Dennis Wideman defends one of his new teammates in this photo, as he was traded to Washington today.
Although, as expected, 2011's NHL trade deadline was rather uneventful, the Southeast Division was the one group of teams that really got the ball rolling with a plethora of deals, signings and claims.
The Thrashers, Hurricanes, Panthers, Lightning or Capitals were involved in 15 of the 28 deals over the past 10 days around the NHL, with four of those trades between two of those five teams. Additionally, all three of today's waiver claims involved a player either coming from or headed to a Southeast Division team.
Florida was the most active team in the division with seven trades, followed by Carolina with four, Atlanta with four and one waiver claim, Washington with two and one waiver claim and Tampa Bay with two.
Let's break down how each team did over the past couple weeks and what it shows about their future outlook.
Atlanta's Niclas Bergfors is headed to Florida.
NHL-ers: Sergei Samsonov (from Carolina), Ryan Carter (from Carolina), Niclas Bergfors (from Atlanta), Alexander Sulzer
Draft Picks: 2011 Third-Round Pick (from Vancouver), 2011 Fifth-Round Pick (from Carolina), 2011 Third-Round Pick (from Washington), 2011 Third-Round Pick (from NY Rangers)
Prospects/Others: Evan Oberg (from Vancouver), Jake Hauswirth (from Washington), Patrick Rissmiller (from Atlanta), Tim Kennedy (from NY Rangers)
NHL-ers: Chris Higgins (to Vancouver), Bryan Allen (to Carolina), Cory Stillman (to Carolina), Dennis Wideman (to Washington), Radek Dvorak (to Atlanta), Bryan McCabe (to NY Rangers),
Draft Picks: 2011 Fifth-Round Pick (to Atlanta), 2012 Seventh-Round Pick (to Nashville)
The Panthers seem to be quite keen on third-round picks. Otherwise, they also seem to be quite keen on rebuilding.
Their current roster will take a hit, with six current NHL-ers headed out and only four coming in. They do pick up a good edge on picks and acquired five prospects without giving up any. However, besides the young star in Bergfors (pictured), whose acquisition we really like, they aren't getting many big-potential players.
Florida's defense will take the biggest hit, losing McCabe, Wideman and Allen, all top four 'D'-men, with only questionable Sulzer coming in. Although we understand they're building for the future, it could be a rough road down the stretch this spring. Former 'Canes Samsonov, 32, and Carter, 25, aren't going to be more than fourth-line players, Sulzer is shaky at best, and none of those prospects are players that should be counted on at all in the NHL.
Carter and Samsonov will play against their former team Tuesday night, as will now-Hurricanes Stillman and Allen, in another divisional duel. But don't expect much from the Cats; for them, it's all about tomorrow.
NHL-ers: Bryan Allen (from Florida), Cory Stillman (from Florida), Derek Joslin (from San Jose)
Draft Picks: 2012 Second-Round Pick (from San Jose)
NHL-ers: Sergei Samsonov (to Florida), Ryan Carter (to Florida), Ian White (to San Jose), Brett Carson (to Calgary through waivers)
Draft Picks: 2011 Fifth-Round Pick (to Florida)
Carolina, led by GM Jim Rutherford, came out of the trade deadline very well. They expended overpaid fourth-liner Sergei Samsonov, a must for the team this month, as well as unloaded Ryan Carter, who was brought in from Anaheim last fall to fix the penalty kill (and he did his job), and Ian White, also inked last fall from Calgary to provide a boost to the defense (he also did his job).
In return, the Hurricanes get more conservative defensemen, unlike White, in Allen and Joslin. Joslin, just 23, is a star for the future and already has two assists and a plus-three rating in his first three games in Carolina. Allen, 30, will help with veteran experience towards playoff time and is still under contract through next season.
Additionally, 37-year-old Stillman was brought back to where he once won a Stanley Cup. He had two 21-goal seasons with Carolina and scored 25 points in their dramatic Cup run of 2006. Already, Stillman has a goal and a plus-three rating. They also land a 2012 second-round pick from the Sharks.
The one sour spot was the loss of depth blueliner Brett Carson, who was claimed by the Flames. Rutherford said he didn't expect him to be claimed by another team, but he is still interested in re-signing him this summer.
All in all, it was a successful trade deadline in Raleigh. Their next challenge, though, is making the playoffs—which may not be as easy of a task.
