but the market wasn’t very hot for secondary scoring wingers—just as it was with the Calgary Flames and Mike Cammalleri.

     

    Grade: B

Florida Panthers

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    In: G Roberto Luongo, G Dan Ellis, C Brandon Pirri, W Mark Mancari, W Steven Anthony, 2014 fifth-round pick (Pittsburgh), 2015 third-round pick (Pittsburgh), 2015 fifth-round pick (Montreal)

     

    Out: C Marcel Goc, G Tim Thomas, G Jacob Markstrom, C Shawn Matthias, D Mike Weaver, W Eric Selleck, 2014 third-round pick, 2016 fifth-round pick

     

    Analysis: The Florida Panthers are all about building for the future. Well, they’ve got a starting goaltender for another eight years by bringing Luongo back and shocking the hockey world on trade-deadline eve.

    Luongo started his career with the Panthers and will have to hope the team does something it was never able to do when he was there the first time around—make a run for the Stanley Cup.

    It will take a while, and this trade deadline was all about the future as opposed to the now.

    Prospects Pirri and Mancari have some upside offensively and should fit in with the young core now being developed in South Florida; the team also picked up a few draft picks in the process as well.

     

    Grade: B-

Los Angeles Kings

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    Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press

    In: W Marian Gaborik, D Brayden McNabb, 2014 second-round pick (Buffalo), 2015 second-round pick (Buffalo)

     

    Out: W Matt Frattin, W Hudson Fasching, W Nicolas Deslauriers, second-round pick, third-round pick (conditional)

     

    Analysis: Gaborik doesn't seem like a Darryl Sutter-style player, but the Los Angeles Kings need speed and scoring in a desperate way, and Gaborik has a history of doing that when healthy.

    Although Cammalleri and Moulson were also candidates to land in "La La Land," Gaborik came at a reasonable price of Frattin, who never fit in there, and a couple of picks.

    The Kings also replenished the lost picks by swapping prospects with the Sabres and adding a pair of second-rounders.

     

    Grade: B

Minnesota Wild

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    In: W Matt Moulson, C Cody McCormick, G Ilya Bryzgalov

     

    Out: C Torrey Mitchell, 2014 fourth-round pick, 2014 second-round pick, 2016 second-round pick

     

    Analysis: With Mikko Koivu’s return and the strong performance by Mikael Granlund at the Sochi Games and upon his return to the NHL, the biggest need was some goaltending help in case rookie Darcy Kuemper stumbles and Josh Harding is unable to get healthy.

    Going to the complicated Bryzgalov seems like an odd move when other more attractive options—like New Jersey Devils veteran Martin Brodeur—were out there. But GM Chuck (don’t call me Cliff) Fletcher knows Bryzgalov from their days with the Anaheim Ducks and is comfortable with what he offers.

    That came at a smaller price than someone like Brodeur, too.

    Where the Minnesota Wild paid a premium was adding Moulson to round out a much stronger looking top six, giving up Mitchell and a couple of second-round selections. But McCormick adds some size and depth down the middle, too, and these moves could propel the Wild up the Western Conference standings.

     

    Grade: B+

Montreal Canadiens

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    In: W Thomas Vanek, D Mike Weaver, G Devan Dubnyk, 2014 fifth-round pick (N.Y. Islanders, conditional)

     

    Out: W Sebastian Collberg, 2014 second-round pick, 2015 fifth-round pick, future considerations

     

    Analysis: As one of the final deals of the day, the Montreal Canadiens sure made a splash by landing one of the most coveted wingers known to be available.

    Vanek didn’t cost the Habs much—a second-round pick and a prospect—and the team needs the scoring help.

    The team also shored up its defense with the underrated Weaver, a solid stay-at-home type who thrives in a bottom-pairing role and provided a little insurance in goal with Dubnyk just in case Carey Price’s injury lasts longer than anticipated.

    The team also brought in toughness in February with Dale Weise for Raphael Diaz and looks good heading down the stretch as it battles for position.

     

    Grade: A

Nashville Predators

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    Gerry Thomas/Getty Images

    In: W Patrick Eaves, C Calle Jarnkrok, third-round pick (Detroit), future considerations (Montreal)

     

    Out: C David Legwand, G Devan Dubnyk

     

    Analysis: We hardly knew ya, Dubnyk.

    The goaltender got the boot again after being sent packing by Edmonton. And he won’t have much of a role in Montreal, either, unless Carey Price or Peter Budaj get hurt.

    But the big move was sending veteran Legwand to the Detroit Red Wings for a third-round pick. It was not a great return for a guy with Legwand’s experience, but it didn’t appear they were going to come to an agreement on a new contract, and as a pending unrestricted free agent, it was smart to get a pick and a prospect (Jarnkrok) for him rather than having lost him for nothing later.

     

    Grade: C+

New Jersey Devils

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    Andy Marlin/Getty Images

    In: C Tuomo Ruutu

     

    Out: C Andrei Loktionov, 2017 third-round pick (conditional)

     

    Analysis: The biggest move here is the one the team didn’t make. Keeping future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur even though he’s been relegated to backup status was a bit of a surprise.

