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NHL 2014 Trade Deadline Report Card: Puck Daddy grades all 30 teams

Greg Wyshynski
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OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 26: Fin, mascot for the Vancouver Canucks, poses for a portrait during 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend at Ottawa Convention Centre on January 26, 2012 in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Fin

There were 20 trades on 2014 NHL Deadline Day involving 38 players and around 24 draft picks. Even more players and picks moved in the days leading up to it.

So who struck gold, and who wallowed in garbage? Which teams made smart decisions, and which ones acted recklessly?

Coming up, we grade all 30 teams on their 2014 trade deadline performances.

Enjoy. Or cry. You know who you are.

Anaheim Ducks: B+

The Dustin Penner trade led to the Stephane Robidas trade, and that’s the real keeper for this deadline for the Ducks. When he’s healthy, he’ll add a veteran presence to the D-corps as well as some toughness. They solved the Viktor Fasth issue by flipping him to Edmonton for two picks, as Frederik Andersen made him expendable. A solid deadline for Bob Murray, but only a B-plus because they cleared the decks for Ryan Kesler and didn’t land him.

Boston Bruins: C

Hard to fault a division leading team for not doing much, but the Bruins could have bolstered their blue line with something more than Andrej Meszaros from the Flyers and Oilers castoff Corey Potter. Still, Meszaros has played with Zdeno Chara in the past, which makes for an intriguing connection. How did they miss on the Vanek rental again, given what the Habs paid and how he’s killed the Bruins?

Buffalo Sabres: A

The deconstruction of the Sabres continued, and the rebuild picked up steam. The Ryan Miller/Steve Ott traded yielded Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a first and a conditional third. GM Tim Murray is a hockey prospect nerd; if he’s in love with Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers, acquired by the Sabres from the LA Kings for Brayden McNabb and two picks, then that should send sirens off. (Especially for Fasching, who’s just 18 and a top line player on the NCAA’s top ranked team.) Getting two second-rounders and Torrey Mitchell for Matt Moulson was, arguably, more than the Islanders will get for Vanek. Canisius College star Cory Conacher comes home via waivers. Jaroslav Halak gets turned into Michal Neuvirth, who is an NHL-caliber goalie. The war chest grew, and prospect pool deepened, and Murray had a strong debut deadline.

Calgary Flames: C-

I really wanted to just fail the ever-loving [expletive] out of Brian Burke for not being more proactive in clearing out dead weight or getting anything for the departing Mike Cammalleri, but a third for Lee Stempniak and an inexplicable second for Reto Berra pushes the grade up.

Carolina Hurricanes: D+

Let the sell-off begin … some other time. The Canes’ only move was flipping Tuomo Ruutu and the remaining two years of his contract to the Devils for Andrei Loktionov (who has some upside) and a conditional third, while picking up salary. They don’t have many expiring contracts, and obviously feel that bolder moves (Jeff Skinner?) will wait until the summer.

Chicago Blackhawks: B

Sneaky good deadline for Stan Bowman, as David Rundblad will attempt to recapture his potential with an organization that works well with defensemen. Meanwhile, Brandon Pirri is flipped for two Florida picks (a third in 2014 and a fifth in 2016). Doesn’t address the second-line center conundrum, but again, they won a Cup with Handzus as a second pivot, so …

Colorado Avalanche: C

We’ll just go ahead and assume the Avalanche goaltending braintrust sees something in Reto Berra that would warrant a second-rounder to the Flames and anointing him as the team’s goalie insurance policy if J.S. Giguere’s back doesn’t hold up. Because we don’t.

Columbus Blue Jackets: B

Considering the rental market, getting the well-traveled Matt Frattin, a 2014 or 2015 second-round pick and a conditional third-round pick (if the Kings win a playoff round or if they sign him) for Marian Gaborik is doing pretty well. Especially since the second is the Leafs’ pick and the third is the Oilers’. Snagging Nick Schultz for a fifth-rounder is a nice depth move too. The grade gets knocked down a peg for their inability to get Kesler on the hook.