Radek Dvorak was traded to the Thrashers.
NHL-ers: Radek Dvorak (from Florida), Rob Schremp (from NY Islanders through waivers)
Draft Picks: 2011 Seventh-Round Pick (from Calgary), 2011 Fifth-Round Pick (from Florida), 2011 Fourth-Round Pick (from Montreal)
Prospects/Others: Brett Festerling (from Montreal), Ben Maxwell (from Montreal)
NHL-ers: Freddy Modin (to Calgary), Niclas Bergfors (to Florida), Brent Sopel (to Montreal)
Draft Picks: none
Prospects/Others: Drew MacIntyre (to Montreal), Patrick Rissmiller (to Florida), Nigel Dawes (to Montreal)
Atlanta pulled off two last-minute meaningless trades, sending Modin to Calgary for a seventh-rounder and exchanging MacIntyre and Festerling with Montreal, but their main moves came earlier.
Last week, they made a for-the-future deal by sending off depth defenseman Sopel and complete bust Dawes to the Canadiens for prospect Maxwell and a fourth-rounder. Although both sides had their reasons, it was a conservative move for a team working to find its way back into the playoff bubble.
Their biggest loss will be Bergfors, who looked like a cornerstone of this team in the first few months after he came over in the Kovalchuk deal with New Jersey last season, but had only 29 points and a minus-11 campaign this year. In return, they ink veteran Dvorak, 33, who has 21 points this season and can provide good offensive depth, and Schremp, 24, who has 10 goals and 22 points this year but is a minus-19.
Although they showed some indecisiveness with their strategy, this year's deadline had some bright spots for Atlanta. It's not easy to predict, though, where they're going to try to go from here.
One of the Capitals additions is former Devil and Predator Jason Arnott.
Jason Arnott (from New Jersey), Dennis Wideman (from Florida), Marco Sturm (from Los Angeles through waivers)
Players: David Steckel (to New Jersey), Jake Hauswirth (to Florida)
Picks: 2012 Second-Round Pick (to New Jersey), 2011 Third-Round Pick (to Florida)
Washington is having a slight down year from where they usually stand, but they made several smart deals today to fill out the roster headed towards the dreaded postseason.
Veteran Arnott, 36, was brought in to support the offense. His contract expires this summer, but he brings many, many years of experience and even has 13 goals this season. Marco Sturm, 32, was claimed off of waivers, but he will be a mere depth player after playing only 17 games so far this season (with Los Angeles) and recording just nine points.
The Caps also got offensive-minded 27-year-old defenseman Dennis Wideman, whose career has been on the downslide lately, but has a good chance to get it back together in the Nation's Capitol. Since posting 50 points and an amazing plus-32 rating with the Bruins in '08-'09, he has just 66 points and a miserable minus-40 rating in two seasons since.
Although the two picks they conceded were relatively valuable ones, Steckel and Hauswirth won't be missed much, making the trade deadline, in review, a great one for Washington. However, while they'll most certainly rank among the winners of this event, the biggest question still looms; how will these trades affect them in the playoffs?
Dan Ellis was traded to Anaheim after a short stint in Tampa.
Acquisition: Eric Brewer (from St. Louis)
Players: Dan Ellis (to Anaheim), Brock Beukeboom (to St. Louis)
Draft Picks: 2011 Third-Round Pick (to St. Louis)
The Lightning currently lead the Southeast Division, but, partially as a result, they were, by far, the quietest of the five teams on the trading picture.
The first of only two trades by GM Steve Yzerman brought defenseman Eric Brewer to the conference's second-best team. Brewer had 14 points, a plus-one rating and 78 hits in 54 games with St. Louis and now has a 14 hits and a plus-three rating in four games for the 'Bolts. Tampa Bay sent prospect Beukeboom and a third-round pick in exchange.
Later, Yzerman completed a salary dump move by sending goaltender Dan Ellis, and his $1.5 million cap hit, to Anaheim, for goalie Curtis McElhinney. McElhinney was later waived and claimed by Ottawa, making this a move that was simply made to cut a little over $1.2 million off of their payroll.
The Lightning weren't the most active team, but Brewer is a nice short-term pickup, and all they need to do now is focus on preparing this inexperienced roster for being a Cup favorite.