    However, the asking price was too high, and the New Jersey Devils might need him down the stretch in case something happens to Cory Schneider.

    Sending Loktionov to the Carolina Hurricanes for the tougher, older and more experienced Ruutu was a shrewd move that could pay off if the Devils do manage to get into a playoff spot.

     

    Grade: B-

New York Islanders

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    In: 2014 second-round pick (Montreal, conditional), 2014 fifth-round pick (Philadelphia), 2015 second-round pick (Philadelphia), W Sebastian Collberg, C Matt Mangene

     

    Out: W Thomas Vanek, D Andrew MacDonald

     

    Analysis: Something is better than nothing, which is what it appeared the New York Islanders would get in return for pending unrestricted free agent Tomas Vanek until a deal to the Montreal Canadiens was announced right at the end of the deadline.

    It was pretty much a no-win situation for the Isles, though, who tried to sign Vanek to an extansion but were rejected. They were not dealing from a position of strength and could only get a second-round pick and Swedish prospect Sebastian Collberg in return after giving up Moulson and first and second-round picks to the Buffalo Sabres when they traded for him in October.

     

    Grade: D

New York Rangers

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    In: W Martin St. Louis, D Raphael Diaz

     

    Out: W Ryan Callahan, 2014 second-round pick (conditional), 2015 first-round pick, fifth-round pick

     

    Analysis: It’s not often you see a captain traded for a captain, but that’s what happened here.

    The New York Rangers picking up St. Louis from the Tampa Bay Lightning was a stunning move early in the day on Wednesday, despite advance warning something like that could happen.

    The addition offers the Rangers more offense, although they might miss the leadership and physical play Callahan provided—when healthy, that is.

    Callahan and the Rangers were too far apart in negotiations, and ultimately the Rangers decided to move him in a big package for St. Louis rather than overpay to re-sign him in The Big Apple.

     

    Grade: B+

Ottawa Senators

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    In: W Ales Hemsky, D Patrick Mullen

     

    Out: W Jeff Costello, 2014 fifth-round pick, 2015 third-round pick, 

     

    Analysis: I really like what the Ottawa Senators did, filling a big need at wing and also by signing veteran defenseman Chris Phillips to a two-year deal to make sure he finishes his career with the same franchise he started it with.

    Phillips is one of the steadiest defenders in the league, and his leadership role is even more important with Daniel Alfredsson departing for Detroit last summer.

    As for the addition of Hemsky, he could jump to the top line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek and jump-start it with the energy that often comes with a fresh start. Things were definitely stale for him in Edmonton, although he showed off his goalscoring skills with a pair in his final game for the Oilers on Tuesday night.

    The fact Edmonton is retaining half of Hemsky’s salary the rest of the year before he becomes a free agent is a bonus, and the asking price of a pair of later picks was reasonable.

     

    Grade: B+

Philadelphia Flyers

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    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    In: D Andrew MacDonald, third-round pick (Boston)

     

    Out: D Andrej Meszaros, 2014 third-round pick, 2015 second-round pick, C Matt Mangene

     

    Analysis: With salary-cap space a problem and a nice collection of forwards, the Philadelphia Flyers focus was on improving its defense.

    Turning veteran Meszaros into MacDonald was a move many might think is less-than-stellar, but there’s a history between former New York Islander Mark Streit and MacDonald, who played together in Long Island and provided a nice balance of offense, defensive play and toughness—the latter two provided mainly by MacDonald.

    The deal might have been a lateral move, though, with MacDonald only a couple of years younger than Meszaros and both set to become unrestricted free agents.

     

    Grade: C

Phoenix Coyotes

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    Evan Vucci/Associated Press

    In: W Martin Erat, C John Mitchell, 2014 second-round pick

     

    Out: D Rostislav Klesla, C Chris Brown, D David Rundblad, D Mathieu Brisebois, 2015 fourth-round pick

     

    Analysis: The Phoenix Coyotes are hoping that Erat will resemble the winger who once put up points in Nashville and not the stunted-stats version who toiled in Washington the last couple of seasons.

    Not giving up much in return—journeyman Klesla, who will report to the AHL, Brown and a draft pick—bodes well for the risk/reward scale while filling the biggest need in the Coyotes lineup. And dealing a couple of prospects in Rundblad and Brisebois who don't fit into their system for a second-rounder this year gives them a chance to pick one who does this spring.

     

    Grade: C+

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    In: C Marcel Goc, W Lee Stempniak

     

    Out: 2014 fifth-round pick, 2014 third-round pick, 2015 third-round pick

     

    Analysis: The Penguins were going for the jugular in trying to pry center Ryan Kesler out of Vancouver, but the Canucks wouldn’t budge on a steep asking price.

    In the end, the Pens added depth with Goc and Stempniak.

    Stempniak is a streaky scorer who started the season hot with the Flames and has tapered off. But he could join Sidney Crosby on the top line in hopes he can get fired up and fill a Pascal Dupuis role. He’s a smart player who could thrive down the stretch in the company of elite players.