Dallas Stars: C+

Jim Nill was fairly firm in saying the Stars weren’t going in on rentals, despite their playoff contention. Tim Thomas technically is one, but he’s such a nice upgrade at the goalie spot (for Dan Ellis) that they couldn’t pass it up. The conditional fourth-rounder for Stephane Robidas could have been a little higher, but given his injury this season maybe that was the ceiling.

Detroit Red Wings: B+

David Legwand is a great piece: Local guy, can roll with the top-liners, plays defense to a Babcockian standard. The Red Wings surrendered a heck of a prospect for him in Jarnkrok, but one can see Legwand really thrive in this situation. 

Edmonton Oilers: C+

An intriguing deadline for the Oilers. Can Viktor Fasth work with Ben Scrivens to form a strong goaltending battery for the Oil next season? Was a fifth and a third the best the Oilers could do for Ales Hemsky? The heavy lifting will be in the summer, obviously.

Florida Panthers: A-

Meet the next phase of the franchise. Finally deciding to dive into the Roberto Luongo pool, the Panthers surrendered never-will-be (at least in Florida) goalie Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias for Lu, with Vancouver retaining salary. How many years does he have left? Hopefully enough where Luongo is still a franchise goalie when the Panthers’ young stars are blossoming. Also traded a third and a fifth (in 2016) to Chicago for Brandon Pirri. (Dale Tallon and a trade with Chicago? NO WAY.) Then they snagged a third in 2015 and a fifth in 2014 from the Penguins for Marcel Goc, and flipped Tim Thomas for Dan Ellis.

Los Angeles Kings: B+

How will Marian Gaborik and Darryl Sutter coexist? That’s the prevailing question about the trade that saw LA ship Matt Frattin, a 2014 or 2015 second rounder and a conditional third to the Blue Jackets. His speed will be an asset; one hopes his goal-scoring touch returns. The Kings made a couple of other minor moves, but Gaborik will have the most impact.

Minnesota Wild: A

Matt Moulson is a shrewd pick up for this team, bringing goal-scoring, character and more shootout prowess to the Wild. The cost was high for a rental – Torrey Mitchell and two second-rounders – but Cody McCormick comes over as well. Some might scoff at the Bryzgalov move given other goalies available, but he’s a solid addition to an unpredictable goaltending situation. Although please, no one tell him of all the bears in Minnesota …

Montreal Canadiens: A+

Even if Vanek doesn’t work … even if the Habs fail in their playoff quest and he leaves … this was a major coup for GM Marc Bergevin at a time when the team’s status – contender or building to be one – was in question. At this point, Sebastian Collberg and a conditional second is a pittance for one of the league’s most dynamic offensive players. Mike Weaver’s a nice addition to the blue line, and Devan Dubnyk for “future considerations” is a nice insurance policy.

Nashville Predators: B+

Patrick Eaves, Calle Jarnkrok and a conditional third for David Legwand is a nice return. Guess all that “YOU’LL HAVE TO PRY LEGWAND FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS” posturing from David Poile worked. Jarnkrok is the centerpiece, and Poile expects he’ll challenge for a gig next season. If he stays in North America, that is.

New Jersey Devils: B

The big Martin Brodeur drama ended with him still a New Jersey Devil, as Lou Lamoriello refused to be the one who ended Marty’s time in Jersey. (That'll be up to Marty this summer.) Tuomo Ruutu brings some offense, some shootout prowess and two contract years; but it’s not the worst deal with Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third going to the Carolina Hurricanes, who pick up some of Ruutu’s salary.

New York Islanders: D+

As of this writing, Garth Snow is still dodging the tomatoes being thrown at him by disgruntled Islanders fans for getting winger Sebastian Collberg, speedy but no sure-thing, and a conditional third for Thomas Vanek, allegedly one of the hottest commodities among the deadline rentals. The return for defenseman Andrew MacDonald was more than respectable: 2014 third-rounder, 2015 second-rounder and center Matt Mangene.

