2010 NHL Trade Deadline: Eastern Conference Powers Flex Their Muscle

xx yySenior Writer IMarch 4, 2010

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 16:  Martin Skoula #41 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates after scoring a goal in the third period against the Anaheim Ducks  at Mellon Arena on November 16, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Penguins won the game 5-2.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

We've already seen the moves that were made in the Western Conference, so it's time to move east.

Simple enough, right?

1. Washington Capitals, 90 points

Arrivals: Scott Walker—F, Eric Belanger—F, Milan Jurcina—D, Joe Corvo—D

Departures: Seventh round pick (2010), Second round pick (2010), Sixth round pick (2010), Brian Pothier—D, Oskar Osala—F, Second round pick (2011)

What does it mean for them?

The Capitals did exactly what they needed to do: They got some depth, presence, and experience at forward with the acquisitions of Belanger and Walker, and they also went out and provided the blueline with some offensive depth in Joe Corvo.

That depth on the blueline is something this team desperately needed, going back to last season, and the Caps' second power-play unit can now have a true quarterback. As far as between the pipes, the goalies dealt today wouldn’t have gotten the Caps ahead, but so long as Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov don’t get injured, the Caps have solidified themselves as an East contender.

2. New Jersey Devils, 79 points

Arrivals: Martin Skoula—D

Departures: Fifth round pick (2010)

What does it mean for them?

Performance or not, the Devils made their biggest impact in acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk before the Olympics. The presence that was lost in the trading of Johnny Oduya was replaced in the acquisition of Skoula who, while nothing special, is a steady, experienced presence, landing in a defense that thrives off of guys like that.

It will be interesting to see though, if the Devils could have used an established puck-moving guy on the blueline.

3. Ottawa Senators, 76 points

Arrivals: Andy Sutton—D

Departures: Second round pick (2010)—OTT

What does it mean for them?

The Senators added to a strength, getting a strong defenseman that can block shots and really dominate alongside Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov. Already adding some scoring punch with Matt Cullen before the Olympics was a great move, and the Sens have a good, physical defense.

Like some of the other teams in the league, the Sens could use some insurance in net for Brian Elliot and in case Pascal Leclaire gets injured. Again.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins, 78 points

Arrivals: Alex Ponikarovsky—LW, Jordan Leopold—D, Sixth round pick (2010)

Departures: Luca Caputi—LW, Martin Skoula—D, Second-round pick (2010), Chris Peluso—D

What does it mean for them?

Another year, another winger for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For all of the flack he took in Toronto, Alex Ponikarovsky is a finisher. Put him on the wing of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, or Jordan Staal, and with those guys feeding him the puck, Poni could hit 25 goals by the end of the season. Because of that all-world ability, they may have an outside shot at pushing him to 30.

In Leopold they add a defenseman who can get the puck out of his end, along with some experience—in other words, a much more mobile Martin Skoula. The Pens only solidified themselves as the biggest roadblock in the Easter Conference (for a team hoping to contend).

5. Buffalo Sabres, 75 points

Arrivals: Raffi Torres—F, Third round pick (2010)—ATL, Fourth round pick (2010)—ATL

Departures: Nathan Paetsch—D, Second round pick (2010), Clarke MacArthur—F,

What does it mean for them?

Nothing really exciting here. The Sabres added some grit and experience with Raffi Torres, being a guy who could produce some healthy numbers down the stretch.

Other than some grit upfront, the Sabres could’ve used some tweaking on the back end, especially from an offensive prospective.


6. Philadelphia Flyers, 69 points

Arrivals: None

Departures: None

What does it mean for them?

Everybody’s offended (or I guess “surprised” would be a better word) at the inactivity on the Flyers’ front.

Honestly though, it’s hard to find a spot to add to that wouldn’t just be rounding out the depth on this team.

So instead, for those who watched TSN, let’s just remember the fact that Pierre MacGuire and Darren Pang nearly came to fisticuffs because they couldn’t agree on Washington’s depth chart.

7. Montreal Canadiens, 66 points

Arrivals: Aaron Palushaj—F

Departures: Matt D’Agostini—F

What does it mean for them?

People will continue to take sides on the goaltending battle until one of Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak are gone, but the Habs were able to address their faceoff needs earlier with the acquisition (and over-payment) of Dominic Moore.

Are they gritty enough to hang in the playoff race and then hang tough in the second season if they get there? I guess we’ll see.

8. Boston Bruins, 65 points

Arrivals: Steve Kampfer—D, Cody Wild—D, Fourth-round pick (2011)—PHX, Dennis Seidenberg—D, Matthew Bartkowski—D

Departures: Conditional pick, Mark Marquardt—F, Derek Morris—D, Craig Weller—F, Byron Bitz—F, Second round pick (2010)

What does it mean for them?

While Dennis Seidenberg is having a good season, the Bruins are no better when you essentially swap him with Derek Morris and may, in fact, have taken a step backwards.

They lost a few fringe forwards in Weller and Bitz, but there’s still no Brad Boyes/Phil Kessel type scoring threat there. None of the teams behind them in the standings got better by leaps or bounds, however, so if the Bruins can come together and get some key contributions down the stretch, they should be able to stay in the playoff picture.


