The 2008 NHL trade deadline has come and gone. The buyers and the sellers have done their shares as we come closer to playoff time. Teams have stocked up by either renting players for the next 20 or so games or they have emptied out their star players and are in a rebuilding mode for the future. So who won and who lost in this year’s version of the trade deadline? Here are a few thoughts on the teams that either became big time players for the home stretch or who have decided to move on.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins have stocked up and could be the new favorites out of the East. Today’s big move of Marian Hossa made the Penguins one of the teams to beat. With Sidney Crosby returning, Hossa’s stats should go up. A possible line of Crosby, Hossa and Evgeni Malkin makes this team a force immediately. Other moves included Hal Gill and Pascal Dupuis.
Dallas Stars: The second big name in the sweepstakes was former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brad Richards. A key to the Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup run, the Stars have gotten some more veteran leadership for this year’s run. Though the Stars gave up a future star in goaltender Mike Smith, the team did gain a backup goalie for Marty Turco in Johan Holmqvist. The Stars are in good position to capture the Pacific Division title and make a run to the Cup.
Colorado Avalanche: Getting Adam Foote back is huge for the Avalanche. The Avs gave up a conditional first round pick and a conditional pick on the Foote re-signing. Colorado also added former Florida Panther Ruslan Salei to help out the defense. With forward Peter Forsberg back, the Avalanche have become a more dangerous team. They are four points out of the playoffs with 19 games to go and they have a game in hand on eighth place Nashville.
San Jose Sharks: The Sharks got the best defenseman on the market in Brian Campbell. His offensive skills will help Joe Thornton immensely. Campbell will help out on the power play that ranks 20th converting 16.8% of the time. With the addition of Campbell, the Sharks are ready for another run at the Stanley Cup.
Ottawa Senators: Names such as Hossa, Olli Jokinen, and Campbell were heard as possible suitors. The Sens wound up getting Martin Lapointe, however, after their 5-0 loss to Toronto, rumor has it that Senators General Manager Brian Murray could take over for head coach John Paddock for the rest of the year.
Montreal Canadiens: The Habs did nothing to improve their club, and they gave up a valuable asset. Goaltender Cristobal Huet went to Washington for a 2009 second round pick leaving rookie Carey Price in a position where he has to lead by example. The move might be right for the future, but Huet would certainly have helped for a playoff run.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Seems like no one wanted to waive their no trade clause after Mats Sundin didn’t wave his. Hal Gill left as well as fellow defenseman Wade Belak and power forward Chad Kilger. The future apparently will be this year’s NHL draft as the Leafs will look to get some young talent in their system.
Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets did move Sergei Fedorov and had to move Adam Foote after the two sides couldn’t agree on a contract extension. Again, the Jackets’ future is going to rely on who they get in the draft. For a team who hasn’t been to a playoff in their existence, another year will probably go by without a playoff appearance.
Another year down, and another great trade deadline has passed. Twenty-three trades were made on the deadline; it was action-packed. Let’s get ready for another great ending to the regular season, and an exciting playoff year that is the 2007-08 season.