Eastern Conference Deadline Report (Part 2)

The NHL trading period is now over and teams have either added pieces for a playoff run or a rebuild.  Lets take a look at how teams did with their February transactions, including the NHL Trade Deadline. The playoff grade deals with how the addition will impact a playoff run, while the fantasy grade deals with offensive addition and long term potential.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS – The Islanders only made one trade this February and that was to acquire Al Montoya. The Islanders have gone through several goalies this season due to injuries. Montoya was stuck behind Ilya Bryzgalov in Phoenix and was not going to get a chance to be a number one any time soon. Coming to Long Island Montoya could steal the top spot. Since the trade Montoya has gone 4-2-1, recorded one shutout, holds a 1.93 GAA and a save percentage of .933. PLAYOFF GRADE: Will miss playoffs FANTASY GRADE: B

NEW YORK RANGERS – The Rangers brought in Bryan McCabe and John Mitchell. McCabe had three great seasons in Toronto, scoring 53, 68 and 57 points but has never come close to those totals since. McCabe, who is likely a rental player, should get some power play time on the second unit and help stabilize a young defensive core in New York. Mitchell doesn’t have a great offensive upside but should develop into a decent two-way center that plays on the third line. Mitchell will see time in the AHL as he recovers from a knee injury. PLAYOFF GRADE: B- FANTASY GRADE: C

OTTAWA SENATORS – The Senators were busy this February shipping off a lot of players as they continue their rebuild. Ottawa added five draft picks in 2011, including Nashville’s first round and a pick in 2012. The Sens are hoping for a quick rebuild and will have a lot of cap space to play around with this off-season. The only key player they acquired was Craig Anderson. Anderson had such a great season last year in Colorado but was unable to keep up that same level of play. A change of scenery seems to be working for Anderson, as he is 4-3 already with one shutout and a GAA of 1.56. The Senators will want to re-sign Anderson who should split duties next season with Robin Lehner. PLAYOFF GRADE: Will miss playoffs FANTASY GRADE: B

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS – The Flyers are the best team in the East and added a solid, gritty player in Kris Versteeg. Versteeg was not fitting in with Toronto and was quickly shipped out. Versteeg is on pace for his second 50 point season but his real value will come in the playoffs. Versteeg gives the Flyers three strong scoring lines and is ready for another long playoff run. The other player acquired by the Flyers was Tom Sestito who is a 6-foot-5, 228 pound power forward. Sestito isn’t an offensive power forward but can be a very effective physical fourth liner. PLAYOFF GRADE: A- FANTASY GRADE: B -

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS – The talk always surrounding Pittsburgh was when are they going to get an offensive winger to play with Sidney Crosby? Well they finally did that this past month by adding James Neal. Neal has the potential to score 50 goals one day in the NHL and if he can connect with Crosby it will happen as early as next season. The Penguins also added Matt Niskanen who was struggling in Dallas but could develop into a similar player as Alex Goligoski. Pittsburgh also brought back Alex Kovalev for a playoff run, who is in the final year of his contract. PLAYOFF GRADE: B (without Crosby) A (with Crosby) FANTASY GRADE: A+

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING – The Lightning had a very quiet February as GM Steve Yzerman did most of the work earlier in the season. Dan Ellis was brought in to push for the starting job but just didn’t pan out and was traded for Curtis McElhinney. A couple days later McElhinney was placed on waivers and claimed by the Ottawa Senators. The only other move Tampa Bay made was to bring in Eric Brewer. Brewer is a 20-point defenseman who will give the Lightning a veteran presence on the blue line and in the dressing room. He won Olympic Gold with Yzerman at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. PLAYOFF GRADE: A- FANTASY GRADE: C

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS – GM Brian Burke did a fantastic job this past month as he acquired top draft picks and prospects and kept the Maple Leafs competitive. Burke added two first round draft picks in 2011 and five other draft picks. The future looks great for Toronto with the addition of prospects Joe Colborne and Jake Gardiner. Colborne is 6-foot-5 and will develop into an offensive power forward that could end up being a first line center. Gardiner is a 6-foot-2 defenseman who can skate and has a decent offensive upside. The other key player Toronto acquired was Joffrey Lupul who has the potential to be a regular 30-goal scorer but needs to stay healthy and be more consistent. PLAYOFF GRADE: C FANTASY GRADE: A-

WASHINGTON CAPITALS – The Capitals had two glaring needs heading into the trade deadline, which were a power play defenseman and a second line center. Washington first acquired Dennis Wideman and followed that up adding Jason Arnott. Wideman was on pace for second highest point total of his career on a terrible Florida team and will now get a chance to run Washington’s power play while Mike Green is out. The addition of Wideman will allow the Caps to move Alexander Ovechkin off the point on the power play which should help get their power play out of the bottom ten. Wideman has one more year on his contract so look to draft him early this off-season as he could have a career year next season. The addition of Arnott could have the biggest impact in the East.  Arnott will line-up against other teams top line that should allow Nicklas Backstrom to focus more on scoring. Arnott made a sniper like Patrik Elias better and the Caps are hoping he can do the same thing for Alexander Semin. Arnott also brings a Stanley Cup ring into the dressing room. PLAYOFF GRADE: A+ FANTASY GRADE: A-

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