New York Rangers: B+

Marty St. Louis fell into their laps thanks to his decision to leave the Lightning in-season to (finally) move to New York. Ryan Callahan fell out of favor due to his contract demands. There’s no question St. Louis makes the Rangers a more dangerous team up front and could click with Brad Richards again. But on a day when few first-round picks were moved, to give one up for a guy who wanted to leave Tampa and had some smoldering bridges in his rearview mirror is overpayment. Raphael Diaz comes over from the Canucks for a fifth-rounder as well.

Ottawa Senators: B+

Ales Hemsky is a nice move, and it’ll be interesting to see how he thrives with an increased offensive role and a contract to play for. (Or, in general, it’ll be interesting to watch him be the latest player attempting to find chemistry with Jason Spezza, assuming they’re paired.)

Philadelphia Flyers: B

Andrew MacDonald has his detractors but I think he’ll fit well with the Flyers, although they anted up plenty for him – a third, a second and a prospect. Remember, this is just for the deadline, not for when they overpay him. They picked up a third from the Bruins for Andrej Meszaros. Ryan Kesler didn’t happen, but perhaps the Flyers were just trying to drive up the Penguins’ price for him.

Phoenix Coyotes: B

Is there a better landing place for Martin Erat than with Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata? The Coyotes shipped Rusty Klesla, Chris Brown and a 2015 fourth to the Capitals for Erat and John Mitchell. They also found a taker from David Rundblad, getting a second from the Chicago Blackhawks for him and Mattieu Brisebois. Grade gets knocked down a tad as the Coyotes might have needed a bit more of a roster shakeup than they received.

Pittsburgh Penguins: C

No Ryan Kesler, no puck-moving defenseman to help fill the void left by Kris Letang. But Marcel Goc is a nice addition as a depth center. And hey, Lee Stempniak, so that’s something.

San Jose Sharks: B

They didn’t do anything, which means they didn’t dabble in the dark arts of a Devin Setoguchi reunion. But the does the fact they didn’t add a scoring winger – a need for sure – mean Tomas Hertl’s headed back? (The ‘B’ by the way is a default grade. I hate incompletes.)

St. Louis Blues: A-

The Ryan Miller trade is a game-changer for the Western Conference, solidifying the position and giving the Blues a goalie that can win a series on his own. Steve Ott’s a great faceoff guy and another pain-in-the-ass on the Blues’ roster. Now the real question: Will Miller be a Blue next season?

Tampa Bay Lightning: A-

For a GM whose hands were tied by a captain that requested a trade in-season to only one other team in the NHL, to snag Ryan Callahan, a first-rounder and a second-rounder that could become another first for Marty St. Louis was brilliant.

Toronto Maple Leafs: B

All’s quiet on the Maple Leaf front. Dave Nonis said the cost was too high to do business on deadline day. No word if he had his tie undone when he said it.

Vancouver Canucks: C

This is a really tricky one. GM Mike Gillis deserves credit for clearing out Luongo’s contract and getting two NHL players back for him in Shawn Matthias and Jacob Markstrom, when the alternative was a buyout. And Ryan Kesler wasn’t traded, which helps Vancouver in their playoff push and maybe generates a larger market for him in the summer. On the other hand, Gillis made such a hash out of the goaltending situation and the Kesler trade demand is just going to keep lingering.

Washington Capitals: B+

Dustin Penner brings postseason scoring prowess and a jovial comportment to a team that needs both. Martin Erat’s trade was addition by subtraction. Jaroslav Halak also clears out a mopey Cap (Michal Neuvirth) while bringing in a goalie that will push, or supplant, Braden Holtby. A good deadline for George McPhee … although it did nothing to address the blue line.

Winnipeg Jets: D

For all that talk about being reshaping the roster and/or adding pieces for a very real playoff push, the Jets did nothing outside of resigning Mark Stuart. And that’s despite losing Mark Scheifele to injury in the same week. Kevin Cheveldayoff didn’t part with prospects and didn’t shed any of his own pending UFAs. These are the best fans in the NHL. Give them something to cheer for, will you please?

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