9. New York Rangers, 65 points

Arrivals: Kris Newbury—F, Anders Eriksson—D

Departures: Jordan Owens—F, Miika Wiikman—G, Seventh round pick (2011)

What does it mean for them?

Anders Eriksson won’t be getting the Rangers into the playoffs, but the Rangers are also hoping that Olli Jokinen can gel with his new team can really generate some more offense.

Even with Jokinen though, the Rangers could have looked at acquiring a little more production up front, as they’ve already solved their issues in-behind Henrik Lundqvist (by claiming Alex Auld off of waivers).


10. Atlanta Thrashers

Arrivals: Evgeny Artyukhin—F, Clarke MacArthur—F

Departures: Nathan Oystrick—D, Conditional pick (2011), Third round draft pick (2010), Fourth round draft pick (2010)

What does it mean for them?

The Thrashers added some toughness and depth up front, which is good: They’ve now thrown themselves into the post-Kovalchuk era and they’re going to be relying on a lot of young forwards. Acquiring guys to ensure their youngsters don’t get pushed around is a great step to take.

They’ve still got a crowded blue line and no real game-breaking forward—although a few are developing—but if the Thrashers were only selling Kovalchuk to get something in return and not as a give-in on the season, there’s not many other moves they could’ve made.


11. Tampa Bay Lightning, 63 points

Arrivals: Teddy Purcell—F, Third round pick (2010)—LA

Departures: Jeff Halpern—F

What does it mean for them?

The Lightning didn’t do much: Basically, their depth got younger by swapping out Halpern for Purcell, but the Bolts could’ve gone a little deeper, perhaps getting a few more assets and finding a suitor for Mike Smith.

The Vincent Lecavalier questions may never go away and just keep coming up every couple of months, but the rumors were fairly quiet around the deadline. Tampa simply needs to keep building through the draft and getting their young players the ice time they need.


12. New York Islanders, 60 points

Arrivals: Dylan Reese—D, Second round pick (2010)—OTT

Departures: Greg Moore—C, Andy Sutton—D

What does it mean for them?

Not a massive sell-off from a team that’s seen a lot of growth from their younger players this season.

There can be something said for teams low in the standings holding on to veteran players at the deadline. For the Islanders, it’s a good idea. While Richard Park brings talents to the game that could be valuable in a depth role on a playoff team, the young Isles need someone to learn from, and he’s an ideal teacher.

13. Florida Panthers, 58 points

Arrivals: Second round pick (2010)—PIT, Craig Weller—F, Byron Bitz—F, Second round pick (BOS)—2010, Mathieu Roy—D

Departures: Jordan Leopold—D, Dennis Seidenberg—D, Matthew Bartkowski—D, Matt Rust—F

What does it mean for them?

The Florida Panthers have said that there will be a changing of the guard. With that, they opened up some space on the blueline for younger players (Dmitri Kulikov and Keaton Ellerby), brought in some younger, tougher players in Byron Bitz, and are hoping they take a new attitude into the last quarter of the season.

Florida did a good job of clearing out some of the roster and cap eaters, providing themselves with the beginning stages of an opportunity to move forward.

To put the process in full force though, a few more players could’ve been sent out, like Steve Reinprecht and Cory Stillman.


14. Carolina Hurricanes, 57 points

Arrivals: Seventh round (2010)—WASH, Justin Pogge—G, Fourth round (2010 or 11)—ANA, Brian Pothier—D, Oskar Osala—F, Second round pick (2011)—WASH, Third round pick (2010)—VAN, Cedric Lalande-McNicoll—F, Sixth Round Pick (2010)—COL

Departures: Scott Walker—F, Stephane Yelle—F, Andrew Alberts—D, Aaron Ward—D

What does it mean for them?

The Hurricanes did what they wanted to do: Utilize some key players in a disappointing season to bring in some draft picks and get some wiggling room.

What they could really use (and weren’t going to get) is that No. 1 defenseman. However, they’ve now got the cap space and roster space to bring one in.

15. Toronto Maple Leafs, 49 points

Arrivals: Luca Caputi—LW, Fifth round pick (2010)—NJ, Fourth round pick (2010)—PHX, Seventh round pick (2010)—PHX, Seventh round pick (2011)—ANA, Chris Peluso—D, Matt Jones—D

Departures: Alex Ponikarovsky—LW, Martin Skoula—D, Lee Stempniak—LW, Joey MacDonald, Sixth round pick (2010)

What does it mean for them?

Basically, it’s more of the same for the Leafs: Get space on the roster, get guys out of the system that were part of the unsuccessful years, and bring in guys that are going to contribute.

Luca Caputi is going to get the rest of the season to strut his stuff, and it won’t be in a minor roll—with two more forwards getting dealt, expect him to get scoring minutes.

The Leafs got more depth on the blueline (Chris Peluso, not Matt Jones, who may not play ever again), and some picks to use in the draft (or use to move up in the draft) in June.

Nothing you didn’t expect out of the Blue and White.

Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer and NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report. Want more? Check BT out on Twitter at BT_88 , take a look at his archives , or go over to Hockey54.com—The Face of the Game! to see more.


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