     

    Grade: C+

San Jose Sharks

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    Don Smith/Getty Images

    In: None

     

    Out: None

     

    Analysis: Other teams may have felt the need to add a top player to compete with the elite, but the San Jose Sharks are one of the elite and are confident they will remain that way without a major addition on trade-deadline day.

    Whereas places like Toronto expected to see something happen with a group that is battling for a wild-card spot, the Sharks are safely in the playoff race and will be a major player in the postseason barring some sort of catastrophe. There isn’t a single weakness on the team, so making a move just for the sake of making one would have been a mistake.

     They get a high grade for realizing there was no need to change anything.

     

    Grade: B+

St. Louis Blues

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    Ralph Freso/Associated Press

    In: G Ryan Miller, C Steve Ott

     

    Out: G Jaroslav Halak, W Chris Stewart, W William Carrier, 2015 first-round pick, 2016 third-round pick (conditional)

     

    Analysis: The St. Louis Blues made a massive deal to get the ball rolling the day before the deadline and didn’t need to follow up with any additional moves on Wednesday.

    Bringing in Miller solidifies the only perceived weakness on the team, and the Blues could afford to part with Stewart, who has trouble finding motivation on a daily basis.

    Giving up a decent goalie (Halak), roster player (Stewart), prospect and two picks might seem steep but don’t forget or underestimate the value of a guy like Ott coming back in the package too. He has toughness and the ability to score—which essentially replaces what Stewart offered but at a higher level of consistendcy.

    The Blues are all-in for a Stanley Cup run.

     

    Grade: A

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    In: W Ryan Callahan, 2014 second-round pick (N.Y. Rangers, conditional), 2015 first-round pick (Rangers), C Jonathan Marchessault, W Dalton Smith

     

    Out: W Martin St. Louis, C Dana Tyrell, D Matt Taormina

     

    Analysis: At first glance, it seems like a tough situation for the Tampa Bay Lightning. But considering how handcuffed Steve Yzerman was in accommodating his captain St. Louis with essentially only one team to deal with thanks to the specific request out of town, the Bolts GM did pretty well.

    Callahan could actually be a more important player down the stretch than the disgruntled former captain. He offers more physical play, and the young forwards who stepped up in Steven Stamkos’ absence will just be asked to continue to do so with St. Louis gone.

    St. Louis looks like a spoiled brat, and the Bolts somehow may be a better team for it now and in the future thanks to the high draft picks.  

     

    Grade: A

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

    In: None

     

    Out: None

     

    Analysis: Wow. With a defense as bad as the Toronto Maple Leafs, you’d think they would pony up for even a mild improvement.

    Instead, GM Dave Nonis decided the asking price for rentals was too high, and his team was good enough to make the playoffs without any additions.

    He might be watching too many replays of the first six games of last season’s opening-round near-upset over the Boston Bruins.

    It’s understandable not wanting to sell off pending free agents like Dave Bolland, whose return would give the forwards a boost but does nothing for the porous defense, but not parting with a pick to grab a defenseman is inexcusable in Toronto.

     

    Grade: F

Vancouver Canucks

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    Jonathan Hayward/Associated Press

    In: G Jacob Markstrom, C Shawn Matthias, W Jeff Costello, fifth-round pick (N.Y. Rangers)

     

    Out: G Roberto Luongo, D Raphael Diaz, W Steven Anthony, D Patrick Mullen

     

    Analysis: The Canucks might have had the worst two days of the entire league in terms of expectations versus delivery.

    Fighting for a playoff spot, the team needed to shore up its weak defense. Instead, it weakened it and appeared to go into early rebuild mode by sending starting goaltender Luongo back to the Florida where he started his career and promoting an unproven Eddie Lack to the No. 1 role for the stretch.

    Nothing materialized with star center Ryan Kesler, either, which means the team isn’t yet giving up on the playoffs but did nothing to help its cause to get there.

     

    Grade: F

Washington Capitals

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    Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

    In: G Jaroslav Halak, W Dustin Penner, D Rostislav Klesla, C Chris Brown, 2015 third-round pick (Buffalo), 2015 fourth-round pick (Phoenix)

     

    Out: W Martin Erat, D Rostislav Klesla, G Michal Neuvirth, C John Mitchell, 2014 fourth-round pick

     

    Analysis: It's stunning that the Washington Capitals failed to address their biggest need, which was defensive help. In fact, the one blueliner the team picked up, it flipped to the Buffalo Sabres for a goaltender.

    More troubling than that was the goaltender brought in, Halak, was previously traded this week because of his inconsistent play. The Caps already have one of those in Braden Holtby.

    The only thing that saves them from an "F" is the fact Penner might perform better than Erat on the left side of the second line and take some of the scoring burden off sniper Alex Ovechkin.

     

    Grade: D

Winnipeg Jets

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    Marianne Helm/Getty Images

    In: None

     

    Out: None

     

    Analysis: With an injury to winger/center Mark Scheifele coming the night before the deadline, any talks involving him as a piece stalled and might have prevented the Winnipeg Jets from making any major deals.

    With them being on the brink of the playoffs, standing pat might cost them. Even minor moves to make up for the loss of Scheifele for a few weeks would have been prudent.

     

    Grade: D

     

    Trade information courtesy of NHL.com's trade tracker.